Wednesday, January 28, 2015
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." John 14:1. A peaceful mind comes through faith in God and Christ. Hearts that are free of trouble have placed their unwavering trust in God and Christ. Hearts that are free of trouble know without doubt the faithfulness of God and Christ. Hearts that are free of trouble believe in the staying power of God and Christ. Hearts that are free of trouble believe in the covering provided by God and Christ. Heart that are free of trouble know the care and love of God and Christ. Trouble free hearts know hope and tranquility. Trouble free hearts are without anxiety and fretfulness. Trouble free hearts release their burdens and worries to the keeping of God and Christ. Hearts that are free of trouble have found the power of God and Christ. Trouble free hearts know God and Christ to be an arm of stability; a harbor of peace; a refuge of calmness. Faith calls the heart to be free of trouble.
Monday, January 26, 2015
"The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips." Proverbs 16:23. The mouth can speak truth or falsehood; praise or blasphemy; pure words or evil sayings. From the lips can come truthfulness or lies. Inspiring sayings or profane words can erupt from the mouth. The seat of all words and sayings is the heart. The mouth speaks the thoughts of the heart. The mouth cannot speak what is not first thought in the heart. The mouth is the judgment of wisdom or foolishness. A pure and clean heart utters thoughts that enrich and uplift. But, an evil heart will spew words that tear down and destroy. Wisdom thinks cautiously and speaks calmly. Wisdom thinks wisely and speaks slowly. Wisdom thinks purely and speaks holiness. Wisdom encourages and uplifts. Wisdom rebukes with kindness. Wisdom delays and mediates. A foolish heart rushes without due deliberation of consequences. A mouth speaking with such a heart can divide and harm. The mouth speaks what is taught by the heart. Wise hearts speak wise words.
Friday, January 23, 2015
"That which was from the beginning..." I John 1:1. Jesus Christ existed in the beginning. He was revealed unto mankind in human flesh. "The word became flesh." John 1:14. God became man that He might redeem man. Jesus was that "eternal life that was with the Father." I John 1:3. Love and grace prompted God to reveal Himself in such a manner. Sin had invaded God's footstool and had corrupted God's creation. Cleansing could only come by the revelation of a Savior. Jesus left the Father and the glory of heaven. Love beyond comprehension. Life upon earth had its conflicts. Jesus faced the devil and all his wiles. Jesus overcame so that He could offer Himself "without spot and blemish." I Peter 1:19. Death upon the cross would be His fate. The eternal Son would suffer for the sins of all the world. Redemption would be purchased by the One who was alongside God at the creation of all things. Jesus died and arose from the dead. Jesus, after His resurrection, was seen and touched by others. His words were heard by His band of followers. Eyewitnesses saw the divine and chose to announce the good news of redemption to the world. Eternity touched earth with the blessing of grace. Truly, "that which was from the beginning" made possible fellowship with the Father. Such news should certainly be declared, but also, such news should be heard and received.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Not all preachers tell the truth. Some speak falsehood. Many prefer to hear a message that will make them feel better about themselves. Some become angry when they hear the truth of God. "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Galatians 4:16. Preachers have a responsibility to preach the truth. Hearers should always have the desire to hear truth. Truth saves. Falsehood condemns. Truth brings one near to God. Falsehood drives one away from God. God is not the author of false teaching, only true teaching. The heart is purified by truth. The heart is corrupted with falsehood. Truth frees. Falsehood enslaves. Truth originated with God. False teaching originated with Satan. False teaching is a lie that can provide no hope. Truth gives hope. Falsehood gives a false security. Truth builds an unmovable foundation. Falsehood is sand. Truth is rock. Truth enlightens. Falsehood darkens. Truth is heaven. Falsehood is hell. Truth can make enemies while falsehood can make friends. Truth can crucify. Jesus was truth and killed by lies. Truth will triumph while falsehood will lose. False teaching might make us feel better, but never give us freedom from sin. Only truth releases the chains of sin's slavery. Only truth offers an eternal relationship with the Savior. Only truth provides the way to heaven.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Trust is a commitment that is made. Trust is built upon words and actions. Trust brings comfort and peace of mind. Trust will endure. Trust is a confidence and an assurance that is unshakeable. Through the prophet, God said, "When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee: but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain." Isaiah 57:13. God proclaims that everything in which we might place our trust is incapable of help except Him. God will not move away from the one who puts his trust in God. God is the Almighty One who can do all things. God places a stamp of certainty upon all His promises. Many have known the ability of God, and as a result, have trusted Him without fail. Trust in God comes with a price. Trust in God comes with benefits. The only surety of life is God. Trust brings us into His presence and gives us access to His power. Trust establishes a relationship. Trust allows us to know Him and He to know us. Trust will enhance our present and guarantee our future. Trust gives meaning and understanding to our existence. Trust places us under the control of the One who holds tomorrow in His hand. Trust insures victory in all battles. Trust takes us through the valley to the mountaintop. Trust delivers, yea, trust conquers. God can be trusted, every hour of every day.