Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Prophets Helping Them

Helping Prophets

Ezra 5:1  Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. 
 5:2  Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

     What is the purpose of the prophets may we ask?  Many see only their job as to pester them.  They may be viewed by the world as troublesome people, rebelling against the wicked causes of the unregenerate.  Yet God has given them to us, pastors and evangelists, to help the people.  Many times they are seen as unfavorable, for they tell the truth in righteousness; and as long as they do this, the offence of the cross will not cease.  But as offensive as the cross may be, preach it they must!  May the prophets given us by God be regarded differently by the people of God; not as a nuisance, but as a helper in the Christian life.
     The goal is to help people, not to belittle them or destroy their lives.  There is not a God called preacher who purposely tries to do these things if he operating in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Their purpose is to persuade people to a better place in their fellowship with God.  They are to try to bring benefits into the lives of people by their reasoning with them.  Their reason for this is they are called of God.  Sent and commissioned not of their choice, but as by choice of the Saviour; for as it written, he has said, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you."  They are representatives of God, persuading you of better things!  So let us not see the godly Spirit filled man as a bother, but rather as a refreshing wind sent to refurbish our lives.
     They are set in the ministry of God's word.  There is no other authority.  They wish to solace hurting souls by propagating the healing qualities of the Word.  This they do with great joy, for the scripture has concluded they are to be ministers of joy.  The ministry which has sweep them into the passion of God's work also brings upon them the necessitation of correction.  The word heals, but as well it corrects, and this correction is not aimed as to be picking on ones feelings; but rather on the bettering of their lives, so that they may avoid shipwreck.  The prophet of God is a guidance representative of the Bible.  His ministry is to guide people in the Bible, and not of opinion or preference.  
     Christian, are you weary with your prophet that God has given you?  If he be a man of God then by all means find place to listen to him.  For his job is to represent God.  He is a proclaimer of the written word.  He has an unction with Holy One (as do all believers) and is ordained of God to watch for your souls.  His passion is not prove you wrong, but to warn of impending danger.  He has a message for you.  One divinely written at the desk of God and burned into his heart by the groaning of the Holy Spirit.  Listen to your prophet, for any preacher called of God may deliver God's message if you are prepared to listen.
     His message is also, one of this: a message of warning, which is of the upmost importance.  For this is the message of Christ and the need of salvation for man.  In this message we find the hope and theme of eternity.  Christ came to redeem man from the wages of sin and everlasting torment.  How is it today prophet with your message?  Is Christ the central theme?  Have we slowed the gospel from leaping off our tongue? and have we traded it in place for the fear of man?  Certainly we hope not!  For there is no other thing we shall do in this life that bears more importance.  Bring forth with power the message of Christ!  For unto the lost it is the power of God unto salvation, and to us who are saved it is the power of God evidenced in our lives and eternity. Oh preachers! preach the word! and listeners, listen to the word; for if you would allow it to be so, the prophet is not your enemy, but your helper!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

For the Sorrowing Christian

Righteousness in Him
Corinthians 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

     Why do you sorrow for today, Christian?  Has sin put you into a great despair?  Know Christ and know freedom from this dreadful curse, for Christ has redeemed you!  Truly repentance is accepted in the eyes of God when His children weep for sorrow.  Weep; then let us quickly move on!  For the most holy infallible Scripture has stated we are made the righteousness of God in Him!  There is no condemnation to the child of God, for we are seen as perfect in our Father's eyes.  We are seen as though we had never sinned.  Yet even better are we than if we had never sinned!  For we would be robed in the righteousness of a perfect man if that were our state.  But we are robed in the righteousness of God.  A divine garment given to us through Christ.  And how much better is the righteousness of God than of man!  So we are seen as perfect in God's eyes because we were made the righteousness of Christ.  If God cannot condemn us, then how can man?  If God cannot condemn us, then how can satan?  Or how can you condemn yourself by penance?  So pick up yourself today, Christian!  For the day will dawn when we shall be like Christ in body; yet today, while we are living in this flesh, we may know our Father views us as already perfect.  For the transaction of salvation is done!  It is settled!  We are God's, and He will not condemn His elect!  Boldly then enter the throne room of God and settle yourself in deep communion.  For Christ has taken what we deserve, wrath and death on the cross, being made sin for us; and we have taken what Christ deserves, the riches of sonship in the family of God!  Oh that we would realize the power given us as sons of God!
     May we not use this liberty as an occasion to live unholy!  For the goodness of God should lead thee to repentance.  Move forward, for as while you have not kept the law, Christ has; and we are made the righteousness of Christ!

