Friday, February 27, 2015

It's Gonna Get Worse Before it Gets Better

"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."

Such phrases as, "day by day," carry with them the thought of routine. But "worse and worse," of degree. The former stays pretty much the same, the latter progressively moves downward. Examples: the woman with the issue of blood, "...was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse"; and the man out of whom went an unclean spirit and upon returning, "...taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself...and the last state of that man is worse than the first."

Don't allow some politician or religious leader, whether they be sincere or a charlatan, lead you astray in this matter. Prior to the First World War, many believed the world was getting better. Since then, their breed has noticeably thinned out; though, like always, there are a few dyed-in-the-wool hangers-on. Most certainly, there have been times of, call them what you will, revival, refreshing, renewal, awakening. But none have lasted. Like every dispensation, age, or time period in the Bible, all ended in apostasy.

To say Christians are going to bring in an age of righteousness through the power of the Holy Spirit, in my humble opinion, is sheer nonsense. The props for that theory were knocked down at Pentecost. If ever a Utopian age was to be brought in without the personal, physical presence of Christ, it was then. To say the world is going to get so good it will usher in the return of Christ, is like me saying I am going to get so good, God will save me.

I realize this article will not be accepted or received by some, any more than Jeremiah's message to the people of his day, when he told them, things were going to get worse before they got better. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Swords in the Saint's Life

“Who through faith…escaped the edge of the sword…And others…were slain with the sword.” The latter in our text had the same faith as the former, yet, while the one escapes the pain and unpleasantries of life, the "others" endure them.

David escaped Goliath’s sword, but eighty-five of God’s innocent priests were slain with Doeg’s sword. And what of James, who was slain by the sword at Herod’s command? Yet, his dear, long-time friend, Peter, escaped the same tyrant’s blade.There is no answer to this dilemma, other than God’s individual plan for each life.

I think Matthew Henry’s statement is pertinent here. He writes, “The swords of men are held in the hand of God.” We must learn to look past the human instrument to the Sovereign Hand that controls it. This way, we can always be assured that though they might have thought it for evil, God meant it for our good.

God, be thou exalted, and, if need be, do it at my expense.” (A.W. Tozer)

Monday, February 23, 2015

When There is No Encourager

"And David was greatly distressed...all the people was grieved...but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God."

Some of us born with predominately melancholy temperaments are admittedly more prone to discouragement than others. Yet this plague of the spirit touches any and all, to some degree. From the richest to the poorest, from the most intelligent to the most ignorant, from the secure to the insecure, each had his or her bouts of experiencing this dark night of the soul. If darling David, a man after God's own heart, a man of great position and wealth, had problems with it, then none of us can expect to be exempted from its disheartening presence in our lives from time to time.

There will be intervals in our earthly journey when all those around us, as in David's case, are in the valley of despair themselves, and cannot be looked to for any type of lifting up of our drooping heads. What is one to do at such trying times? I like the remedy Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones prescribes. He tells us in his book Spiritual Depression, there are times when we must simply take ourselves by the nape of the neck, shake ourselves, and give ourselves a good talking to. As my Granny used to say, "You need a good talkin' to!"

He gives David as an example at such times."Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance," (Psalms 42:5,11; 43:5). It's never hopeless if we have, "The God of all hope!" Therefore, as David, we can praise Him by faith during those times when the sun goes dark, being assured He is hidden behind the cloud. Clouds do not last, but pass in time, and the bright shining of the sun always returns.

Thank God, in heaven, every day will be a cloudless day! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Extravagance Commended

The definition of the word extravagant is: “going beyond reasonable limits; excessive.” The disciples criticized Mary for the extravagance she showered on Christ, but our Lord commended her. Nothing is ever wasted that is done for Him. Mary didn't hold back her best; she gave one hundred percent. She kept nothing in reserve. Christ was going to give His all for her, and she felt she could do no less for Him. Mary was not commanded to give her all; she was constrained by her love for him to do so. 

One never has to be concerned with going to extremes when it has to do with Jesus Christ. You can never give too much praise, worship, adoration, and service to Him. We will always come miserably short. I am cautious with saints who are cautious about giving their all to Christ.

The transaction is not complicated; it’s childlike. It is simple and marvelous. It’s staking your all on Jesus Christ and His Word. It is risking everything on God. Or, as Oswald Chambers wrote, “Bank all your faith in Christ, and damn the consequences!”

Friday, February 13, 2015


The name Salle is derived from the Bible word Sarah, meaning, "Princess." Why God gave me a “Princess” for my wife, I’ll never understand, but I will be forever thankful. What heavenly royalty she displays in all situations. She is the epitome of womanhood and femininity. She is full of grace, both within and without. She writes articles on great women of the Bible, never realizing she is one of the great, godly women of history. Knowing her as I do, she would blush at my writing this. Nevertheless, all who know her are aware of this truth, even if she is not. Like Moses of old, of whom it was said, “He wist not…” so it is with her.

As a little princess, at the age of nine, she began a relationship with her Lord that has now lasted well over sixty years. It is this intimacy with her God that gives her the qualities we all adore and admire in her. I know a Sovereign Creator made her all she is, and I praise Him for it; but, although I do not understand it, her will entered into this equation somehow, and for that, I thank her. Paul said, “…if I do this thing willingly…” And she has.

No one in the Christian realm has taught me more about what being a Christian means than she. When we married in our youth, some fifty-three years ago, I was a wounded, insecure young man, full of hurts and bitterness from my childhood. She patiently kept pouring in the oil of kindness, until I was able to get on my feet. If I am anything today, humanly speaking, she is to get all the credit. Apart from God, hers is the only love I have ever been 100 percent sure of.

