Sunday, February 28, 2016

Our Right As Christians

One of the glorious rights we have as children of God is His round-the-clock GRACE. There is no pleading, agonizing, or begging connected to it. We are plainly told to, ...come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” And who gave us this right? our King Himself. You can boldly claim and expect it!

When the king reached out his sceptre to Esther, she boldly entered his presence with confidence. Jesus, says the writer of Hebrews, is God’s sceptre of righteousness. And He has reached it [Him] out to each of us. Therefore, we may boldly say, “I have a right to your grace! You yourself gave me this right.” God likes such boldness in the name of His Son.

Many years ago, a doctor in London took little sick and hungry urchins off the streets, who were recommended by his friends. He asked one such waif who had recommended him. The lad answered, as he clutched his ragged clothes, “Sir, I thought these would be recommendation enough.”

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Force of Words

Job tells us, “How forcible are right words!” Words carry weight. The little quip says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I’m sure the man standing before the firing squad, when hearing the word, “FIRE!” would not agree! The wise man said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

There is basically one of three ways you can go when dealing with a powerful word or words. First, simply let it or them stand. Secondly, remove it or them and substitute a less dynamic word in their place. Thirdly, call attention to the fact, its original meaning has been changed to a more bland and acceptable definition.

The word-changers of our day have a favorite word they like to use when justifying their removing of the”stinger,” so to speak, from the bee. They refer to such words as “archaic.” They twist words to fit our sick society and culture. They redefine them so we will not appear as bad as we are. Vital, descriptive words of good and evil are detested by them.

But no matter how the King’s English is “gutted” by this slaughterhouse gang, Shakespeare and yes! our beloved KING JAMES BIBLE (not equating it with the former) will and has outlived them all. They will never strip the “Old Book” of its power or leave it empty of its truth. It unwraps, unmasks, disarms, and engages.

“ For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.”  

Friday, February 26, 2016

Giving Ourselves a Bad Rap

One definition of the little idiom,They got a bad rap,” simply means to receive undeserved criticism. Taken in this setting, I believe many of God’s dear people, trying to live for Him, have given themselves a bad rap. That is, they bring unjustified charges against themselves.

As undesirable as we may seem to ourselves, God sees something we don’t. Something more than skin-deep. He sees past the surface, the cosmetic, if you please. He goes bone-deep, right through the bone to the marrow, to our inner sanctuary where the soul dwells.

We see outer circumstances, while He sees our inner faith. Read the life of Abraham, how at times he “staggered” like a drunken man. But God says of him in the New Testament, “He staggered not at the promise of God.” And what of the patience of Job, James speaks of? Have you read his life?

As I have said so often, you can have a strong faith with a weak flesh. Our Precious Savior knew this. He told His followers, “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” While we and others are looking on the “outward appearance,” God, all the time is, “looking on the heart.”

Don’t give yourself such a bad rap concerning your faith; after all you’re still in the game, aren’t you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Standing Man

In the recently released movie, Bridge of Spies there is a conversation between the American agent, James Donovan (played by Tom Hanks), a recruited spy,  and his Communist counterpart, Rudolf Abel, (Mark Rylance).

Rudolf Abel: “Standing there like that you reminded me of the man that used to come to our house when I was young. My father used to say: ‘watch this man'. So I did. Every time he came. And never once did he do anything remarkable.
James Donovan: And I remind you of him?
Rudolf Abel: This one time, I was at the age of your son, our house was overrun by partisan border guards. Dozens of them. My father was beaten, my mother was beaten, and this man, my father's friend, he was beaten. And I watched this man. Every time they hit him, he stood back up again. So they hit him harder. Still he got back to his feet. I think because of this they stopped the beating. They let him live. 'Stoikiy muzhik'. I remember them saying. '' Which sort of means like uh, 'standing man'... standing man…”

Most, if not all, my readers, along with me, will never do what the world and religion considers great. But for a man or woman to “stand” all their Christian life counts a lot in God’s estimate. God tells His people in His Word“...having done all, to stand. Stand…” That is, when you have done all you know  to do, “STAND.”

I love to read of David’s mighty men. One such was named, Shammah. “These be the names of the mighty men whom David had..Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.” HE STOOD HIS GROUND! Let us stand ours.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Devil’s “Devil-ution”

A simple dictionary definition of the general meaning of evolution is: any process of formation or growth; development. In Satan’s case, it is not an upward but a downward spiral he is taking. He began in the highest heaven and will ultimately end in the lowest hell with the worms, mankind, who gave him their allegiance in this life. They devolve! Jesus said those who, “go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not.” This is not a private interpretation!

The devil started in the third heaven (God’s abode), but was cast out into the second heaven when he attempted to be like God and take His throne, the second heaven being the sphere of the stars, sun, and moon. Most all prophetic students believe, before Christ’s return there will be a Great Tribulation period, also referred to by a few other terms. At the start or sometime after this event, there will be war in heaven. Michael and his angels will fight against Satan and his angels. Michael wins, and the devil will be cast out on the earth. Then comes the great finale when Jesus, at His return, casts him into the eternal Lake of Fire.

