Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Weights and Measures

                                                          Weights and Measures

Psalms 119:71 
      It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes

     The useful chime of a grandfather clock is a delightful gesture in our day.  This novelty to us, however, was more as a staple to those in yesteryear.  Its purpose was clear, keep time and testify to the unending drive towards the future.  The greatest craftsmen would mingle his skills as a clock maker with the accomplished touch of an artist to bring forth these beautiful and functional delicacies.  They are often forgotten in our day, and as such, so was the case with a young lady who inherited her grandfathers antique timekeeper.  Upon inspection she found to her surprise so many parts and pieces which included as the greatest of them 3 considerable weights.

     "I will relieve you of these, for you have carried these burdens far too long."  She said.  After this,
the heirloom was once again settled in a family home.  It became the central conversational piece in her humble God fearing abode.  All was restored except the weights, and consequently, the faithful chime of every passing hour.  A technician was called to service the clock, and his expertise revealed a simple problem.  There were no weights.  Without the weights, the clock could not possibly function.  It was that burden which caused the clock to fulfill its intended purpose.
     So is the case of God's people.  If He should remove every weight and burden we would stop our intended purpose.  It is the weight of affliction that keeps us so close to God.  Without it we would be but an empty shell, failing to chime out praise and the message of the Gospel.  Every person born shall have burdens.  The difference between  sinners and saints regarding how burdens are handled are immeasurable.  Weights pull sinners towards hell and drudgery, but as an opposite, they lift saints to higher grounds.  Every child of God that receives a burden is also dispatched an allotment of grace to bear that weight.  Then it is no longer he who bears it, but Christ.

Wise Application

Dear believer, when your distress comes, let it not push you away, but rather let it drive you to Christ. For when we are weak then we are strong.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Good Shepherd

                                                         The Good Shepherd

      John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

     We must always learn to practice gratefullness for the Good Shepherd, the Bishop of our souls.  Without Him we would surely fail.  When we wander as straying sheep from Him there are terrible dangers and frightening follies.  When we are near to Him we are never safer.  It is the Shepherd's wisdom and strength that guides us to what would be an unreachable place: green pastures.  Am I strong?  No, never!  It is Christ who smites the ravaging wolves and protects me.  If I am told to be strong it is only in the power of His might.  Do I have insight?  How could I as a blind sheep?  He sees all and lovingly leads us by His pleasant voice of cheer.  Can I maintain my holiness?  How can a sheep sheer himself?  It is Christ that sheers the weighty excess of wool that would topple us.  It is the Lord that sheers from us that which is not conducive to holiness.  Can I cross the raging rivers of life?  How could the feeble legs of a sheep do so?  No, He carries me across.  Am I broken? Who will carry me on his back and bring me forth?  Christ that is who.  Let us stay near; but if we stray, He will guide us back into the flock so that we are made to partake of the goodness of God.  He is the Good Shepherd and ever watches for out soul.  Be mindful of Him today and offer praise from your lips for which He richly deserves. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Helpers of Your Joy

2Corinthins 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

     All who have tasted the joy that the Lord brings have known a peaceable pleasure that is wrought from Heaven itself and placed in the spirit of the saints.  Far to often we forfeit such a fundamental element of our Christianity.  Sin grows in the soul, and we become accustomed to fixing our hearts on temporal happiness.  Sin brings weakness, and in that state our attention begets a narrow focus on self.  Dear believer, do not faint at the feet of your present condition.  God desires better things for His elect!  And in these better things are the vital roles of ministry established.  They who minister are helpers of our joy. 
     Has your pastor rebuked your sin?  Then it is so that you may find a place of repentance and increase in joy!  Has he encouraged you while in weakness?  That is also for your joy.  Far to often we scorn at those who correct us.  We see one way but God has shown him- as a watcher for you soul-another path.  Rebuke hits a deep nerve, for none of us like correction.  Encouragement  is sweet like honey and is good to receive,  yet both are vital to your continuing joy.  The role of the minister is neither to dominate your faith nor exercise his self-will.  Yet the ministry is working in glorious harmony with the Holy Spirit pointing people to God's will which should dominate every life. 
     Has your joy been diminished?  Then seek the face of a loving God who cares for your soul.  Seek those whom God has appointed to be the ambassador of His Word.  Do not be like those who shunned Jesus instead of receiving life!  Seek out the true treasures of Christ . If our joy is full, then our strength shall return.     

Monday, March 3, 2014

Is Your God Trustwothy?

                                   Is Your God Trustworthy?