I know, through the years, that my acceptance by others, in many cases, has been because of her. As a common thorn, God privileged me to be attached to the stem of this beautiful rose. I trust the Lord will take me first. Heaven can wait for her a little bit longer. This world needs her smile and heavenly fragrance. It needs to see the beauty of Christianity personified.

Only God will be able to tell her how much I love her. Though our relationship as husband and wife will end in Heaven, I am so glad I will eternally be able to be with her.

On this Valentine's Day I do not have an extravagant gift to present you, Salle, but I do give you all the gratitude that is possible for one man to have in his being. Thank you so much!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Night Light

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world"..."Ye (Christians) are the light of the world..."

 There is no contradiction here, no more than saying the sun is the light of the world, then adding, the moon is the light of the world. That is, until the world gets between the two, then the eclipse, and the shadow comes. We saints, like the moon, also get our light from the Son. But when we allow the world to come between us, darkness. 

An old woman had a parrot she taught to say "Good night," when putting him in his cage of a night. And to say, "Good morning," when she took him out of the cage in the morning. One night she said, "Good night, Polly," and the bird answered, "Good night." That next morning, as usual , she said, "Good morning Polly," to which the parrot answered, "Good night." Unknown to the woman, during the day sometime, the cat had clawed out the bird's eyes. There would be no more "Good mornings"; only sad "Good nights."

The god of this world will blind us with the things of this world if we are not careful. It is then that "all that are in the house" are in danger of stumbling, for the nightlight will have gone out. And not only this, but the lost without will no longer "see our good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Is it any wonder Paul challenges the saints at Philippi, "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." I don't think it would hurt any of us to daily remind ourselves of this, by singing the little children's song, "This little light of mine."

In London, England, in olden times, there was a blind man who carried a lantern with him at night, whenever he went out. Someone mentioned that it didn't do him any good. He replied, "I know, but it keeps someone else from stumbling over me." 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Humanity of Jesus Christ

"And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.”

Our scripture is just one of a score that proves both the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ. The human side of Him needed rest, while His divine side rebuked the elements. Our Lord was all God, and at the same time all man. Thomas refers to Him as, “My God,” and Paul as, “The man Christ Jesus.” He was, is, and will forever be, the God-Man!

We can learn much from Jesus’ humanity. Although He was without sin, yet He was like unto us in all other points. He never apologized for His human limitations, for He understood they were part of humanity’s make-up. It was part of being identified with the human race. In spite of the Divine nature within Him, while on earth, there were certain restrictions because of His humanness.

I've mentioned on many occasions in my writings something my pastor son Andrew said to me some years ago. It brought about a great turning point in my spiritual life, and for this I’ll be forever grateful to him. His comment was, “Dad, we cannot run from our humanity.” Jesus never attempted to divorce Himself from His, yet many of us spend a lifetime trying to separate ourselves from ours.

We need to learn to give some elbow room to that human being known to each of us as “Me.” Yes, we have a divine nature that indwells us, but at the same time there is and always will be, as long as we abide in the flesh, a human nature also. And along with this, comes limitations. As our beloved Paul states, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

If the apostle understood this, you can be assured our precious Lord does. (Matt.26:41,b)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Inconsistencies of Life

I think most if not all youth, when becoming conscious of life and living, are idealists. We are all, for the most part, dreamers during our early stages; fantasizing occupies a large part of a youngsters thinking. Both the young lad and young lassie pretty-well have their whole life planned out. This unrealistic, starry-eyed romanticizing is expected and accepted in children. But as Paul says, "When I became a man (mature), I put away childish things." 

Early in life, one finds that keeping all your ducks in a row is not only improbable, but impossible. Yet in spite of this, many enter adulthood refusing to accept the fact life is inconsistent, full of ups and downs. It can be like a roller coaster ride, at times. God early on, intentionally it seems, upsets our apple carts that we may learn this important lesson. Read the life of David in the Psalms to see the inconsistencies of life. Remember, it's David's autobiography; and for our learning. 

We need to be careful we do not carry our child-hood dreaming into our Christian life. All our plans are to be given up at conversion for His. If not, then we are in for a frustrating and tormented life, always seeing our hopes, plans, and wishes vanish like a morning cloud which goeth away. In Job we read, "When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness." This is not being pessimistic, but realistic. 

The Spiritually mature know how to roll with the punches, so to speak. They know all the sand castles they've concocted will dissolve with the first big wave of adversity! Therefore, they have given up their plans for HIS plan.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

In Defense of the OldTestament

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." This one statement should forever dispel the notion the Old Testament has no relevance for us today. Jesus authenticates it by the fact there were no other scriptures than the Old Testament when He uttered these words. 

Paul tells us the Old Testament was: "for our learning; our ensample; our example; for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." He goes on to say, referring to the Old, for that's all he had at the time, that they were "the Sword of the Spirit", and by hearing them is how faith came to the early Believers. Also, when he spoke of "the comfort of the scriptures", the reference was to the Old Testament. 

To quote my minister son, Andrew, "All the Bible for all of life." I say, to take away the one is to rob God's children of the other. You give them only half a loaf of bread when our Father intended us to have a full loaf. As David gave to each of his followers, "one loaf of bread," so God gives to His followers.

We used to sing a little chorus, "Every Promise in the Book is Mine": I still sing, as well as believe it! New Testament Believers, throughout, appropriated Old Testament promises. IT IS ALL THEY HAD! 

Jesus "opened the scriptures," (in reference to the Old Testament), let's not be guilty in closing them.