Satan, at present, is the, “Prince and power of the air.” So don’t forget to put on your armor before you pass through the heavenlies to God’s Throne in prayer. You “gotta” fight on your hands when you attempt to pass through his territory!

Friday, February 19, 2016

There's No Back Door

Both the Tabernacle and Temple were without back doors. I believe also the Hebrew homes (and tents), were void of such. The blood was put only on one lintel and each doorpost per dwelling. It seems clear there was only one way in each stated case.

Today our back doors, like the front, are used primarily as an entrance and exit. The difference being, in the former's case, often, it is for the purpose of avoiding recognition. Most of us have, at one time or the other,“Snuck in or out the back door.” A few times, maybe, for surprise.

I said the above to say this, THERE IS ONLY ONE DOOR TO God and HEAVEN! Jesus plainly said, “I am the Door.” Christ teaches no one can come to God or enter Heaven except by and through Him. The children’s song has it right-

One door and only one
And yet its sides are two
Inside and outside
On which side are you.

One Door and Only One
And yet its sides are two
I'm on the inside
On which side are you?”

Note of interest: My wife was saved as a 9 year old, but had been under conviction for a year previous. When her Sunday School class would sing the above song, she told me, she would not sing, “I’m on the inside.” What about you my friend? Are you singing or living a lie?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Coming-In Out of the Rain

My dear mother was a born and bred Kentuckian. She took great pride in the fact, and didn’t take lightly when some pseudo-intellect would speak disparagingly of “her people,” as she liked to refer to them. In fact, she was an expert on turning the tables on such. Of those who had an education without the knowledge of how to use it she would say, “They ain’t got brains enough to come in out of the rain.”

You can see now why, being brought-up under this kind of philosophy, I am not impressed with those who have heads full of worldly wisdom, but have empty shoes; that is, they don’t know how to put shoe leather to what they know. That great old philosophical and practical evangelist, Dr.Bob Jones Sr., had some timeless sayings, one of which had reference to the 1930’s depression. He would tell the students of his school, “People with Ph.ds stood in soup lines.”

Going through the book of wisdom recently, Proverbs, I was impressed by how wisdom and understanding are so closely connected; as well as throughout the rest of the Bible. It seem to me, possibly, wisdom has to do with what we are to do, wherein understanding has more to do with how we are  to do it (Ex. 36:1). Let me use a simple illustration. One may have the wisdom to foresee a great storm is coming, but lack the understanding of what they’re to do.

I think in many of our cases, we need to cease praying for wisdom and begin praying for understanding. In most incidents, we know what to do, we just don’t know how to do it.

Overwhelmed By the World

Some years ago, while browsing in a Christian bookstore, a title of one of the books caught my attention; the name was, Your God is Too Small. I find this to be true when I feel the world has become too much for me. Whenever the flesh replaces faith in my life, it is then God is dwarfed. Only a Mighty God, not a midget god, can handle this overpowering world.

Paul tells us that “[God]...is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” What then is our problem? We ask too little and think too small. Our mistake is in thinking God is altogether such an one as ourselves (Psl.50:21). Thus we ask according as a man would ask a man, expecting from the Infinite One no more than finite man can provide.

After 2000 years, we are still standing around asking Him, “Lord, if thou canst do anything… help us.” And He is still saying to us, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Lifetime of Fear

"...through fear...were all their lifetime subject to bondage." I must confess that in the flesh I am one such person. I do not know if it's because of my natural temperament, bringing up, or both. But it is something I have had to fight all my life. I have a dear friend who is paralyzed from the waist down. As a result, she can neither feel, move, or use her legs. So it is with fear; it paralyzes. Whenever you find fear, you'll find a person frozen in his or her steps.

To be sure, where there is fear, there is no faith. We need to come to the realization that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear." Fearful Timothy had to be reminded of this. True, fear has a basis, at times; but, generally, it is something intangible, or a nameless dread that grips and numbs us. Some of us fear everything— people, past, and future. We live in fear of the unknown, and the result is, "Fear hath torment." That is, a life of agony!  

Is there any cure for this plague of the soul? Thankfully, there is. The writer of Hebrews lets us in on his secret for overcoming fear. "The Lord is my helper...I will not fear." Two things are required: first, a confidence in the Lord's presence, and secondly, a determination of my will.

Jesus’ oft repeated words, "Fear not," only prove most of His followers were given to fear. We’re told, "As they followed, they were afraid" (Mark 10:32). The wise man tells us to, “Be not afraid of sudden fear.” Like the man said, “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Life's Commentary

I have several good commentaries on my bookshelf, mostly old ones. They can be very helpful, and at the same time hurtful, if not read objectively.

But the greatest commentary on life is the Bible itself. As the old southern black preacher said, “De Bible do shed a lot of light on dem commentaries.”

The Bible is the number one “How To” book on living a full, rich, rewarding life that’s satisfying to the soul. Life is more than just existing; it can be exciting. Even with its trials.

God, in His Word, tells us, “The whole duty of man”; and what the individual who Loves life, and [would] see good days,” should do. His Book, a bestseller, has all the answers.

