Thursday, May 25, 2017

At the End of the Day

The little English idiom used in our title means, “In conclusion.” Or as I would put it, “When all's said and done, how's it gonna end?”

Using the theaters vernacular, the question would be phrased something like this, “In the last act, after the final scene, when the curtain comes down, what are you going to do?

Let’s face it; most Christian’s answer is the same as the woman who was stepping out on her husband. When asked where she thought it would all end, her reply was, “I really haven’t thought that far ahead.”

I don’t know about others, but at the end of the day, I want to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” And to accomplish this, I have to be busy now, in the present, making sure it comes to pass up the road.       

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

When the Colors Run Together

What does one do when the colors of life seem to run together; when doctrines and  you’ve held for a life-time appear to have lost their distinction? Like John the Baptist, you become uncertain of what you have always held as being certain? When your dogmatism, if you please, ends up in the doghouse?

Well, I’ll tell you what I do at such times; I immediately come back to my foundation. This “Sure Foundation” is the only thing in my life I am truly sure of. When the top floors of my life begin to sway, I hurry back down that long flight of stairs to my settled, solid, and unmovable foundation. It is here I get my sure footing once again.

My dear friends, build your life as high as you’re capable; but remember the Foundation upon which you have built it. Forgetting will only bring everything we’ve built down in shambles, so that we might be reminded of Him who is the True Foundation of our life and ministry.

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  (I Cor.3:11)

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Sheep's Nature

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.” It’s a sheep’s nature to stray. If any so-called deeper life Christian tells you otherwise mark it down, you’re listening to a shallow person. An old preacher friend of mine used to say of this sort, “They’re not deep, they’re just muddy.”

The song that says, “Coming home…never more to roam,” may be a good sentiment, but it’s not scriptural. The Christian life from start to finish is a process of returning. We may not show external signs of going away from the Lord, but God knows we do in our hearts. Speaking of His elect in the book of Isaiah, He says, “[They] have removed their heart far from me.” We all have prodigal hearts.

Daily, God has to call unto us, "Return unto me…" It’s a wonderful thing to return home from a hog pen and find a hot meal awaiting you. And then, to have the bath water run for us, with the fluffy towels laid out, is more than one can imagine.

But the climax is when the Father tucks us into our bed, between clean white sheets, then kisses us on the forehead, saying, “I’m glad you have returned home, child.” It is then and only then that our wayward souls find true rest.

My friend, if you can go away and stay away, it’s doubtful you ever had a home and Father to return to.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

God's Plan for Each of His Children

Acts 12:1, “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 2, And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3, And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also...4, And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him...5, Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him...11, Peter... said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod.”

A FATHER AND HIS CHILDREN

It’s a wise father who deals with each of his children individually, according to their personal needs. The saying, “One size fits all,” is not true in a family. True generally, but not specifically.   

JAMES AND PETER

I heard a camp meeting preacher once say, “James died and Peter lived because the church prayed for Peter.” Such speculation is unfounded. The main characteristic of the early church was prayer.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES, NOT PARTICULAR PEOPLE

It is a dangerous norm to follow someone else's life in every detail. Whether it be great saints of the past or even Biblical biographies. Elijah was caught up to heaven, Elisha died of his sickness.

EACH HAS HIS OR HER OWN CROSS

Some crosses are made of velvet, still others of rough materials. But they all have one thing in common: they crucify the bearer. The rich with the invalid child, and the healthy, but poor man.

THERE SHOULD BE NO GUILT TRIPS FOR ANY OF US

None should lament the fact they are not in the same position as another brother or sister, whose lot is seemingly worse than their own. “Man looketh on the outward appearance.”

EYE HATH NOT SEEN

There are those who would gladly suffer in his brother or sister’s place, if they could only rid themselves of that deep, unseen, agony of soul, they’ve suffered their whole lifelong!

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”





Saturday, May 20, 2017

HE STOLE MY HEART

“…and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure…” The song writer said it best when he penned, “I Stand Amazed in the Presence of Jesus the Nazarene.” The word “amazed” is found often in the Gospels, and is usually related to Jesus, either directly or indirectly. It’s definition is “filled with great surprise, astonishment, or wonder.”

The Christian should live in perennial amazement at who Jesus is and what He does. I never cease to be amazed at God’s people, who are no longer amazed. You can always tell when one has lost the wonder of it all; it shows in every area of his or her life. In their fellowship, singing, preaching, yes, and especially in their lifeless, formal prayers.

The old evangelist, Gypsy Smith, when in his eighties, was asked how he had managed to keep his freshness over the long years he had served the Lord. His reply was simply, “I guess it’s because I’ve never lost the wonder of it all.”

