Tuesday, January 31, 2017
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." I Corinthians 9:24. In an earthly race, many may run, but only the fastest will win the prize. In the spiritual race, all who run will win the prize. The reward that God offers is given to all those who will engage in the race until the end. In an earthly race, some may falter along the way, and fail to complete the race. So, also, in the spiritual race, some may faint and grow weary. They will be given no prize for they did not finish. The prize of eternal life will only be given to those who engage in the race and cross the finish line. Our finish line comes at our death. It makes no difference when we begin to run. All that matters is that we run and finish. The exhortation which we are considering invites us to run so that we may obtain. God is faithful to His promise of reward to those who engage in the spiritual battle. Running a race requires preparation and endurance. To run in God's race means that we must prepare ourselves to run, and that we must continue until our race is complete. The race will end at different times for each of us, but we will obtain if we so run.
Monday, January 30, 2017
"And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." Genesis 28:15. Are not the ancient promises also good for us? If God would be with Jacob, shall He not also be with us? The pilgrims of this old world have a divine escort. We do not travel alone. God never departs from us. God is our companion. And, oh, what need we have of one to be with us in this world of sin and trouble. Satan calls us, but he will not give us help in time of need. Satan will not lift our burden, but rather, will lay upon us greater burdens. God is the one who comforts and lifts. His power gives support. What a thought is it to know that the Great Jehovah walks all along our way by our side. In the darkness of night, He is there to protect and guard. In the light of day, He is there to direct and guide. We are covered by His cloud. The grace of heaven is our shield. In gain, God is with us. In loss, God is with us. His promise is always sure, "I will not leave thee." Travel on weary one for the Lord of heaven is our companion and friend.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
"O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day." Psalm 119:97. I love His law for it tells me of Him. How else would I know of God and His nature without His word? God reveals Himself in the pages of the Bible. I love His law for it is a higher law than man's. It teaches me the grand concepts of love and forgiveness. The Bible is a word of truth. God does not and cannot lie. The Bible is a word of light. Within its pages, I receive guidance and strength. The words of the Bible comfort me in times of sorrow, lift me up when I am cast down, and give me hope when all appears to be lost. The Bible tells me of the greatest sacrifice that has ever been made in the cross of Jesus. The Bible tells me of life beyond the grave. The Bible tells me of the great conquest over evil and death. God has spoken to humanity. The Bible lifts us to a higher plane of life. Purpose is born in the human heart above ourselves when we read the Bible. A place called heaven is described in its pages that is prepared for the pure and the holy. Oh, what a book. There is none other like it in all the world. Meditation on this law gives me joy, contentment, and peace. I love the law of God and I meditate therein because it is God's will for my life.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
"Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." I Corinthians 7:2. Fornication is illicit sexual behavior that God condemns. God has established a law by which fornication, which will condemn the soul, can be avoided. This law is marriage. By God's law, marriage is between a man and a woman. Marriage was established by God in the very beginning of time. That law of God has never been changed. This union of marriage between a man and a woman provides for reproduction and the continuance of the human race. Homosexual unions are forbidden by God. These unions cannot fulfill God's divine purpose for humanity. Therefore, these unions are sinful. Marriage is to be a union that involves love, respect, and endurance. Divorce is an act that God hates. From the beginning of the world, this is the way God intended for marriage to be: one man and one woman for life. Marriage is to be respected because God used this divine union to represent the great union between Christ and His church. Let us honor this law that God has given. May society cease to dishonor what God has decreed since the very beginning of creation.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
"Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." I Peter 1:10-11. The prophets of old had told of the coming of Christ and the sufferings of the Savior. Jesus' death was not by accident, but rather, was God's eternal plan. The voice of the Old Testament prophets saw the salvation that would come into the world by God's divine grace. The Spirit gave them the word which they were to speak. God has spoken by His Holy Spirit. We have the word of grace that was given by divine proclamation. The news of the ages was the coming of Jesus for the salvation of all of humanity. Jesus would suffer the death of the cross, but the glorious resurrection would deliver Him for the grave. He would ascend to the heavenly abode from whence He had come and sit at God's right hand. This was the glory that was to follow. The prophetic word announced to the world of God's divine plan for the salvation of lost humanity. In the suffering of Christ and the glory that followed, we have hope.