Sunday, April 30, 2017

All Things Are Ready

"Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage."  Matthew 22:4.  The king had already sent his servants to invite the guests, but the invitation is refused.  God's invitation is refused by many.  The king sends other servants, and the invitation is given to others. Even when the invitation is refused, heaven continues to invite.  The refusal by many to attend the wedding feast does not hinder God from inviting others.  This is an invitation to the kingdom of God.  This is the greatest feast that will ever be given.  Here is an honor extended to sit with the King.  The king says that all things have been prepared.  Has not God done everything for the salvation of the human race?  A Savior has died.  Cleansing blood has been shed.  Heaven has received the sacrifice which has been offered.  Christ has become the Mediator between God and man.  The whole plan of human redemption has been secured.  The invitation has gone throughout all the lands.  Will you not come?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hand To The Plough

"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."  Luke 9:62.  Jesus is setting forth the conditions of discipleship.  The man to whom Jesus spoke was willing to follow, but he wanted to bid farewell to those in his house first.  Jesus and the kingdom must be first.  The disciple must fulfill the commitment.  The resolution to follow Jesus must be met.  Worldly concerns must be forsaken, and sometimes, those in our house.  Family and relatives can be a hindrance to following Christ.  The plowed row must be straight.  This cannot be done if he who plows looks back.  The resolved disciple must not look back upon the things of the world.  Our focus must be a forward look upon Christ and His kingdom.  We must set our look toward heaven, and the things of the Spirit.  We learn that the resolved can have second thoughts.  To look back upon the old life makes one unfit for the kingdom.  Following Jesus gives us new life and new opportunities.  We must embrace this new found treasure with a complete resolve.  Look ahead, and never backward.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Walk In Wisdom

"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time."  Colossians 4:5.  Those who choose to follow Christ are to live in a certain manner.  The life which is lived by Christ's followers is examined by those who choose not to follow Him.  These are without or outside of Christ.  Christ's disciples must be wise.  We must know that dangers lurk.  We are to be aware of foes.  We must make wise decisions.  A life which is lived in obedience to the will of God must know God's standard.  This life must always manifest light.  We must give no occasion for prejudice against the teachings of Christ.  Carefulness and goodness must be the traits by which we are seen and known.  We must use our opportunities wisely for time slips away.  The good that one does may not be remembered, but the bad that one does may very well be recalled.  Our time to do right is brief.  We are to use the time given to honor the profession that we make.  Our walk whether wise or foolish cast a shadow.  In a very brief moment, an influence can be impressed upon some watchful soul.  Wisdom must insure that moment for Christ.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Call Not Thou Common

"And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed call not thou common."  Acts 10:15.  Peter had been instructed to kill and eat what was contained in the sheet.  Peter refused.  It is not uncommon for us to refuse the voice of God.  But, it is never wise to do so.  God spoke to Peter the second time.  Isn't God good?  God could only speak once, and bring to nothing everyone who refused to listen.  God was teaching Peter a lesson.  God was sending Peter to the Gentiles with the gospel.  No one is common in the eyes of the Creator.  All are important to God.  We must see people as souls that are created by God in His very own image.  We are not to put people into categories.  We are to belittle people because of education, appearance, or achievement.  God has made all of one blood, and His desire is to save all.  God does not see people as foreigners or misfits.  Neither should we.  We are to treat everyone with respect and kindness.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is a message for everyone.  The blood of Jesus Christ has the power to cleanse everyone.  The church of Jesus Christ includes everyone.  None are common.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Refresh One Another

"The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:"  II Timothy 1:16.  One in a house can bring the mercy of God.  God is free with His mercy.  The merciful receive mercy.  Who in this land of brutality does not need the mercy of God?  The man of whom the apostle spoke was a man of mercy.  We are to refresh one another.  We are to encourage one another.  None are to stand alone.  We need each other.  Giving ourselves to one another will bring the mercy of God unto us.  His mercy helps us to give mercy.  The apostle found himself in very difficult circumstances oftentimes.  Difficulty in life calls for the strength that others can provide.  Helping others is helping ourselves.  We cannot give without receiving.  Paul found himself in chains because of the gospel that he preached.  Onesiphorus was not ashamed of that chain.  He did not shun the apostle because of the chain that bound him for he understood the price of the gospel.  We must not be ashamed of those whom others shun because of truth.  We must stand with those who fearlessly preach Christ.  Those who are ashamed of Christ will find that Christ is ashamed of them.  The gospel does not bring shame, but rather, it brings glory.  Let us have the character of Onesiphorus.  God has listed his name in the eternal record.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

As You Believe.

