Monday, October 31, 2016

Weighed Down

ATLAS WE AIN’T
In Greek mythology, Atlas was a Titan condemned by Zeus to support the heavens upon his shoulders. You would think by looking at some of us Christians that God cursed us with the same blight. We go around carrying the world, it would seem, upon ours. You can always spot this type; they’re spiritually stooped.

CARRYING  MORE THAN ONE PERSON CAN BARE
When Moses spoke to Korah and his company he said, “[Ye take] too much upon you.”  We need to remember this whenever we think it is our responsibility to carry the weight of all that’s happening around us and in the world. Whenever we have more than we can carry, to be sure, God was not the cause of the addition.

GOD’S PRINCIPLE
Our Lord promises not to put on us, “…above that ye are able…” The straw that broke the camel’s back, as I said, was not put there by God. Anyone who is even slightly familiar with the Lord knows He doesn’t give burdens; He takes them. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”  Mark it well, Satan is behind,“Let there more...be laid upon [them].”



Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Keynote of the Christian Life

AUTHENTIC JOY
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” The book of Philippians is one of Paul’s prison epistles. This aging “war horse” is bound in chains, failing in health, and his life hangs in the balances; yet he is triumphant in the most difficult of circumstances. Through his inspired pen, we find that real joy can only be found in Jesus Christ.

IT CAN'T BE SHUTOUT
This little letter shows it is not so much what is going on around us that counts, but what’s going on inside of us. In the heading of Philippians, in one of my old Bibles, I entitled it, “Jailhouse Joy.” Paul’s mini message shows we can have joy in confinement, no matter what that particular imprisonment may be! It can’t be shutout; it can enter any place!

NOT FOR A FEW ELITE BUT ALL GOD'S ELECT
Joy is not to be an occasional experience for exceptional people. The Apostle tells his readers it is to be an “always” attribute for “all” the saints. He tells us, as well as shows us joy can be present not only in pleasure but in pain; in darkness as well as in daylight. And just in case they’re slow in apprehending this truth, he repeats it, “…again I say, Rejoice.”

THE PRELIMINARY TO JOY
Authentic joy comes from knowing and appropriating the truth of Romans 8:28. Once this is believed and embraced in the life of the suffering saint, a sad soul is immediately replaced by a glad spirit. Joy is not a passing emotional feeling, but a settled assurance that God is in control! That is cause for real rejoicing, no matter what our condition.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Day of Reckoning

THAT DREADED DAY

We usually associate the day of reckoning with the sinner, but there is one for the saint also.  I’m speaking of the day when a knock comes at your door and, after opening it, you wish you had never turned the knob. As Job said of this day, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.”

THE BASKET ON YOUR DOORSTEP

In each true believers life there comes a time, sooner or later, when we find God has left a basket at our door. In it is everything we have ever believed, preached, written about, counseled, testified to, as well as read or heard. It is a summation of our core beliefs that we have professed to live by. It is the day God calls upon us to backup our claims!

YOU CAN’T PLAY THE OSTRICH    


Hiding our heads in the sand won’t make it go away. Every time you open the door it will be there. The day of reckoning must be reckoned with. You can be sure, God is going to test those principles we have alleged to have stood by. And of how many of us it can sadly be said, “But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.”

THE BENEFICIARIES


This time of enlightenment is not for God’s benefit, but ours. He knows the weakness of the flesh; He wants us to know it. As our beloved Paul tells us, “...have no confidence in the flesh.” I’ve mentioned in past articles what my dear friend and mentor, Dr. Joe Henry Hankins, used to say to me. “Sonny boy, you’ll find we are never as spiritual as we think we are.”

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Helper

A CONSISTENT TESTIMONY

Throughout the scripture you will find one striking similarity in the testimony of God’s people, those who walked close to Him. They each declared the Lord was their helper in any and all situations. There was no problem too great or small that He would refuse to lend a helping hand in.

TWO TESTIMONIALS OUT OF A GREAT HOST OF SAINTS

David said, “Behold, God is mine helper.” And Paul affirmed, “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue till this day.” And so it was with all who came before and after these two precious souls. None of God’s true elect are too proud to ask and accept help from their heavenly Father.

WHAT THE WORD, “HELPER” IMPLIES

If God is my helper, then I must be in the picture. There must be a first and second party. There is some truth to the old adage, “God helps those who help themselves.” God will not do for you what you can do for yourself. But when we have done all we can, I guarantee our Helper will show up!

