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.