Friday, February 18, 2011

When We Are Considered

Job 1:8  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 

I.                What man may consider of temporal things
          A.    There is no certainty in wealth.
     All men must surely know by now that during the enterprise of life money can certainly make itself wings and flee quickly from us.  Markets may rise or fall, and life is filled with unexpectancies.  Money may become the strength of some men and the lack thereof the weakness of others.  Yet in the day of wrath, dollars cannot provide loving protection as the Heavenly Father can!  Why would we base the purpose of our lives solely on wealth?  Certainly Job had no certainty in wealth.
B.    There is no certainty in health.
     And as so many have experienced, life is but a fragile thread.  There are many natural causes that brings a man to death and certainly when accidents are taken into account, we see life is not guaranteeing itself to any man.  Strong health is not a promise in the physical but in the spiritual.  We see as well that Job had no certainty in health.
C.    There is no certainty in loved ones.
     They may turn astray from us, from God, and from what they know.  Every man is commissioned to make free choices of free will.  May our choices honor God!  Loved ones may be taken from us in great tragedy.  There is no certainty in loved ones.  Even the wife of Job turned on him.  His friends brought him only scorn and ridicule.  May we be wary of thinking there is an absolute in loved ones.
D.    Satan walks to and fro (1:7).
     He is seeking permission to devour the saints of God.  His chief motive is to wear out the saints of God, so if he cannot have their soul, he will try to have their testimony.  We can be sure satan will tempt us with temporal things.  If there lies a price tag on the heart of man, think not that satan will defer to pay that price. To ruin the testimony of a saint is his mission.  
     May we praise God now for the preservation He has bestowed on us! Else in the ebb and flow of life, we would be washed away into the oblivion of unimportance!  Thank the Savior (even now! as we speak!) that He has covered all the transgressions of the saints, and made us to sit at God's royal table. A feast it is, served by the girded Master, offering all the splendors of sonship to us- even now- at a table reserved for the sons of God!
II.              What satan may consider of the saints
A.    No consideration of well-being
     He hates us, for we remind him of Christ.  He has no consideration of our well-being but rather longs for our ruin.  The Spirit of the Savior dwells in us, forming us into His image! And oh how blessed it is, that God forms us into His image!  For if this work was not of God, we could never progress in our Christian life.  So then, the more we become like Christ, the more satan hates us.
B.    Consideration of God-given grace over sin
1.    Forgiveness
     Satan wonders, "How can such a foul being as a human, bring God to earth to die for them?  Why would such a righteous and holy God forgive such a despicable and rebellious creature?  Why should they glory in the hope of eternal bliss and not I?".
2.    Happiness
     He sees we are a happy people.  A people indwelled with the Spirit of Christ.  If we be sons, we have the Spirit of God in us, or else we be not sons of God.  Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. This is a joy that was once in man at the garden of Eden.  As sons of God we have it back being regenerated by the Spirit!  Now this joy may seem tainted because of our flesh, yet in a soon-coming day its graces will shine pure and perfectly through all eternity.  
     When man is passed from death unto life his spirit is resurrected by the same power that brought Christ from the grave! So we see with such a salvation we are a happy people if living at the feet of the Savior!  Satan considers this and hates us for it.

3.    Faith
     We trust God- or so we should.  If our faith wavers, it may be because our relationship with the Holy Word has wavered.  Satan considers how we trust God still when we perhaps have been ravaged by the circumstances of life; and yet still cling to the Father; as Job our example did.
4.    Praise
     It is certain we should praise or Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the Father who sent Him.  "Why should man praise God?" you may ask.  Time would fail us to list the innumerable reasons why.  Satan sees this praise in which he desires to have for himself, and again, he hates us for it.

C.    Flaws to be detected for accusation
     We may be sure that since the tempter hates us so, he wishes to accuse us before the throne of God.  And if he will accuse us to God, think not that he will not bring it to your mind.  Yet to a blood-bought child of God, redeemed in Christ, this accusation is in vain for our sins our washed and covered, not to be remembered by God anymore!  "And what if I remember them?" you ask.  Not to fear, for God only convicts His sons of unconfessed sin.  Believers who live in guilt of sin which they have confessed and forsaken are living under satanic accusation, not Holy Spirit conviction.  We may be brought to tears by the loving stir of the Spirit over our corrupt desires and nature, but God repents of judgment when you repent of sin.  Let go of your past! God can forgive you justly because of what Christ has done on the cross! He can blot out sin from your remembrance and from the remembrance of others!  God needs not to ask of any permission to do this! He may do this as He desires, justly, for Christ has taken our guilt and bought our pardon!