"Since He looked upon me, my heart is not my own; He hath run away to Heaven with it."
— Samuel Rutherford

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Jesus and Family Squabbles

“And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?  (Lk. 12:13)

FOLLOWING CHRIST’S EXAMPLE

You couldn’t get Jesus involved in family squabbles. He knew, as the old saying goes, “Blood is thicker than water.” Our Lord minded His Father’s business, not others’ 

PERCHED ON THE WRONG END OF THE LIMB

Individual families have something going between them that the outsider, even loved ones, know nothing of. Husband and wife, siblings, mothers and fathers, married children, have a way of working things out, without our expertise. Invaratably the busybody finds himself or herself on the wrong end of the limb. When it is sawed off, the two parties get back together, but both, with disgust, remember your meddling. Such situations do not heal quickly. Some never do. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Where Peace Is To Be Found

“HE IS OUR PEACE”

LOOKING IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

Peace is not to be found in a pill, pleasure, or playthings. Real, true, legitimate peace is to be found only is a PERSON! Lasting peace is found in a lasting PERSON, not in perishable things.

THE WORLD’S PEACE

The world has a peace it offers, but it is only cosmetic. Like everything else they offer, it is painted on. It is superficial. A cheap whitewash, if you please. Moses told God’s elect, “Thou shalt not seek their peace.” Why? because when they say, “Peace, peace, there is no peace...the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

OUR ELDER BROTHER’S BEQUEATHAL

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” His peace is greater than all this world's troubles and fears. Where they abound, His peace doth much more abound!

STORMS AND PEACE

Like a buoy, we may be tossed to and fro in the storm, but in the depth of our souls there is tranquility. For like the buoy, we have an unseen anchor.“We have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.”

OUR TRIUNE GOD’S COVENANT OF PEACE

Our peace is to be found in the eternal Godhead, FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST. We are told of our Father, He is the God of peace; of the Son, He is our peace; and of the Spirit,  His fruit is peace.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Things My Mother Taught Me

She was ninety-four when she went to her Heavenly Zion. She was from a long line of Kentucky stock, a real thoroughbred, who had Cherokee blood in her veins. My father ran off and left us when I was just a boy, and my sister, having married at seventeen, during the 2nd World War, pretty much left Mom and me on our own. We lived in one flop house after another, sometimes sharing the bath with three or four other families. It got rough at times, but as a young tow-headed boy, I always felt secure with this woman who was character incarnate. I knew I could depend on her to be there and take care of me. I was her number one concern!

It says of King Lemuel, “His mother taught him.” And so did mine teach me, some important lessons about life. Three stand out above all others. The first indelible truth was ingrained in me when I once asked her why she scrubbed other people’s floors and cleaned their toilets for a living. Her reply, as always, was a simple one, but it had a profound effect upon me. Said she, “Son, someone has to do it.” In other words, she was one who, if asking herself the rhetorical question, “Why me?” came back with the answer, “Why not me.”

And then there was the time, in my unconverted days, when I was trying to run-away from myself. I was leaving Ohio for California, attempting to escape the town in which I lived, thinking that would change things. Again she had words of wisdom for me. “Honey, you’ll find things pretty much the same wherever you go.” She was right, as always. I learned a change in geography, doesn't bring a change in character.

And just before leaving for that land where one never grows old, but stays eternally young, she gave me her final bit of advice. I had asked her if she had any last words for me; and staring up at me with those hazel green eyes, from her bed she said, “Keep on doing what you’ve been doing all these years.” Well, I have been, and will, until I go to meet this woman to whom I owe, not only my first birth, but my second birth. The birth that guarantees we’ll live together forever. Not in a flop house, but a Mansion, for all eternity. PRAISE THE LORD!

Fix me one of your Kentucky meals Mom; I’ll be coming home in the near future!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Rushing to Go Nowhere

...the king's business required haste.”  (1 Sam. 21:8)
“...he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isa. 28:16)

There is a vast difference in running for the King and running to go nowhere. If you run nowhere you're sure to get nowhere. Joab sent Cushi with a message for king David. Ahimaaz didn’t have one, yet he wanted to run anyway. He outran Cushi, but didn’t have anything to offer when he arrived. Therefore, the king told him to stand aside, while he listened to Cushi. The lesson learned from this is, “The race is not to the swift,” and, “The first shall be last.”

