Sunday, July 31, 2016

Reinventing Jesus

Creating God in Our Image

There are several words in our modern day vocabulary that I detest; one, toward the top of the list is “reinvent.” Try and make a new tailor-made image of yourself, if you will; that is your business. But when one attempts to reinvent my Saviour, that’s where I draw the line.

Paul speaks of “…another Jesus.” Therefore, when speaking of Jesus we need to understand, two parties may not be speaking of the same person. One may be referring to Jesus, the God Man; the other, to Jesus as simply a good man. The former is the Creator; the latter is of that individual’s own creation.

To ask a person, “Do you believe in Jesus?” is not sufficient in the culture in which we live today: Islam, Jehovah Witness, and Mormon, to cite just a few, would all answer in the affirmative. But none believe He was God manifest in the flesh. His true followers in Bible times addressed Him as, “My Lord, and my God.” You see, they knew Jesus was God in disguise.

Professing Believers, who flirt with cults and dabble in false faiths, will ultimately end up adhering to the New Age doctrine of self-deification. No longer will Jesus be God, but one of many gods, along with themselves. I quote here William R. Newell, from his book on Romans. “Mahatma Gandhi, he of the horrible, toothless, diabolical grin of conceited folly; having been educated in England, and having heard the gospel and read the Scriptures, and rejected their light: sits on the deck of the steamer returning from India—doing what? Forming mud images with his own hands! A self-advertising illustration of the idolater’s heart-conception of the glorious incorruptible God. “

We do not have the luxury of neutrality when it comes to the deity of Christ.




Saturday, July 30, 2016

Knocking Out the Props

Nothing to Lean On-But God Himself

It’s a fearful thing when God slowly, but surely, begins removing various supports that we have put our confidence in; things that are substitutes for our trust in Him. But surprise of all surprises, once these human props are eliminated, we find our faith flourishes.

We discover faith thrives best in the midst of difficulties. But to realize this we must first be “…shut up unto the faith.” That is, left with no way out but faith itself. When all the safety-nets are taken away. There’s always a calculated risk attached to faith! But God works best “…when all hope [is] taken away.”

We’re told our father Abraham, “Considered not,” that is, he did not consider the human impossibilities; neither in his situation or Sarah’s. Faith makes the impossible possible! We must learn to turn our eyes upon God and from anything or anybody that would invade that faith.

God will never betray the one who trusts in Him!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Timing is Everything

God’s Timing

Not only is our Sovereign the God of eternity, but He is the Lord of time. He controls every aspect of it. He can make it stand still, go backward, or run it ahead. But He is distinctively the God of the present. And why is this? I think C.S. Lewis put it best when he said, “Where, except in the present, can the Eternal be met.” Therefore, as they say, “There is no time like the present.”

We must be cautious that we do not mistake a seemingly right situation for the right time. Take Simon Peter’s case for example. The Lord had told him how he would die (John 21:18-19). And in Acts 12:3-6 the circumstances would lead one to think this was the time his Lord had spoken to him about. But though the situation was right, the timing was wrong, for this memorable event could not come to pass until, as Jesus had said, “…when thou shalt be old.”

It is not the circumstances, but timing, that counts. Let us keep our eyes on God’s clock and not on the conditions. If we do, we, like Peter, will sleep better.

“My times are in thy hand.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Spiritual Anemia

Back to the Blood
“life...is in the Blood”

Driving to the store recently with my wife, we were listening to a Christian radio station. One of the songs played was, “There is Power in the Blood,” It brought back sweet and precious memories. I turned to Salle and said, “I sure miss hearing those blessed old songs on the Blood.” May God help His children and churches to get back to the Blood.

Our pale and lethargic spiritual lives can be, I believe, traced back directly to the lack of the Blood of Christ in our own. Just as with our physical blood, there will never be a day when we can live without His Blood applied to ours. Healthy, robust Christians make much of the blood of Jesus. To those who think otherwise, God’s Word says, Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain.”  The Veil is shut to Bloodless comers.