III.            What satan may consider for temptation
A.    The ebb of effectiveness due to transgression against God
     Our influence and effectiveness will greatly decrease if we live in sin so satan may consider how to make sin.  In this, if satan causes us to stumble, we have tossed the holy power of God to the swine.  If we live in sin, what then?  Shall we then try to continue in the power of self?  If we try to live in the power of the flesh (which is no power) rather than the power of God then we have manufactured an awful setback in God's work.  Satan shall consider how ineffective an unholy believer is in the work of God.
B.    The Uniqueness of his approach for each individual (Jm 1:14)
1.    Heating of one’s desire as a smith's metal-working tactics
     The plan of satan to tempt us will vary from saint to saint for we all have points of temptation that differ one from another.  One may fall at one point, where another may think to himself, "How is it that he fell to that particular sin?".  We are all drawn away from our own lusts, and satan has studied them.  He knows what tempts us.  And work our desires he will, heating them.  He does this as a blacksmith works his metal to make it bend to his will.  The blacksmith heats the metal first, then when it is heated enough, he shapes it.  If we are not under the hand of God and submitted to His word, we may be certain our passions may become so inflamed that we fall.  Heating our sinful desires with temptation is a tactic used of the devil to make us bend to his sinful will.  Oh resist the devil, saint of God! Submit yourself to the Word of God so you may become tempered by this fire and not sinful by it!
2.    The plan of isolation or congregation
     If you are alone, satan may use this as a way to provoke you.  If you are in a crowd, this may be a means of worldly influence to temp you.  We must be sober, watchful and pray that God would not lead us into temptation.
3.    The type of mood that promotes sinful behavior
     If anger shall make you abound is transgression, then satan will do his diligence to trigger this in you.  If passion is the emotion that triggers your sinful desires, then beware.  The moods that trigger sinful behavior should be resisted, as this too is a method of temptation. 
4.    The industrially lax man
     For the lazy man who has nothing to do, satan will find him something to do.  You can be sure that it will not be a godly thing brought before him.  To be busy is God's plan.  While we must all come apart for a while to rest, we must not be habitually lazy.  Idle hands often breed terrible thoughts.
5.    Objects of our affection, diverse for all
     What you may like, immoral or amoral, satan may use these against us.  If it can draw our heart from God, then it may be used as a tool of temptation.  And it will be different for us all, because we are all diverse.
IV.            What God considers for saints in times of temptation
A.    To pray for the brethren (1 Thess 5:25)
     We must pray for strength for our brethren!  Who knows what temptation they may face today?  May we wrap them in holy strength through our prayers.  May our prayers cause the breath of God to blow on the flames of their heart, to stoke them to a passion for righteousness this day!
B.    Individually, corporately be sober, be vigilant (1 Pet 5:8)
     Be aware, for the most subtle of things may be a  means in which the deceiver tries to lure us into sin.  Be watchful and filled with the Spirit so that God may warn us of impending danger!
C.    Be submissive to God, resistant to satan (James 4:7)
     If we are to defeat temptation we must put ourselves under the authority of the Holy Scripture.  It is so true that if we are living them we cannot live sinfully. Oh Christian, resist the pull of satan to drag you out from under the umbrella of righteousness found in the Scripture.  For in a while, satan will flee. As God's people, beloved of Him, we must resist, knowing that this too will pass though it may feel as an eternity.
D.    Know this, it is never too much (1 Cor 10:13) We have victory!
      Our Heavenly Father loves us too much to ask us to pass a temptation that we could not pass! It will never be a weight too heavy or too strong!  He will withold from us what would be too much!
E.     Schedule the Holy Scripture for reading and reciting (Lk 4).
     We see Jesus, our perfect example.  His example to us in the moment of temptation is the effectual working of God's weapon given to His people for the battle.  This weapon is the sword of the Spirit.  Child of God, we must know the scripture.  We must use the scripture!  
F.     The passing of a test always makes a stronger Christian ,
     A crown is given to those who endure well.  Experience is the reward of those who pass this test.  Strength is gained to all those who experience victory by the grace of God.  May we not fail!  And if we do, confess it to God!  He will heal and forgive you!  Then the love of our Savior will pick you up,  and set you on your feet again.  May we resist temptation!  Only beware, for if we think we stand, then it is we may be most apt to fall.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When is Sick too Sick?

2Timothy 4:20  Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick

     The question at stake is when is sick too sick to serve the Lord?  Have we not all had days of sickliness where we felt at best inadequate to accomplish much of the chores of daily life?  Where then do we draw the line at when being sick keeps us from Church or not?  Where might we draw the line of were being sick is too sick to serve the Lord in more active forms of service?  Lets look into such a drawing question and see, what is it the Lord might have us do?

