Saturday, December 26, 2015
"And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, with very much gold and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart." I Kings 10:2. The queen of Sheba had come to prove Solomon with hard questions. She brought him lavish gifts. We have a throne to which we may travel. And, we go there not to prove Him, but to tell Him of those things that are in our heart. God wants us to tell Him all that is in our heart. His ear is ready for our utterance. We have sorrows that trouble us. Let us tell Him. But, also, there is joy of which we may speak to Him freely. Fear creeps into our very soul. Let us lay it upon the bosom of the Father. Life is a difficult road to travel. But, we do not have to travel alone. For, we can tell all of our heart to God, our Father. God will listen even to those things that we think might be trifles. The slightest thought that comes into our mind can be related unto Him in our communion. God bids us tell Him all of our heart. And, oh, what a blessing is found in telling Him.
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." I John 1:8. Sin comes through temptation. Temptation is the work of the devil. Satan wants us to sin against God. And, Satan tempts everyone to sin. Temptation challenges us. The scripture affirms that we all have sin. Unless we admit this truth, we are deceiving ourselves. Sin is deceptive and the worst deception for us is the failure to confess our sin. Sin can be overcome. Every temptation can be defeated. However, there has been a point when we did not overcome the temptation and have committed sin. God wants us to admit that we have sinned and turn from sin. With God's help, we can defeat the temptation that comes our way. With the blood of Christ, all of our sin can be forgiven. We can follow God's truth. We must listen to God's instructions so that we live in obedience to His will. When we obey God in baptism, all of our sin is removed. We are guiltless. Let us not be deceived into believing that we do not need the forgiveness of God and the cleansing of sin that is offered by the blood of Christ.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not." Lamentations 3:22. When we consider the holiness of God and our own sinfulness, we realize that we continue because of mercy. God's mercy prevents the consumption of the wicked. God through mercy allows repentance and continuance. When we think of the power of God, we understand how swiftly we could be consumed. God's mercy allows the opportunity to do right. God is very merciful and compassionate. His anger is quieted because of His mercy. His wrath is delayed because of His mercy. The mercy of God is not deserved. We continue to fall short of His divine standard. We err, and therefore, God in justice could consume us. But, oh, the character of His mercy is revealed. His compassion is showered upon the doers of iniquity. Turn and live is His call. Do what is good is His offer. Compassion and mercy flow like a river from His throne. The garments that clothe the Almighty are mercy and compassion. Let us not linger in disobedience ere His compassion cease and His mercy fail. Let us run to the God of mercy and bathe ourselves in His compassion.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Revelation 22:17. The grace of God is so freely given that it calls every one to come unto Him. The poor and the rich can both come. The unlearned and the learned can both come. And, all who come are rewarded the same. They who come are one in Christ Jesus. One is no better than another. One is no richer than another. All may partake of the water of life and enjoy the blessings provided. The thirsty may come and drink the water that will forever satisfy that thirst. The invitation of the Spirit and the bride is sounded and invites from every land and every walk of life for the thirsty to come. What an invitation that can satisfy the inward need of all. Only God could issue such an invitation. Only God can offer such a hope. The invitation crosses every boundary and erases all borders. Come and take the water of life. Drink from the well of eternal hope. Drink the water that gives everlasting life. Come and drink.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13. Those men whom Jesus called to be His disciples were understood by the enemies of Jesus to be "ignorant and unlearned." But one thing was clear and it was that these had been with Jesus. Formal learning did not make them who they were. Jesus had transformed their lives. The influence of Jesus had changed them into men of boldness and purpose. Jesus has a profound influence upon those who have been with Him. Jesus changes attitudes and dispositions. Those who have been with Jesus think differently and act differently. Those who have been with Jesus become bold instead of fearful. The enemies of Jesus were not going to turn these disciples from the charge that had been given to them. Jesus was the reason that Peter and John were standing in the presence of these enemies. Jesus had drawn them into His way of life and into the mission for which He had come to earth. The world of evil needs those who have been with Jesus. This world needs those who are learned in the way of right, goodness, and holiness. This world needs those who will stand for truth and principle. They who have with Jesus are such.
"For the Son of man is come to seek and save that which is lost." Luke 19:10. This statement explains the mission of why Jesus came into the world. Jesus left heaven and came to earth because humanity was lost in sin. The justice of God demanded a sacrifice for sin. Jesus was that sacrifice. All of His lessons and acts of compassion were done to lead humanity away from sin and back to God. The lost must be sought in order to be saved. The devil had led humanity into the darkness of sin. Jesus came to lead us out of darkness into light. His glorious journey from heaven to earth was to accomplish the salvation of the lost. While upon the earth, Jesus did not seek his own desires, but rather the will of His heavenly Father. He made every sacrifice for the eternal well being of others. The single motivation that delivered Him into the human form and that lead Him to become the Son of man was the salvation of the lost. The lost cannot be saved without Jesus. He is the only Savior. In Him only is redemption found. Jesus desires for the lost to be saved.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip." Hebrews 2:1. The Bible is filled with statements of caution. Here is one such passage. The gospel has been heard and obeyed by these Hebrew Christians. But, there was a danger to which they needed to be alerted. That danger was and is at this moment that those truths which have been accepted can slip away from us. Through neglect, truth can slip. The gospel is a message unto which one must take heed. Careful and diligent attention must be given to God's divine truth. The message can slip away at any time in life. In the days of youth, truth can vanish from us. In the days of the winter of our life, truth can slip from our heart. Truth heard and believed does not simply run away from us. Truth slips. The idea in this passage is that of a leaking vessel. The material in the container gradually goes away even without notice. Those things of God which we have heard are no different. They can gradually leave us. We must give heed to those things that have the power to save our soul. If they slip from us, that is a grave danger. For if they slip from us, we will be lost.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
"And I brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ." I Corinthians 3:1. One is either a spiritual man or a carnal man. To be carnal is to be worldly minded and to dwell in sin. The spiritual mind seeks the things that be of God. The spiritual person desires to do only those things that please God and bring him glory. This church to whom this passage is addressed had not grown in Christ. They are recognized as "babes in Christ." The "babe in Christ" is to seek the things that be of Christ so that growth and maturity might take place. The carnal man is to be put off and the spiritual man is to be put on. This requires a certain mind set that centers and focuses upon the standards of God and Christ. The spiritual mind is set in Christ and understands and accepts that Christ is above all and in all. Christ and his will are sought. The carnal mind seeks his own will and does those things that please him. The carnal mind honors the individual rather than Christ. The carnal minds rejects the teachings of Christ. This is not the mind that the church is to have. The church is be spiritual because of her devotion to Christ. Let us leave the world and put on Christ and develop with the help of God the spiritual man.
Monday, December 14, 2015
"So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." John 8:7. The scribes and the Pharisees brought this woman who had been found in adultery unto Jesus. They quickly quoted the law unto him that she should be stoned. Their desire was to tempt Jesus so that they might be able to accuse him. These were individuals who were not interested in the law neither in the well being of this woman. They on various occasions had listened to Jesus as he preached words of compassion, forgiveness, and even obedience to the law of God. Jesus through his teaching sought to turn his hearers from sin unto God. Jesus brought the means by which forgiveness might be obtained. And yet, these scribes and Pharisees had rejected what was being offered unto them. On this occasion, Jesus turns them to the examination of their own hearts rather than the action of this woman. We must see the sin of our own heart. We must seek the forgiveness of God. We must seek the salvation of others. The heart that is not right with God is truly unable to condemn others who are not right with God. The sin of adultery was not right, but neither was the hypocrisy.
