Thursday, April 28, 2016
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Ephesians 6:11. In churches of Christ, we sing a hymn which is entitled, "Stand Up For Jesus." When we stand, we are to let our light shine. We are to let the world know where we stand on the issues that come about because of the wiles of the devil. We are to promote a righteous lifestyle amidst the unrighteousness of our society. We are to speak truth. We are to be people of integrity and honor. We are to proclaim a gospel that will save the souls of the obedient. We are to follow God even if it brings persecution. We are to stand for the principals of right and we are to oppose the evils of wrongdoing. We are to separate ourselves from the evil about us, and not allow ourselves to be polluted. We are to be blameless and harmless in this present world. Our lifestyle is to be different from those who are corrupted by evil and enslaved by sin. We are to be untouched by the devil. Like Jesus, the devil must find nothing in us. Standing up for Jesus requires commitment, devotion, and sacrifice. Standing up for Jesus requires a love of the world to come and an understanding that we are just passing through this present world. Standing up for Jesus means that we are willing to battle the enemy and win.
Monday, April 25, 2016
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41. Jesus has been praying in the garden of Gethsemane, and his disciples have gone to sleep while waiting for Him. Jesus gives them warning about temptation. The devil tempts everyone. Satan seeks to detour us from the path that God wants us to walk. Jesus emphasizes the power of temptation over the flesh. The spirit of the disciple seeks to follow Jesus, but the flesh can easily succumb to temptation. The devil attacks the flesh. Jesus directs us to be cautious. The devil lurks. We must be watchful. The devil can only be conquered if we are alert. We must always be mindful of his cunning and aware of our own weakness. As we watch, we are to pray. We seek the help of God. We pray because we need God to help us and give us strength. Even Jesus sought the help of God as he prayed. Prayer is a mighty weapon in the arsenal of God's child. Prayer enlists God to stand by our side in the time of temptation. Watch and pray that ye might overcome.
Saturday, April 23, 2016
"And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you." II Thessalonians 3:4. Most everything with which we are familiar is unstable. Very few things deserve our confidence. People are so changeable and not always dependable. However, the Lord can be trusted. We can place utmost confidence in Him. God does not change. God does not lie. God has the power to perform all things. God is faithful to all who place their confidence in Him. God wills that we always do what is right. Safe guidelines have been given to us. God knows the past and God knows the future. This is the reason that we should heed what He says and follow the directions that He has given unto us. As His people, we are to follow Him and listen to Him. We are to conform our lives to the directives which have been given unto us by Him. These instructions for life will make our life worthwhile and will insure our eternity. We can live with purpose and fulfillment. We can take our steps into the uncertain future without fear and without regret.
Friday, April 22, 2016
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." I John 2:15. Life has a choice. We either love the world with its pleasure and sin and vileness or we love God. But, we cannot love both. The world involves all of those allurements that are in contrast with the character of God. The world is impure while God is pure. The world is unrighteous while God is righteous. While we must live in the midst of corruption and ugliness, we must not be a part of it. Those who love God separate themselves from the world in which they live. We seek Godliness and holiness. We do not allow our character to be spotted by the world. Purity is our pursuit even amidst impurity. If we love God, we seek to become as God. Sin has no appeal to those who love God. The love for the world is lost in our desire to please God and to know Him. We will not allow ourselves to be contaminated by the filth of this present world. All that is in the world is temporary, while the things of God continue. The world is but for a season, while God is unending. The choice before us is truly a simple one.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." Philippians 2:4. Unity is achieved when we have a care for others. One who is self-centered will be unable to come together with others. Jesus demanded self-sacrifice. The gospel call demands that one be willing to lose his own life. Self must be left if one is to follow Jesus and become His disciple. We can not be only concerned with ourselves. We must see others and their need. When this admonition to look not on our own things, but look upon the things of others, we will have arrived at self-denial and we will have an understanding of what Jesus did for us. Jesus looked not upon His own life, but He saw the life of others. The world is much larger than me. The church is much larger than me. The Lord is mindful that only an unselfish attitude can accomplish His will. As I look upon the things of others, may others look upon my things. And, the needs of all within the body of Christ are met. The admonition calls for sacrifice, humility, unselfishness, and compassion. This is the glorious nature of God's realm.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication." I Thessalonians 4:3. We are all very much aware of the sexual revolution. Old customs and laws have been pushed aside, and many, very many, have decided to do as they please. Marriage is becoming obsolete. Couples have chosen to live together outside of the sacred vow of marriage. Infidelity has destroyed countless marriages. Multitudes of children have been born outside of wedlock. Males have decided to become females, and females have decided to become males. We witness same sex marriage. And yet, still in place is the voice of the divine Creator and Lawgiver with a divine word from heaven that we are to abstain from fornication. Fornication is sexual immorality. The word implies all types of sexual perversion. From such activity, we are to abstain because sexual immorality violates sanctification. Fornication becomes whoredom. Fornication pollutes the individual. It uses a person for self-gratification. God wants us to abstain from fornication because it is sinful. God's will calls for purity of body. Fornication cannot achieve such purity. It defiles and pollutes. Those who participate in fornication are unclean. God says abstain.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
"But that which ye have already hold fast till I come." Revelation 2:25. Difficulty was in place for the church at Thyatira. The danger of losing their faith and commitment to Jesus Christ was a very real possibility. Many do not fare well in the face of fire. This was the threat for this particular body of believers. What has been attained can be lost. Did not Judas Iscariot lose his commitment to Jesus because of the desire for the thirty pieces of silver? Did not Demas turn back because he loved this present world? The devil wants us to be in tune with the present. He would not have us believe that God is a present refuge and able to deliver us from the threat of evil men. It is the wish of Satan that everything look hopeless unless we retreat. The world provides a safe haven for her own. Those who walk to a different lifestyle are the ones who must be concerned about persecution and suffering. After all, the world can always blame God for every disaster. God wants the church at Thyatira to hold fast because He is coming to help. We must know that God can and will make a way for us to escape. The fire of trial may burn bright, but ere long and the God of heaven will extinguish it for us. When He comes, we will triumph.