Jeremiah 10:2-5       Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.  For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.  They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

     Where is your trust placed this day Christian friend?  It is an age old fallacy to place tremendous confidence in things that cannot deliver true results.  In this example we find our admonition from the Lord by His prophet Jeremiah.  Do not wonder at the signs of the heavens but trust in the unchangeable word of God.  So many place their hopes in horoscopes, the reading of the stars, fortune tellers and etc.  God's powerful warning to all is to consider their origin.  They begin at the heathen, and therefore end in disappointments.  Grasping at such is a futile attempt to understand life without knowing the God who made life.  Truly such things may seem harmless but we can be sure that they are deceitful because of their origin.
     Now, God snaps our focus to another place of misguided trust.  This place of false assurance is the idol.  Today, our idols may not be of wood, but that is no matter any idol gives the same result: emptiness.  The idol depicted  is one of a tree taken from the forest.  The axe was used by workmen to cut and carve by making scooping motions that fashioned the imaged. Silver and gold jewelry was then forged and hung the ears, wrists and various other places to give the illusion of power and authority.  To smooth wood and metal surfaces today we run them through a machine called a planer.  A planer is what gives us the flat finished surfaces we know today on most of our table tops.  In Jeremiahs day however, a carving axe was the tool of predominance for many and could not bring forth a smooth surface as we know today.  This concludes into a vital thought: they have created a God that cannot stand on its own to feet, it wobbles, it falls.  It is then secured by nails, yet though it now stands it still cannot speak, hear, see, or feel.  Further more, what use is a god who we must secure when we are so soon shaken ourselves?  If man makes a god, they both shall fall; but if man believes that Christ made him, then they both may stand.
    Have you ever placed your trust in Christ and He fail you?  He never has, or else your faith was not in Him.  There is a line of witnesses for thousands of years who have tried Christ and have found Him fully adequate and much more.  Can so many faithful witnesses be wrong?  If you would find Christ today it would not be in the stars or in an idol.  Not in experience of feelings, no, it would be that you find Him in the Bible.  Any man who makes an honest approach, and asks God to show Himself and His Son in the Scripture will surely find Him.  Is your heart open to receive what God will show you whatever the cost?  If so, make an honest investigation of the Scripture and you will find the God you can place you trust in without fail.        


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

To Build or To Stumble?

1Peter 2:6-8
      Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confoundedUnto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
     There is a Chief Corner Stone which God has laid in Zion, and it is the Lord Jesus Christ.  He lies in the path of every man who lives and all arrive at Him.  Unto the unlearned He is the Maker evidenced in creation.  Unto the informed He is the only way to God and everlasting life.  He is, however, in the road of every life; and He must be dealt with.
    According to Jewish tradition and history, some of the builders of the temple had made a terrible mistake in the construction of it.  As the stones were being brought and ordered from the rock quarry, the first to be delivered was the corner stone.  The corner stone is what locks everything in place and is the stone upon which all other measurements are taken, similar to the cap of a pyramid.  The stone was laid in place and was different from the rest.  After being placed, the builders unaware, removed it.  It was in the way and just something to trip over.  The corner stone was then discarded.  After the arrival of many more materials they were ready to start construction.  The Jews sent to the rock quarry for the corner stone, only to be informed that it had already been sent.  Alas, the most important thing was not recognized for what it was and discarded.  So have the Jews done with Christ.  They shall send for the Messiah only for God to reveal He has already been sent and rejected.

     What will you do with this Chief Cornerstone?  Will Jesus be the One whom you will build the bricks of your life upon?  Or will you think this, He is simply in my way, therefore I must discard Him as He spoils all my sinful fun?  Once He is in the rightful place we can then build a little here and a little there.  Line upon line and brick upon brick becomes our pattern.  When He is in place every other area of life measures out correctly.  We observe an area of our life and say, "I will embrace this principle that proceeds from Christ."  Our marriages then are more joyful, and our children are more loved and correctly taught as we measure out our family from His teachings.  Our work becomes more diligent and our hands more fruitful as we obey in areas of industry.  Our souls rest peacefully and assured as our faith grows in seeing blessings from obedience to His word.  He can give us all these wonderful treasures now, all the while sculpting a service that brings rewards in Heaven also.  Yes, all this is ours! We must only have Christ as the Chief Conerstone! Set Him as the foundation of all you do, and you may then begin to measure out all the correct placements of your life in His Word.  Will you build on Christ, or stumble on Him?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Are You Faithful to God?

                                                      Are You Faithful To God?

Jer 35:18-19  (18) And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you:
(19)  Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.

     Who can find faithfulness among God's people?  God demonstrates the faithfulness of the sons of Jonadab to Israel, giving the example of how they obeyed their father; even so should God's people obey Him.  The focus is not on Jonadab's commands, but rather on his sons' obedience.  God's reward for faithfulness to that family is that they would not want (or lack) a man of God in the family and to the family.  How our unfaithfulness at times must wound the heart of our Heavenly Father.  It is such an easy thing for His people to break the commandment of not forsaking the house of God.  Every week many Christians make a choice to avoid worship service, robbing God of praise and themselves of blessing.  An excuse they make,  "I must work."; yet to the eyes of Him who's eyes are as fire and penetrate the soul it will not stand.  Yes you must work, but not on the Lord's day.  Alas, your golden calf is forged in the fires of selfishness.  How do your family and children view your unfaithfulness?  They will learn it from you.  We are what we do- not what we say.  Will you condemn them to a poor judgment seat alongside yourself, losing rewards because of the unfaithfulness taught in your household?  Truly the problem is in the heart not the schedule, for everyone makes time for what is important to them.  What faithfulness was found in the house of Jonadab!