Friday, December 11, 2015
"But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." Luke 8:15. The design of preaching the word of God is to bring forth fruit. The word which is preached must be received by a good and honest heart. Not all hearts receive the word of God. Not all hearts that receive the word of God bring forth fruit. The heart that will bring forth fruit is the heart that hears the word of God and keeps it. One can hear the word and never keep the word. The fruitful heart is the obedient heart. This heart humbly hears and receives. The good soil will receive the seed and bring forth a crop. The obedient heart will receive the will of God and bring forth fruit. The sower of seed seeks the good soil and the sower of the word of God seeks the good heart. The ground is prepared to receive the seed and the heart must be prepared to receive the word. The word will abide in the heart and will change and nourish the heart. The one who hears and keeps the word lives a productive life in the service of God. The word of God is sown in many hearts, but only the good and honest heart will benefit from the word. What we do with our life is determined by how we respond to the word of God.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them." Acts 8:5. Christ is to be preached at all times and in all places. The preaching of Christ is never in season nor out of season. Jesus Christ is to be the subject of preaching. Jesus came from heaven at the will of God. Jesus was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Jesus came to save humanity from sin. Through Jesus, God set the plan of salvation in motion. And that plan is made known to all by preaching. Preaching requires a human element, the preacher. The subject of preaching never changes. The preaching of Jesus is never old fashioned, nor out of date. Neither time nor custom changes the preaching of Jesus. Jesus is the Christ because of His divine nature being at one with the Father. Jesus is the Christ because of His conquest over sin and death in His crucifixion and resurrection. The preaching of Christ is the greatest message that the world has ever or ever will hear. The preaching of Christ is the only message that has the power to save the soul from eternal darkness and destruction. If we listen to preaching, let us make certain that the subject is Christ.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
"For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee." Isaiah 41:13. God's promises and God's power guards us from fear. Fear disrupts the soul. Fear creates upheaval and fosters discontent in our life. Fear brings confusion and robs us of peace. God will keep us from fear because of His presence. God walks with those who walk with Him. God is always present with those who trust Him. Fear dissolves in the presence of God. We need not be afraid when God has promised to hold our hand. I cannot travel the road of life without the help of God. I am too weak and frail. The companionship of God is one of the true blessings of life. God helps us in times of difficulty. God helps us when we feel discouragement due to the battles that must be fought. God helps us when we face trial and have burdens to bear. God helps us when the devil tempts us to do evil. God holds our hand each step that we take. Our pathways is constantly guarded by the help of God.
Monday, December 7, 2015
"Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." I Corinthians 15:51.The mystery is a truth that is being revealed or made known. God is revealing a mystery. This truth concerns death. The word death seems final without anything thereafter. Therefore, the text uses the word "sleep." Sleep is not final. We sleep and we awake. All mortals will die. This is the universal verdict of the human family. We are born to life, but life ends and we die. Thus, the Bible often uses the word "sleep" to describe death. From sleep, we arise rested and refreshed. This is not the mystery. The mystery is that when we awake from our sleep of death, we will be changed. We die as a human body, but we are changed into a spiritual body. We die a corruptible body, but we are changed into an incorruptible body. We die as a powerless body, but we are changed into a powerful body. The body that comes from the grave is not the same body that goes into the grave. This is God's mystery. It is a mystery that removes fear. It is a mystery that gives assurance.
"For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." Philippians 2:21. Selfishness is a major problem. It will interfere with discipleship to Jesus Christ. Jesus asks for commitment. Commitment to Christ involves the whole person. Commitment to Christ involves a devotion of self that seeks the pleasure of Christ. As a disciple, one seeks to honor and glorify Christ and the church. Self must be denied. The priority of discipleship to Christ is the will of God. Our will must be in line with the will of God. Christ sought to teach the will of God and help humanity to a higher and more Godly way of life. This is to be the design of discipleship. Those who come to Christ seek to serve, not to be served. The disciple seeks to help, not to be helped. The disciple gives without the desire of receiving. If the disciple of Jesus does not seek those things that are Christ's, then that discipleship is in vain. The life that seeks its own is an empty life. The life that centers around itself is void of true purpose. The real calling of life is to seek and appreciate those things that are Christ's.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
"For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." John 6:33. All bread, both physical and spiritual, comes from God. Bread gives life. The children in the wilderness were given manna to sustain them in their journey. Jesus is the bread which has come from God. This bread is divine. This bread is more vital to the world than the manna of old. Jesus sustains us. This bread does not perish. Neither do those who partake of this bread. Jesus is the bread that feeds the soul. The soul needs nourishment. A body without bread will soon die. A soul without the bread of life will soon die. Jesus came to give life unto the world. As we feed upon Him, we are fed and nourished. The listeners wanted this bread. Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." verse35. This is God's greatest provision for the world. Feed and live.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." James 4:14. Would we change how we live our life if we knew what would be on tomorrow? We count on tomorrow for so many things and yet, we do not have the guarantee that tomorrow will come. Many have never seen the tomorrow of their lives. And, it may be that we will not see the tomorrow of our life. Life is so uncertain. We even use a phrase, "Here today and gone tomorrow." Life is so brief. The journey which we make with our life is so short. Our years come and go without hardly a notice. We ask ourselves where the years have gone. I know that I was once young and now am old, and the journey did not take very long. Indeed, life is as a vapor. A vapor comes and quickly goes. So with the days of our years. Life is a time to prepare for our future. As earthly life vanishes, the future is yet to be. We grow old and feeble in body, but we were born for another day and time. Let us know that we will not be here for very much longer. Let us cherish the moment. Let us prepare to embark upon that eternal voyage.
"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation." Psalm 68:19. The Lord is to be blessed because of His giving nature. God gives daily, not simply ever now and then. His benefits do not come occasionally, but daily. And, His benefits are not few, but He loads us with benefits. I see His benefits in constant flow unto me. He blesses and blesses again and again. From Him, I receive a daily dose of good health, food, clothing, and shelter. I receive His benefits of communion with Him, redemption, and hope. With theses benefits come the benefits of contentment and peace. I view the benefits of the Lord as those that help me maintain a relationship with Him. His benefits have promise and assurance. His benefits are not those of a passing nature that are only here for a time and then gone. As the days come and go, so His benefits continue. These benefits are essential for our salvation for He is the "God of our salvation." God saves from sin and evil, but He also saves from distress and trouble. God saves us from the uncertain events of our life. His benefits are inexhaustible. Blessed be the Lord.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Jehoram was thirty-two years of age when he began to reign in Jerusalem. As king, Jehoram "wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord." II Chronicles 21:6. As a result, the Lord smote him with an incurable disease and after two years, he died. His father before him did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. We choose whether to do that which is right or that which is evil. God is never pleased when we choose to do evil. The evil which Jehoram did was "in the eyes of the Lord." His actions violated God's standard of right. We are not to follow our thinking as to what is good or evil. God has established the pattern of right and wrong. And God takes notice of our actions. Recompense came because of the choice that he made. He made high places and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication. His evil spread as all evil does. His evil contaminated others as all evil does. Evil has a corrupting influence. It can corrupt an individual. It can corrupt a society. What Jehoram may have been able to do if he had done what was right and refrained himself from evil is unknown. We do know that the consequences would have been different.