As Mary of old, we need to sit still until we hear the words, “The Master is come, and calleth for thee. It is when He commands that we are to, as they say, “Get a leg on.” Movement in itself doesn’t mean progress; look at a merry-go-round, if you doubt me. Israel went in circles for forty years. This age is characterized, as Daniel puts it, “[at] the time of the end: many shall run to and fro.” One old preacher said, “I don’t go anyplace any more. I spend all my time just dodging.” As God’s people, let’s not get caught up in the hurry and scurry of this frustrated world.

We are told of our Lord, “And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.” And of the maniac of Gadara, “[he] was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) One’s movement was for the the Glory of God. The other was for the purpose of the devil. WHO'S DRIVING YOUR VEHICLE?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Looking For Someone To Care

“To him that is afflicted pity should be showed from his friend…Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends.” 

In spite of his passionate plea, this good man was shown little, if any pity from these “miserable comforters.” How self-righteous we can be at those times when we do not understand the “why” of another’s sufferings. Like Job’s acquaintances, we invariably tag onto them, “He must have sinned against God.”

But what Job could not find in others, in the end, he found in his God. In the inspired history of the old patriarch’s life, James records for us, “Ye have heard of…Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.”
If we are going to play God, let’s make sure we’re reading from the right script. In life’s divine drama, each of us has the same lines: “…be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”

It’s a pitiful person indeed who will not show pity to another. (rds)

Monday, April 24, 2017

If Heaven Is Not Real

"If it were not so, I would have told you.” (Jn.14:2)
As my dear old mentor, Dr. Joe Henry Hankins, used to say, “If it wasn't so, He’d have told us so.” Some say our Lord is only using a figure of speech, thinking it will lessen our hope. I say, if a figure, a figure of what? Even if true, the substance is greater than the shadow, and the object than the picture. I agree with C.S. Lewis. If what our Lord is saying is symbolic language, then He is attempting to express the inexpressible to us. WOW! How much greater then, will heaven be?

The atheist, who is all dressed up with no place to go, takes it a step further. He holds there is no heaven. The pagans of old would disagree with this pseudo-enlightened, intellectual dunce. The ancient Eskimo believed there was a land awaiting him where he would sit down and eat his whale blubber to the full. The American indian spoke of a happy hunting ground, he would enter at death. And the Egyptians were buried with their treasures, believing they’d take with them into the next world.

Think of it, if there is no heaven, Jesus lied to His followers. This means we’ll never see our loved ones again; we don’t have a home to go to. We’ll be eternally homeless, wandering the streets of nowhere. And in this life we’ll be miserable, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1Cor.15:19)

But, thank God, in spite of the lack of preaching today on heaven, and the difficulty of finding a good contemporary book on the subject, along with the muted songs about this place we saints call home, this doesn’t void it. We, with father Abraham and all the elect through the ages, are also looking for that City whose builder and maker is God. And as my dear wife has sung for years, upon entering it, we all will say, “Finally Home!”

“I believe in Heaven. If I’m dreaming, don’t wake me; let me dream on.” (Evangelist D.L. Moody)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Assurance the Beloved is Yours

"My beloved is mine, and I am his...Until the day break, and the shadows flee away.” (Song 2:16-17)

An old time preacher taught his son to know a thing, and then to know you know it. This is primarily what John teaches in his little book of 1 John chapter 2 verse 3. “And hereby we do know that we know Him

Many professing Christians have problems with assurance that the Lord is theirs during times of darkness. From the above text we see one will never know the former till the latter is settled. You will know the Beloved is truly yours when the Beloved knows you are truly His! The same principle is seen in the life of the Man Christ Jesus, when He said, “All mine are thine, and thine are mine. (John 17:10). God had all of Him and He had all of God.

Divided allegiance always brings doubts. Those who sing “Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine,” with confidence, are those who can truthfully say, “He has all there is of me. There is nothing left to give.”

God revealing Himself to the individual Christian generally has to do with how much of that man or woman God  possesses! May we say to our heavenly KING, the greater than David, what Amasai said to his earthly king, David. “Then the spirit came upon Amasai... and he said, Thine are we, David.” (1 Chron.12:18) That is, as the song says, “I am thine O Lord.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Golden Rule...of Prayer

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matt. 7:12)

The Golden Rule, as it has come to be known, is well known, especially, throughout Christendom. But any truthful observer will have to admit, it is practiced by few. Most adhere to Samson’s rule. “As they did unto me, so have I done unto them.” (Judges 15:11)

The simple reason God’s Golden Rule has not been implemented in our lives is because we are self-centered, rather than Christ-Centered. If a person or thing does not revolve around us. If it or they, do not touch some area of our lives, if we do not benefit, there is little, or no concern from us.