     Sickness is a reality we must face in our lives.  It was a reality in Jesus day as well.  The word sick is found 50 times in the New Testament, not counting variations of the word or times bad health was implied.  Sickness varied from fevers, to genetic disorders and even sickness unto death.  Praise the Lord He can help them all!

1. Many will say, I am too sick to attend Sunday.
     Here in is a good and great test.  If it were Monday would you go to work?  If you should feel well enough to pay the tribute of dedication to your employer, then why not your Heavenly Father?  I know many God professing Christians who attend work every weekday, attend to their business on Saturday, and yet are sick every Sunday. This is a form of sickness indeed, but not in the physical, yea rather in the spiritual.
     What if I pass it on to others?  I have found if I mind myself and take consideration of others, any such thing that would not be so bad to keep me hostage to my bed or couch should not be so feared.  We do not desire to pass on transferable sicknesses to others, hindering their quality of life, so if you think you are feverish or have a terrible virus you may need rest, and others rest from you!  I have found however, that many times by the grace of God, I will take my place in the pulpit, and warn others to be weary of me, for I am sick.
     We must also be weary for the elderly and young, sickness may hit them much harder than a man in his youth with great health.  Use good discretion, we wish not to infect the saints! Yet we do not want to use every little whim or excuse to forsake God when we would not be withheld from other activities.  Use good discretion saints of the King, let the Lord guide you!

2. Many may Have various health issues
     And here does it vary greatly.  As our text implies, sometimes a condition may render us helpless.  I have myself migraine headaches.  They very greatly in severity.  Some are light and just bothersome.  Others may be slightly more intense, in these times I must do what I can, and break to recover for a time.  There are some instances when they are so intense I can do nothing more than lay in a dark room with no sound, despising the pain, rendered helpless.  I greatly dislike having this thing put upon my shoulders to bear as my thorn in the flesh, but God knows what I need. And in His divine glory He has ordained that these hinder me, so that I might have patience with the ailments of others.  Even in all this, they must be a gift, because God has chosen to leave them rather than to take them, so that I might be molded in some way more to the image of Christ.  So may be the workings of God in your life!
     We may learn to adapt. 1Timothy 5:23  Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.  Certainly Paul is not suggesting Timothy be a drunkard (a little wine), for this would violate the teaching of scripture in so many places that it is truly indisputable.  Any who would argue other wise is contrary to scripture and glories in their sin.  Rather Paul is suggesting a medical purpose, to cure his "often infirmities".  A terrible ailment this was, lingering about the beloved of Paul.  Even though, Timothy adapted to his severe stomach problems and served the Lord with great endeavour  and zeal.
3. We may need Recovery
     In the service of our great King, physical exertion is a reality.  If we are involved in His work, we are a busy, moving people.  Legitimately so, there may be times where we need to let our temple recover.  Then we may at greater strength serve the Lord!  Even in this may we still be able to commune with Saviour. How shall we not meet with such a great and loving God?  He will help us!  And help us He will!  He who gave the most, by leaving Heavens glory, suffering pain and separation of the cross, dying for us, how will He do this and not help us with the least?
4. What extent should we slow ourselves?
     Perhaps doctors orders.  We trust God, who works through man (The prayer of the faith shall heal the sick if it be within God's will!).  By all means if needed, find a doctor! for Luke was with Paul, and who need a physician more that Paul?  I encourage a Christian one!  For any man deals better in his trade with the wisdom of God and the guidance of the Holy Scripture!
     I would inject these if I may into our dealings with sickness and recovery.  If we can watch T.V. we can read our Bible.  If we cant move, we cant move (so be it, recover well) but a physical recovery would be much wasted if it made us to stink with sickness of the soul!  If God has graced us with energy, then may we commune with Him!  
     Sickness is a reality. Because sin is a destructive force that started with Adam, and dismembered us from our state of perfection, we will face sickness until we see Christ in Heaven, or in the Air.  Oh saint of God, we and all of nature yearn in travail for the day when we shall be like Christ!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Honest Delays

Honest Delays
Ezra 4:24  Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

     There are many things in life which we bring upon ourselves that slow us down in various aspects of life.  May we never delay because of cowardness or indecision.  However, various and sundry things are honest delays; set before us by God, who is seldom early when He intervenes in our affairs, but of a surety, never late.

     What may be the purpose of these delays?  Why would God slow us, or bring us to a sudden halt?  Surely He knew of the circumstances when the work of rebuilding the temple came to a halt.  The work stopped, then resumed by the word of the prophets.