Monday, November 23, 2015
"Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms." James 5:13. In life, there are times of merriment and also times of affliction. We know joy and we know sorrow. God gives us direction in those times and teaches us how to react to all situations. When afflicted, we are told to pray. God wants to know about our affliction. God offers consolation in affliction. God can and will help. Prayer gives us strength. Prayer lifts the spirit. Prayer keeps us hopeful until the affliction has passed. We could murmur about affliction, but that will not help. We are not to become bitter in affliction. We are to pray with the assurance and faith that God cares and will come to our aid. When we are merry, we are to sing. Singing is an exhibition of merriment. We are to sing psalms. Singing is adoration and praise unto God. Singing psalms encourages us. Singing psalms shows thankfulness and gratitude for blessings received. Singing is an outward show of inner peace and happiness. When afflicted, pray. When merry, sing.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
"I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat." Mark 8:2. The multitude had followed Jesus for three days and had listened to Him as He taught them. Jesus teaches those who will hear and learn. The desire of this multitude was to hear the words of Jesus. The words of Christ are vital to the soul of man. Our soul feeds on His words. His words give life. We must have an interest in the spiritual. While the physical part of man is in need of certain provisions, the soul is in need of the words from heaven. This multitude followed and listened. Now, Jesus sees that they need food. Jesus not only taught, but He cared for those whom He taught. Jesus was a person who was moved by the needs of individuals. He was concerned about the difficulties which people faced in their life. Jesus had a character that was compassionate. He helped the sick and the disturbed. Jesus reached out and offered His kindness. Heaven cares about our soul, but heaven also cares about us. Jesus is mindful of the pain and affliction in our life. As we seek the spiritual help of Christ, we can also find that He will help us through the difficulties and hardships because He has compassion.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
"Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's." II Corinthians 10:7. We are to belong to Christ. God gave the sacrifice of His Son, and His Son willingly gave Himself that we might belong to Christ. We must not hope that we belong to Christ, but we must be certain. As we keep His commandments, we know that we are His. However, we must not have an attitude of pride that we alone belong to Him. We are to strive that others become Christ's also. The wonderful duty and privilege of those who are Christ's is to seek that others become Christ's. Our hearts rejoice that we are Christ's and our hearts rejoice that others become Christ's. We lovingly share our faith with others. We seek to serve Christ through the sharing of the blessings that we have found in Christ. The more that we desire that others become Christ's, the greater our confidence that we are Christ's.
Monday, November 16, 2015
"But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?" Luke 5:22. This question was asked by Jesus of a group of Pharisees and scribes who accused Jesus of blasphemy. Jesus had witnessed the faith of men who had brought one sick of the palsy to Jesus. Jesus declared that his sins were forgiven. The Pharisees did not believe that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins. Jesus was able to perceive their thoughts. All of our thoughts are perceived by Jesus. That is a sobering truth. Jesus questioned the reasoning of their hearts. What do our hearts reason concerning Jesus? Do we perceive that He is indeed the Son of God and that He has power to forgive sin? Do we perceive that Jesus is a fraud? What do we reason about Jesus? Our perception of Him will determine our relationship with Him. That which we reason in our hearts about Jesus will affect our life now and the life to come.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
"And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much." I Kings 10:18. Baal was a false god. Jehovah was the true God and He alone was to be served. Did Ahab sin because he served Baal only a little? A little can make a difference regardless of what it may be. A little service to Baal diverted the heart of Ahab. A little sin can contaminate the soul. We are to serve God with all of our heart and all of our soul. God refuses to allow us to give Baal even the smallest amount of service. A little worldliness can corrupt our vow of commitment to God. A little slip can cause us to fall. God wants the total person. Being a jealous God, He wants all of our service. A little of Baal leaves no room for God. One may think that God is satisfied with a little service to Him. God does not want a little of our service. A little time for worship, a little time for Bible study, a little time for prayer, and a little time for service leaves a void. Baal is content to be served only a little. However, God is not.
Friday, November 13, 2015
"Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." Psalm 29:1-2. The mighty praise their own strength. The mighty glory in their power. The psalmist calls the mighty to understand the true source of all power and strength. That source is the Lord. The Lord is to be praised for His strength and power. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, divides the flames of fire, shakes the wilderness, makes the hinds to calve, and discovers the forests. What power does the Lord not possess? What strength can the Lord not exert? Glory is due unto Him for He has all glory. Strength is due unto Him for He has all strength. The Lord is to be worshipped for He is the Lord. The cedar cannot grow without Him. The fire cannot burn without Him. The calf cannot be born without Him. The wilderness and the forest exist because of Him. The Lord sits upon the flood and the Lord reigns as King forever. The Lord is to be worshipped in holiness for He is holy. The Lord is to be glorified for He is glory. Let the mighty come into His temple and praise Him.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12-13. One has the right to become a son of God because of Christ. Those who receive Christ become the sons of God. The sons of God are born into the family of God. This birth is not a physical birth. In a physical birth, blood and flesh are essential. However, the sons of God become such because of the will of God. God has made provision for humanity to believe on Jesus and become a child of God. Jesus lived and died so that all might have the privilege to become a son of God. Nothing higher can be attained. Nothing more noble can be accomplished. Only a few become the children of God because of the willingness to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. Only through Jesus can one become a son. This is the will of God. This is the grace of God. Not blood, not flesh, not man's will, but God only offers the beauty of becoming His child through Jesus Christ.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." John 3:5. Jesus always speaks the words of truth. If we would have a relationship with Him and have the hope of eternal life, we must follow His teaching. His teaching in this passage concerns the matter of rebirth. The birth involves the water and the Spirit. Jesus teaches us that unless one is born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is the church now and the future eternal abiding with God and Christ in heaven. To hold the prospect of that blessing requires the birth of water and the Spirit. The water is baptism or immersion. In this act of obedience, one is united with Christ and enjoys the forgiveness of sins. The old man of sin dies and the new man of holiness is born. When one is baptized into Christ, he is sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. The seal or gift of the Spirit is the assurance of our salvation. The new birth is an obedient act that opens for us a new life in Christ.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." John 7:24. The appearance can be misleading. God does not judge according to appearance, but rather according to the heart. We must judge certain doctrines and determine if the doctrine be from God. We must not believe a teaching that has not been authorized by heaven. Many false teachings envelope our world, and those doctrines will lead us astray from God. Only one doctrine or teaching can be right. We must judge our companions. Evil companions can corrupt us. The wrong associates can tarnish our reputation and blemish our character. One must decide if the actions of another are according to the rules of godliness. We must judge ourselves to make certain that our conduct is pleasing unto God. We exert influence and our behavior must be a righteous behavior. We must teach, associate, and work by the standard that has been given to us from God. Jesus taught, associated, and worked according to the will of God. Let us follow that divine example being cautious in that which we believe, cautious in those with whom we associate, and cautious in our activities. Righteous judgment is from God and He has given a standard that allows us to judge righteous judgment.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
"So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." John 8:7. The ones who brought the woman who had been taken in adultery knew the law. But, they brought her as a means of tempting Jesus so that they might accuse him. Jesus made them look at themselves. No one is without sin. There is the sinner and there is the forgiven sinner. The accusers wanted justice without mercy until they became the accused. The crowd dispersed. None were without sin. Jesus makes us look at our own life. He makes us see ourselves. Rather than condemning others, let us seek forgiveness for ourselves. May we ever be mindful of our own need of the redemption that is offered through Christ. Our own conscience must be right. Our own heart must be free of iniquity. Throwing stones at others does not justify us in the sight of God. Throwing stones at others does not free us from the sin of our own heart. Only the sinless can throw stones. And, there are none.
Monday, November 2, 2015
"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." III John 2. Most people place physical prosperity above the prosperity of their soul. Many have no concern for their spiritual well being. We will see a doctor, take medicine, and follow all precautions for good health. But, we will neglect the soul. These beloved to whom John wrote this short letter had insured the prosperity of their soul. The soul was their first concern. After all, the soul will outlast our health and all of our physical possessions. Long after death has taken hold of us, our soul will abide. Isn't it wise to make sure that we are taking care of our soul? The soul will prosper when our relationship with God is prospering. This should always be our priority. We need to care for our health. We need a certain amount of prosperity. But, above all concerns, we need to make certain that our soul is prospering.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
"God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth: the Lord revengeth, and is furious: the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies." Nahum 1:2. It is difficult for humanity to think about the vengeance of God. We want to see God as inviting, not jealous; forgiving, not vengeful; loving, not furious. But, God only takes vengeance on His adversaries. The jealousy of God calls us to commitment of Him, and Him alone. There is no place for anyone or anything else. God reserves wrath to those who will not make such a commitment. His wrath has been dispersed in times of old. The flood destroyed all the sinful. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden. All who were opposed to God were displaced and destroyed. No enemy of God can stand nor overcome. Those who are His enemies today will suffer the vengeance of His wrath. Because of His wrath, God has created the "lake of fire and brimstone" for the devil and his angels and all who choose to follow evil and commit iniquity. God's jealousy invites all to trust and obey Him. God's jealousy calls all to holiness and purity. To be otherwise is to be His enemy. And, without exception, all of God's enemies will see destruction and wrath to the uttermost.