Years ago, while interceding in prayer for someone, I was impressed with a life changing thought. I’ve tried my dead level best to follow through with it, though I have fallen short at times. The thought I had was, if I applied the Golden Rule to my prayer life, then my prayer life would be revolutionized. And it was!

My Golden Rule...of prayer is: “PRAY FOR OTHERS, AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM PRAY FOR YOU.” As the prophet of old said, “I sat where they sat. How would you want people to pray for you if it were your wayward child, your broken health, your financial dilemma, your overpowering habit, your Satanic temptation, or your crumbling family? The list is innumerable. What we’re speaking of is life.

How we need to heed the words of the writer of Hebrews, addressing the early suffering Hebrew Christians. “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” (Heb. 13:2) Pray for them the way you want them to pray for you, when your time of trial comes.

Paul sums up for us what the Christian’s philosophy in prayer should be, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it.” (1 Cor. 12:26)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Christ, Historically and Heavenly Viewed

I realize I have written much on the following subject, but as Peter said to his readers, “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.”

Every modernistic theologian, as well as the secular world, along with cults and isms, makes much ado about the historic Christ, as found in the gospels. When attempting to prove their point they’re noticeably consistent in avoiding the Pauline epistles, which puts the emphasis on the heavenly Christ. True, you cannot have one without the other, for each necessitates the other.  But just as true is progressive revelation. The new is enfolded in the old, but the old is unfolded in the new.

Now we can understand Paul’s statement, “though we have known Christ after the flesh (historically), yet now henceforth know we [Him] no more.” It is no longer the historic Christ, as important as this might be, but the heavenly Christ we are to give our attention to. As long as Christians worship a babe, they themselves will remain one. The days of His flesh are ended (Heb.5:7). Or as my pastor friend in Canada brought to my attention, we must get past the veil of His flesh, if we are to find and know God.

It is in Paul’s writings alone we learn the truths pertinent to how we, in this church age, are to live. Paul’s revelation is what Jesus wanted to say while here on earth but couldn’t. He told His disciples they were not ready, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”

Therefore, let me challenge each saint, not to be remiss in reading Paul’s letters. Read and re-read them often. They were written particularly with you in mind!  
All the Bible is for us, but not all of it is to us, or about us.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Bound Resurrected Life

What good is a resurrected life if you’re still bound in grave clothes? Lazarus could attest to this truth. Jesus preformed the miracle of giving Lazarus life but used others as the means of loosing him from his bondage. Every Believer’s ministry is to emancipate, not enslave. “Jesus saith unto them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

Far too many saints are in a straitjacket. We need to be cautious that we do not put a “restricted” sign on things God has not prohibited. Everything that is not specifically spelled out as sin in the scriptures comes under the label of liberty.

We are told, “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Paul taught this principle when he told young Timothy, if it was of God then it was good, and that nothing was to be refused, if received with thanksgiving. True, under this heading some can, and others cannot; but these sensitive decisions are to be left entirely up to the Spirit-filled believer and their God (Ro.14).

My son, Andrew, has an article entitled, “Only God Gets to Define Sin.” Let us be careful not to replace our man-made tag for God’s. I think Peter put it best at the first Church council when he said, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.” Or as my mentor, Dr. Joe Henry Hankins, used to say, “Never put more of a burden on a man than he already has.”

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Little Chorus Has it Right

Gone, gone, gone, gone,
Yes my sins are gone.
Now my soul is free and in my heart’s a song.
Buried in the deepest sea
Yes, that's good enough for me.
I shall live eternally,
Praise God! My sins are g-o-n-e, gone!

Not some, a portion, or even most, but all my sins are gone. Sound like heresy? Think of it; when Christ died on the Cross, we had no past or present sins. We did not exist, all our sins were future. There is no longer sin on us, although sin does still remain in us. Once saved,God does not deal with us as sinners unto condemnation, but as a Father with His wayward children, chastening us in this life. That we may not be condemned with the world.

In the Old Testament, Aaron, the High Priest, on the day of atonement, would lay both his hands upon the head of a scapegoat. He would then confess “all the iniquities,” “all the transgressions,” and “all the sins” of God’s people. Then the animal would be sent away into the uninhabited wilderness, bearing their sins.

In Paul’s gospel he tells us how "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." We hear a lot about the death and resurrection of Christ, but very little of his burial. This, to our great chagrin.

Could it be the Tomb is where He left our sins? That is, He went in with them, and came out without them. That He, like the scapegoat, took them into a no-man's land, never to be found. Or as the songwriter put it, "...buried, He carried our sins far away." I think so!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Paddling Your Own Boat

We will never know God as long as we remain a stranger to the Stranger of Galilee. He was God in disguise. As H. A. Ironside brings out ,the Shunnamite in Song of Solomon found, her shepherd lover was, in reality, her King in disguise. Christ’s greatest claim while on earth was that He and God were one. Therefore, it is a wise thing to hold claim to His claim. There is no halfway house on this issue.

Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship. Jesus was so intimate with His Father that He called Him “Abba” (Papa). And we are told that we also can have such a relationship (Gal.4:6). This is authentic Christianity. When you spend time with Jesus, you become intensely aware of God. As one writer says, “Jesus is an unclouded window into God.”

Jesus’ credential was Himself, and those who knew Him were convinced of His right to Lordship in their lives. His early followers had no doubt of this Carpenter’s claim upon themselves and all they possessed. “…neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own.” It goes on to say that such people had “…great power,” and “great grace.”

For those who want to paddle their own canoe, I would warn that ultimately you’ll find yourselves “up a creek without a paddle!” (rds)

Friday, April 7, 2017

I'm As Good As They Were...Really!

“I am not better than my fathers.” This statement by the discouraged prophet has more unmined nuggets in it than most realize. Can we take by his saying this there was a time that he did think he was better than his father's? Did he have to be put in a difficult situation to realize and admit to it? And was there still a portion of unyielding pride that would not allow him to go all the way and say, “I am not as good as my father's”?

I have found in both the physical and spiritual world that we also have an “Elijah Syndrome.”

As to the first of these, the physical,how many young married people believe they are just a notch higher than their parents. In such things as; rearing their children, making important decisions, and living life in general. But I assure you, among the honest ones, after they’ve experienced the difficult tasks of their forefathers, they too will say, “I am no better than my parents.” And how embarrassing this is to oneself when admitted.   

Then there is the spiritual realm where we are guilty of arrogantly saying of our forefathers, “They were good men and women, but he or she were “off” on this or that particular thing.” But, after God shows us our hearts, if truly humbled, we finally get to the place where we say, “I’m no better than they were.”

“I am no better than my fathers,” brings you from superiority to equality. Real humility is to say (and mean), “I’m not as good as my father's.” (rds)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Beneath the Surface

"Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.”

ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO BE LIKE THEM?

Qualities anyone would desire to emulate, would you not agree? That is, until he disrobed at night. After taking away all the medals of achievement, and laying aside his attractive attire, our deep craving to be this person would fade. For under that external fa├žade, we would find a disgusting and nauseating dry rot. It is amazing how many blemishes, scars, and ugly defects, cosmetics hide.

THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS THE WAY THEY LOOK

If we could see beneath the surface of those we long to be like, we would be more than content to live in our own skins. I’m sure, had we lived in Solomon’s day, we’d have given anything to be in his shoes, not realizing, under that glorious apparel and material wealth was a man who hated life. And what’s worse had an unquenchable lust resting in his bosom, which would ultimately turn him from the God he loved.

GOD HAS GIVEN YOU ONE FACE, AND YOU MAKE YOURSELF ANOTHER. ~WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

You’re a rarity; God threw away the mold after making you. Why be like someone else, there’s already one of them. But no one is quite like you.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Paul's Love For Christ

"The Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”
“For the love of Christ constraineth us.”
Gal. 2:20-2Cor. 5:14

THE SERVANT BEING AS HIS MASTER

It is recorded of Jesus, while on earth, that He loved certain individuals, but not that He ever told anyone. In Paul’s life and writings he never said he loved the Lord Jesus. Like his Master, he showed it. As John wrote, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed.” They both showed their love for one another.

THE KIND OF LOVE PAUL HAD FOR CHRIST

In the Western, Broken Trail, Robert Duvall’s character, describing love, said, “It’s bone deep.” That is, it goes to the center, to the very marrow. This warrior’s love for his King was not giddy, gushy, or romantic; nor was it puppy love. His was a love that would give up everything, suffer all things, and become anything, for the Lover of his soul. His love knew no limits. Christ’s desire was his command. All the things this blessed man suffered his life-long for his Saviour seemed, as it is said of Jacob's love for Rachel, “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.”

