Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Burden of the Lord

WHOSE BURDEN?
“…ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the Lord…Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD.”

MANUFACTURED BURDENS
The people of Jeremiah’s day were using the term, “The Burden of the Lord,” lightly. God told them to cease from this carelessness. In certain circles today we hear such phrases as one having a “crushing burden,” or being “bowed down with a burden.” Such burdens are self-imposed; they are manufactured by the bearer, not the Lord. These kind of expressions may sound spiritual, but they’re not scriptural.

ONLY WHAT WE’RE CAPABLE OF CARRYING
God has promised to not allow anything to be placed upon us that would be, “above that ye are able to bear.” If you are overwhelmed with the load you are carrying, be assured God did not place it upon you. A little tyke seemed to be weighted down with Christmas packages as he waited for his parent outside a store. A passerby offered to help the encumbered lad, to which he replied, “No thanks, my father never puts more on me than I can carry.”

THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK
Jesus promised, “My burden is light.” If we’re under the yoke with Him, how then could ours be heavy? When our four children were small we had a game called Break the Camel's Back. You were to put as many match-sticks on his back as you could, without causing him to cave in the middle. O, dear child of God, He who knoweth your frame will not place one more care upon you than He knows you’re able to sustain. His promise is, “I will put upon you none other burden.”

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Staying on Top of Things

LOOKING AT THE WAVES
“But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary... But when he (Peter)saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”

AN ADMONITION FROM A SONG
The children sing in Sunday School, “Be careful little eyes what you see.” Looking at the wrong things can have an adverse effect upon one. It can cause deep depression, sin in the heart, paralyzing fear, and a host of other deplorables. It is possible to produce our own problems by a look.

THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL’S GOAL
If the unholy three can divert our attention away from the object of our faith, Christ, they know we’ll sink in the sea of despair. Looking to our blessed Lord keeps our head, so to speak, above the troubled waters. They put blinders on horses to keep them from being spooked. We need to ask our Master to equip us with a pair!









Friday, November 25, 2016

God Doing Things The Hard Way

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
When he [Jesus] had heard therefore that he [Lazarus] was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” Why wait? Our Lord’s friend, whom He loved dearly, is at death’s door. And, as a result of His tarrying, Lazarus does die, which, as Martha stated, would not have happened had He been there. Why does Christ wait until the situation is impossible before showing up? Simple; to show He’s the God of the impossible, and to manifest His glory.

BURNING UP THE WATER SOAKED
This is the same God of who was going to answer Elijah’s prayer by fire. And so, what did the prophet do? He had twelve barrels of water poured on the sacrifice, wood, and altar, and then filled the trench around the altar with water. All this was not very conducive to a plan for God to burn up the sacrifice and everything connected to it. But the man, who was “of like passions” as we are, knew nothing was too hard for the Lord. Do we know this?

“God is not rushed, but He’s reliable.”
(rds)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful Not Boastful

A PRAYER PROBLEM
“I thank thee, that I am not as other men are…even as this publican.” It’s not the first part of this man’s prayer that got him into hot water, but the latter. After all, what godly woman doesn’t thank God she is not a harlot, etc.? And what good Christian man is not thankful he isn’t a drunkard or something worse? The problem with the prayer is not in evaluation but elevation.

ALL ARE MADE FROM THE SAME MOLD
It is not wrong to be thankful you’re not like other men. But it is to think you’re better. We are all cut from the same Adamic “cloth,” and as such, are capable of anything and everything anyone else does. As it is said, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” To be humbly thankful you have not experienced another’s misfortune is one thing; but to be haughty and boastful of this fact is another.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

From Start to Finish

A FEW OF MANY PRECIOUS PROMISES
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”; “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”; “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it”; “Sit still...until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.”


GOD DOESN’T START AND STOP-HE FINISHES THE JOB
C.H. Spurgeon writes, “It is not to be imagined that He who has helped us in six troubles will leave us in the seventh. God does nothing by halves, and He will never cease to help us until we cease to need. The manna shall fall every morning until we cross the Jordan.”


LESSONS FROM THE FOWLS
Job tells us, “Ask now... the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” We are told, as long as the baby birds in the nest keep their mouths open, the mother will continue to feed them. And the Lord had that great observer of nature, David, apply this to prayer in the life of God’s little fledglings. “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”


“YESTERDAY HE HELPED ME, TODAY HE DID THE SAME. HOW LONG WILL THIS CONTINUE? FOREVER! PRAISE HIS NAME.”