Monday, October 26, 2015
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Genesis 3:1. The garden was a place of perfection. And yet, the devil entered into the garden and tempted Adam and Eve to sin. Notice the cunning nature of Satan. The devil asked a question concerning the very law that God had given. They could not partake of the fruit of the tree which was in the midst of the garden. This was the instruction that Adam and Eve had been given by God. Satan questioned God's commandment. Has God said? The devil causes us to question the law which God has given. Satan does not deceive us into sin by causing us to directly violate God's will. Satan causes us to question God's will. Many believe that God does not really mean what He says or that His law has a different interpretation. This is the cunning scheme that Satan used on Eve. Satan invited Eve to question God's will. Did God really say that? Does God really mean that? Eve was deceived. She and Adam followed the cunning scheme of Satan. Punishment followed. The devil is cunning. And, those who are deceived by him are destroyed.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
"Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." Jeremiah 23:23-24. God is everywhere and sees all things. God is near, and God is afar. The presence of God is in every place. There is no act committed without His knowledge. There is no deed done of which He is not aware. There is no escape from His presence. Words spoken are heard by His ear. Works done are seen by His eye. The darkness of night cannot cover us. The caves cannot shelter us. God beholds all the actions of men. We cannot flee from Him, neither can we hide. Behold, God is in the heaven and in the earth. God is everywhere. This knowledge is comfort to the believer and discomfort to the unbeliever. This awareness is assurance to the righteous and fear to the unrighteous. Oh, how blessed are the children of God with the abiding nearness of the Father. How wonderful to know that the God who fills heaven and earth shelters the good and holy. Our daily walk is guarded by the God who is in every place.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
"My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it." Luke 8:21. A relationship is formed with Jesus Christ. The relationship is close and personal. We are His brethren. A bond is formed. Hearts are united. We come together on a common ground. Those who would have fellowship with God hear His word and do it. Not only are we to hear the word of God, but we must also obey His word. Obedience is the key in knowing God. One's relationship with God is not formed by a feeling or an emotion, but rather by hearing His spoken word. God brings hearts to Him by a word. It is His word. That word is clear and concise. The word of God cuts into the heart and severs one from himself. The word creates a commitment. The word destroys self-will. God speaks and we listen. We are moved to action. We hear and we do. God loves the obedient listener. God protects the obedient listener. God blesses the obedient listener.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." Isaiah 40:29. The One who gives such power and strength is the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth. Isaiah 40:28. Many grow faint. There are so many issues of life that can cause fainting. We can become too entrenched in the world. We faint when faith diminishes. Some lose strength because of the weariness of life. We must not depend upon ourselves. We must look unto the One who does not faint neither grows weary. When the shadows of darkness fall about us and the showers of sorrow come, we must rely upon our God. God has power to lift us. God has power to strengthen us. With His mighty power, the ends of the earth were spoken into existence. And that power is available unto us. That power can dispel all things that threaten us. God can bring us out of darkness into light, out of night into day, out of weakness into strength, and out of despair into hope. God will fill our heart with courage, peace, and contentment when we trust and commit our walk unto Him who gives power and increases strength.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore, he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." James 4:6. The grace of God is necessary for anyone to be saved. Without the grace of God, there is no salvation. The grace of God is necessary for one to remain saved. Life calls for God's grace. The Christian life needs help that one cannot supply for himself. Strength and courage are needed as we strive toward the heavenly goal. The proud believe in themselves. They do not seek help because they see no need for help. They do not seek forgiveness because they do not see themselves as sinners. Therefore, God resists them. His grace is not available to the proud simply because they do not seek it. The humble believe in God. The humble know that they have sinned. The humble long for forgiveness knowing that forgiveness can only come from God. The humble know that God must give help along the journey. The humble know that heaven is a reward for faithful service. The humble know that life needs God. To the humble heart, grace is ever available.
Monday, October 12, 2015
"And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saving mine own hand hath saved me." Judges 7:2. God instructs Gideon as to how the number of Israelites fighting would be reduced. The Israelites were to understand that God was the One who delivered victory. God desired to maintain the dependence of Israel upon Him. Once they believed that they were delivered by their own hand, their faith would waver. They would begin to trust in themselves. They would see themselves as the victors. God enables His people to fight battles. God is the source of power and victory. Can our own hand deliver us from the devil? Can our own hand redeem the soul? Can our own hand move the mountains of sin and crush the enemy? We, as God's people, are not to believe that by our own resources comes success. We are to know that our own hand can not save us. We are the instruments by which God achieves. We, in the hand of God and by the power of God, know triumph. Without God, failure.
"Woe to the crown of pride." Isaiah 28:1. God hates pride for pride will destroy faith. Pride trusts one's own ability. Pride does not seek God's help. Pride will never make one better. Pride dismisses one's transgressions. A person does not admit of shortcomings and the need to improve. Pride lifts one above others. Pride exalts one's self and belittles others. Pride corrupts the heart. Pride blinds the eyes. Pride sees the flaws of others, but fails to see one's own evil. Pride bows the knee to self-exaltation. Pride is a wound, a sore in the soul. Pride turns a deaf ear to the counsel of others. Pride writes a resume of self-worth. The crown of pride leads to overthrow. God will bring down the heart filled with pride. As a destroying storm and a mighty flood, God brings to nothing the crown of pride. Pride will fail, while God will triumph. Pride will cease, while God will endure. Woe to the heart filled with pride.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
"Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin." Isaiah 30:1. God pronounces a woe upon those that do not seek Him, nor trust in Him. A failure to seek God's wisdom is sin. They who refuse God in their lives are rebels. The only other alternative than God is Satan. Satan's counsel is of the world and worldly things become our covering. We need God's Spirit, God's wisdom, and God's redemptive power to be victors. They who seek counsel in the wisdom of men refuse the true wisdom. God provides the only answer for sin. If that answer is not sought, then sin has been added to sin. As we seek God's counsel, we seek His truth. We are to always abide in the will that God provides for our life. We surrender ourselves to God always trusting His will. We desire God's blessing, not God's woe. We must desire to be those who conform and take heed rather than being rebellious. We must desire to have sin removed from our heart rather than adding sin. Seek God's counsel and covering.
Friday, September 25, 2015
"Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage." Psalm 119:54. We are all on a pilgrimage. Our life is a journey. Some of our days are happy, while other days are sad. Our life is better and more enjoyable when we sing. Songs can fill our hearts with happiness. But, the songs that we sing can make the difference. The psalmist sang of God's statutes. Statutes are laws or rules by which life is to be controlled. The statutes of God are wisdom and righteousness. His statutes offer us guidance through a world that has pitfalls. His statutes enable us to overcome the enemies that we face. His statutes deliver us from adversity and turmoil. The statutes of God purify us and make us holy. In the night, we can sing the song of His statutes and see the light. When we are burdened, we can sing the song of His statutes and know strength. In temptation, we can sing the song of His statutes and find an escape. Amidst the battle, we can sing the songs of His statutes and fight the enemy. As we make our pilgrimage through this land, let us sing. And may our songs ever be the statutes of Jehovah.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1. So begins the great gospel according to John. This sentence declares the divine nature of Jesus Christ. Jesus was God in the flesh. John concludes this gospel with the declaration of the divine nature of Jesus. John 20:30-31. Jesus is identified here as the Word. He spoke the will of God and did so with all authority. Because of the miracles that He worked, His word could not be denied. He spoke the word which gives direction for our lives. If we walk according to His will, we will be blessed both now and in the world to come. Jesus spoke the word that gives us life. Without His direction, we are as dead men. The words of Jesus are words that inspire us to live better in the sight of God and men. Through the words of Christ we know love and caring. His words give us peace and comfort. His words enable us to make the decisions that offer us a better future and a more endearing hope. We cannot but read His words and know that His words are higher that any thought that man can have. Jesus was God speaking a will that must control every thought and activity.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised." Hebrews 10:23. We are to hold fast to the faith that gives us assurance. We must not lose sight of our faith. There must be an urgency on our part to hold our faith. Faith can be lost. Faith can be deserted. Not only must we hold our faith, but we must hold fast. In a single instance, we can let go of our faith. We can wander away from God. We must continue to profess our faith. Faith can be seen in those that possess it. We live in a manner that speaks of our faith. And, never should we waver. We must not question our faith. We must not deny our faith. We must maintain the faith of assurance. We hold fast our faith because of the faithfulness of God. God does not go back on the promises that He has made and the assurance that He has given. Those of faith stand by God because God stands by them.