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Yesterday was a beautiful day. Of course, I have considered all my days to be beautiful. Certainly, that is true now as I realize that I have fewer days. All of us have fewer days to live. That truth should give us a different perspective toward our life. My wife and I watched a sunset. The sky was absolutely gorgeous. No painter's brush could have captured the exquisite beauty. As I marveled at the hues across the sky, I thought of the majestic beauty of God's creation. "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth his handiwork." Psalms 19:1. In every flower that blooms and every cloud that gathers, God has announced Himself. Behind the universe, there is a divine hand. Happenstance did not bring us to where we are. The world has a Creator whom we know to be God. Stars shine in the night sky. The moon reflects the light of the sun. The cycle of life continues. Everywhere and all about us, there is a beauty that cannot simply be described with words. What else? Who else? The only reasonable explanation to my mind is God. I look at the night sky and see God. I look at the dew on the rose and see God. In all that I see, God is present. The world of life, and even of death, declares the presence of God. How beautiful is each day of life.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
"Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4. The originator of marriage is God. Genesis 2:18-22. Marriage has been ordained of God for the welfare of man. With the institution of marriage, the human family began. In the beginning of time, God created man and woman and brought them together in the union of marriage. This union is not to be dissolved, but rather, marriage is to be honored and nurtured. Marriage should begin with the understanding that only death should dissolve the union. As each day passes, husband and wife should grow dearer to one another. Conflicts may arise that threaten marriage, but the course must be stayed. Marriage is be built upon a foundation of love and trust. These ingredients will stabilize and secure the vow of commitment that has been made. The husband seeks to please his wife, and the wife seeks to please her husband. I Corinthians 7:33-34. Self-denial will insure marriage. In order for marriage to endure, we must have a respect for God and His law that governs marriage. Husband and wife should have a hope for the future of their lives together, and a hope in the world to come. How truly wonderful it is to grow old together.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
For the past five to six hundred years, denominationalism has grown and spread like an uncontrollable fire. Not only do we witness the increase of thousands of religious bodies, but we have mini-bodies within the larger bodies. Jesus promised that “I will build my church.” Matthew 16:18. Instead of seeing only one church, we see multiplied bodies all holding a different position in the religious world. Instead of the “unity of believers” for which Jesus prayed, we have division and confusion in religious teaching and faith. There can be but one explanation. There is a total disregard for the teachings of God.
Not all teachings in religion can be right. Jesus taught, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly, they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15. A wolf will devour and destroy. False teaching leads away from God. False teaching establishes concepts that are not Biblical. The scriptures teach that some would “turn from the truth.” Titus 1:14. Others would “depart from the faith.” I Timothy 4:1. A departure from God and the birth of the “commandments of men” has created denominations. Men have turned from what is right and divine and have decided to do “what is right in their own eyes.” Judges 21:25.
Only the Scriptures are right. The Scriptures are complete and infallible. Every way which does not have a “thus saith the Lord” is false. False teachers will continue to come. False ways will continue to abound. Therefore, “Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.” I Thessalonians 5:21.
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:16. God has given us the power of choice. We can be saved or we can be damned. All of humanity has an eternal destiny. Our destiny is determined by the choices that we make and the life that we live. Jesus, having all authority, says that by belief and baptism, we shall be saved. The gospel tells of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. We believe that He died on the cross, that He was buried, and that He arose from the dead on the third day. I Corinthians 15:1-4. We must then be united with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The work by which we accomplish that is baptism. Romans 6:1-6. Jesus said for us to believe and be baptized. The only other choice is disbelief. Baptism washs away sins. Acts 22:16. Baptism is a death of the old man, the sinful man. Romans 6:6. Baptism saves. I Peter 3:21. Baptism can be disregarded, but salvation cannot be possessed. The choices: belief and baptism or disbelief'; salvation or damnation.