"And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way: as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.  And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."  Matthew 8:13.  A powerful man came to Jesus.  He wanted Jesus to do something for him that he was unable to do.  He believed that Jesus could heal his servant.  Here was a powerful man that cared about his servant and was not too proud to ask for help.  The centurion did not just ask anyone.  He asked Christ.  He believed that Christ could do what he asked of Him.  "As thou hast believed."  That is key to triumph in the kingdom of God.  That is the answer to our number growth problem within the church. Our belief helps us to stand.  Our belief helps us to fight.  Our belief helps us to surrender and serve.  Our belief brings God's resources to us.  Our belief becomes the channel for His power.  Nothing is done without God.  What God does for us and with us is fueled by faith.  The servant was healed not only because Christ was able to heal him, but because the centurion asked for Jesus to heal him.  Let us ask Jesus for help, and let us ask in faith.  And, watch what happens.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Ye Must Be Born Again

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."  John 3:3.  Nicodemus had confessed that Jesus had come from heaven.  But, Jesus instructed Nicodemus that faith only is insufficient to save.  One must not only believe that Jesus has come from heaven, but one must also be born again.  Jesus stated that this new birth is an absolute.  Jesus further explained to Nicodemus that this birth was of the water and the Spirit.  This birth brings the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God.  One is then given a place of residence in the kingdom of God.  The new birth translates one from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of heaven.  The new birth brings a new citizenship and a new allegiance.  When one is born of water (baptism) and the Spirit, a new identity is given.  One born of water and the Spirit has a new hope.  The new birth means being raised from water to walk in newness of life and raised to sit in heavenly places.  The new birth gives one access to the priesthood of Jesus Christ and all the blessings of heaven.  Ye must be born again.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Where Art Thou?

"And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?"  Genesis 3:9.  Adam and Eve had hidden from God.  God walked in the garden.  God called out to Adam and Eve.  By means of the gospel, God calls out to everyone.  Let us not hide from Him, but rather, let us seek Him.  God desires our fellowship.  He offers His friendship.  God's question to Adam was, "Where are you?"  God knew they had hidden from Him.  Nothing can be kept from Him who sees all and knows all.  Adam and Eve had changed sides.  They had listened to the devil.  Sin had taken hold of their hearts.  They were in the devil's camp.  Where are we?  Are we in the Lord or out of the Lord?  Are we in the church or out of the church?  Are we in the camp of sin or are we in the camp of righteousness?  We need to ask ourselves, "Where are we?"  God already knows.  Our future depends upon where we are.  Adam and Eve were driven from the paradise that God had given to them.  The devil can provide no paradise.  To follow Satan will bring hardship and loss.  Where are we?  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hiding From God

"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden."  Genesis 3:8.  Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They had listened to the devil rather than having listened to God.  As God walked in the garden, Adam and Eve hid themselves from Him.  Some do not care what God thinks about them.  They boldly go forth and sin at leisure.  They do not seek to hide from Him nor do they seek to hide their sin.  But, others have a conscious awareness of God.  They do not openly flaunt their sin.  Adam and Eve were unable to hide themselves and the sin that they had committed.  Neither can we nor anyone.  God sees all and knows all.  His presence is everywhere.  Nothing can be hidden from Him.  We must not hide our sin, but rather, confess our sin.  We must seek forgiveness of our sin.  God rewards right behavior, and God punishes bad behavior.  God knows where we are and what we are doing.  Let us be mindful of that truth and, therefore, always do right.  Let us seek God rather than hide from God.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Willing To Live Honestly

"Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly."  Hebrews 13:18.  A good conscience is vital to living honestly.  Our conscience speaks to us.  However, our conscience can lead us astray.  We must not simply believe that we have a good conscience, but we must be sure.  Our conscience must be guided toward an honest life.  How we live is a choice that we make.  To live honestly before God is to yield ourselves to Him, and seek to do as He directs.  To live honestly is to yield ourselves to the lives of others in service.  To live honestly is to avoid the pitfalls that present themselves to us.  Our conscience will help us to stay on the path of honest living.  The author of this verse had requested prayer due to a good conscience and an honest life.  Dare we ask for the prayers of others if we ourselves do not live in a manner where we can also pray for ourselves?  The prayers of others on our behalf cannot change our lifestyle.  The prayers of others for us cannot alter a false lifestyle.  We must not ask others to do for us what we are unable to do for ourselves.  We certainly have no right to ask God for blessings if we choose not to live honestly.