God never intended us to simply live life, but to live it on a higher plane. Our Lord told us we can live life one of two ways, with our cup full or overflowing! It’s ours to choose.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

As I’ve grown spiritually throughout the years, one of the most enjoyable times in my meditation is when reflecting upon the precious, loving relationship between the Father and the Son. But I must be honest and confess, after each session I have to say, using David’s words, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”

The love that existed between God and the “Man Christ Jesus,” none can grasp, now or ever, save only the third person of the Godhead. Jesus told His followers, “The Father hath loved me.” That meant more to Him than anything or anyone, both in time and eternity. And when He uttered those heart rending words, “I love the Father,” I personally do not think God ever experienced a more delightful and joyful moment.

But the wonder of all wonders is a little text I passed over for years, a text that thrills, blesses, and breaks my heart every time I read or think upon it. “[Thou] hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Oh, think of it! That indescribable, unfathomable, unimaginable love God has for His Son, is the same love He has for you and me. AND IT IS EVERLASTING AND ETERNAL!

Needed-An Adjustable Wrench

Life is topsy-turvy at times. It can be a roller-coaster ride during certain intervals in our pilgrim journey. What is one to do during these up and down times? Adjust! If you don’t, then you can expect to be filled with anxiety and frustration during these, sure to be, parenthetical periods in your life. Therefore, having an adjustable wrench in your spiritual toolbox can be a real asset during these unexpected crisis times.

It seems, the Apostle Paul could adapt to any and all circumstances, regardless the nature. No matter what the situation, he would regulate, modify, or do whatever else it took to fit his life to the condition. He could, as they say, “roll with the punches.” He literally made his stumbling stones his stepping stones. His philosophy was that of the little boy climbing up a mountain with his sister. She complained that it was all rocky and bumpy, to which he replied, “Sure, the bumps are what you climb on.”

The old scarred warrior knew nothing could enter his life unless it came by way of “The Door.” And he was certain if Christ permitted it to enter, then it would, in time, most certainly work out for his good and God’s glory. And so it will for each of, us my friend. That is, for everyone who, as the old Kentucky preacher said, are “smack dab in the center of God’s will!”

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Praying Around the Clock

Instant in prayer”...”Praying Always”...”Continue in Prayer”...”Praying night and day”...”Pray without ceasing.”

Paul most certainly would sing with us, “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” the only change would be he’d sing, “Sweet Hours of Prayer.” It mattered not to him the place, posture, or predicament. He prayed about anything and everything!

For him, any place, anytime, any situation was an appropriate time to lift his heart’s holy hands to his God in prayer. His was literally a life of prayer. He began his Christian life with it and finished it the same way.

Paul’s prayer life, we would say today, was 24/7. Around the clock. He had no problem with such texts as, “Pray without ceasing” any more than if God told him to “breath without ceasing.” For prayer was the essence of his being.

C.H. Spurgeon said, “Pray without ceasing, or else your flower will fade and your spiritual fruit will never ripen. Continue in prayer until the last-moment of your life.”

“Long as they live must Christians pray,
For only while they pray they live.”

Saturday, February 6, 2016

What’s Wrong With Just Being A Christian?

I guess when you come right down to it, times really haven't changed that much, especially in the religious arena. In Jesus' day, there were sects known as Pharisees, Sadducees, and a variety of others. You were readily accepted by any one of them if you claimed unquestioning allegiance and adhered to their doctrines.

Today, we have pretty much the same thing. There is Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, Dispensationalism, and Reformed— all claiming to be just a little bit more right than the others. Within these groups, there is Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Methodist, Church of God, and on and on. Any of these groups will accept you if you are willing to profess belief in their particular doctrines and loyalty to their group.

But, for someone to approach any one of these groups and say, "I am a Christian, I am Blood-bought, I believe in God's inspired Word, and I love all His ransomed children," is, for many, not sufficient. I am ashamed and embarrassed to tell you that they would be looked upon with dismay by some of these groups.

What a shame that there is no place in the ranks of some of the above mentioned groups for a man or woman who only goes by the name "Christian." It seems this name is not good enough for today's elite, enlightened, enslaved religionists. It might be well to remember that "the disciples were called Christians."

The word "Christian" has "Christ" in it; so do true Christians.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Walking Through the Valley

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”

Most call this, “The Shepherd’s Psalm.” Personally I like to refer to it as, “The Sheep’s Psalm.” The sheep is giving testimony to the goodness of his Shepherd. It’s the Shepherd being praised by the sheep. Not once does the Shepherd speak. The sheep loved to talk about his adoring Shepherd!

It is important to notice, David didn’t run through the valley. He didn’t fear for two reasons: first, he knew his Lord was with him. And secondly, he had sense to know a shadow never hurt anyone. Shadows only create images we conjure up in our own minds; that is, we manufacture the monsters.

Many among God’s elect make the mistake of the heathen in the Old Testament; “...the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys.” Our Shepherd always leaves the glory of the hilltop for the hurting in the valley. Ask the father of the devil-possessed son.