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

Humanities Great Hatred

The World's Hatred of God and His Son
“...now have they...hated both me and my Father”
(John 15:24)

God loved the world and gave His only Son for it; this world in return hates God and rejects His Beloved Son. As they go their merry way thinking of this as being only a trifle in life, they do not realize the horribleness that awaits them at the end of walking the broad way. The old song, The Great Judgement Morning, that has been muted in most pulpits today, gives a miniature picture of what awaits them.

And, oh, what a weeping and wailing,
As the lost were told of their fate;
They cried for the rocks and the mountains,
They prayed, but their prayer was too late.”

Read Psalm two if you want to see the fundamental cause for the creature turning on his or her Creator. It has to do with rule and restraint. No Sovereign Monarch, even if Divine, has the right to tie them down in any area of their lives, say they. If He attempts to, they will simply snap the cords as Samson of old, did his. What is an intolerable yoke for the world's rebels, is an easy yoke for God’s submissive children!

Both the leaders and people of this insurgency have only one choice and chance for pardon, to lay down your arms, and as the custom of conquered foes of old, to kiss the hand (in this case nail-scarred) of the KING. If not, you can be sure God will get the last laugh.

A warning to professed Christians. If you’re running with this God-hating world; you’re running with the wrong herd.

“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Not So Bad-Not So Good

Cold Christians

"I would thou wert cold or hot…thou art lukewarm, and neither cold or hot.” God is an extremist, at times. In the case of His people's zeal, it’s to be one way or the other, no middle ground. He prefers a state of coldness over one of lukewarm-ness. To Him, anything is better than that condition. In our day, we criticize coldness and accept lukewarm-ness. But it is the latter that nauseates God. Tepid Christians are the ones who sicken Him.

My dear, departed friend, Marvin Clanton, was so misunderstood when he used to say, “God says it’s alright for you to be cold.” What the blind brethren did not understand is that this is what our text says. A cold Christian is more honorable in character than a lukewarm one. Though he is in a sad state, nevertheless, he’s honest. There’s no disguise, concealment, or pretense with him.

God can do something for an honest man, no matter what his condition; but there is no remedy for a self-deceived, self-conceited one.

“My best members today would have been considered backsliders twenty-five years ago.”

( By the late James Barnes, a friend)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Same Cloth

Folks Like Us

We also are men of like passions with you”
“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are”

Neither Barnabas, Saul, or Elias would allow anyone to think of them as any different from the common man. Nor would any other Spirit-Filled saint found in the Holy Scriptures. They knew they were cut from the same piece of soiled cloth as any other man or woman. Most certainly, they were well aware they belonged to God, but just as conscious they were human; thus living within the boundaries of humanity.

Life comes with its downs and ups (we always end right-side- up), as David reminds us. It comes equipped with its valleys as well as its mountains. Bible Christians were not always on a spiritual high. I like the way one writer puts it, “They did not attempt to use God as a giant tranquilizer to obliterate their difficulties. Neither did they scoff at nor condemn as ‘unspiritual’ those who were hurting.”

You can hide your head in the sand, so to speak, refusing to acknowledge your brethren who are presently having a tough time of it. But know this, at some point in this life, every saint will experience Ecc.2:14, if you please, “walking the floor of hell.” It’s good to remember at such times the three Hebrew children. While walking in the fire they discovered the “Fourth MAN.” You can read of Him in Revelation chapter one.

“And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace.”

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Courthouse Drama

Faith On Trial

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Biblical faith has never won in the world’s court of popular opinion. Can you imagine, when questioned, the answer the judge and jury  would hear from the witness? That is, to its basic substance and evidential proof? Remember, it is a judicial system whose philosophy is seeing is believing.  You know, “Come down [now] from the cross, and we will believe.”

“Well sir,” says the confident witness, “My substance is hope.” When asked to define what this hope entails, there is snickering in the courtroom; then all-out laughter when the answer is given. “My hope is not seen...as yet! For hope that is seen is not hope.” “Concerning my evidence, it too is not seen...yet” This time, uncontrolled pandemonium breaks out.

