Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hurry Up/Slow Down/ Win the Race

GOD’S PRINCIPLES

The world and carnal Christians will never understand God’s ways; for example, the way up is down, the way to get is to lose. And so it is with those who desire to be first, win the race, if you please. “The last, says Jesus, shall be first.”

THE RACE IS NOT TO THE SWIFT

Getting there first has no guarantee attached to it. John outran Peter to the tomb, getting there ahead of him, but it was the latter who went in and saw where the body had lain. John only “looked in,” but he didn’t go in till after.

OUTSHINING A BROTHER OR SISTER

In the story of Joab sending David a report of Absalom's death, Cushi started running first with the message to king David, but Ahimaaz outran and outshone him by overtaking him and arriving first, but was told by David to, “Turn aside.” No message.

REMEMBER THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE STORY

Jacob was crippled by his God, so that he could no longer keep up with his brother. He had, according to his own testimony to “lead on softly.” Isaiah makes a great statement in his writings, “The lame take the prey.” Like the four lepers in 2 Kings, seven.

The second birth, the second mile, the second veil,  the second Man, are all better than the first.
rds

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Walk of Faith

WALKING INTO THE FUTURE

“Walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham.” The beloved and colorful old evangelist, Vance Havner, when asked if he thought Pentecostals were going to Heaven replied, “Yes, if they don’t run past it.” Faith is a walk; it begins with an initial step, and in turn, becomes a habit. Once this journey is started it lengthens into a sustained walk with God.

GOD’S ALREADY THERE

We Christians sometimes speak of “a leap of faith,” but in reality it is simply putting one foot in front of the other, trusting God each step of the way. We need never fear the future; God is always ahead of us and waiting there. He has made all the preparations and arrangements, whatever awaits us. We can have faith in His faithfulness!


FAITH FOR THE PRESENT

Therefore, faith does not question where it is being led, it needs not  know the how and why, only that God is directing into the future. Faith does not concern itself with what is up ahead but only in doing the next thing! The writer of Hebrews speaks of a “Now Faith,” not something far off. Don’t worry yourself about tomorrow's faith; do you have enough faith right now to take the next step?

“Where reason cannot wade, there faith may swim.”
Thomas Watson


Settling It-Is Settling

ALL MUST DO IT...SOONER OR LATER

There comes a time in every saint's life when he or she must ask themselves that all-important question, and answer it honestly, “Am I going to go all the way, no matter what? This comes at different stages in each Christian’s life, but generally at a Red Sea experience, when all human possibilities have been exhausted. It’s not difficult to affirm  positively, “YES!,” when lying on flowery beds of ease. But when the waters are about to cover you, as in David’s case, it’s a different matter.

ONE OF THE GREAT DECLARATIONS OF FAITH

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” James tells us the old patriarch is our example when, so to speak, one’s back is against the wall. Previously, Job’s life was more or less serene. But now the very heavens are falling in on him. And what is his testimony? Out of the ash heap of despair this broken man cries, “Though He multiply my sorrow, increase my pain, and add torment  to my already tormented soul, I will go to my grave clinging to Him. As with Jacob, “I will not let thee go.”

TRUST, NO MATTER WHAT

The words that win God’s heart is, “I’LL TRUST YOU, LORD, NO MATTER WHAT.” “I’ll trust you like Moses at the Red Sea; as Daniel did in the lion's den; like the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace; as Hezekiah did on his sickbed; when shut-in like Joseph; when I lose everything dear, as Naomi; when everything is going against me, as Jeremiah; when my very life is being slowly drained from me, like the woman with the issue of blood; and yes, when suffering on my deathbed, when it seems even YOU have forsaken me, as in your Son’s case, I’ll trust you!”

ISAIAH SAYS IT ALL

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation...Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength. “ Isaiah 12:2; 26:3-4




Saturday, September 17, 2016

An Appetite For the Divine

TWO KINDS OF APPETITE

There is a fleshly appetite and a soulish one. We are are all familiar with the former, but not so much with the latter. Isaiah speaks of a man’s soul having an appetite. Few there be today, I believe, who have a real hunger for God. It seems many are satisfied with religious junk food. I guess because it’s “fast food,” no need to wait.

JESUS’ DISCIPLES HAD TO LEARN IT AND SO DO WE


On one occasion, Jesus’ disciples were overly concerned with food while our Lord, on the other hand, was taken up with His fellowship with God. His appetite for God was greater than that for food. This is seen in His statement at the time, “But He said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.” His was a diet of Deity!  