I. Divine Protection
    A. We may be plotting our own destruction

Proverbs 14:12 -There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
     To save us from ourselves.  It is often that man plots his own course without seeking the counsel of God.  In this we exert great folly.  Who can make plans without the counsel of God, not knowing the future?  Or who dares to adventure forward hanging on the fragile string of life without the blessing of an Almighty God?  Sadly, there are many of God's people who take on this mindset.  

     It is many a Christian who is hard-headed, and so much so that they continually push forward their ideas, plans, and paths not knowing where those paths will lead them.  So times of delay which alter our plans and paths may be honest delays if the work or the timing does not meet the criteria of Christ.  A delay from God may be to save us from ourselves!
      *ILLUSTRATION*  I remember as a child going of a particular vacation.  Something came up in which we were delayed about five minuets after praying for safety.  On our trip we came to a wreck where a semi truck had lost control and hit a car head on, causing serious injury.  The wreck had happened five minuets before we got there.  God had delayed us to protect us.
    B. Delay may cause us to avoid sin and temptation.

Matthew 6:13- And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 
          Delay in our life may be the blessing of a delivering God.  It could be that God is trying to hide us from such a strong pull a particular temptation would have on us.  The Lord instructed us to pray lead us not into temptation, and so, such a prayer may be fulfilled before us.  Perhaps it is a delay to protect us from many kinds of temptation.  Truly, delay of pure moral things may come, so that at a latter time when they are being fulfilled because of delay, it will deliver us from a temptation we face at that moment.

II. Divine Progression

A. We are delayed, because we are not able to bear it yet.
John 16:12-  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
     There will be many things we can do later that we are not ready for now.  If Israel had not been  in the wilderness, then how would they be ready to face giants in Canaan?  If David had not faced the lion and the bear, how then would he trust God for Goliath the giant?  But be patient those who are zealous for the Lord!  Your time of enabling will come!  For He wants you in the battle worse than you desire to be there!  Be patient Christian business man who is starting anew in the will of God, for God must build you in the wilderness to send you to Canaan!  Oh be patient all who know the Lord; He will grow you then set you forth!
     What baby is there that runs before he walks?  What child is there that is able to chew before they take milk?  So then nature itself teaches us that delay may be so that we can take on bigger things, stronger things, better things in the work of the Lord and in life!

B. Delay teaches us to remove our self-dependency.
Isaiah 40:31- 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; and they shall walk, and not faint. 
     If we could do it ourselves we would.  Often if things progressed as they should, we would manage them ourselves, robbing us of the help and blessings that God brings.  What a sad state it is when men try to do spiritual work in the carnal flesh.  The business of life often leaves us stripped of our time, causing us to short-change God instead of other areas which we could do better without.  So God then may bring delay to us, so that we cannot progress without Him!  
     How soon we forget how we need Him.  Embrace delay and seek Christ, for in so doing you shall receive maintenance from Heaven!  How much better is the King's supply and effort than ours?!

III. Divine Purpose
A. To prepare the hearts of men
  Acts 16:14-  And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 
     Sometimes God has work to be done in other people before you minister.  It could be to the business man that God still must turn the hearts of the people in which you are dealing with.  Delay may then come because God is working on the hearts of other men.  God makes no man receive the Gospel, yet He offers it freely to all, and is such a loving God that He works on the hearts of men, to soften them, so that they by their own free will may choose to receive Christ.  It is the decision that all must make- what they will do with Christ.  If they will make Him their Saviour, or reject Him.  Delay may be given to you because God is working on the hearts of others!

B. Your present course may not be finished, therefore you are delayed.

Luke 24:49-  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
     It was not time to leave Jerusalem for the disciples, because their work was not yet done there.  Many men try to leave a work before God had empowered them in it.  Too many Christians leave the work of God before God has completed His plan with them there.  Does God not prepare the heart of man to answer rightly with the tongue?  Does God not equip man to handle the circumstances he may face?  In all these things yes!  So tarry in the will of God until He moves you. 
     Let not others move you, for adversaries to a holy man is a proof he is doing right.  Let not fear put you to flight, for God has not given us the spirit of fear but the Spirit of His Son which cries ABBA FATHER, deeply and longingly unto God.  Abba Father,  as a child saying dad not father; Abba Father, a distress the Lord will surely hear, as every parent would hear the wailing of their beloved child.  In all these things, tarry at Jerusalem! 