Monday, April 11, 2016
"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20:29. Thomas was permitted by Jesus to behold the wounds which Jesus had received in His crucifixion. Proof was given that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. Now Thomas believed. You and I have not seen Jesus. We were not in the crowd when He was judged by Pilate. Nor did we witness the death of Jesus upon the cross. We saw Him not when He was removed from the cross and buried. On the third day Jesus came forth from the grave by the Spirit of God and forever conquered death. We have not been eyewitnesses to any of the miracles which Jesus performed nor were we privileged to hear Him speak the words of endless life. But, we believe. The Bible has revealed unto us all of the events that are necessary for faith in Christ. We believe the record that has been written about His life upon the earth. We believe when we read the pages of inspiration. Our hearts are uplifted because we believe that Jesus is our Savior. Our burden of sin is lifted because we believe. We overcome failure because we believe. We know hope and victory because we believe. We are blessed because we believe even though we have not seen.
Saturday, April 9, 2016
"Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished." Proverbs 16:5. The Lord denounces pride while men applaud it. The world is filled with arrogance. The Lord hates pride in the heart of man because the Lord knows the heart. The Lord understands the weakness of man and knows that he is but a frail creature of the dust. The proud heart keeps itself from God and from His grace. The proud heart cannot see the tragedy of his own sin. The proud heart believes that God can be cast down. And, yet, God knows that man cannot direct his own way. Have not the proud in heart joined ranks before? Pharaoh with his mighty army lies buried in the sea. Korah with his followers has been swallowed up by the earth. The proud in heart would build a tower to heaven, but confusion struck. There is no power nor counsel that can stand against the Maker of heaven and earth. All the forces of pride today will ultimately give way to the mighty arm of God when He brings His swift judgment. May the proud heart humble itself understanding its need for the Lord who has made us. The humble will stand while the proud will fall. The humble will know glory while the proud will know destruction. Oh, how vain is pride.
Friday, April 8, 2016
"For if by one man's offense death reigned by one: much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." Romans 5:17. The offense of one, Adam, brought death. God had informed Adam and Eve that the violation of His law in the Garden of Eden would bring death. All who follow the course of Adam shall die. Sin is a death warrant to those who so engage. But life reigns through Jesus Christ. This life through Christ is a gift from God. Because He is righteous, God sought to save man from the death of sin. God offers this free gift by grace. The defining qualities of God are grace and righteousness. God has ordained that life come unto those who would receive His grace. The grace of God through Christ was so abundant in magnitude and purpose. The grace of God has the power to provide righteousness unto all who will receive it through Christ. Christ must be accepted as the One who can give life unto those who are otherwise dead in sin. To follow in the way of Adam is to die. To follow in the way of Christ is to live.
Monday, April 4, 2016
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Colossians 3:23. We are to work with enthusiasm and with devotion. We are not to be slackers. We must not expect someone else to do our work. We must be mindful of the reason for our labor, and the one who is glorified by our labor. We labor for the Lord and in all that we do, the Lord is to be glorified. If we are involved in a labor that does not glorify God and honor the Lord Jesus Christ, then we should resign from that labor. We are to be pleasers of Jesus. Our work must be accepted by Him. We must never seek to please men. Men are fickle. The opinions of men are varied. But, God always remains the same. His judgment is unchangeable. What pleases Him today will please Him tomorrow. This is not so with men. When we seek to please men, we become unacceptable to God. What pleases God very seldom pleases men. Men are worldly minded; God is spiritually minded. Men are concerned with the flesh. God is concerned with the Spirit. What pleases men last only for a brief moment. What pleases God lasts throughout eternity. With a full heart, let us accept the work which God has given us, and with all our might, let us labor for Him.
Saturday, April 2, 2016
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets..." Hebrews 1:1. This verse begins one of the great epistles of the New Testament. There is in this passage a declaration of God. God is the beginning of all things and the One through which all things consist. God is the eternal God. He is the authority of the universe. When God speaks, His creation is to hear. Of all the creation, man is superior. Man was made in the image of God. Man is to be subject unto the law of God. In times of old, God spoke to man by the prophets. But, the book of Hebrews reveals that now in this present age until the end of time, God speaks through Christ. God in Christ gave a new law to mankind. The law of Christ is a more excellent law because the One through whom God speaks is more excellent. Christ is God in the flesh. Christ is sinless. Christ is the One through whom redemption comes. The words of Christ offer life, peace, joy, and hope. All of the prophets are dead, but Christ lives. Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death. Hear him at all times. May we open our hearts to His will and word. May we walk by His law. God has spoken. Let us hear.