Friday, January 27, 2017

The Importance of the Second Advent

IT IS PART OF OUR FAITH

Christ’s coming to this earth a second time is an essential doctrine in the Christian’s belief, or should be. As another has stated, “It is not an optional extra.” C.S. Lewis states, “It seems impossible to retain in any recognizable form our belief in the divinity of Christ and the truth of the Christian revelation, while abandoning, or even persistently neglecting the promised return of Christ.”

THE PREEMINENCE OF HIS COMING IN THE BIBLE

The Second Coming of Christ comes second to no other doctrine in scripture. Not even the Atonement! By careful observance, to my dismay, I have found only a small remnant of the elect carry this stimulating hope in their bosom. Most, it seems, have lost the blessing of the “Blessed Hope.” This is rapidly becoming an extinct topic from the pulpits in our day.

THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST

A right belief in Jesus Christ’s teachings involves a climactic appearance of the Son of God  on the stage of human history at some unexpected time. Again,quoting Lewis, “Because we cannot predict the moment, we must be ready at all moments.” Or better yet, to put it in the Master’s words, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matt.24:44) 

Monday, January 23, 2017

NOT WITHOUT HONOUR

"And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.”
Matthew 13:57
“But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house."  
Mark 6:4

IT SAYS WHAT IT MEANS AND MEANS WHAT IT SAYS

If you happen to be one of those “syrupy sweet” Christians who want nothing to do with negative Bible truths, you will attempt somehow to make the above text say something it does not say. You may even want to correct this writer. But I remind you, I didn’t say it. The greatest authority that ever graced this earth, who always spoke the truth, said it. So, if you have a problem, I suggest you take it up with Him.

JESUS KNEW WHEREOF HE SPAKE

This may have been a proverbial expression of His day, and a general truth.  There could have been exceptions, but He was not one of them. He seemed to be honoured more elsewhere than among those most familiar with Him. They could not accept wisdom dressed in carpenter’s garb. They were too proud to be taught by such like. As with today, they had false standards of what personified greatness.

ARTISTS TEACH US THIS TRUTH

Most of the renowned artists of the past, along with their works, were not recognized or appreciated till their deaths. So it was with our blessed Lord, we’re told many of those closest to Him did not believe on Him, until after His resurrection. And so it was, and always will be. Therefore, it is a wise man or woman who goes to those strangers who will listen, and leave friends and loved ones, who will not listen, with the Lord and His timing. Remembering, you’re not without honour.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

No End In View

THE WORDS OF THE WISE MAN

“Of making many books there is no end.” The man who wrote these words ought to know; we are told Solomon was responsible for three thousand proverbs, as well as one thousand and five songs. Interestingly, God used a writer to record for us the truth of the unendingness of some things in life; for no one is more conscious of this than a writer, there always seems to be another book or article to be written.

IT’S LIKE LOOKING OUT OVER THE OCEAN-NO END IN SIGHT

Life is an ongoing experience in which we never seem to catch up. There is always something ahead of us, and once we catch it, something else takes its place in the forefront. We need to reconcile ourselves to the fact that with many things in life there is no end in view. Therefore I’ve taken as one of my philosophical tidbits, “Do the next thing.” This is the only way I can keep what sanity I have left in this fast-paced world. Let’s face it, most of what we deem as permanent is temporal at best. Most things are not nailed down!

LONG DISTANCE RUNNERS ALWAYS KEEP BACK SOME ENERGY IN STORE

Life is a long-distance race; therefore we need to learn to pace ourselves. As my older son so aptly says, “We’re to be in it for the long-haul.”

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Fallacy of a Firm Grip

SAYINGS THAT ARE SCRIPTURAL

“What is that in thine hand?” I realize we must be careful with cliché’s when associating them with Scriptures. They may be true in one instance and not in another. They are always to be taken in their context. One such little saying is, “Let go and let God.” In this case, if we are speaking of Moses letting go of his rod so that God could transform it, then it fits the text.