IV. Divine Power
A. God may wish commune with us.
1Peter 5:7-  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
  We have come to Christ and trusted Him with our souls, yet when we find ourselves under a burden we are carrying.  Why would we not give ourselves over to the One who sees our load as but a speck or grain?  Why would we crush under the pressure of life when God easily can carry it Himself for us?  There is no good reason, we just oftentimes carry it ourself.  Delay may come in our daily life to make time for God so He can comfort and commune with our souls where we have fallen short.
 *ILLUSTRATION*  Last year I remember being under a great burden of concern.  At work my vehicle broke down and there was nothing I could do but wait for the wrecker which was about an hour behind.  As I sat there, the Lord had me pull out my Bible. It was there God showed me in Scripture what I needed to encourage me in the work of the Lord.  If only I had taken my burden to Him sooner!  If only I had met with Him, not at a glance, but in heartfelt communion sooner!  Oh that men would cast their cares upon the Lord.  So we see then that delay may come so we may commune with the Lord!

B. There may be a Heavenly reason we don't know yet.
Isaiah 55:9- For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
     There are some things that happen in life we may not know why God does them on this side of Heaven.  We can know with all certainty that God loves us and does what is best for all of us.  And what may seem odd now, when we get to Heaven we will look back and see that it was not patchwork in our lives, but great care, leading up to a higher purpose, and the saving of souls!

V. Divine Presence 
A. Delay may be for us to stop and know He is God.
Psalms 46:10-  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 
     There may be no better reason for delay than so a saint can sit in the presence of God.  We were created to fellowship with Him.  How much time have you spent fulfilling that purpose this day? this week? this month?  God may move Heaven and Earth to delay all things to bring one of His children to His feet for delight in them.  As a parent are you so cold that you despise the presence of your children?  Would you not have a great jealously over them if they showed favor to another more than you?  Then we can expect the perfect Father to delight in the presence of His children.  His love does extend far greater than ours!  If we love our children, then how much more should the children of God expect delay until they commune with Him?

B. Delay so that we will enter into His courts.
Psalms 100:4- Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 
     Have we thanked God today for our breath?  Have we given praise to Him for eternal life in Jesus Christ? Have we made known our gratitude for our family and health?  How then can we not expect things to crash in delay when we have not given praise.  Truly if a man desires praise of himself it is a vain thing.  Our Heavenly Father however is deserving, and will not and should not reject praise that will glorify His name.   Have we entered His courts with praise?  Does a father not delight in their children esteeming them higher than they really are?  Then we should cover God (if it were possible to cover the one who created the universe with a span- arms length) with our praise.  He is deserving and cannot be esteemed too high, for our mortal minds cannot apprehend the extensive greatness of our God.
Praise Him now, He is worthy.
Praise Him now, without delay.
Praise Him now, honor is due Him.
Praise Him now, or expect delay!

Head and Heart Disease

Head and Heart Disease

Isa 1:5  Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

     A terrible disease has come unto the people God.  It is one that affects the vital parts of God's children and has plagued them since sin has entered into the world by Adam in the fall.  Many Christians are sick, and need healing from Christ.
     1. Stiffed Necked People
     Why should God correct us only to have us rebel with more zeal?  It is God's obligation by His word to correct His sons or eventually remove them from the earth.  Yet many test the patience of a patient God, not considering that in "forty days Nineveh shall be destroyed" (Jonah 3:4) and that  (Gen 6:3) "God's Spirit shall not always strive with man, but his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."  God may extend his long lasting mercy, yet judgment as sons must be given at some point, and this is never pleasant at the time.
A. God corrects us by His word.
B. God corrects us by His Spirit 
C. God corrects us by warning messengers - These are the less harsh ways God may deal with us
D. God brings us into chastisement - trouble or pains meant to drive us to righteous living, emotional, financial, physical, ect.
E. God brings death - that a child of the Father will not live their whole life acting like satan
     May we not over test the goodness of God, yes especially for long periods of time, for who knows when God (in His great love) may turn His hand against us in chastisement.
*Note - Let us be careful not to see every thing that happens to God's people as an act of judgment.  Life is fragile, tires go flat, and life is full of problems!

2. Sickness of the Head
     Many views of Christian people are as out of whack as the views of the world.  As sons of God, we to be wise, and pinpoint how God views things, changing our philosophies to match what God says.  Our thinking is distorted today, as in the days of Noah.  Too many of God's people try to pick and choose what principles they wish to live by, and discard the ones they don't like.  Too many Christians get subverted from the truths of the scripture, and do not hide His word in their heart, that they may not sin against God.  We must then quickly re-examine our thinking.  Is it based and influenced solely on scripture?