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" I Timothy 2:5. Jesus Christ mediates between God and man so that peace can be made. We are at enmity with God because of sin. Jesus helps us make our peace with God through the sacrifice that He offered on the cross. To understand our need and the claim of God meant that Jesus Christ must be both man and God. Jesus Christ took upon Himself the fleshly form and became as man so that our need of salvation and acceptance with God could be accomplished. Through His birth deity became human. Jesus Christ secured for us what we were unable to obtain for ourselves. We could not satisfy God's demand for justice due to our transgression. But, Jesus, the Son of God, was willing to take the form of man so that we might have eternal redemption. Jesus, as our mediator, offers His blood that was shed on the cross as a payment for our sins. And, as our mediator, that blood is continually offered so that by our confession and repentance we might continue to enjoy forgiveness when we sin. God's wonderful grace allowed Jesus to be our mediator. And thus, we enjoy peace with God.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
"In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:3. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ Jesus. Many have sat at the feet of the learned to hear their wisdom. Shall we not sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His knowledge? Varied are the judgments in this old world as to the true treasure. But, alas, no wisdom nor knowledge can compare to that treasure given by Jesus. The treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Him far surpass all the treasures of this world. Countless souls have been helped by His teaching and His life. His wisdom has benefit for this life and the one to come. Whether His word be spoken on a mountain or by the sea, it gives learning. Let every soul be hungry to feed upon the wisdom of Christ. Let every heart yearn for His knowledge. His treasures of wisdom and knowledge give us insight into the very nature of God, Jesus has the wisdom of salvation and the knowledge of eternal life. His wisdom guides us to a holy life in preparation for the life to come. That which is hidden in Christ He freely offers to the listening heart.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11. Those in Berea heard the word gladly. They listened with a desire to know and do. The word will not profit unless it is heard and received. The word of God has come from God. The word of God offers life to those who will hear and do. The mind must be ready to receive what God has to say. We must not hear the word to find flaws within it. We must not listen merely to debate what the word says to us. We listen with a mind that is open to its divine truth. But, we must also prove the word. We must make certain that the things which we hear are so. We must know that our faith is established upon that which is true. The word of God is to be heard and searched. There are divine riches buried within the pages of scripture. Those riches can only be found by a constant search. Read, study, learn, and grow. Search for God and Jesus Christ. Search for life and purpose. Search for salvation and hope. Search for comfort and contentment. Search and discover what God would have us to know. Do it daily.
Monday, January 16, 2017
"The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born." Matthew 26:24. The cross was near. Jesus reminded His disciples of what had been written concerning Him. All was about to be fulfilled. Jesus knew that one of His own would betray Him. That one was Judas Iscariot. Judas gave up his Master for thirty pieces of silver. He betrayed innocent blood. Jesus had done Judas no harm, only good. But, what about us? Are we willing to betray Jesus for money or land or fame? Do we betray Jesus to engage in sinful activity? One can be a follower of the Christ at one moment and become a betrayer the next moment. Judas did not have a heart that was committed to the Christ. The betrayal came from a divided loyalty. Judas followed Christ, but had other interests as well. The same can be true of us. To keep from betraying Christ, we must remove ourselves from the worldly interests that surround us and set our hearts on Christ and His eternal kingdom. Jesus has died for us. Let us not betray Him. If we do, it will indeed be better that we were never born.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
"Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; repent and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations." Ezekiel 14:6. This was not Ezekiel's message. It was God's message that Ezekiel was to deliver. God uses His spokesman. The word is in earthen vessels. It has no less validity nor power. God speaks through His prophets. Certain of the elders had come to Ezekiel. God told Ezekiel that these men had set up idols in their hearts and the stumblingblock of their iniquity was before their face. There can be no relationship with God where there is idolatry or iniquity. They must repent and turn. Repentance means that there is an awareness of sin and a need for change. This was the charge given by the prophet. These men must turn from idolatry for there is to be no other god, but Jehovah God. They must remove themselves from iniquity for God has no company with iniquity. The character must be transformed and renewed. Sin without repentance will destroy. It will bring God's wrath. Repentance appeases God' s anger over sin. God will allow sinners to repent so that their future with Him will be secured.