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." Hebrews 10:22. Our faith is our assurance of our relationship with God. Our union with God is not based upon a maybe or a perhaps, but we are assured of our union with Him. We are able to draw near unto God. We do not approach Him from afar. Neither is He far from us. Faith is the bridge that links our hearts with the heart of God. Also, we have assurance because of our cleansing. No longer do we entertain an evil conscience, but we are purged. We have also been washed in baptism. Purged from evil and cleansed from iniquity assures us that we can approach God. The faith of assurance is an obedient faith. Our faith responds eagerly and without hesitation to God's law and will for our lives. Our willingness to do as God asks assures us that we walk with God and that God walks with us.
Monday, September 21, 2015
"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:" Colossians 1:13. Evil has the power to control the mind and actions. Evil leads one into the darkness of rebellion. In the darkness, one stumbles and falls. Darkness takes one farther and farther away from God. But, Jesus Christ has delivered us from the power of darkness. The chains of darkness have been broken. The captives of darkness have been set free by the power of Christ. There is liberty in Christ. There is change in Christ. Not only have we been delivered, but we have been translated. We have been transformed. No longer must one live in the darkness of evil, but one can live in the kingdom of light. Jesus changes the heart and life. The useless become useful. The powerless become powerful. The sinner becomes the saint. The kingdom is a place of direction and purpose. The kingdom is a place of service unto God. The power of darkness leaves one lost, but the kingdom makes one saved. We are at home with God in the kingdom.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ." II Peter 1:1. The "like faith" is the "one faith" of Ephesians 4:5 and the "common faith" of Titus 1:4. It is the faith that unites all under the banner of unity. This faith is precious. It is more precious that rubies and gold. Precious jewels satisfy only for the moment. Faith satisfies the soul. Faith creates a relationship with God and the Savior Jesus. Faith gives us hope and brings peace. Faith gives purpose and understanding to our life. Faith gives us light and keeps us from the darkness. This "precious faith" has come through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ. The virgin birth and the cross are the evidence thereof. God knew the sinful plight of humanity and provided an opportunity for victory and liberty. This faith must be obtained. It is a jewel that must be found. The heart must seek. This "like precious faith" is the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price. The one who obtains is blessed. Seek and ye shall find.
"All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen." Titus 3:15. Being "in the faith" is critical to the salvation of the soul. Faith brings the blessing of grace into the hearts of those who embrace the faith. The epistle of Titus speaks to those oppositions to the faith. God's faith has enemies. We must beware lest we be led in the wrong direction. The "one faith" (Ephesians 4:5) has been sent down from God by the Holy Spirit. The Bible does not speak of a multitude of faiths, but rather, speaks of only one faith. The faith is a revelation from God that has come through the Lord Jesus Christ and none other. The faith creates a fellowship of believers who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Bible recognizes this fellowship as the church. This faith is a common faith. Titus 1:4. The faith brings unity rather than division. Harmony is a product of the faith. Faith brings our hearts together in Jesus Christ. The faith creates a spirit of love for others. The faith is a message of hope and trust. The faith is a message of love and caring. Come into the faith through obedience to the faith. The blessing of grace awaits.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." I Corinthians 3:16-17. We have become God's temple through His grace and our faith and the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. God's Spirit dwells within us as a guarantee of our salvation. II Corinthians 1:22. Our temple is a holy temple because of the sin free character of God's Spirit. We are to keep this temple holy. We are to flee from the defiling influences of the world and perfect holiness in our lives. We are to refuse all sinful temptation. We are to separate ourselves from the world because the world is impure and unholy. We are not to taint nor tarnish what God has made holy. Purity of heart allows us fellowship with God. Matthew 5:8. Only the clean can dwell in the holiness of God. Only the pure can know God. If we choose to defile this temple, God's destruction will come upon us. In the statement of Paul the apostle, there is a blessing and a curse. Maintain the purity of God's temple and we belong to God and we are the dwelling place of God. Corrupt the temple and we shall experience the destructive wrath of God.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
"Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Philippians 4:20. Praise and honor belongs to Him. God is divine possessing all purity and holiness. God is love bestowing grace and mercy upon all. God is all powerful speaking the universe into existence. In His hand, all things consist. By His will, all of life continues. God is the light in which we walk. God is the life in whom we live. God is higher than our thoughts. God is greater than our works. God is mightier than all of our strength. He is the Father of mercies. He is the one who comforts our sorrows. He is the one who cares that we are hurting. God reaches down and lifts us up. God gives victory in defeat. God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers. The mountains rise up and the rivers flow because He is God. We bow our knee and herald His praise. Our tongue sings of His wonders. He is our God, but He is our Father. We are guarded by His love and shielded by His grace. Unto Him be all glory and may our heart every praise Him.
Monday, August 31, 2015
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you." Matthew 24:4. There have always been deceivers in the world. A deceiver seeks to lead one in the wrong direction. This can be done either by intent or because the deceiver is deceived. The apostle John stated, "For many deceivers are entered into the world..." II John 7. We must guard ourselves against deception. Error will cause us to be in opposition to God and Christ. One who believes error and teaches error has no relationship with God. God abides in truth. The words of Christ are truth. Every word heard should always be tested by the hearer. We have a responsibility laid upon us by Jesus to keep ourselves away from deceit. If we are deceived, we are to blame. The words of Jesus are to be studied with diligence so that we are not deceived. Deception will lead us into blindness. Deception will give birth to a false hope. Deception offers no freedom from sin and guilt. Deception bars the door of fellowship with God and Christ. Deception will condemn the soul. Let us be diligent in our quest for truth lest we be deceived.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
"The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous." Proverbs 15:29. God has no relationship with wickedness. Wickedness violates the character of God. The wicked may cry, but their voice is not heard. Righteousness establishes our fellowship with God. God is righteous, and therefore, God loves the righteous. The righteous cry, and God hears. His ear is bent toward the righteous. The righteous listen to God, and thus, God listens to the righteous. The righteous are directed in their walk by the sayings of God. The righteous seek God, and honor His will for their lives. We need God to hear us for we find ourselves in need of His help and guidance. We are without strength and wisdom. We are helpless and fearful. We know God to be of great pity and tender mercy. We need for Him to hear our trials and troubles. We want Him to know our pain and helplessness. The assurance that guards our hearts is the sure knowledge that God hears the prayers of the righteous. The Almighty hears the prayer of the frail. The All Wise hears the cry of the foolish. The God of heaven and earth wants to hear the prayer of the righteous. Pray any time, at all time. Let our voice on earth be heard in heaven. The throne where God reigns is always available.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
In Matthew chapter five, Jesus goes into the mountain. When He is set, Jesus teaches His disciples. Jesus used various settings to teach. He taught in the synagogue, from a boat, in a house, and in deserted places. Always, He spoke with authority. Jesus came to fulfill one law and institute another law. He came to take one law out of place, and put another law in place. "But I say unto you." Matthew 5:22. The teachings of Jesus recorded in Matthew five are teachings that connect us to God and to the kingdom of heaven. We are to hear Jesus in all of His will. Not only do His teachings prepare us for the life to come, but also, His law places us on a higher plane while living in this world. Jesus taught us how to live with others. He taught us how to live with ourselves. His teachings bring us blessings and peace. Hearing the words of Christ bring us into the presence of God and give us a seat in His kingdom. We seek higher pursuits that the mere material things of the present life. The words of Jesus change the heart. The words of Jesus affect the future of our life. The words of Jesus place us on a heavenly journey. The words of Christ invite us into His service. The words of Jesus is the law of life that offer eternal benefits. Listen! Jesus is speaking.