3. Faintness of the Heart
     Where is the desire of Christians?  Where is the strength of Christians?  We must endeavor to be close to the Savior so that our desire may remain what it ought to be!  We mus try as earnestly as we can to be close to the Savior so that the joy of the Lord may be our strength!  Truly there is no heart problem that is unfix-able in the hands of the Savior.  Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.   The "will" of this verse is the desire, the heart problem, the "to do" is the power to act upon that desire.  May we beg the Savior for desire, and then act upon it!  May we commune with Him so we walk in the strength of the Spirit!  
     We must approach the Savior in every day, meet with Him, or else none shall have His holy Desires dominant in their lives.  If they have not Christs desires, then their own corrupt desires will be driven and helmed by the flesh.  Let us not be in rebellion to how God wants us to live!  Let us take on Bible thinking, and live it, and let it govern our lives,  and let us not be faint of heart, but rather be hungry for the things of God!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Spurgeon's Thoughts on Hastening Lot

Genesis 19:15- "When the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot."
     Were these pesonages angels, or divine appearances? It matters not: they were messengers sent from God to save. In any case they teach us how to deal with men if we are to arouse and bless them. Picture the two angels with all their four hands occupied in leading out Lot and his wife and his two daughters.

I. The Righteous Need to be Hastened.
    1. In what? In matters of obedience to their Lord.
        In coming out from the world. (Verse 26).
        In seeking the good of their families. (Verse 12).
     2. Why? The flesh is weak. Lot was an old man, too much tinetured with worldliness.
         Sodom has a sluggish influence.
     3. By what means?  Be reminding them of their obligations, their opportunities.
         By leading them to consider the flight of time and brevity of life.
         By warning them of sure ruin.
II. The Sinners Need to be Hastened.
     1. Sinners are very slow and apt to linger.
         They have settled down in the Sodom of sin.
         They do not believe our warning.
         Delay is Satan's grand device for their ruin.
      2.  Our business is to hasten them.
          We must be in earnest ourselves as these angels were.
          We must also be patient and repeat our pleadings.
          We must be resolute, and lay hold on their hands.
      3.  We have many arguments with which to hasten them.
            Their imminent danger while lingering.
            The sin of loitering when God commands.
            The supreme necessity of immediate decision.

    When a young man made an open profession of the gospel, his father greatly offended, gave him this advice: "James, you should first get yourself established in a good trade, and then think of the matter of religion." "Father," said the son, :Jesus Christ advises me differently; He says, 'SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD.'"

"Brother," said a dying man, "Why have you not been more pressing with me about my soul?" "Dear James," replied the brother, "I have spoken with you several times." "Yes," was the answer, "you are not to blame; but you were always so quiet over it; I wish you had gone on your knees to me, or had taken me by the neck and shaken me, for I have been careless, and have nearly slept myself into hell."

The above is an excerpt from Spurgeon's Sermon Notes, condensed by David Otis Fuller.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What does hinder such a great commission?

1Peter 5:8-  "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" 

     There are many adversaries against the cause of Christ.  Let us make no mistake about that.  Many there will be who will rise up against His name (and this is not new- see Ezra 4:1) and look to stop that which God has started; however, God has left His people to preach the Gospel.  He has entrusted this greatest of duties to us.  Why then do so many Christians fail to reach people for the Lord?

1. The Adversary of Duty
     Too many people are too busy to reach others for Christ.  What profit is it of me to write this, preach on Sunday, and not to win souls?  It would be very little profit, or none.  Never be too busy for His work.  Do you love Him?  Feed His sheep.  Do you know Him?  Then introduce others to Him.  If work keeps us from Christ, then by all means examine what is more important, Christ is!  Does obligation keep us from the Lord? Then we must remember our obligation to Him.  Salvation is a free gift.  How then should we not show our thanks for the gift of Heaven and the gift of Christ by following Him?  It is our reasonable service (Romans 12:1).

2. The Adversary of Delusion
     Romans 14:10-  "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
     There will be many Christians who get to Heaven and will expect to hear "Well done" when they have not done well.  It is certain that we came into the world with nothing, and so shall we leave with nothing.  Still, people devote their entire life to a vocation (which is Latin for God-calling) and remove themselves from the meaning of the word by living for themselves and not Christ.  Enjoy life, for this is a gift from God to man; but do ponder on this, that you will die, whether wise or foolish, and leave it all.  If we then build for eternity, we enter Heaven with riches that will never depart.  
     What wise business man would invest into a mutual fund that gave him no increase but always lost money? How is it then that many Christians are so unwise to invest only in this life to enter eternity where God will say, "Sorry, no return on your works.".  Getting to Heaven is a free gift through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23-  "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."), but rewards in Heaven are based on what we do for the Lord here.