PRYING LOOSE THE FINGERS

This quip is good for we who like to keep a tight grip on people and things. For some of us, it takes God years to pry our fingers loose from what we’re holding to. As long as we keep our firm grip, they, or it, are not God’s. It is only when we open our hand and let go that God can begin His transforming work. And this ceases when we take that item or person up again, as in Moses case.

FROM OUR HANDS TO HIS HAND

“When it’s in your hands, you get what you can produce; when it’s in God’s, you get what He can produce. “ (rds)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rubbing Shoulders With Wise Men

IT RUBS OFF

"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.” C.S. Lewis writes, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” As the old adage says, “You’re known by the company you keep”. Though it is not true of salvation, wisdom can be obtained through osmosis.

THE STORY THE  POOR WISE  MAN

One of my very favorite Bible stories is found in Eccl.9:13-18. There we find a poor wise man, who, when listened to, was the cause of great deliverance in others' lives. In this case it was not wealth but wisdom that emancipated. Wisdom was found in the form of rags rather than riches.

THE SCENT OF WISDOM

Though wisdom has many outfits in its wardrobe, nevertheless, you can recognize it by the fragrance on the garment it wears. It always has the scent of humility upon it. The companions of Christ had more wisdom than all the philosophers of their day.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Has Your Halo Shrunk?

SHRINKAGE OR EXPANSION

Have you noticed your halo getting a little tight lately? Are you concerned with it shrinking? Don’t be! Halos don’t shrink; but what they sit on has been known to expand considerably. “Big heads” dispel, or minimize, any glory the Lord might have placed upon our pate.

HUMBLE HEADS

The “helmet of salvation” is not, “one size fits all.” It was made to fit only one type-- those who have a humble head setting atop their shoulders. Paul was such a one. Says he, “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind.”

THINKING OURSELVES SOMEBODIES WHEN WE’RE NOBODIES

It is an awful thing to think ourselves something, when we’re nothing (Gal.6:3). How many of us are like the little woodpecker pecking at the telephone pole. When lightning struck, sending both pole and bird to the ground, the dazed bird was overheard saying, “Man I knew I had power, but not that much!”

“As long as one knows one is proud one is safe from the worst form of pride.”
(C.S. Lewis)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Glass Houses

THE REAL THING

It could truthfully be said of Paul by the people of his day, “What you see is what you get.” Being real was uppermost in his mind, even to the extent of making bear his soul. He tells us he did this, “…lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.” Paul was not a man with a thousand spiritual faces, or a variety of changeable religious garments; he had only one of each.

THE BLESSINGS AND CURSES OF TRANSPARENCY

One advantage of living in a glass house is that it cures you (or should) from throwing stones at others. You can no longer set yourself up as “holier than thou,” since your life is seen by all. Transparency allows everyone to behold every little blemish, and opens you up for criticism by those who hide in their stone monasteries. But it also can be a blessing to those with similar failings. It’s comforting to realize those we esteem highly live in the same kind of skin.

We never need fear genuine people seeing our warts; they are much more forgiving of a fault, than they are of hypocrisy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Eternal Present

WHAT’S YOUR NAME?

When Moses asked God “What is thy name?” he answered him by saying, “I AM THAT I AM.” The Lord went on to say, “[T]his is my name forever.” Therefore, God is the Eternal Present. He is not “I Was,” or “I Will Be,” but always, “I AM.” No wonder David could say of Him that He is “…a very present help in trouble.”

IT’S ALWAYS THE SAME

Ask any question you will; the divine answer is, has been, and always will be, “I AM.” Who is going to watch my children when they leave home? “I AM.” Who is going to take care of me in old age? “I AM.” What’s the use in living? “I AM.” Who is going to deliver me and set me free from this bondage that plagues me? “I AM.” Who is going to give me wisdom for my particular predicament? “I AM.” The list is unending, but I assure you, each ends with “I AM.”