CHAINED BY LOVE

The Apostle’s theme song was, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.” Although Christ set him free, he willingly made himself a bond-slave to his Master. As the servant in the Old Testament who was given the opportunity to be set free said, “And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master...I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.” Ex. 21:5-6

LOVE IN RETURN

Paul’s love for Jesus was a reciprocal one, “We love Him, because He first loved us.” You might say, it was love at first sight. Once Paul saw Him, he was blinded to everything and everyone else. He only had eyes for his Lover. His love for Christ was neither hot, cold, or lukewarm; it was always boiling, and on the front burner! There was not a cranny in his body, soul, or spirit, that was not filled with love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

NO ONE HAS A PREMIUM ON LOVING JESUS CHRIST

Some may have more, do more, know more, but none can love more. It is an act of one’s will. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Successful Saints

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
(Joshua 1:8)

SUCCESSFUL-BUT UNAWARE OF IT   

Years ago, I held a meeting in a country church in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. After preaching a sermon in which I exalted the common layman, an aged couple approached me. With tears in his eyes the gentleman said, “Preacher, for fifty-years my wife and I thought we were second class saints, until we heard you tonight. We have always been made to believe preachers and full time workers were the most important.” Thank God He doesn’t see things the way we do.

WHAT IS SUCCESS?

The old-time evangelist and president of the college named after him, Dr. Bob Jones Sr., used to say, “Success is finding the Will of God and doing it.” He went on to say, “The little bird is happy flying in the heavens and the fish swimming in the waters, because that is what God created them for.” Dear reader, if you are where God wants you to be, doing what God wants you to do, be it ever so humble and seemingly insignificant-THEN YOU ARE A SPIRITUAL SUCCESS!

GOD’S HOW-TO BOOK ON BEING A SUCCESS

The word success is found only once in the Bible (our text). But in it you have all the ingredients that go into a successful life, Look at Joshua. Anyone considered successful who does not follow this pattern, may be considered successful in some peoples’ eyes, but, in God’s, they are successful failures. They certainly do not impress God in the least. Who would believe the godly scrub woman on her knees and the saintly farmer behind the plow, would have their names in lights in Heaven?

THE CARPENTER FOREVER PUT HIS STAMP OF APPROVAL UPON THE LIFE OF THE COMMON LAYMAN.”

Saturday, March 25, 2017

So You Can't Measure Up

HIGH STANDARDS-BUT LITTLE PEOPLE

In all my years as a Christian, I have never found any man or woman who measured up to God’s standards. We all come short in some area; all of us fail to pass muster. Why then are these lofty commands given? It is because the Lord would have us aim high, so to speak. And though we will never hit the bulls-eye in this life, we’ll get closer than if we never had given it a shot.

GOD GIVES ELBOW ROOM

But it is very important to remember, God wrote His Rule Book with His Pen of Mercy. Therefore, you’ll find His requirements are not as rigid as the religious legalists would have you believe. David wrote, “I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.” Be careful when you draw God’s Sword to lay down His Law for others that you do not slice yourself with the opposite edge.

GOD REGARDS WHAT MAN DISREGARDS

The priests of Jesus’ day would not have taken Him into the priesthood, because He lacked the right credentials; nevertheless, God made Him a Priest. So says the book of Hebrews. Our Lord has a way of qualifying what man disqualifies. For example Jephthah, as found in the book of Judges, chapter eleven. Things which are broken are no longer of any use to us, so we discard them. But God doesn’t use anything until it is broken!

"HE was rejected of men, but approved of God.” 

Friday, March 24, 2017

The "ONE" True Altar

"We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle."  
(Heb.13:10)

THE BOOK OF HEBREWS

Reading the book of Hebrews through at a single sitting one is impressed that it’s predominantly a book of contrasts. It contrasts: shadows with substance; physical with spiritual; type with anti-type; outward with inward; seen with unseen; earthly with heavenly; and yes! Moses with Christ.

THE ALTAR OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

The New Testament churches knew nothing of altars in their assemblies. The Jews objected to them not having a literal altar. The Christians’ answer was, “We have an altar”; a spiritual one, Christ. He was both their gift and sacrifice. He sanctified the gift. The altar, offerer, and sacrifice, were all closely connected. Being associated with the altar identified one with the sacrifice.

ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Rome invented an altar in their churches, emulating apostate Israel. This was soon followed by the Protestants copying the Catholic. But Christ is the only altar God owns. The only one that must be recognized by Christians. Those, like the priests who trusted in ceremony and tradition, are excluded from the benefits of God’s true altar-CHRIST JESUS!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Using God's Name to One's Advantage

“And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.
Gen. 27:20

As only a boy (seventeen), in the Air Force during the early fifties, I had, before it was acceptable, a best friend, a black man. He told me a funny story about some of his brothers. It seems they would buy cheap suits at Goodwill, then sew a Hart Schaffner and Marx label in them.

Some people think cheap things are of more value if you put the right name on the tag. Jacob, like most of us, thought if he put God’s name on the label of his manufactured scheme, it would make it more honorable and ease his guilty conscious. It was not God who prospered him, but his own hand.

