Monday, October 22, 2012

Thy Commandments, Which I Have Loved

Psalm 119:47
And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. 

     How wonderful are the commandments of God. His Words are like water to the thirsty soul. To the longing saint it drops as honey to the tongue; to the hurting believer it is comfort in affliction.  Yea, it is a medicine to the sick and life to the weary.  Its cooling salve can relinquish the burn of any trial. When applied it is more precious than gold.  Let us take heed that we meet with His Word and apply it.  As a wick cannot be lit unless it meets the flame, so our heart can never be healed if it does not touch the Word. Your delight in its teachings are not natural, but supernatural; therefore we love it. Does not thy own heart leap for joy at its sound?  Though many men may use the Word as unskillful teachers, fear not; we have the best Teacher of its contents, The Lord Himself.  Allow Christ to be the Great Physician of your soul. He shall open the balm of healing or cut tenderly as a surgeon removing death from the body. His Word is the minister of joy and the producer of faith.  You may say today believer, "My appetite has faded, and my thirst is gone."  Then force feed yourself the milk of the Word, knowing that when we "taste and see that the Lord is good" He disappoints not. Fill thyself on His honey and the sugar of the world will be despised.  Cling to His Word now!  It cannot help you if you do not feed upon its graces. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Love as Christ

Ephesians 5:2 (KJV)
2a And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us

     God is love. The banner Christ has hung over His bride is that of beloved.  It has been well said that we are never more like the devil than when we lie, and if that be so, then we are surely never more like Christ than when we love. The presence of hate is the absence of love. His charity, when shed abroad in the hearts of the saints, shall dispel any ill will directed towards others.  Christ has loved us; let us love others. This love is a spiritual love, and it is manifested only by the Spirit of life.  It draws from the never-ending stream of Gods eternal supply, and shall never fail as long as we stay seated at the table of God's grace. It is a refined love, perfected by the Saviour and distributed to the hearts of men.   This love is an essential love, for it casts out all fear by its very presence. If we love we know Jesus is very near. If we hate we have not known Him. Now think today of every present distress.  Has life presented you with the unwelcomed gift of malice towards others?  As surely as the earth rotates, moving parts cause friction and where two people are, friction may abound.   Perhaps today your liberty to love has been quenched by the fiery darts of the wicked one, and the coldness of a godless world has stamped asunder the warm flames of charity that were once present in every chamber of the heart.  Could it be that one of these are stirring again the slumbering chords of hate?  If it be so, then run to the Saviour even now!  Beg forgiveness for such unholy piety and discord. He shall restore all thy former love and more!  It is His to give, and freely will He cast it upon all who ask!  We know His light shines full and bright when we love even those who love us not. Such a marvelous grace to love the unloveable can be found in Christ. Obtain this grace, guard it, keep it, and embrace it, for love shall delight your soul.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rising and Falling by Words

     Proverbs 13:2-3  A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.  He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

     A wise man will be a man of few words, and those words will be ones of positive construction.  He who is wise well realizes three things. First, the more you speak the greater the opportunity to speak out of turn. Secondly, he who speaks with lips of guile and foolishness shall receive negative consequence.  Thirdly, he who uses his words to brings health and life to the hearers, may increase in favor with God and man.  Words are free and therefore they are spent far more than they should be.  The tongue has such power to change the course of a person's day (so says the apostle James).  Whether it be parting the waters towards the land of despair or setting the helm for the course of encouragement, words go deep into the soul having real and lasting effects.   Let us see our text now.  The soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.  So he that opens wide his mouth to call for strokes shall smart for it.  He who asks in sarcasm to be driven by a fist shall surely find one who will eventually oblige.  Let us suppose this violence is not physical, why then, Christian,  are you in such a hurry to bring another to an emotional hatred of yourself?  We must conclude this: that words proceeding from the deep emotions of negativity bring about troubles we would rather not deal with.  Taste your own words before you speak; and if they seem bitter to your tongue it shall be as fire to others.  
     Now we see the positive declared by the Holy Scripture in this matter of fair speech.  We may ease our life and promote our favor by choice words!  The apple tree's fruit is the apple; the apple is what is produced.  So see our text now, words are produced by our mouth, and they are therefore the fruit mentioned in this proverb.  A man shall eat good, or live well by his mouth producing spiritual words.  Where may we find such words that have the power to uplift? Nowhere but by the influence of almighty God.  I have found my best efforts to encourage are of little help if they are not flowing from the fullness of the Spirit.  How often meaningful speeches become only irritation to the hearer if they are not bathed in the love of Christ.  The eloquent tongue is of little value unless it be spurred along by the Spirit of God.  Let all our loves and words flow from the fountain of the new nature bringing forth fruit useful in the service of the Master and meaningful in the edification of the saints.  May we pray today, Christian, and devote the safekeeping of our tongues to our most holy God.  Do this today for only He can guard against such an unpredictable evil as the tongue! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wisdom of the Olive Tree