THE CHURCH-A REFLECTION OF ISRAEL

“They saw God, and did eat and drink.” What a sad experience!  Strange, it affected no permanent transformation. This brief encounter with God satisfied them, but left no desire to go deeper into fellowship with Him. Only a short time later, after eating, they’re seen worshiping the golden calf. Notice the order. By putting the flesh first they ended with carnal worship.

DO YOU AND I HAVE THE SMELL OF GARLIC UPON US?

Many of us, like in Jesus’ parable,“dureth for a while,” and then are drawn away by our taste for other things. The leeks and garlic of Egyptian bondage seem more inviting to some than the sweet manna of wilderness liberty. The mixed multitude never longs for the latter! God’s elect have, as it were, a spiritual “sweet tooth.”



Friday, September 16, 2016

Seeking The Wrong Thing

EXPERIENCE IS NOT THE BEST TEACHER

The book of Proverbs teaches the best way to learn is by instruction; the following book, Ecclesiastes, written by the same man, shows experience is not the best teacher. Ask any child who was told not to touch the stove, lest they get a painful burn, but who was dead set to find out for themselves. I guarantee they’ll testify to the fact I present.

THE OLD PURITANS HAD IT RIGHT

I learned a great truth early in my Christian life from reading the Puritans. It has helped me throughout these many years. “We’re to seek the Apostles teachings, not their experiences.” Not only attempting to emulate Bible characters’ experiences is dangerous, but also saints whose lives we read of in Church history. We all need to read more objectively.

IT’S WHAT THEY SAY, NOT WHAT THEY DO, THAT COUNTS

We cringe at the saying, “Don’t do as I do, but do as I say.” Yet this is exactly what Jesus taught His followers on one occasion.All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” I might add, it is not a question of what would Jesus do, but what did Jesus say?” For example, He drove them out of the Temple with a whip. I wouldn’t recommend that.


Monday, September 12, 2016

The Miraculous

I’VE THOUGHT THE SAME THING MYSELF

And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”

MIRACLES MATTER

The miraculous is an integral part of Christianity. Disregard miracles and you have taken the very life out of it. One good definition of a miracle is, “An observed event that triggers an awareness and awesomeness of God’s presence and power.”

THE NATURAL AND SUPERNATURAL

It’s important to point out that God uses the natural when performing the supernatural. Natural things become supernatural when God is associated with them. Things like an axe head, water pots, a barrel, ravens, and a teenage virgin, to name just a few. We see from these examples that generally miracles interrupt, but do not disregard, the usual course of nature. Nevertheless the God of nature is not tied to its laws.

AN IMPORTANT REMINDER

We do well to remember, in Bible times, as far as I know, no one ever saw a miracle while looking for one. The supernatural occurred while he or she were busy doing what came naturally. As that blessed man, A.W. Tozer, has written,"Miracles follow the plow."

EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE

Not often will the Lord do His part if we neglect to do ours. But He can and will, if it so pleases Him! And praise His name, He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Favorites

MY FAVORITE NEW TESTAMENT STORY

I think most, if not all Christians have their own favorite Bible stories. My favorite in the New Testament is the following; it’s found in John chapter four, verses forty-six through fifty-three.

“So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told [him], saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.  So the father knew that [it was] at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.”

ALL AVENUES EXHAUSTED

I believe parents will agree with me that this father had tried all avenues open to him for the healing of his son. From the medical profession to homeopathic remedies; possibly, even some quack cures. All doors were closed and locked to him. He was literally “shut-up unto the faith.” He was at his Red Sea with no place to turn.

BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES

There seems to be a principle in the scripture: God loves it when His children come to the end of themselves. When all hope is taken away. When there is no man to help. Someone has written—

“God is a tower without a stair
And His perfection loves despair.”

A THOUGHT THAT HAS HELPED ME

From our scriptural story, God gave me a little saying that has helped me these many years.

“Act as though it were, And you’ll experience it as it is.”

NO MAGICAL BOOK

Paul tells us the Word of God works effectually in them that believe. There is nothing magical about the Word. Wishing will get you nowhere, believing it will take you a long way.

DON’T LET THE WEAKNESS OF THE FLESH TROUBLE YOU

You can have a weak flesh with a strong faith, look at Abraham’s life of faith. He staggered on the outside but the inner-man stood strong. The wise man declares, “The root of the righteous shall not be moved”. The storms can bow the limbs, but never the root. Like a buoy, you may be tossed to and fro on the surface, but underneath it is steadfast!  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.”