Monday, January 12, 2015
We need to be saved because we are lost. We are lost because of sin. Sin is a separator. "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23. God has chosen a power by which lost humanity can be saved. That power is the gospel. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16. The gospel is the "good news" of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. As we hear and believe the gospel, we can be saved. This salvation is available to anyone and everyone who has the desire to obtain it. Salvation is acquired through belief. Belief is a commitment that one is willing to make to the commandments that God has provided. Belief means that one is willing to repent of sins, confess Christ as the Son of God, and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. The writer of this passage is not ashamed of the gospel because of the power that it provides. The gospel has the power to cleanse the human soul of all transgression. The gospel has the power to consecrate the human heart unto God. The gospel has the power remove all guilt from the conscience. The gospel brings us to the understanding of God's willingness to redeem and makes us aware of God's grace and mercy. The gospel rekindles the relationship between God and humanity that has been lost due to sin. When the gospel is believed (obeyed), we are reborn and hope revives. Behold, indeed, the power of the gospel.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Peter had followed the Lord onto the stormy sea. For a brief time, Peter had walked on the water. "When they came into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth, thou art the Son of God." Matthew 14:32-33. Jesus had fed a multitude with five loaves and two fishes and walked on the water. These actions of our Lord indeed identified Him as the Son of God. Jesus was not just a man. He was a divine man. God had become flesh, and the works which He performed were the proof. These disciples, having witnessed such works, confessed what their heart believed. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:10. Jesus was worthy of their worship because they knew Him to be the Son of God. The disciples had no doubt as to who Jesus was. All of the questions that they had concerning Him were answered in the life that Jesus lived and the works that Jesus performed. As we believe like them and confess as they confessed, Jesus becomes the Lord of our life as He did theirs. And one day in the future, the Son of God will confess us before the Father in heaven.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
There are surely those things from which we must flee. God has warned that the flesh is weak, and so, fleeing becomes a means by which we overcome. Our admonition, or warning, given in I Corinthians 10:14 is, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, flee from idolatry." Idolatry had been a grave problem for God's people. When the Ten Commandments were given, the first one was, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3-5. They were not to have them, make them, or bow down to them. God is a jealous God. God wants to be the only presence in our lives. Jesus taught that God was to be loved and served above and beyond all else. Even when this passage was written, idolatry was still a problem or sin that presented itself. Today is not different. Idolatry still appears in various ways. Any physical thing that we own can be a god unto us. Any pleasure that the world may offer can be a god unto us. When such is the case, we become idolaters. Idolatry creates a void between us and God. Idolatry will rob us of our spirituality. Idolatry will drive out God from our life. Idolatry brings sin and infidelity into our hearts. Idolatry makes us fleshy. Idolatry will bring God's anger upon us. Our defense is to flee.
Monday, January 5, 2015
The simple command of worship is penned by John in Revelation 22:9. "Worship God." God is to be worshipped by those who are willing to keep His word. The word provides us with adequate instruction as to what God requires in our service unto Him. God is to be worshipped because He is the Creator. All things exist by the word of His mouth. God is to be worshipped because of His provisions for the welfare of His creatures. Not only has He provided for us in a physical manner, but also He has provided for our spiritual life. We are permitted to praise and honor Him because of who we are in our relationship with Him. We are His children through Jesus Christ. By word and life we are to magnify the God of heaven. We offer unto Him our praise because of our redemption from sin and the second death. We praise Him because of our purging from sin and our removal from the darkness that separates us from God. We worship God because of His character, His love, and His grace. Only God is worthy to be praised. Let us come before Him in absolute devotion and purity of heart.
Friday, January 2, 2015
"Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." II Corinthians 6:2. The most serious matter that concerns us is our salvation. Procrastination is one of our worst flaws. This is especially true with the welfare of our soul. We must use the opportune time to "save ourselves." Acts 2:40. We have been given no promise of future life. The "convenient season" will only lead us into hardness. The brevity of life should concern us all. Delay not till the morrow for the morrow may not come. Also, we are to mindful of God's willingness to save us. We can answer His invitation to come at all times in our life. We can come to Him in the days of our youth or in the declining years of our life. His door never closes and His desire to save never ceases. Salvation is such a precious treasure. Peace comes to those who have acquired it. Hope is embraced by those who have acquired it. Why not accept salvation now rather than later? Why wait to possess the greatest of all possessions?
Thursday, January 1, 2015
The gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, contain the information that God has given us concerning His Son, Jesus Christ. As we read and study these four books of the New Testament, we will come to know Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul stated, "That I may know him." Philippians 3:10. We must know Christ as the Son of God. Jesus has made known unto us God. Our fellowship with God is through Jesus Christ. Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6. We must know Christ as the Savior of the world. God has chosen to save sinful humanity through Jesus Christ. We must know Christ as "the peace that passeth understanding." Philippians 4:6. Our peace comes through the forgiveness of our sins and our reconciliation unto God. We must know Christ as our hope. Jesus is the source of eternal life. Christ conquered death as He was raised from the dead. On a future day, we will be raised from the grave. We must know Christ as the judge. We will stand before Christ as He sits upon the judgment seat. Our destiny will be determined, not only by knowing Christ, but by our living for Christ. Let each of us grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ so that on that fateful day we may be transformed into His very image.