Monday, August 24, 2015
"The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; for the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever." II John 1-2. The members of the Lord's church are to be loved by one another. Each member is love every other member. We dwell in the truth. Truth brings our hearts together in God. The truth is God's revelation to humanity. The truth is known by those who desire an understanding. Study and meditation is essential to the knowledge of the truth. The truth provides us with God's commandments for our lives. As we walk in the truth and conduct our lives according to the truth, we dwell in the truth. The truth provides us with a shelter from the storms of life. The truth provides us with a shield against the temptations of evil. The truth brings God's love into our hearts. The truth gives us hope and assurance. The truth cannot be taken from us. The indwelling of truth is to be forever. We must guard ourselves that we do not remove the truth from our lives. Our life here and in the world to come is insured by the truth which we know and that dwells within us.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
"Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Proverbs 27:1. Man should make no boast of anything. He has no power over the events of his life. Plans can be made. Appointments can be made. But, we have no promise of another breath of life. An accident can occur. An interruption can come. Life has no guarantees. Tomorrow is uncertain. It is a breath that has not yet been breathed. But, as a vapor, it can vanish. Our life should be entrusted unto the One who has tomorrow in His hand. Our life should always be prepared for the unexpected. We are to live with a trust and a commitment unto He who made us. Tomorrow is a day that may never come. Tomorrow may be an appointment on the date book of time that may never be opened. All plans should be made in consideration and attention unto the "will of God." Life is a journey that is taken into the unknown. We can not know what the day may bring forth. But, whatever may come and whatever may happen, if life is lived in the trust of God, all will be well.
Friday, August 21, 2015
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4. Baptism is a burial in water. Baptism is a resurrection. Jesus was buried and was resurrected. Baptism is a death to an old life, and a resurrection to a new life. The old man of sin is crucified and is buried. The new man, created in true holiness, is resurrected. The baptized believer has become "dead to sin, and alive unto God." Romans 6:11. The new man seeks the way of God. The new man seeks the way of righteousness. The new man rejoices in his new life. Baptism is a rebirth to a life of godliness and purity. Baptism frees one from the bondage of sin, and places him on a course toward heaven. The new man now lives in hope of eternal life, which is God's free gift. Romans 6:23. The new life seeks to grow like Christ, and become like Him. The new life looks not to the past, but rather, looks to the future. The new life is filled with excitement and expectation. The new life enjoys comfort and peace. The new life is not lived in loneliness, but in fellowship. The new life is not lived in emptiness, but in fullness. The new life is not lived in despair, but in promise.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another." Romans 12:5. There is power in the unity of the many. Many can do what one cannot do. A wall is built by single stones. A cake is made by the mixing of single ingredients. The body of Christ is constructed by single members. These members unite their hearts and lives and become one. Each stone in the wall is vital. Each ingredient in the cake is necessary. Each member in the body of Christ is essential. Without the many members, the body does not exist. The work of God would fail. Each member brings an individual personality and a single talent to the work of the church. Each single church makes up the larger body of Jesus Christ. Together with all of our individual devotion and commitment, we do the Lord's will. Jesus did not built single churches, but rather did He build a united body to make a difference in the world. The conversion of individual souls become one in the body of Jesus, and together, we confront the world. Many have become one. This togetherness creates a power that is unstoppable.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Colossians 3:23. Our concern as the church is to please God and glorify Him in all things. We, as the church, do not seek to please men. What men want stands at the opposite end of what God wants. Men seek to please and honor themselves. The writer of this passage says that whatever we do is to be done unto the Lord. The whole of our life and our every act is to be to the pleasure of God. We must think before we act. We must know what God desires before we commit. We are to serve God with all of our being. Men will change as to what pleases them, but God never changes. We also are to bring an energy and an enthusiasm to our service of God. We are to be excited for the opportunity to serve God. God's people are to possess a fervency of spirit. "Fervent in spirit." Romans 12:11. Service unto God is not about convenience, but willingness. God wants willing, devoted, and happy servants. His kingdom deserves such.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12. If man is going to be saved, he must be saved by Jesus. Jesus is God's appointed savior. Salvation comes only through Christ Jesus. Salvation is not from man nor is salvation of man, but rather by Jesus Christ. His name is Jesus. The name was given by God. The earthly mother of Jesus was not permitted to choose His name. No other one can offer, neither provide salvation. Jesus is the savior. Salvation is God's gift, but salvation must be obtained. The only means is by Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only one who has satisfied God's demands for justice. Jesus was the unblemished lamb that was sacrificed for the sins of the world. His death guarantees eternal redemption from the burden of sin. All can be saved through the name of Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
"Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:" Romans 1:6-7. God calls us with the gospel. The gospel is the word of truth. The gospel is preached. The human heart is convicted. The hearer obeys the gospel. Obedience to the gospel involves belief, repentance, confession, and baptism. Hence, the hearer of truth is called. We are called to be saints. God's saints are alive, not dead. God bestows sainthood, not man. Whatever man may decide concerning another man is worth absolutely nothing. The judge of all human lives is God. God has the power to make us saints. God judges without partiality. Man does not. God has no agenda. Man does have an agenda. Being called of God is an honor. God made it possible for us to be called when Christ was offered as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. All can become saints. Any one can become a saint. Sainthood is achieved when the heart responds to the call of God. Sainthood is bestowed in an instant. Sainthood makes us responsible to God. We, as saints, seek His will in our lives. Saints please and serve God through Christ. Saints are loved of God. Saints love God. Saints depend upon God, and God depends upon saints. Why not become one of God's saints?
Monday, August 10, 2015
"For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." Luke 9:56. Here is the mission statement of Jesus. This is why He made the journey from heaven to earth. Think for a moment about Jesus leaving the heavenly realm and coming to the worldly realm. Think of the sacrifice that He was willing to make. Jesus left home and became a stranger. Jesus left a place where He was honored and came to a place where He was dishonored. Jesus left a place where He was revered and came to a place where He was rejected. Why was this journey made? Why was honor given for dishonor, acceptance for rejection, glory for humiliation? The answer is to save the lost. There are multiplied numbers of lost people today who need to be saved. Jesus came to save them. Jesus did not come to destroy, but to save. Jesus did not come to harm, but to help. Jesus is referred to in this passage as the "Son of Man." Jesus took upon Himself humanity. The divine became human. Jesus became flesh and blood that He might identify Himself with humanity. In human form, He would die as a sacrifice that would be acceptable unto God to satisfy the demands of justice against sin. Jesus came to save me and to save you. Believe upon Him, repent of sins, confess Him as the Son of God, and be immersed in water for the remission of sins. These obedient acts will allow God to save you for Jesus' sake. Let us allow the journey of Jesus into this world to save us and reconcile us unto God. Let us not allow His coming into the world to be in vain.
"Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." I Timothy 1:2. This passage that contains these three blessings is not peculiar to the epistle of Timothy. Grace, mercy, and peace were bestowed upon other individuals and churches to whom the epistles were written. These three blessings, grace and mercy and peace, are vital to the Christian. So much so is this true that Paul makes this same statement in writing to Timothy in the second epistle. God's grace provides salvation for us. God's mercy aids us in time of need. We have peace with God because of grace and mercy. Our hearts are at rest. We live with confidence and promise. God has not provided for us material wealth nor earthly fame. But, God through Jesus Christ has provided the essentials for living in harmony with His will. God's grace allows us into His favor. His mercy helps us to live favorable before Him. Peace assures us that we are living favorable in His sight. Through grace, God has placed His arm around us. Through mercy, God securely holds us. Through peace, we feel the anchor of His love. God is a gracious and merciful God. His desire is that we know His grace and mercy that we might be at peace with Him. Thank God through Christ our Lord for grace, mercy, and peace. These blessings are indeed the security of the soul.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience. meekness." I Timothy 6:11. The man of God is to flee from the "perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth," and from the "love of money." These things will corrupt the man of God. The man of God is driven by different motives than the man of the world. The man of God must flee from that which may be a hazard to him. Flee the evils of the world, and follow after the things of God. Notice that which we are to follow: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness. These are Godly qualities. We are made in His image, and thus, we are to pursue that which will perfect His image in us. These are the treasures of heaven. The love of money makes rich for a time. Perverse doctrine makes one comfortable for a time. However, the pursuit of the heavenly treasures make one rich for now and the life hereafter. None can be poor who is rich in the likeness of God. The Christian life is lived by the wise counsel of "flee and follow."