“For He hath said...So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear…”



Thursday, October 20, 2016

Bound to the Altar

ONCE IN AN ALMOST SIXTY YEAR MINISTRY

“Bind the sacrifice with cords, even to the horns of the altar.” I preached this text some forty years ago at a missions conference. It was the first and last time. I can’t explain why. I do remember the purpose in me bringing the message. It was to explain the perplexity of why so many Christians lay their lives on the altar but never follow through with it.

THE NEED TO BIND THE SACRIFICE

Nowhere in the Old Testament do we find anyone binding a sacrifice to an altar, although it was undoubtedly the custom. We are left to speculation, but one that proves out in life. Animals have an extra sense of awareness when danger is close by. Being brought to the altar, they could see the smoke, as well as feel the heat of the fire. With their nostrils, they’d smell the flesh of freshly burnt animals that had gone on before them. This left them with an eerie feeling standing where blood had been shed, with death all around. They would naturally attempt to run and escape. Therefore the words, “Bind the sacrifice.” Interestingly, the Old Testament sacrifice was killed before being put on the altar. In the New Testament, the believer is a living sacrifice. Abraham “bound Isaac.”

THE CORDS THAT HOLD

The reason so many saints go back and walk no more with Him is because they are not bound by anything! The Bible says, “A threefold cord is not easily broken.” The cords that will hold us to the altar are: the cord of love, “The love of Christ…”; the cord of determination, “He set his face like a flint”; the cord of faith, “By faith...he endured.” (a Samson couldn't break these.)

THE MEANING OF THE HORNS

We have seen the sacrifice was bound with cords, but what was it bound to? “The horns of the altar.” God’s description of the altar to Moses was, “And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof.” Horns are associated with power. In presenting an object lesson with horns, in the Old Testament, Zedekiah said, “...with these thou shalt push...until thou hast consumed them.” Being linked to these horns is to be connected to the power of God.

WHO BINDS THE SACRIFICE?

Our Great High Priest, as the Old testament priest.’ And as Abraham with his beloved son our loving Father God wraps the cords around us, securing them to the horns of the altar. And as we lie there with feet and hands tied to the four horns, the fire impatiently waiting to consume the sacrifice, our song, ascends to Him. And what does he hear from those sanctified, quivering lips? “O LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO!

(The above is dedicated to my wife Salle, Tina Green, and all those suffering saints who refuse to “break loose” from His altar)






Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When Job Stoped Trusting

COMPLIMENTING GOD

Speaking personally, I doubt there is a greater compliment one can pay God than to say, “I trust you.” What father doesn't know the thrill when, for the first time, his son trustingly jumps from a high position into his arms. With us and God we’d say, “Underneath are the everlasting arms.” He always catches us.

NO NEED FOR GREEK OR HEBREW

The meaning of the word is given us in that well known passage in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” It’s leaning on your lover in those wilderness times. “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” (S of S 8:5)

HOW MUCH CAN ONE PERSON TAKE?

God had unloosed Satan on Job; he lost all his material blessings; he buried his ten children in one day; his health was taken from him; the wife of his youth misunderstood both him and God in his suffering; his friends were miserable in their comforting of him. And what was worst of all, God seemed to be silent.

WHEN JOB CEASED TRUSTING GOD

See the old man sitting on a pile of ashes, notice him as he scraps the painful boils with a broken piece of  ceramic, notice also the agony on his face as he looks heavenward with tears streaming down, soaking his beard. If you don’t mind, I’ll be the spokesman for us all. “Job,” I say, “When are you going to stop trusting? This all seems endless!” He looks at each of us and with quivering lips says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” As we shameful walk away we hear him in a low, groaning, soft voice repeatedly say, “You’ll have to kill me, you’ll have to kill me! I’LL TRUST YOU TO THE GRAVE, LORD.”

God's Promises

PROMISES IN TIME

God can and does answer prayer immediately, as in Peter’s case, when he began to sink. But generally speaking, they are in time. For example: Paul prayed three days before the answer came; Daniel waited three weeks; and God’s promise to Israel took seventy years to fulfill.

D.L. MOODY HAD IT RIGHT

The great evangelist said in his little book, Notes From My Bible, concerning Acts 1:4,“Wait for the promise of the Father”; “Tarry at the promise till God meets you there. He always returns by the way of His promises.”