"At the end of self...you’ll find God.”
(rds)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Riding It Through

A BOY ON THE BUS

When just a little tyke, around seven, I rode the bus to town from time to time, to the movies. Rather than coins we’d use small tokens in its place to drop into the change box. That small token always got me to where I was going.

DAVID’S TOKEN

“Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.” Not, “Shew me a sign, or “Shew me a miracle,” but simply, “Shew me a token.”

TOKENS IN TOUGH TIMES

At this particular time in David’s life, he was in dire straits, and felt the need for some, small token of God’s affection. Some little something that proved God’s pleasure with him. Something that would unquestioningly manifest Divine favor. Something that those contrary to him would observe. Something that would show he was God’s friend. I would remind my readers that God is still handing out such tokens.

A PRAYER FOR BOTH YOU AND ME

"O, Lord, give me a token that I might ride this storm through and get home safely. I’m just a little child and am fearful of the storm, as your early followers were. Help me to know you’re in the driver's seat and all will be well. Getting your children through storms has never been a problem for you. Just a “Peace be still” will calm everything. Help me not to look at the flashing lightning, or listen to the clashing thunder, but to keep my eyes on thee. I pray in the name of the One who rode through the greatest of all storms, AMEN!”

Friday, September 9, 2016

One Smooth Srone

NEXT TO MY EASY CHAIR

My computer, that I write all my articles on, lies within reach of my old easy chair. Close to the computer is a small smooth stone, a bit larger than a quarter, on which I wrote with a permanent marker, “It only takes one.”  This is a constant reminder to me that it only takes one to bring down the giant, when he shows up to challenge me.

WHY DAVID’S FIVE SMOOTH STONES

If it be asked, why the four extra stones, did not David have faith one would do it? Could it be the others were just in case. That is, just in case his brother’s showed up, as they did when David was old. The Bible indicates Goliath possibly had four other brothers (1Sam.17; 2Sam.21; 1Chr.20). In one place one is referred to as his son, in another, all were called his brothers. Discrepancy? No! Each were by his mother, thereby, brothers. The only answer in reference to  the son is that he was by incest (common then, as today), making him also his brother.


CONFIDENCE IN GOD AND GIFT

David shows he had faith in God but also confidence in His gift. Saul’s tribe, the Benjamites, were naturally gifted with the sling; David’s was God gifted. David had confidence in his gift thereby enabling him to use it effectively. Each of us has his or her own spiritual gift, but not all are effective with it. The reason being, our gifts must be honed, like other things in life. God’s gifts to us are perfect. But, because we are not, we must constantly be perfecting them. Example, “Perfecting holiness.” Like playing a piano, or preaching, you must work at it. David did not hit the mark, I’m sure, the first time he slung his sling. Find your God-given-gift, then give to it your time.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

God's Oath to Himself

FAITHLESSNESS VERSES FAITHFULNESS

"If we believer not, yet he abideth faithful.” God’s faithfulness is not dependent on our belief. Belief can bring benefits to us, but whether we believe of not, God’s faithfulness is unchangeable. Our doubts will never change the dignity of His Deity. Our gentleman God always keeps His Word.

ONE PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

Our faith may waver at times, as Peter’s of old. We may have honest doubts, as John the Baptist. And, like the disciples in the storm, we might even question His care for us. But, in the midst of all our carnal confusion, one thing abides the same: the faithfulness of God; believe it or not.

WHO ARE WE TO BELIEVE?

Often it is said, “I can’t believe.” But I ask the question, “Whom can’t you believe?” God is not asking you to believe you, but to believe Him. We are not to look at our faith, but to the faithful One.

GOD SWORE TO HIMSELF

Settled assurance comes from the fact of knowing God did not swear to us but to Himself. As Moses said to the Lord, “Thou swearest by thine own self.” And the writer of Hebrews, referring to this very thing adds, “For when God made promise…because he could swear by no greater, he swear by himself.” Is it any wonder then that Jeremiah, in the midst of chaos, says, “Great is thy faithfulness.”

If not true of anyone else in the entire universe, “To thine own self be true” is true of God.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Idealist

AN IDEALIST-A MISGUIDED OPTIMIST   

Webster defines an idealist as, “an impractical person; a person who represents things as they might or should be, rather than as they are.” For example, the young girl who believes her marriage will be free from all trouble, or the teen-age boy entering service believing he will return from war as a hero without a scratch. Such immature imaginations are idealistic, that is, “It just ain’t so.”