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
The angel of the Lord told Joseph to take Mary "for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 1:20. "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21. Jesus was sent from the Father of heaven to be the savior of the world. Through Jesus, sins would be forgiven. His blood would be the cleansing agent to remove sin. Jesus was a divine child with a heavenly mission. That mission was to bring the lost back to God. The blood of Jesus would not only take away sin, but would restore the lost with God. Fellowship with the heavenly Father is established through Jesus. Jesus lived His life in submission unto God willing to become the sacrificial lamb that would take away the sins of the world. John 1:29. His sacrifice at the cross has become our means of justification with God. Sin separates and condemns, but Jesus takes away sin. The sacrifice offered for salvation must be accepted. God will only save the obedient. Hebrews 5:9. We obey Jesus by faith, repentance, confession, and baptism. By obedience to these simple acts, Jesus saves us from sin.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
"But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from old sins." II Peter 1:9. Graces are to be added to the life of God's child. We are to develop ourselves into the image of God. The qualities of God are to be pursued by the Christian. In verse 9, Peter speaks to those who are not making such a quest. They have not added these divine graces to their life. Their lifestyle is lacking the graces that make us who we are in the sight of God. Three conditions come about when these graces are lacking. One, the individual is blind. Spiritual blindness is a sad condition for the individual cannot see himself as he is. Neither can he see the needs that he has. The blind will easily stumble. Second, the individual cannot see afar off. The child of God has a future. He is to see what is ahead. He is to see the glory that awaits. The here and now has no permanence, but the redeemed of God have precious promises in their future. Third, the individual has forgotten that he was purged from old sins. Christ's blood cleanses away old sins. Having been purged, we are not to pursue new sins. We are to seek relief from sin's dominance. We are to walk in God's light seeking to be in the glory of God. We must not forget our redemption from sin's slavery. Let us seek the beauty of God and put into our life those precious gems of the Christian life. Let us not be blind, but let us see. Let us behold the wonderful future that awaits us. Let us know the power of God's redemption through Jesus Christ.
Monday, August 3, 2015
"And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." Acts 20:7. The followers of Jesus Christ are to assemble upon the first day of the week to break bread, which is the partaking of the Lord's Supper. The time when this assembly began is not given. The length of time in the assembly is not given. The time when we meet is not that important. However, the amount of time is important. We should not desire simply to meet and fulfill an obligation. We should seek to fellowship with God and one another on this day. We should seek to honor God and grow spiritually. We need a pause button in our lives to thank God and praise God for the blessings given and the love shown. The assembly upon the first day of the week provides this. In this assembly, Paul preached. Even today, the followers of Jesus, which is His church, come together upon the first day of each week to engage in worship unto God. We break bread, preach, pray, give, and sing without instruments. This is the example and command that we have in scripture. In this assembly, we praise God and edify one another. Our coming together shows a bond that we have for each one. Our coming together shows that we have love for God. This time of assembly gives strength and comfort. We are uplifted and made stronger. We gain knowledge from the preaching and study of God's word. It truly is a wonderful time when the disciples of Jesus come together.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
"In hope of eternal life. which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" Titus 1:2. Notice three wonderful expressions from this passage. God cannot lie. God has promised eternal life. The world had a beginning. The world's beginning was with God. God created the world. Eternal life is from God. Those who acknowledge the truth, live Godly lives, and live in faith have the hope of life. Titus 1:1. Death is our enemy. Death is that which we fear the most. But, there is a class of people, the elect of God, who understand that the enemy has been overcome and the fear of the grave has been removed. This is according to the divine will of God. Man was created in God's likeness. God created man to live rather than die. But, sin has interfered with God's design. Jesus was sent to conquer death and the grave through His death upon the cross and His resurrection from the grave. God made the provision for His elect, those who are called by the gospel, to live eternally in life. God answered sin's calamity because of His promise. We, therefore, live with hope and expectation. We serve and glorify God because of His promise of eternal life.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
"For I say unto you, that except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20. The kingdom of heaven was coming in all of its power and glory. Jesus was going to be crucified and resurrected from the grave. He was going to be placed upon the right hand of God to rule over His kingdom, the church. The gospel was going to be proclaimed throughout all the world. All people everywhere would have the opportunity to become citizens of the kingdom of heaven. But, in order to enter into that eternal kingdom, one must possess a righteousness that exceeded the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. The righteousness which would place one into the kingdom of heaven would be the righteousness of Christ. The citizen of the kingdom would listen to the word of Christ. Christ was given authority that transcended all authority. "I say unto you." The kingdom of heaven would have a new law and a new lawgiver. Through this law, one could know God. One who would hear Christ in all things would know forgiveness and fellowship with God. Christ would be accepted through faith and obedience. His sayings would become the law that ruled the heart. Righteousness would be attained through Christ. Hear Him and become a citizen of His kingdom, the kingdom of heaven.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
"And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things, and they derided him." Luke 16:14. He who spoke the words of life was derided. The One who uttered speech that had not been uttered before was derided. He who spoke words of truth was derided. The Pharisees did not want to hear what Jesus had to say. His words offered no compromise to the lifestyle of these people. Hence, they derided Him. The Pharisees were covetous and Jesus condemned covetousness as sin. They listened but only to find fault. They listened but only to condemn. His words had no influence upon their heart. They would continue in the pursuit of things. They would continue to allow covetousness to rule their life. The words which are spoken by Jesus oftentimes go unheard. Many will not allow His teaching to mold their life and convict their heart. The words of Christ go unheeded, and hence, many sink deeper and deeper into a life of sin. When we hear, we must take heed. The purpose of Christ's words are to change the heart. His words will take us closer to God and deliver us to a higher spiritual plane. Will we hear or turn away from the words which Jesus speaks?
Monday, July 27, 2015
“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7. God has a care not only for the soul of man, but also, his human nature. We are the product of God’s mind and His handiwork. Therefore, He has concern for our well being. “He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7.
The Psalms reflect upon God’s care for us. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalms 23:1. “The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalms 27:1. Want, fear, and weakness are three of the major ills of our life. And, yet, the Psalmist tells us that God fulfills our needs so that we do not want; God gives us courage which removes our fear; from God we receive strength to overcome our weakness.
Since we are valuable to God, He also should be valuable to us. Through faith, we know of God’s care which causes us to love Him and trust Him. God desires that we be mindful of Him as He also is mindful of us. Because God has given us life, He desires that our life be full of His richness and blessings. May we, as the Psalmist of old, see God in the light of His goodness and mercy.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
"Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God." Joshua 23:11. The Bible often admonishes us to take heed to ourselves. In this particular passage, we are to make certain of our love for God. God loves us, and therefore, we should love Him in return. God, in His love, has provided for our needs and has concern for our welfare. God had led this nation to whom Joshua speaks from the slavery of Egypt to this wonderful land. God had defeated their enemies and given unto them constant blessings. Joshua wanted them to love God as God had loved them. But, we must give heed unto our love for God. So many obstacles can present themselves to get in the way of our loving God. We can blame God for hardships. We can complain against God for difficulty. If we do not take heed to our love for God, we can allow the world to overtake us. We can easily forget God as we involve ourselves in the seeking of pleasure and things. God will be with us when things are not. People are not always dependable, but God is. God is able to do for us all good things. He blesses and blesses again. Let us make certain that we love Him above and beyond all things in this present world.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
"Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him." Psalm 33:8. God is to be feared because of His power and wisdom. God created from nothing. His spoken word brought all things into existence. His counsel stands forever. God can lift up and take down. The world that He created was destroyed due to sin. His will is always performed. Man believes that he is wise, but he is foolish. Man believes that he is strong, but he is weak. God has no foolishness nor does He have any weakness. The world revolves and man continues because God so desires. God cannot be replaced. God reaches into the distant past and stretches into the distant future. We know not what tomorrow brings, but God does. We forget that which has happened, but God does not. Man is mortal, but God is eternal. His mind controls the destinies of nations. His finger writes the history of the future. Such knowledge and understanding of God should cause us to stand in awe.