Friday, January 13, 2017
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. You must come to Christ. He invites, but you must come. Are you fearful of coming to Him? Do you see yourself as too sinful to come to Him? Jesus does receive the fearful and the sinful. Does the burden of the world prevent you from coming? Do you not come because of the love of sin? Come to Him now, and He will receive you. Jesus refuses no one. He desires that all might follow Him. Did He not call the sinner to come? Who made up His band of followers? The lowly came and He embraced them. The sinners came and He loved them. All who would come were received into everlasting habitations. Those who do not follow Him do so because of their own choice. The sick and the afflicted cried unto Him, and He answered their need. Will He not now answer your need? Will He not calm your soul thou who art tossed in the waves of discontent? His blood will indeed cleanse your soul and the Father will know you as His own child. No one is left who will come. Come now, and know the joy of Christ's loving embrace.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
"And ye are Christ's; and Christ's is God's." I Corinthians 3:23. We belong to Christ by divine purchase. Christ has died and risen again to purchase us by His blood. God has permitted alienated humanity to become the possession of Jesus Christ. We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. What does it mean to belong to Christ? We shun the evil of the world. We remove ourselves from the company of wicked people. We heed not the voice of the devil as he invites us to sin. We walk humbly before the God of heaven. Oh, yes, we belong to Jesus. We must not dishonor the holiness that has been bestowed upon us. We seek to be as He is in this world. We walk as a light that shines in the darkness. We heed the voice of God to seek Him with our whole heart. We belong to Jesus Christ. We show kindness and hospitality to others. We speak words that encourage. We lift up the lowly and downtrodden. We belong to Christ. We long for the heavenly land knowing that it has been prepared for us by our Master. One day, not only will we be His, but we shall see Him as He is and dwell with Him forever.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
"They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away." Luke 8:13. Temptation, or trial, is a test of faith. All of us who follow Jesus must know that our faith will be tested. The old devil will not leave us along. The word of God has been received with joy. There is no other way to receive it than with joy. We have been delivered from sin, and we know salvation. We are in union with Jesus, our Lord. But, the temptation comes, and we fall away. We fall because we have no root. The rock will not allow the development of the root whereby we are grounded and settled. We have not fully given ourselves to Jesus. We are not firmly set in His love and grace. The seed has fallen upon the rock where there can be no penetration. Our faith in Jesus cannot be shallow, and stand against the devil. His assault is harsh. The winds of trial will blow hard, and uproot us. In the story of Jesus, these fell away because they had not rooted themselves in the One by whom they were able to stand.
Monday, January 9, 2017
"For the poor always ye have with you, but me ye have not always." John 12:8. A very expensive ointment had been poured upon the Savior. A complaint was made that this oil could have been sold, and the money could have been given to the poor. This complaint prompted Jesus to make the statement concerning the poor and Himself. We always have the opportunity to help the poor. Those who follow Jesus are to be concerned about the poor, and help them in their need. This loving act shown to the Savior was just before His death. Jesus was telling His followers that He would not always be with them. God sent Jesus into the world for a time. When His purpose of saving humanity had been fulfilled, Jesus would return to His heavenly Father. Jesus would always be with His disciples in the Spirit, but not in fleshly form. His end would come. Like all of humanity, Jesus would die. You and I have an appointed end. Our life here upon the earth will close. While we are here, let us do good. Let us serve Jesus, and let us help the poor. As we help others, we are doing good toward Jesus. But, our opportunity to do good has an end for all of us will die. Before our appointed end, let us glorify Jesus by doing good toward God and toward man.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
"So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, If ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses." Matthew 18:35. God will recompense unto us what we do unto others. How we respect others is how God respects us. Jesus has answered a question about forgiveness. His answer included a story of a man who needed forgiveness, but was himself unwilling to forgive. It is impossible but that trespasses come. Not only do we need the forgiveness of God, but we also need the forgiveness of others. Jesus teaches that those who are willing to forgive will be forgiven, but those who are unwilling to forgive will not be forgiven. We all sin against God, and God is willing to forgive us. God wants us to have a heart of forgiveness. A heart of forgiveness is a heart of compassion and love. Mercy received must be mercy given. Forgiveness does not seek revenge, nor does it harbor malice. Hate is cured with forgiveness. Broken bonds can be united with forgiveness. Friendships can be restored with forgiveness. God forgives the sins of our life when we from our heart forgive those who trespass against us. Forgiveness is indeed a heavenly blessing.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