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Talking Won't Change It

DON’T WASTE YOUR BREATH
“And the Lord said unto me…speak no more unto me of this matter.” In essence, God is saying to Moses, “Don’t waste your breath or my time.” Some things in our lives are irreversible, and it is futile trying to get God to change them. It’s like the little girl who wrote on her exam paper that Cincinnati was the capital of Ohio. After being told by her mother differently, and knowing the teacher would grade the papers the following day, she prayed, “Lord, just for tomorrow, let Cincinnati be the capital.”

DIFFERENT AFFLICTIONS BUT THE SAME PAIN
Paul had a similar experience; he spent half his life asking God to remove a thorn in his flesh He had given him. But after the suffering saint’s third request, it was revealed to him that it was to be a permanent fixture in his life. It was for God’s glory and Paul’s good. And so, because we do not know what constituted his thorn, we can justifiably suppose our situation to be a kindred one. Therefore, when the messenger of Satan drives our thorn deeper, God tells us His grace accompanies it to the same depth that it is driven, enabling us to bear it.

SOME THINGS ARE BETTER LEFT ALONE
My younger daughter, Charity, and I have a bad habit of not leaving a sore alone; we are always picking at it, making it worse. I find I am tempted to do this in the spiritual realm also. It’s a wise thing not to personally try to remove our thorn; it only brings one unnecessary pain. And we get enough of that from Satan’s messenger. We need not add to it. As C.S.Lewis writes, “I suppose the only way with thorns in the flesh…is not to press on the place where they are embedded.”

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Strength to Keep Going

STRONG BUT WEAK-WEAK BUT STRONG
Whenever I feel I do not have the strength to go on, invariably I find it’s because I’m attempting to go under my own steam. My problem is not my weakness, but my strength. The latter is not an asset, but a liability. It hinders me; it does not help me. Our problem is not that we are too weak, but too strong. King Uzziah was marvelously helped till he was strong. Jacob became a prince, having the power of God, once his own strength had withered. God tells us His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Paul found it to be so. He writes, “…when I am weak, then am I strong.”

EXAMPLES THAT ENCOURAGE
The Hebrew heroes of the book of Hebrews , we are told, “…out of weakness were made strong.” Those little shrimps became whales in their weakness. Those who are giant-killers testify, “The Lord is the strength of my life.” It is not our strength we are to offer to the Lord, but our weakness. It is then God takes the non-entity and infuses him or her with divine power. And be not mistaken, whoever He infuses, He uses!

ACKNOWLEDGING OUR INADEQUACIES
If we would only confess our inadequacy, and abandon our reliance upon our natural abilities and resources, then would come to pass, “…the lame take the prey.” But this will not happen until we are content to be nothing, and let Him be everything.He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sinful Saints

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

SINLESS SAINTS-THERE AIN’T
These followers of Christ had an evil nature, that is, an inherent sinful disposition, found in all of God’s children. The new Divine nature received at conversion does not negate the old sinful one. Paul is explicit about this in his epistle to the Romans, chapter seven.

HATE FOR THE TRUTH
The great radio Bible teacher of the past, Dr. M.R. DeHaan, once brought a series of messages on “The Blunders of Paul and The Sins of the Saint.” He mentioned afterward that he had never received so much hate mail from Christians. They mistakenly believed, as many still do, that Bible saints were somehow special creatures.

THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
If this were so, why then did Jesus teach His disciples (and us) to say, “Forgive us our sins,” in the Lord’s Prayer? The truth of the matter is, all of God’s people that receive answers to prayer fall way short in their personal lives. And any saint listed in the Bible would be the first to tell you it was so in their life. Have you never read God’s Hall of Faith in Hebrews eleven? A perfect person you’ll not finad!

IT’S FOR JESUS’ SAKE
My beloved mentor, Dr. Joe Henry Hankins, used to have a sermon entitled, “How Can a Holy God Forgive Sinners?” Of course the answer is, “On the merits of Christ.” We might also be prone to wonder, “How can a Holy God answer my prayers, with all my sins and shortcomings?” Same answer! As one of the verses says in a song my wife sings, “I come in the merits of Jesus.”

