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.