"Call upon me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3. We can call upon the Almighty, and He will show us great things. We have the right to call upon the most mighty Being in the universe. Has He not shown us His greatness in times past? The sea parted and the flood rolled. Mighty Jordan was crossed and Jericho fell. Goliath was slain with a stone, and the pillars in the house of Dagon fell down. The Hebrew boys survived the fire, and Daniel walked among the lions. Ten lepers were cleansed, and Lazarus walked out of the tomb of death where he had resided for four days. The cross was raised, and the sun turned black. God will show us great and mighty things. Call Him when you are cast down. Call Him when your world crumbles. And He will answer with a mighty display. Call upon Him when you are sad, and when you are happy. Call in the time of heavy burdens, and call when you are carrying a light load. Call at all times. His ear is open. The Lord desires to hear from you. And, He will greet your voice with a mighty display of power.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
"Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect: and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:16. Before I was born, God knew me. Before He fashioned me, He saw my existence. God sees what has not yet come to be. My members were fashioned by His divine handiwork long beforehand written in His book. God planned, and I came to be. My birth was according to a plan formed in eternity. From the everlasting pattern, I was made. We are not the product of an accident. We are the perfection of an eternal plan by an eternal mind. There is no spur of the moment with God. Each soul is a divine creation very skillfully formed. This knowledge is overwhelming. I am somebody to God. God planned for my being, and as an architect would build according to his drawing, thus did God with me. I am formed with absolute precision. And God sees me day by day. His eye watches me due to His loving concern. God provides for me what I need for my life to be pleasant and good. He did not make me, and then, forget me. God watches, and cares.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
"As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." Luke 3:4. What was once written is now time to be fulfilled. John, the preacher in the wilderness, was sent to cry out the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is coming. Are you ready? When He comes to you, will your heart be ready to receive Him? We must prepare for Christ to come to us. We are to be ready to receive Him as an honored guest. Jesus may not tarry long. He may knock but once. Let us open unto Him immediately. We are to see our need for Him to enter our heart. As cursed sinners, we must receive Jesus. He comes to save, not destroy. He comes to redeem us from the slavery of sin. Jesus brings the blessings of God. We must humble ourselves knowing His greatness and our weakness. Jesus is wiser than all the minds of humanity. His power and majesty far exceeds the kings of earth. We must be ready to take His cross and follow after Him. His steps lead to holiness and glory. Sometimes, His way will lead us through difficulty. We must be ready to fight for His cause, and lift high His banner of truth. Jesus will lead us in straight paths. Prepare ye to receive Him.
Monday, January 2, 2017
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31. Is it not difficult to wait? We seem to be always in a hurry. There is much to do, and so little time in which to do it. But, we are to wait on the Lord for a renewal of strength. All need renewal. We sleep so that our body can be recharged. We eat so that we can be replenished. But, the prophet speaks of the renewal of our soul. This old world will sap our strength. The old devil will cause us to question our faith. Defeat can bring us to fainting. Doubt can cause weariness. We must wait on the Lord. The Lord does not forget us. The Lord does not forsake us. But, He may tarry. The Lord does not always arrive at the time which we would like. We must not despair. Wait for Him so that we may have a renewal of our strength. We will then continue to run the race. As an eagle mounts its great wings and soars high in the heavens, so we will mount up to the challenges before us. Let those without strength wait on the Lord who has all strength and freely gives. Then, we shall run toward the prize.
"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2. Prayer is the watchword of the saint. Children of God need to pray. We live in a world that opposes us, and therefore, we need the communion with our Father. We are subjects of temptation from the devil, and so, we need the mercy that flows from the throne of God. We experience sorrow and loss, and so, we must find strength to continue. Pray, saint, pray and do not cease. We find that Christ was often in prayer, even through the long night on one occasion. Daniel and David of old prayed. There is not a single saint of scripture who did not pray. Sometimes God is long time in answering our prayers, but do not cease to pray. Sometimes our prayer does not meet the will of God, but continue to pray. The soul that does not pray is the soul that wanders in a vast wasteland without heaven's help. God's children cannot live long without prayer. Prayer seeks God and His help and grace. What a grand honor that a child of the dust can go into heaven's throne room and speak to the Maker of all things. Let prayers unto God fall from our lips night and day. Heaven's grace is given to those who ask.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5. We are to have the mind of Christ. This will require our full devotion. This is to be our life's work. The mind of Christ was a mind of perfection. In all things, Jesus was submissive unto the will of God. The will of God was His very reason for leaving heaven and coming to earth. Christ was sacrificial. He gave Himself for others. Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient. Christ was willing to do what God required for the redemption of humanity. He was selfless. We are to develop within ourselves the personality of Christ. We must surrender ourselves unto God so that we come to have the mind of Christ. The world was made better because Jesus came and lived in the world. We, having the mind of Christ, will make the world a better place. We will be better. We will ascend to a higher plane of living. As we come out of ourselves and into the mind of Christ, we will discover the fullness of our purpose in this life. The mind of Jesus was a divine mind that proclaimed the glory of God. As we possess the mind of Christ, we will shed forth the glorious light of God's glory and presence in a world of darkness and despair. The mind of Christ gives hope and promise. Let us have the mind of Jesus.