     Do we tell others about Jesus and the day He changed our life?  Who can find a faithful witness?  Are we so distracted by amusing things and entertainment that we never schedule a time for our Lord's work?  Again the household shall learn it from the father.  Do your children know the ten commandments?  Have they been taught modern pop songs or scripture?  Have we fashioned them from infancy to put importance on the temporary, which will fade away quickly, or the eternal?  Godliness is great gain and beneficial in this life and the next.  The children will learn from the parents.  Now examine your own life today, Christian.  Does it mimic the life of your Eternal Father?  Have you learned of Him how to act and live?  If not the reason is clearly evident to all:  we have not been around Him enough to learn of His ways.  My prayer is this, that all people will follow Christ, learn of Him, and offer up the praise and glory He so rightly deserves. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

End Time Christiainity

                                                              End-Time Christianity pt 1

1Ti 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;      Every word of God is pure.  How much more then should we pay attention when the Divine decree is the Spirit speaks expressly.  The end times are marked by such things as we see in the these verses.  They should be recognized by God's people so that they may arm themselves with proper tools to avoid the participation in end-time apostasy.  The Spirit speaking expressly tells us pay close attention, this is very clear, heed and observe what is said.
     Firstly, the last times will be marked by departure.  Some shall depart from the faith.  The Greek word that gives us the word depart is aphistemi.  This word carries the idea of a falling away.  It means to desist and remove.  Apostasy is an accurate description we can ascribe to those who fall away.  This is not in reference to losing Christ but in never obtaining Him in the first place.  Therefore the world will run away from the direction of God, as will many professing Christians. What grace there is to be found in the word some, for some is not all!  The very children of God will cling to Christ to the very end and there will always be those who are unashamed at His name!

     The last times secondly will be marked by deception.  They will depart because of seducing spirits.  These are the Devil's invisible armies who whisper lies and deception into the ears of many.  They teach to man doctrines of devils.  So sad is it that many pulpits of the world today have the Devil's preachers in them.  They appear as angels of light, just as Satan appeared to Eve in the garden.  The devil never tempted Eve to fall down but to fall up.  She was told if she would eat she would be as God knowing right from wrong.  Little success would Satan have had if he had told the truth.  Never would she have eaten if the Devil had told her that this would ruin the human race, bring death to her family, and cause a life of misery and pain.  Alas, through deception many will be turned to teachings that are foreign to the Word of God.  A man may only be measured by God's Word.  To test his root, merely observe his fruit.  Does he faithfully hold the Son of God and the Bible correctly?.

     Thirdly, the last times will be marked by dramatization. People will speak lies in hypocrisy.  The Greek word for hypocrisy is the word hupokrisis.  It is the word that arrives at our English word actor.  The idea was of actors in the theatre.  As the play would progress the actors in Bible days would hold up masks like a masquerade depicting  happy, sad, or another expression.  They would act the part even in costume.  Just as an actor playing a navy seal is not a real navy seal, so is a hypocrite an actor and not a real Christian.  When the hypocrite is on stage he preforms.  It is when no one watches that separates him from that which is genuine.  This does not mean that any Christian is without error or sinful desires.  It does mean that without audience he desires to please Christ.  That is the Spirit of Christ crying Abba Father in them.  The Christian life is not marked by perfection but by direction.  The last days will be marked by dramatization, people acting as if they are from God.     

     Fourthly, the last days will be marked by depravity.  People will posses a conscience that's seared, just as flesh is burned by a hot iron.  That which is seared becomes scar tissue and has little feeling.  The inward guide of the conscience (which recognizes right and wrong) is built inside of every person.  In the last days it will be violated so often that it loses its ability to feel.  To be clear, the conscience cannot always be trusted even when strong and healthy.  The conscience is not the Holy Spirit, and therefore it will mold itself around whatever is taught, whether it be of God or man. Only a conscience can be trusted as it is formed and shaped around God's perfect Word. Even so, in all of this, the worst conscience is at least a working conscience!  Imagine a world where people are so over-exposed to violence, pornography, rape, murder, and the like that they lose their ability to feel badly about it.  We are heading there today in America.  We are over-exposed to terrible things and some of them are widely accepted as normal and tolerable.  This is surely a mark of the last days: depravity from a seared conscience will fill the earth.