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Reverse Roles

THE SHOE IS ON THE OTHER FOOT NOW
It is of utmost importance a child of God realizes that at his or her conversion there was (is) a reversal of roles. But sad to say, most learn this all important truth way too late in life; and some, never do. I mean the fact that saints are no longer under the domain of Satan. And that power has been vested in us by our Sovereign over Satanic powers. Paul puts it this way, “...to turn them from...the power of Satan unto God.” And Jesus told His followers, “Behold, I give unto you power...over all the power of the enemy.”

CHRISTIANS COWERING IN A CORNER
We are to be warriors, not weaklings. Not whipped dogs cowering in a corner, shivering! We’re told to put on the armour of God, then stand our ground, as David’s mighty men did. We are to be against the evil forces on earth and in the heavenlies . The devil is a defeated foe. He has lost the war, although he still fights. Our Commander in Chief conquered him at every turn: at the great temptation, during His earthly ministry, in Gethsemane, at the Cross, at the empty tomb, and His present intercessory work, he will be chained at Christ’s coming, then ultimately cast into an eternal lake of fire.

A BLESSING FROM MY DEVOTIONAL TIME
As I was going through the book of Isaiah recently I came across the following text, “...and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.” God tells his people, after a lengthy miserable state of being captive to their enemies, that He will make them rulers over those who had once dominated them. When our Lord ascended, we’re told, “He led captivity captive.” That is, our Beloved captor who captured us from the kingdom of darkness and those who once were our captors, has made them to become our captives; this by the authority of the KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORDS!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

It's Our Choice to Make

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

THE CHOICE ALL OUR CONFRONTED WITH
From our text it is plain each of us must make two life related choices. The first, putting it crudely is, either HE is or HE ain’t. And the second being, either HE does or HE don’t! Simply said, we are required to answer with an emphatic yes or no. Does God exist or not? And if He does exist then this particular God answers prayer.


GOD WILL NOT MAKE OUR CHOICES FOR US
It is true God will not choose for us, but He will tell us the best choice to make. For example, in the Old Testament He puts before His people two choices, then tells them (through Moses) the best one to take. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

BELIEVING IN GOD-BUT WITH NO BENEFITS
To have a God but with no benefits is to be no better off than the heathen. It might be said of those who believe in God, who never have prayers answered, what Elijah said to the prophet of Baal. “Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.” Elijah taught, a true God answers prayer.

THE WISE WORDS OF THE OLD PROPHET
“Call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth... let him be God.”

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Faith That's Fresh


A PRESENT FAITH
Faith is not reusable. Yesterday’s remains with the past. And tomorrow’s has not been birthed yet. Today’s faith is all that breathes. That, no doubt, is why it is referred to as living faith. You cannot possess a faith that’s gone, nor one that has not arrived yet. The writer of Hebrews tells us the only faith at our disposal is a Now faith…”


FAITH HAS SHOES
If, as we are told, we are to walk by faith, it goes without saying, it is an ongoing thing. It is a step-by-step, moment-by-moment continuation. Both Noah and Enoch walked with God. And we are clearly told what kind of walk it was: “By faith.” Wherever we are at, at any given time, is our moment of faith. And without this kind, it’s impossible to please God!


MUSTARD SEED FAITH GROWS
The scriptures speak of a growing faith, it’s to increase. We’re to go from no faith, to degrees of faith. The stages seem to be a weak faith, which becomes a little faith, followed by strong faith. And finally, we end up with great a faith. The important thing is to use the faith you have. Even Simon Peter’s “Little faith,” enabled him to walk on water. He only sank when looking at the circumstances and taking his eyes off the object of his faith, Jesus Christ.


“Give what Thou commandest, then command what thou wilt.” (Augustine)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hope When Hopeless

EXPERTS CAN BE WRONG
My dear departed preacher friend, Dr. Tom Malone, used to say, “An expert is any little squirt away from home.” The scientists and medical doctors of Abraham’s day would have told him there was no hope for him at the age of ninety-nine, and Sarah, his wife, at eighty-nine, to have a child. And the seasoned mariners, who had been in more than one life-threatening storm revealed to Paul and his evangelistic team that all hope was gone that they might be saved from the terrible tempest that was upon them.

JOHN BUNYAN SAID, “HOPE IS NEVER ILL WHEN FAITH IS WELL”.