A foolish faith says the world. Yes. But the WORD says, one that pleases God. Paul, that little man with a giant of a soul within, tells us, “He walked by faith, and not by sight.”  In contrast, Thomas said, “Except I shall see...I will not believe.“ Oswald Sanders writes, “A faith that does not walk may soon become too weak to stand.” Blind faith eventually sees. Ask Paul (Acts 9).

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Lesson On Boiling Water

Just Forget It

“A watched pot never boils.” Ask any of us impatient men, and we will attest to this little cliché. How many times have I put the kettle on to boil water for a cup of coffee, and it seemed it was going to be the next day before it bubbled? On the other hand, a woman puts a pot on the burner, goes about other business, and, presto! the water is boiling.

So what is the cause of the male’s downfall? Simple. We spend our time standing around watching and waiting for results, while the ladies don’t worry about it. They busy themselves doing other things, while the process is going on. What seems like eternity to us doesn’t even flutter them.

And so it is in the spiritual life. Those who do nothing but stand around checking their spiritual growth will find that’s the sure way to stunt growth. The best way to grow is to forget it. Don’t lose any sleep over it (Mk.4:26-28). Get busy about other things and people, and it will surprise you how fast you will sprout up. Unconscious growth is the best kind.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY BELOVED AMERICA-MY PRAYER IS YOU'LL HAVE MANY MORE



A Patriotic Wish      
Edgar Guest
  

I'd like to be the sort of man
the flag could boast about;
I'd like to be the sort of man
it cannot live without;
I'd like to be the type of man
That really is American:
The head-erect and shoulders-square,
Clean-minded fellow, just and fair,
That all men picture when they see
The glorious banner of the free.

I'd like to be the sort of man
the flag now typifies,
The kind of man we really want
the flag to symbolize;
The loyal brother to a trust,
The big, unselfish soul and just,
The friend of every man oppressed,
The strong support of all that's best,
The sturdy chap the banner's meant,
Where'er it flies, to represent.

I'd like to be the sort of man
the flag's supposed to mean,
The man that all in fancy see
wherever it is seen,
The chap that's ready for a fight
Whenever there's a wrong to right,
The friend in every time of need,
The doer of the daring deed,
The clean and generous handed man
That is a real American.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Ultimate Christianity

“Tried with fire.” Was Peter thinking of his forefathers in the book of Daniel when he penned these words? Possibly so. You remember those three brave believers would not bow to the intimidating threats of the hierarchy, though it meant being put into the fires. Their answer to the King is the ultimate Christian testimony: “Our God...is able to deliver us...and he will deliver us...But if not...” A general consensus—God is able; an individual trust—God will; a personal acceptance—if God doesn’t.

You can’t stop a person armed with this philosophy. These three Jewish saints are undoubtedly the ones referred to in Hebrews eleven, where we are told, “and others...not accepting deliverance.” They knew it was just as great, if not greater, to be delivered in the fire, as it was out of the fire. Maybe they were trusting the promise of Isaiah, “When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

There is a double blessing to be found in the fire. They had a Divine Companion Who entered with them, and they had a glorious liberty. Both fellowship and freedom are found in the midst of the flame.

Amy Carmichael tells the following precious story. “One day we took the children to see a goldsmith refine gold after the ancient manner of the East. He was sitting beside his little charcoal fire. ("He shall sit as a refiner"; the gold- or silversmith never leaves his crucible once it is on the fire.) In the red glow lay a common curved roof tile; another tile covered it like a lid. This was the crucible. In it was the medicine made of salt, tamarind fruit and burnt brick dust, and imbedded in it was the gold. The medicine does its appointed work on the gold, "then the fire eats it," and the goldsmith lifts the gold out with a pair of tongs, lets it cool, rubs it between his fingers, and if not satisfied puts it back again in fresh medicine. This time he blows the fire hotter than it was before, and each time he puts the gold into the crucible, the heat of the fire is increased; "it could not bear it so hot at first, but it can bear it now; what would have destroyed it then helps it now." "How do you know when the gold is purified?" we asked him, and he answered, "When I can see my face in it [the liquid gold in the crucible] then it is pure.”