Monday, July 20, 2015
"I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high." Psalm 7:17. God is to be praised or honored because He is righteous and He is the most high. All of God's acts are righteous. His punishment of sin is righteous. His provision for the freedom of sin was righteous. His forgiveness of sin is righteous. God is not to be questioned for He is righteous. No one is to complain against God for He is righteous. God is not to be blamed for He is righteous. God should be believed for He is righteous. God should be served for He is righteous. All knees should bow before Him and all tongues should confess Him for He is righteous. Man is unrighteous and, therefore, stands in need of God's righteousness. God's righteousness cleanses and purifies. God's righteousness embraces and preserves. God's righteousness blesses and sustains. God's righteousness gives hope and peace. Let God be praised for He is righteous.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
"My defense is of God, which saveth the upright in heart." Psalm 7:10. The upright in heart have a special relationship with God. Righteousness should always be our pursuit. Righteousness will separate us from the world. In seeking to be upright, we will need help and strength. We, as those who have gone before us and those who will come after us, face uncertainty. The days are difficult and sinfulness abounds. The devil seeks to devour and the multitude follows him. His lies and deceit are believed. We need a defense. God will defend the upright. Those who strive to separate from evil have God on their side. The righteous have God and His power to defeat all the schemes that Satan has. God's defense will save us. God will defend us against the assault of those who do not seek to be upright. With the defense of God, we can not be cast down nor can we be overcome. All enemies fall before His power. God's defense conquers all. With God as our defender, we stand as victors.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
The caller asked, "Is this Reverend Thomas?" As a minister of the gospel of Christ, I am on occasion addressed as Reverend. However, this should not be so. "He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name." Psalms 111:9. The name of God is reverend. No man should be identified with such a title. All who have obeyed the gospel of Christ are the children of God. We are all one in Christ Jesus. The Bible identifies us as brethren. To use a title for one violates the concept of unity. A title lifts one above another. A title makes one more important than another. The blood of Jesus Christ has placed us on a plane of equality. Jesus has forbidden us to use such titles of hierarchy. Matthew 23:6-12. The followers of Jesus are servants. As servants in the kingdom of God, we exalt God as "holy and reverend."
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Acts 26:28. Paul did not attempt to persuade Agrippa to become a Protestant, neither a Catholic, nor did he persuade him to become a Jew. Paul's sermon to Agrippa was intended to persuade him to become a Christian. A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. A Christian is a person who has heard Jesus preached, believed upon Him as the Christ, and obeyed the gospel. A Christian has been united with Christ by being baptized into Christ and having put on Christ in that baptism. Galatians 3:26-27. This person who is reborn is now added to the church by God. A Christian through his rebirth is now a member of God's family. A Christian is one who lives by the power of Christ and seeks to imitate his life after the life of Christ. A Christian is one who is saved and possesses the hope of everlasting life with Christ in heaven. Being a Christian is a great and eternal blessing bestowed upon the obedient by God through Christ. Be not almost, but fully, persuaded to become a Christian and continue to be a Christian until life ends.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
"For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head." Obadiah 1:15. God is pronouncing judgment upon Edom. Edom had refused passage through their land to the children of Israel in their journey from Egypt. Numbers 20:14-21. The heart of Edom was also full of pride. Edom was going to receive as they had given. The actions and decisions of life will come back upon us either to bless us or curse us. God allows no one to go without reprisal for his conduct. His judgment lingers near. None escape from the deeds of yesterday. The good which one does will be rewarded. The evil will be punished. All are weighted in God's balance of justice. God's mind retains all the works of men. He does not forget. He only delays. The "day of the Lord" is always near. Upon the heathen the hammer of eternal judgment will fall shattering into pieces all works of iniquity. As we do, so shall it be done unto us. Upon our head, our reward will fall.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
"I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways." Psalm 119:15. Meditation slows us down. It causes us to assess our situation. Like the Psalmist, let us meditate in God's precepts. God has delivered His precepts unto us for our good. God seeks our spiritual improvement as well as our physical betterment. The mind controls the body. A healthy mind makes for a healthy body. A mind that meditates in God's way will free itself from the ugliness of the world. God's precepts take us to a higher level. We are on a plane with Him. His precepts speak of comfort, assurance, and hope. His precepts speak of victory, courage, and continuation. His precepts speak of purity, holiness, and separation. His precepts speak of selflessness, commitment, and devotion. His precepts speak of beauty, serenity, and calmness. The precepts of God are life changing. They are heart changing. They are destiny changing. And, the psalmist will have respect unto God's way. His way is a better way, a more enduring way, and a way that takes us into the realm of happiness and contentment. Meditation in God's precepts will take us on a journey into the very heart of God. If those precepts are respected, we will be translated into the very likeness of God.
Monday, June 29, 2015
"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26. God moves in the realm of the impossible. There are no limits to His power. What God wants to be accomplished will be. With God a world can be destroyed with a flood. A sea can be parted and His people pass over on dry land. A shepherd boy with no military experience can take down an enemy with a sling and a stone. God can provide human redemption with a cross and an empty tomb. Man seeks power and thinks power. But, so many ideas and engagements are beyond his ability to preform. Not so with God. God empowers. God is the Almighty. Bathing in a river cured leprosy. Fire from heaven devoured the water soaked sacrifice. A multitude was fed with a picnic lunch. Jesus has impressed upon His disciples the ability that lies within the hand of God. Faith is the link to the impossible. Faith is the connection to the One who moves the world. The sin that stains can be blotted out. The enslaved soul can be released. The heart that is dead can be renewed. The life without purpose is reborn. The hopeless become hopeful. God makes the impossible possible.
Saturday, June 27, 2015
"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29. The council had told the apostles to stop preaching Jesus. Their response was quick and decisive. They would listen to God. The laws of man do not always interfere with the law of God, but when they do, God must be obeyed. The laws of men change due to time and custom. The laws of men are based upon personal feelings and interpretation. God's law is not subject to any of those concerns. God's law does not change and, of course, is without any flaw. The law of God stands higher and seeks not only the physical well being of man, but also, the eternal well being of man. Man's laws have long contradicted God's laws. The natural law is taught whereas the creation law is not allowed to be taught. Certain laws reject the humanity of man. The law of the right to choose was a flagrant disregard of the law of God and the sanctity of human life. Man has long disregarded God's law of marriage and the home. The assault against the family has run rampant. Standing on the side of right and human decency will require a price to be paid. The refusal to stand will be a much higher cost.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Hebrews 5:8. Jesus was the Son of God. He was sent by God to redeem sinful man. He was born of a virgin and lived upon the earth as man. He took the form of flesh and blood just as you and I. Jesus left for us a perfect example to follow. One of the many examples that He left for us was obedience. Jesus was an obedient Son. Jesus followed in every aspect of His life the will of God. God not only desires obedience, but He demands obedience. Jesus, as a man, learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Jesus suffered for us. He endured poverty, rejection, and death for the benefit of the human family. Jesus experienced loss, sacrifice, and sorrow. The pains and trials through which we must pass were endured by the Savior of all humanity. We walk in the steps of a suffering Savior. We imitate an obedient Savior. God was well pleased with Jesus because Jesus sought always to fulfill all righteousness and do all things that were pleasing to the Father. As we see Jesus and seek to follow Him, let us be pleasing unto the Father through our obedient life.