But both of these good and godly men knew, “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” What did Abraham do when he heard the expert’s advice? The Scriptures tell us: “Who against hope, believed in hope.” And what of Paul? He stood on deck of the ship and in the midst of the raging waves, the hurricane force winds, and the torrential rains, told these professional seamen, who had given up all hope to “...be of good cheer, I believe God...” He was still hopeful in a seemingly hopeless situation.

THERE ARE NO LIMITS TO A LIMITLESS GOD

The world’s hope has a limitation point, when hope ceases to be. But to hope in God has unlimited, unending possibilities. I think a Scripture found in Romans 15:13 would be appropriate for all who feel themselves to be in a hopeless condition: Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

“WHEN GOD IS GETTING READY TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE, HE TAKES A MAN OR WOMAN IN AN IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION, AND CRUSHES THEM!”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Paul and I

NO ONE GROUP HAS A CORNER ON PAUL
The Reformed theologian, J.I. Packer, now in his nineties, is anything but a modern day dispensationalist. Yet he said the following: “My primary authority is a Bible writer named Paul. For many decades now, I have  asked myself at every turn of my theological road: Would Paul be with me in this? What would he say if he were in my shoes? I have never dared to offer a view on anything that I did not have good reason to think he would endorse.”

GOING TO EXTREME WITH THE TRUTH
Some believe we’re to take only Paul’s writings at the expense of all others. A good rule of thumb to go by is, Paul was all inclusive, as to the other writers of the scriptures, but exclusive in his thirteen epistles, writing only to Gentiles, to whom the Lord Himself sent him. As the apostle to the Gentiles, we’re told he’s our teacher; and all his sufferings, apart from the Lord, were for we Gentiles. When is the last time you got on your knees and thanked God for this little man with a giant soul?

WHAT I OWE PAUL
I can never repay the debt I owe this Jewish brother. He literally saved my spiritual sanity. Nothing made sense to me till I realized Paul was the pivoting point, that is, he interprets the Bible for us Gentiles. Have you ever noticed the world and religion never use his writings to explain present day conditions in this predominately Gentile age. They go to the strongly flavored Jewish Old Testament and Gospels. Most certainly, we are to take the whole Bible, but at Paul’s direction and tutelage.

NEVER LONG OUT OF PAUL’S EPISTLES
No believer should be long out of Paul’s writings. As Gentile believers, we should  be more familiar with his letters than any other part of the Bible. For it is in and through him the rest comes together. The Gospel writers tell us of the earthly, historic Christ; Paul, of the heavenly, eternal Christ. He reveals to us all the things our Lord wanted to say to His followers while on earth, but for one reason or another, could not. He is a continuation of Jesus’ ministry.

To follow Paul is to know and follow Christ in His heavenly glorified state!





Jesus Earthly Body

NO COMPLAINTS
“A body thou hast prepared me…Lo, I come to do thy will, O God...I delight to do thy will, O my God. No where will you find Jesus complaining about the body God gave Him to inhabit while on this earth. Being born into the Jewish race, it is very probable, and safe to assume, He possessed most, if not all, the physical traits of that people. This being the case, then we would expect Him to have been dark skinned, of a shorter stature, with black hair and a hook-like nose. He recognized His body was given Him of the LORD; and it was in this body He lived for God all His life.

FASHIONED BY GOD’S OWN HAND
Bible saints accepted the fact that their individual bodies were of God’s own choosing and making. Isaiah said, “We all are the work of thy hand”; David records, “It is [God] that hath made us, and not we ourselves”; and Job tells us, “Thine hands have made me and fashioned me.” And for what purpose did God give us these bodies? “Every one that is called by my name: I have created for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Is it any wonder then that Paul admonishes, “Glorify God in your body…which are [His].”

PLEASING GOD
Jesus’ sacrifice of his body must have been what the old divine had in mind when he wrote the prayer, “God glorify thyself, and do it at my expense.” Christ most certainly fulfilled this petition when He offered unto God His beaten, bruised, and bleeding body. The presentation of His mangled, torn body, though a mystery to us, pleased God (Isa.53:10). And although we do not understand it now, so also does every suffering saint, whose bodies have been offered up to Him in their affliction. “For with such sacrifices, (I’m sure) God is well pleased.”