     Judges 9:9-But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

     Today it may be well with us Christians to consider the astonishing wisdom of this olive tree.  And what may we charge this credit of wisdom to?  Alas, it is charged to a rejection of what was surely a deceitful promotion.  As the story is told this parable is a distinct lesson, in that, this tree did choose to reject the promotion of kingship of the forest to simply remain an olive tree.  To what sensible aspect do we call this wisdom?  Is it wise to reject such a promotion of position and power?  In this account, yes.

     Consider these thoughts today about the olive tree.  Why should he leave his fatness?  His fatness is defined as the oil produced from the squeezing of the olives which grew on the tree.  How greatly used this oil was in Bible days.  Olive oil anointed kings, fueled lamps, and was a staple in cooking among many other things.  By what reasoning may we say it is better to make oil than to lead a forest as a king?  Let us think in this light, is it natural for an olive tree to produce anything other than an olive?  No.  Should we expect an orange to be produced on an apple tree?  By no means.  Here we see the temptation that satan delivers to God's people: disguise a demotion as a promotion.  Get God's people busy producing anything other than what is natural for them to produce and tell them their unnatural production is better. Dear Christian, this oil of the olives represented in your life is your God-given talents and abilities. To think, your talents are distributed by the Lord's own hand for use in God's glory and in the edification of men.  See the text verse, the fatness is good for God and man.  What God has gifted the believer with should be put to use for the good of men and the glory of a gracious God.  Why should we leave our fatness to follow that which is unnatural?  Why would we leave the service of the King for the business of the world?  How can we live guilty of trading our usefulness in the body of Christ for a job that requires us to miss the Lord's place of worship on Sunday?  Do we expect God's blessing on such unnatural production?  In no way; for it is written Heb 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. So we see the wisdom of the olive tree, the wisdom which saw the demotion in the promotion.  We would be better serving God as a pauper than serving the devil as a king.

      Now we may ask, how did this tree gain such wisdom?  It may be summed up in one word, grace.  If every man was given grace as he deserved, his reservoir would be depleted beyond empty.  But our grace is not based on merit, yet rather it is based on the promise to every believer, that God who starts a work in them, shall see it to the end,  Php 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  What work would salvation be if the very God who gave you freely a pardon from sin, did not also freely give you a progression out of it?  Surely some may marvel at spiritual giants in our life, and well so, wondering how they became as this wise olive tree, so deeply rooted.  We may sum up their progression in one word as well, grace.  Every man must be taken from a spiritual baby, to a spiritual child, to a spiritual adult, and finally, to spiritual fatherhood.  And this is where we so deeply desire to be.  The same God who granted increase to this tree will grant it to you as well.  Consider now how the water feeds the olive tree; how much has God poured out his blessing which spurred our growth?  It is immeasurable.  Now think of the many droughts seen by this olive tree.  It is interesting, that upon drought, the tree will no longer grow up visibly, yet underground it sends its own roots  deeper.  This is because moisture may be found deeper in the soil, where the sun has not yet penetrated.  If we lacked times of trouble we should never be so diligent to dig our roots deeper past the shallow things of the Word finding the treasures of it.  This is all done by perfect grace.  Think of the storms over many years seen by this tree.  Winds are harsh, yet the turmoil itself stimulates growth in the roots which anchor them even deeper.  Let the storm pass and we find saturation in the ground in which the tree can recover from the wind and fury of the clouds.  So is it with our souls.  By grace God shall allow wind to test our resolve, and then He quickly sends the rain of His nourishment for our own recovery.  This is all done by grace.  So be of good cheer today my brother or sister in Christ.  Salvation is of the Lord!  It is not our business to bring about growth, but increase belongs to God.  Let Him have His way with you, yield to His dealings within; and soon you shall find your self stable and wise, as the olive tree.