CHRISTIAN IDEALIST

Christians can be idealistic about spiritual things. Many have manufactured a life void of all problems. They believe they simply turn everything over to God, thus taking themselves out of the equation. This sounds good, but it is not reality. We are never removed from the picture. It is always us and God within the frame together (Philip.4:13). It is not I without God; nor is it God without I. It’s God and I together.

CARNAL IDEALIST VERSES SPIRITUAL REALIST

The carnal idealist rejects everything not within his or her plan; a Spiritual realist accepts all things as God’s plan. That is, when one is living for Him. Within the realm of the realist “all things are possible with God.” It is not so with the idealist, he or she “limits the Holy One of Israel.”  All things must come up to their ideal of what God will do in any given situation; if not, to them, God could not possibly be in it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Commoner

THE ENGLISH COMMONER

Some of the definitions for the old British term Commoner is: any person ranking below a peer; a person without a title of nobility...an ordinary person...a person who is not born into a position of high social status…a derogatory word or term for a peasant/lower class.

THE WORLD AND THE CHRISTIAN COMMONER

Paul tells us the elitist society of his day considered Christians
as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things.” Things haven’t changed for those believers who are sold out to God. They still look down their condescending noses at those who belong to Christ, thinking themselves superior.

GOD HAS AN AFFINITY FOR COMMON THINGS AND PEOPLE

The Bible speaks of: a common people; a common faith; a common salvation. In fact, God had to correct Peter for referring to things and people as common; things God had associated Himself with with. “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common...but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common.”

GOD IN DISGUISE

To the world and religion,  Jesus Christ was a common man, beneath them.  But in truth, He was God in disguise. And so it is with His children. The world’s not aware God is in these common, earthen vessels, and that these lightly esteemed, plain people are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.    

WHAT A RUDE AWAKENING WHEN THE WORLD FINDS OUT THAT THE PEOPLE THEY TREATED AS  NOBODIES WERE GOD’S SOMEBODIES!
(rds)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Test Tube God

DANIEL, PAUL, AND SCIENCE

The Bible tells us Daniel was, “...skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science…” On the other hand Paul writes of a ”...science falsely so called.” Science is like children; there are both legitimate and illegitimate kinds. Down through history, as today, there have been godly scientists, but sorry to say, such have always been outnumbered by the other kind.
MUSINGS FROM FAMILY FELLOWSHIP

Recently, our preacher/author son, Andrew, who lives a little over an hour away, visited us with his lovely wife, Sharon. As our family custom goes, it was not long before the conversation moved from the everyday things to those of the Lord. The discussion centered around the noticeable lack of interest in the greatness and power of God in the lives professing believers today.

MY TWO-CENTS WORTH

Personally, I believe God’s mighty wonders began to cease when we allowed the scientific world to take God into the laboratory and begin dissecting Him. Their plan was to  bring  Him down to their size, even smaller. So much so, that they now fit Him into a test tube. Christians who are either intimidated or impressed with their pseudo-knowledge presently worship and serve a pygmy god.  

CHRISTIANS GRABBED THE BAIT

Humanism is the deification of man and the humanization of God. Sorry to say, the mass of Christendom have fallen for this doctrine of devils, hook, line, and sinker!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Our Bible Reading

UNHAPPY DEVOTIONS

All good Christians read their Bible; but not all of us are happy afterward. To read our love letter and be concerned only with what the “Lover of our souls” said, forgetting who said it, will leave one, to say the least, wanting. It is actually possible after spending time in the scriptures to be left in a state of misery, even desiring to give it all up.

PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE OX

Everything must begin with God-”In the beginning God.” All things have a cause and effect; to take away the former is to leave one ineffective. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “He is the author and finisher...” Only by increasing our spiritual and intellectual knowledge of God do we understand life with its complexities and great mysteries.

OUR ONE MAIN PROBLEM

When looking into the mirror of God’s Word, we are to see HIM, not our reflection. Most of us are so taken up with ourselves and our concerns we lose sight of the author of the Book, who is its main character. We are so self-centered, we cannot think about anything other than “me, my, and I.” On God’s pedestal, there's only room for one, and it is not me.

LOOKING FOR THE WRONG THING

If not careful, we will spend a lifetime looking for “nuggets” from the Word rather than seeking “The One Pearl of Great Price.” The gem to be sought in our search of the scriptures is HIM! He is the one who gives value to everything else. Both the Written and Living Word of God were, and are, designed to bring us to God. Don’t stop short with either, let us go on.

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD"
(Hos. 6:3)