How many of Jacob’s carnal clan believe if you put God’s name to it, it will sell, that it will be acceptable to other worldly Christians. We put that blessed name to everything from the commercialization of the gospel to the approval of fornication, under the guise of God’s love.

To use God’s name in vain to support your personal agenda in gaining acceptance with this apostate age, will never be acceptable with God. You may tell Him you have done many wonderful things in His name, but there will be no commendation, if you're looking for that, only a “I never knew you.”

“But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.”

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Stone From the Brook

"The waters wear the stones.” The sense here is that constant changes are going on in nature. Over a period of years, as the swift waters flow over these ragged-edged stones, and they continually collide with one another, they become smooth. Such a process is not accomplished in a day.

And so it is with God’s elect. We lie in the stream of life, tossed to and fro, and are battered about until the rough edges are gone. It is then that a greater than David reaches His nail-pierced hand into the swift-moving current and lifts us out. And, for what purpose? To do with one insignificant smooth stone what Saul’s entire army could not do: take down a giant. Marvelous, is it not, the potential of one little stone?

The next time you’re “rubbed wrong,” remember; God is taking off the rough places.

Friday, March 17, 2017

As I Grow Older

MORE CONVINCED THAN EVER

After almost sixty-years of studying God’s Word and observing people, I have added to my short list of core convictions two more, and set them in cement. I have always strongly believed in both, but not to the almost radical extent I do now. I’m referring to my belief in God’s absolute sovereignty over man and matter, and the total depravity of man in every area of his being.

WHEN ALL'S SAID AND DONE

As to the former, in the above mentioned, the certainty that an omnipotent God is in control of this insane world today, is the only thing that’s allowed me to keep my sanity. A world where the inmates are now running the institution and the sane people are considered the “crazies.” It is wonderful to know at such a time, as Daniel of old said, “There is a God in Heaven.” And when things have run their course according to His plan, He will step in! And when He puts His foot down, I guarantee all will know it.

CROOKED AS A CORKSCREW

Concerning my second persuasion, as Isaiah says in the first chapter of his book, man is tainted with sin from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. No part is left untouched; he is depraved in all aspects. Left to himself, free to act and think as he pleases, he will invariably choose his own interests above God’s. Total depravity entails total inability. That is, he has lost all ability to understand or accomplish anything truly Spiritual. Cornelius Van Til put it something like this; “It’s not that unregenerate man is not sharp; he can saw as good, if not better, than a Christian. The problem is, his saw is crooked, never allowing him to saw a straight line.”

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saints Enslaved

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1Cor.6:12

IT’S NOT LAW
Good habits are a good thing, that is, until they become a law. It is then a good habit becomes a bad habit. What I mean is when you do not do certain things the same way, every time, in a regimented way, you’re constantly condemned.

SUPERSTITIOUS SAINTS
For many us who are under or have known this ritualistic power, it is like having a voodoo spell cast upon you, believing there is nothing you can do in such cases. There is more than one way in which Satan spiritually enslaves a saint.

GOOD CAN BECOME THE ENEMY OF THE BEST
Evangelist D.L. Moody, commenting on marking your Bible said, “It is a good thing to do, until one becomes a servant to your marks.” If not careful, a saint can become slave to his or her devotions, prayers, Bible reading, and witnessing, and a host of other things. Can I also  throw in the same old, same old church services?

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

How monotonous uniformity can be. But let me warn all who dare break out of their shell of conformity, there will be some adjusting at the first. The radio preacher, Chuck Swindoll, tells a story that illustrates my point. It seems he got fed up with shaving the same way week in and week out, for years. So, says he, “I thought I’d do things different and shave opposite from what I was accustom to.” The result? He went on to say his face was full of nicks and cuts. But don’t worry, my friend, they heal up.

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
“And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.”    

THROW AWAY THE MOLD!  

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Cost of Closeness

ROTTEN TO THE CORE

“I am vile”… “O wretched man that I am!”…”Woe is me! for I am undone”…”Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Each of these men’s confession (Job, Paul, Isaiah, Peter) brought an end to self, nevertheless, it was the beginning of God in their lives. We are never as good as we think we are; but we are always worse than we think we are. When we come before God, it is possible to be too good, but we never need fear feeling we are too bad.

ONLY THE SICK REALIZE THEIR NEED OF A PHYSICIAN

I am not speaking of morbidity that manifests itself in a false humility, but, rather, accepting sane, scriptural facts about our inward condition. Until we see the utter corruption within, and stop making excuses, we will feel no reason for forgiveness. The Blood of Christ cleanses sin, not excuses. And we need not despair at the greatness of our sins. His grace is always greater. In God’s sight, the Pharisee was a good bad man; the Publican, a bad good man.