3. The Adversary of Deceit 
     There will be many who will not win souls because they have been deceived by a lie.  There be many who think that it is not necessary to win souls, that God has ordained some to go to Heaven and some to go to Hell.  This is a tactic of Satan to cause God's people to stand still in the work of God.  If we were to use this false doctrine as logic (and we will not for it is not scriptural) then men would not go because eternity is settled for all; however, we can clearly see in Scripture that where a man spends eternity is up to him.
    2Peter 3:9-  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 
1Timothy 2:3-4-  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 
     We see then according to the Scripture, that God has chosen all to be saved.  God has chosen all, sadly all do not choose God.  The desire of God is not that any should perish, and that all men be saved.  It is only that all men do not choose to except Christ, for God will make no one come to Him.  Who then may come?
John 3:16-  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
Rev 21:6-  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 
     Foreknowledge does not define itself as looking into the future and causing something to happen, it is only defined as knowing, not causing.  In this belief do many people stumble contrary to the Scriptures.

4. The Adversary of  Depravity
     Romans 7:24-  "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" 
    May we acknowledge that God, through the lips of Paul, reminds us of the old nature that lies within us.  Many times the reason that we do not win souls is simply because we cannot defeat the adversary of ourselves. We may become lazy,  and oftentimes we are.  It is too hot, or too cold, we say.  What difference does a day make we may think.  Yet souls do not get a promise of tomorrow.
     We may lose our desire.  Lord help us not to, for if we would delight ourselves in the Lord, then He would change our desires to match His.  If we would be a Spirit-filled people, our desires would be from the influence of the Holy Spirit and not the filth of the flesh.

5. The Adversary of Distraction     
     We are a distracted people.  So many things are around us that we bury ourselves under the weight of entertainment and remove our focus from the Lord and His work.  Amoral things become immoral to us when they take our heart from the Saviour.  Technology is good; yet it is a tool, and for occasional appropriate entertainment.  It becomes burdensome to us as faithful stewards of God's time when we cover up in it, and reality is at a distance, family becomes neglected, and God is forgotten about.  
     Hobbies are such a great thing for God's people.  We must all come apart for a while, to catch a breath and strengthen ourselves.  May we never place our hobbies before the Lord!
     Vacations are noble, and a great thing to entertain our families to ourselves.  Yet may we never vacation from the Lord!

6. The Adversary of the Devil
     Satan is seeking whom he may devour.  You must by all means be diligent in the Scripture, as this is our only method of attack.  Christ used it and so must we answer by God.  The Sword of the Spirit is how we may submit ourselves unto God and resist the Devil until he flees.  We must by all means submit ourselves to the Scripture!  We must by all means pray that we enter not into temptation!  Surely we will be tempted to stop winning souls.  Without a doubt, those active in the work of God find that hindrances come (if God allows, pray that He would not) when they are telling people about the Savior!  However, we must submit ourselves to the Holy Scripture and it's authority and....

Go tell our families
Go tell those who are of our acquaintance
Go tell those whom we have never met
Go tell those close, or far
By all means we must not stand still, GO TELL!!!!!


Why is it that Christians do not tell?

       "Tell of what?" you may ask.  The wonderful news of what Christ has done for us.  We are commissioned to do just that.  To tell others of Christ and His redeeming power. Yet  it seems as if so many do not this thing that God has entrusted us to do.

"What of the angels?" you may ask.  "Should they take this message to the world?"  Truly they would view the task with the utmost importance.  They would work without fail and without tiring.  If they should set their mind to such a thing the whole world would know of the message of Christ, and multiple times at that.  Yet it is not given to the angels to propagate this message of deliverance to a lost and dying world.  God has entrusted it to us, His people to do just that.  How should angels who have never tasted redemption tell with such a passion what it means to have sin lifted?  How can angels (who are ministers of God, doing His biding) express the joy of salvation to one when they themselves have never been the temple of God?  So then we conclude according to scripture (Matt 28:19-20) it is up to us.

Here we see a great example to the people of God in the gospel according to Luke.  In the 7th chapter, vs 11-16 we the story of a widow, who had lost her son, and Jesus met the boy and raised him to life.


Luk 7:11  And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
Luk 7:12  Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
Luk 7:13  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
Luk 7:14  And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
Luk 7:15  And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
Luk 7:16  And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

       Notice the phrase in verse 15, right after Christ touched the bier (a casket stand) and the boy sat up, "And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak.  What did He say?  Perhaps he spoke out saying death is real!  and who knows at when it may approach?  Perhaps he made praise to the Savior, as no doubt he did, for giving him life.  He did, however, sit up and speak.
       What a lesson to God's people!  How is it that we who have passed from death unto life cannot sit up and speak to others about the wonderful things that God has done for us through His Son, Christ Jesus?  One of the most powerful things we will have is our testimony in telling others about Christ.  May we tell others, tell yet even more, tell them again and again, tell them locally, tell the world, and tell them until Christ calls us home!