WHERE TO FIND WHAT YOU NEED

If you’re looking for the right way, you’ll find it in the “I AM.” If it’s the truth you seek, go to the great “I AM.” If you’re longing for an abundant life, it is only to be discovered in the “I AM.” He’s the One who told us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

PAST-PRESENT-FUTURE

He is the eternal and unchangeable “I AM.” The same “yesterday, today, and forever.” He was, and will ever be, what He is; “I AM.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Who Knows Better Than God

FOUR DIFFERENT KINDS OF PRAYER

"…they called upon the Lord, and he answered them." Sometimes God answers prayer immediately, as in the case of Daniel (9:21). At other times, there is a delay. This is illustrated in the parable of the widow (Luke 18:1-8). Then, there are occasions when we are simply told, "No." Moses is an example of this (Deut.3:25-27). And who among us has not experienced the answer far exceeding our expectations (Eph.3:20)?

THE FIFTH KIND

But what I want to focus our attention on is a fifth avenue, which is when God answers differently from our request. The Apostle Paul prayed three times for an answer to a specific desire. God answered his petition but not in the way he asked or expected (2 Cor.12:8,9). At such times, we need to realize "Father knows best."

AN EXAMPLE OF THE LAST KIND

God's only Beloved Son followed this rule. He, as Paul, prayed three separate times concerning a particular thing in his life but ended His prayer with, "…nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." This is always the safest and surest way in prayer. Express your will but accept His.

C.S. LEWIS HAD IT RIGHT

“For most of us the prayer of Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait.”

Monday, January 2, 2017

Test Your Spirituality

YOU DECIDE

“Greater works than these shall he do.” There are differing opinions as to what Jesus meant when He spoke these words to His disciples. Therefore, I’ll leave it up to each individual to sort out on their own what they believe the teaching of the text to be.

BENEATH THE SURFACE

What I would like to do, if you will permit me, is to bring out something I feel is beneath the text, which does not appear on the surface. Something, I believe, can be very practical and beneficial to each of us, something that will help us evaluate our Spirituality.

EXALTING THE OTHER AT OUR OWN EXPENSE

Whatever the text may mean, one thing it shows for sure; there was not a drop of envy or jealousy in the life of this Man, Christ Jesus. He was not threatened, nor did He try to stifle these inferior men, who would excel Him in work. Rather, He promoted it, and encouraged them.

THE TRUE MEANING OF LIFE

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Getting Your Feet Wet

PUTTING IN BOTH FEET

“When ye are come to the brink of the water...ye shall stand still in Jordan...[and] as soon as the soles of [your] feet...shall rest in the waters...they shall stand upon an heap...[their] feet...were dipped in the brim of the water...[they] stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan...[they] stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded.”

HE LEADS US HE DOESN’T PUSH US

The song, God Leads His Dear Children Along, can be seen in the saints’ life of faith. Isn’t it blessed how gently He leads us into the deep waters, the midst of Jordan, so to speak? He does not require we jump immediately in the middle but as in Peter’s case, He takes us from the shore out into the deep. This reminds me of Oswald Chambers’ comment: “Every ocean has a shore.”

THE  OLD TESTAMENT PROPHET’S EXPERIENCE

The prophet puts it this way, “He brought me through the waters; the waters [were] to the ankles...Again... he brought me through the waters; the waters [were]to the knees...Again he...brought me through; the waters [were] to the loins...Afterward he measured...and it was a river...for the waters were risen, waters to swim in.”

A LITTLE AT A TIME

God starts out by getting our feet wet, and then we end up in the middle of the Jordan. It’s like when I was a boy of seven. At a local pool, I began in the shallow part, but shortly after was swimming in the deep end. I have found in my own spiritual life that this has been the custom. I, trembling, dip my foot of faith in the waters, and before long, I am enjoying a good swim.

IT MUST ALWAYS BE FRESH FAITH-NOT DAY OLD

I also have learned in my experience that each venture requires a fresh faith. Yesterday’s faith is a cancelled check. Therefore, with each new endeavor, we begin all over again by getting our feet wet. And why is this? “For ye have not passed [this] way heretofore.”

O, how I pray that when I see my Lord, I’ll be soaking wet from head to toe!