ON THE PSYCHIATRIST'S COUCH          

The psychoanalyst (shrinks with big heads) would have a field day with the the aforementioned four men thought to be maladjusted. They definitely had a problem with self esteem and you wouldn’t want to ask them if they were comfortable in their own skin. This kind are rejected not only by the world, but what’s worse, many times, by their own Christian family, friends, and acquaintances. Ask the man Christ Jesus, if you doubt me.



Monday, March 6, 2017

Why God Uses Some We Wouldn't

A CLOSE KEPT SECRET

An associate of a great, but controversial, preacher of the past, describing why God used him so mightily said, “God and him have something between them that neither has let the rest of us in on.”

THE CLICHE OF OUR DAY GIVEN TO THIS PARTICULAR CLAN

We like to say of these embarrassing, undesirable ones, that “God uses him or her in spite of themselves.” But that won’t wash, as they say. If you’ll pardon my crudeness, God is not hard-up for people to use.

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER

The Lord uses a person exactly because of who they are, not in spite of the fact. God’s fivefold laughable army in 1 Corinthians bears this out. He purposely chose, “...the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” Few stand in awe at qualified saints.

MY BROTHER-IN-LAW HAD IT RIGHT ALL THE TIME

When just a babe in Christ, I was having problems coming from a deep life of sin. My brother-in-law, a baptist preacher, now in his nineties, would say to me, “You may not be what you want to be, you may not be what you ought to be, but you’re a whole lot better than you would be without Christ.”

“A cur dog that recognizes his master’s ownership is better than a thoroughbred that refuses to do so.” (rds)  

Thursday, March 2, 2017

In the Name of Jesus

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT THAT NAME

Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” Plenty, if it’s the name of Jesus. At that name, “every knee [will] bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” It’s this name on your check that can withdraw large amounts from Heaven’s bank. It’s at the name of Jesus that lame souls can, “rise up and walk” again. At the mention of this name, from a heart of faith, there is remission of sins, evil spirits flee away, and every type of wonder under Heaven is done.

THE WORLD WANTS TO MUTE BELIEVERS

No marvel, then, that the early believers were threatened “that they should not speak in the name of Jesus.” Yet they were not intimidated. They were willing to “hazard their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Yea, even to “die...for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

TAKE THE NAME OF JESUS WITH YOU

David met Goliath in the name of the Lord. Our giants will fall also when we approach them in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Hidden Monster Within

“And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?”
(1Sam.18:7-8)

THOUSANDS OR TENS OF THOUSANDS

Why would not a man or woman, used of God, not be satisfied with being just that, used of God? Why not be content with your “thousands?” Why does one always have to do things bigger and better than those who excel him or her? The answer is simple, it is that hidden green-eyed-monster within, ENVY! Which, we are told, causes rottenness to the bones; and is a work of the flesh.

LESS I FORGET

“And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin?” How soon Saul forgot this. Amazing how a little God-given success can dull the memory. We need to be reminded from time to time, as Samuel reminded Saul. “And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?

TRUE HUMILITY

We hear a lot of talk today from the syrupy-saints crowd, about humility. How about we start here? Lets all begin to pray God will use and bless a brother or sister, doing the same work, greater than we ourselves. Rejoicing when we hear they have slain their tens of thousands while we have slain our thousands.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Optimism/Pessimism...And One Other

POPULAR TERMS DO NOT ALWAYS PROVE TO BE TRUE

The terms optimist and pessimist are much used today. The latter being frowned upon by all. The non-religious world along with the religious New Agers, as well as many professing Christians, pride themselves in their optimism. But I’m afraid that horse will come up short in life's race, once thoroughly checked out.

THE NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE

If the battery on you car ever died out then you know it will not start with only the positive cable; it takes the negative also. There is a balance. In the Ten Commandments there are more negative commands than positive. “Thou Shalt,” should always be balanced out with “Thou Shalt Not.”

WHAT FEW SEEM TO REALIZE-THEY DON’T STOP TO THINK

An optimist can be, and is, resented as much as the pessimist, if his or her expectations do not come to pass. No one, in the end, tolerates one who gives a false hope. Wants and desires don’t make it so, no matter how sincere one may be. To see things the way you wish they were is commendable, but it is not life.

THE ALTERNATIVE-YOU CAN INCORPORATE THE TWO IN ONE

There is the optimist, there is the pessimist, but there is one more, THE REALIST. He or she sees things the way they actually are. It is fact with them, nothing fictional! Among the false prophets you’ll find both optimist and pessimist, but not a realist. That should tell us something.