DAYS AND YEARS ARE BOTH ALIKE TO GOD

Peter tells us in his second epistle, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” According to this, Jesus promised to return to earth just a little over two days ago.

IT’S A TRUE PROVERB

Sometimes we get sick of waiting; but, when the answer comes it’s another story. “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”  Let us each remind ourselves during those long waiting times, God’s delays are not denials. You might want to ask Noah about this!

Monday, October 17, 2016

How'd I Get Here?

WE DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING

“Whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body I cannot tell: God knoweth.” Paul repeats this phrase a second time. This experience was in relation to his being caught up into the third heaven. It was when he heard unspeakable things, which were unlawful for a man to utter, (though I think God allowed a little of it to bleed through in the book of Ephesians).

IT IS NOT THE MEANS THAT MATTER

This suffering saint did not try to understand every minute detail of God’s dealing with his spiritual life (in or out of the body, he didn’t know). He was content with “God knoweth.” He was satisfied with the big picture; he would let God iron out the particulars in His own time. The means God used in getting him where he was going was not important; it was the fact that he got there that counted.

THE OLD PURITAN HAD IT RIGHT

“Remember, when the ride gets turbulent and bumpy, you’re on your way Home!”

Friday, October 14, 2016

How's Your Multiplication?

5 × 39= 195

This is the minimum amount of stripes Paul bore in his body as a result of being beaten on five different occasions, thirty-nine times each. Historians tell us the Roman whips had several cords attached to the main stem; if so, that would add to the number. When taking into account  he was beaten three times with rods, and once was he stoned, one can only imagine the horrific sight of that mangled body, that had been given over to God for His use, pleasure, and glory. Remember, along with all this, he carried to the grave his thorn in the flesh.

PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING

Those earned (I didn’t say, deserved) marks in that precious body, were his credentials to all who would question his devotion to Jesus Christ. As he told his legalistic inquisitors at Galatia, “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” He is one who would not be “carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease!”

AN INGREDIENT NOTICEABLY MISSING IN PAUL’S LETTERS

It is difficult, if not impossible, to find any complaints as to his sufferings anywhere in his thirteen epistles. Rather, you will discover this old warhorse turned the tables on the flesh, the world, and the devil. We see him praising God and glorying in Him in all his afflictions. He found in his weakness, God’s strength, and in his suffering, God’s grace. This seasoned saint believed with all his heart and soul-

  “Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Gifts

EMPTY GIFT BOXES

“Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and winds without rain” Is there anything more embarrassing than listening to a preacher, singer, or instrumentalist who is not gifted? Is it not boring to read after writers whose pens have not been anointed? Such people are well meaning, but I’m afraid their reach far exceeds their grasp.

PREACHING OR PLOWING

A young farmer saw a vision in the sky, consisting of two letters: G.P. He took it to mean, “Go preach.” After telling of his experience and preaching his first sermon, an old widow woman whispered in his ear, “The Lord was telling you to, “Go plow.” It could be some of us may need to have our bubbles busted also. Plowing is as honorable as preaching-if it be God’s will for your life.

ACTING IS NOT REALITY

Emulation (acting) is one of the “…works of the flesh.” Generally speaking, those who copy individuals they’re infatuated with are guilty of trying to replicate their gifts also. I like the way the old Indian described an imitation preacher , “Big thunder; big wind, no rain.” And this is exactly how the wise man in Proverbs depicts them. It is not the outer wrappings that count, but the gift inside!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

We're All Guilty Of It

NEVER SAY NEVER

“I could never do that.” Familiar? I guess so. Who among us can plead, “Not guilty” of uttering this common phrase ? Whenever we speak such rubbish you can be assured, whether one likes to admit it or not, it comes from a pharisaical spirit or ignorance as to the power of indwelling sin.

A GOOD EXAMPLE

On at least three different occasions Peter said he had or would never do such and such a thing: 1) let Jesus wash his feet; he did; 2) had never eaten anything unclean; he ate with the Gentile believers; 3) that he would never deny Christ; he did!  He, like us, was surprised at what he was capable of.

THE ROOT PROBLEM

Rather than, “condescending to men of low estate,” and “esteeming the other better than ourselves,” we look on them with contempt. Down deep, unless the Holy Spirit has done a work of grace in our hearts, we think ourselves a notch up from all others, as Peter did when he referred to “all men.”

“BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD THERE GO I”