John 19:41, 42 ~ Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Our Lord has now died and Jospeh of Arimathaea and Nicodemus have come and laid Him in a tomb just at the end of the day (6 o’clock pm) (John 19:38-42). On Friday the chief priests and the Pharisees came to Pilate and desired that the tomb be sealed and guarded so that the disciples could not come and steal the body away (Mat. 27:62-66). Though His body is now dead and buried, Jesus is not dead. He is now completing what He came to do; to set the captives free. He must now go into the “prison”, also known as Paradise (Luke 23:43) and Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22[19-31]), to preach to those who have died awaiting the arrival of the Messiah.
Those who have died in faith are in a special place because they could not ascend to Heaven until the blood of Christ was shed on Calvary. Just as He opened up the Scriptures to the disciples on the road to Emmaus on Resurrection day, He is now opening those Scriptures to the saints in Abraham’s bosom so that He could lead captivity captive (Psa. 68:18 & Eph. 4:8). All is silent up on earth, but all is not over. He said He would rise again and He will!
Cursed On The Tree For Me
Galatians 3:13 ~ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree (Ref: Deuteronomy 21:22, 23). When someone was hung on a tree it was for some great offense against the Law of God. Those who broke the law were criminals and those who were hung had committed crimes worthy of death. But it was an unusual death in that it was a death of rejection, shame, and reproach. These were those who were deserving of the punishment. Unfortunately it was the death that would be used to wickedly crucify the Son of God who became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21). It would have been a deserving punishment for me to be hung on that old tree and that is why He did it; He suffered so that we would not have to; my, what love, that He would be cursed on the Tree for me.
Let us be careful not to look at the Cross with the wrong outlook. Knowing our Lord was crucified by the Jews and the Romans we may have somewhat of indignation against them. But we have the anger and the blame pointed at the wrong place.
First, we must realize that our Lord Jesus came into this world as a newborn baby in Bethlehem for the very purpose of going to that old rugged Cross. He lived a perfect and a sinless life. He fulfilled all the Law and the prophets. He came to be the spotless, unblemished Lamb of God for sacrifice. He kept Himself pure in His humanity so that when He died He might be a worthy sacrifice. He took it upon Himself to suffer and to die upon the Cross as a just, pure, holy, worthy, and acceptable sacrifice. The only thing we should be angry at is sin; Jesus came to die for the sin of the world; my what love, that He would be cursed on the Tree for me.
Secondly, we need to accept that He died a just man for an unjust people. In His innocence He shed His blood to pay for our sin that we could not ever hope to atone for. We are a needy people who are ever in need of a Saviour. Our sin and transgression was so great that the death of the Cross would not have been a worthy death for us. The shame and reproach of the Cross would have been too good for our sin against a holy, merciful, and loving Creator. And, yet, that great Architect of the universe, that loving Potter of the clay, made a way to redeem His creation and to give it life again. He would allow a Volunteer to step up and take the punishment for us so that we could escape the wrath to come and be set free; my what love our Heavenly Father has for us. My sin put the Lord of Glory on that old tree and it was His love for me that kept Him there; my what love, that He would be cursed on the Tree for me.
My pardon was written the day that Christ died. It was written in crimson red with the blood that He shed for me. My pardon was approved the day that I accepted Him as my Saviour. It has His seal of approval; the seal of His Holy Spirit within me, who Himself is that seal that cannot be broken. The just died for the unjust so that the unjust would be justified. God in the flesh died for you and me so that we could live for eternity; my, what love, that He would be cursed on the Tree for me.
It is the greatest love known to man. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The Lord Jesus showed and proved His love for me when He died on that old Tree. He is the Friend that is closer than a brother. He is a Friend when we are unfriendly. He is a Friend when the chips are down. He is a Friend when all others walk away. He is a Friend that is a friend indeed. The most amazing thing is that when the Lord Jesus died for me, I was not His friend, I was His enemy. He died for both His friends who were in the world and He died for those who were not His friends as well. He died to make an enemy like me His friend; my what love, that He would be cursed on the Tree for me.
We have been graciously given a second opportunity by being taken out from under the condemnation and the wrath to come. My Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, hung on that old Tree so that I could go free. But my freedom is not to do as I please. My freedom and liberty is given to me to be reconciled back to my Father in Heaven. It is a liberty to be a productive and integral part of the family of God. My life is not in this world, my life is in Christ. In Christ I delight to do the work of the Lord in His family because it is my family. We work to grow, nurture, cultivate, and build the family upon the doctrinal foundation of the Father’s divine planning. We abide, not under, but in the grace of Almighty God. It is His grace that has given us liberty, not to continue in sin, but to excel in service to our Father and our family which is the Church; my what love, that He would be cursed on the Tree for me. - Preacher
Passion Week: Hindrances To Faith
Mark 11:23-26 ~ For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Let us finish this all important lesson that the Lord was teaching the disciples yesterday. He was giving them an object lesson on faith. But the important part of that lesson is what will hinder our faith. There are things that will be obstacles to our faith in accomplishing things for God. When our faith is hindered then is our prayer life hindered.
Unbelief is a major obstacle to faith. Faith is belief and trust in God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is [His existence], and that He is a rewarder [His personality and attributes] of them that diligently seek him.” Unbelief is like trying to burn water; you can get it hot and you can boil it away, but you cannot burn it. Without faith you cannot accomplish anything for the Lord, no matter how hard you may try.
Doubt is another obstacle to faith (Mat. 21:21 & Jam. 1:5, 6). Doubt questions God, His Word, and His motives. Doubt will cause you to waiver in your decisions. You cannot trust God implicitly and have doubt in His Word. Doubt will lead you to deny His promises towards you. In essence it does not trust His authority and sovereignty.
Selfishness weakens powerful faith. Selfishness is to ask for things that you will consume upon your lust (Jam. 4:2, 3). This goes back to asking for things that are outside the scope and purpose of God for your life. Remember the words of Christ as He was in the Garden praying and He said, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). He accepted God’s will as the best outcome. Unselfishness will accept God’s answer to prayer as the best outcome.
In our text the Lord taught them a great lesson on what will hinder our faith and our prayer life. He teaches the disciples that if they will pray in faith, according to the will of God, trusting Him, His person, His promises, and His power, they will receive whatsoever they ask for. But He also says that they are to forgive those with whom they have a grievance against. Why? Because He does not want the disciples to get hung up on those who are going to be the instruments of God to bruise and crucify His only begotten Son. If they get hung up on holding a grudge against the Jews and the Romans they will not be effectual in spreading the Gospel throughout the known world.
Therefore He teaches us that we must forgive or we will not be forgiven. It is not about your salvation, because your guilt and penalty are forgiven because of Christ (Eph. 4:30-32). It is about having the victory over the flesh. It is about being effectual in the work of God. How can you have the power of God if your faith is hindered by unforgiveness? You cannot! Unforgiveness is a root of bitterness that is ingrained in your flesh and in your flesh you have no power to be of any use to God. You do not forgive to be forgiven, you forgive because you are forgiven, and that for Christ’s sake.
Spend some time today and tonight in prayer and meditation upon what Christ did on this week nearly two thousand years ago. What He did is eternal and will never cease. The power and the efficacy of the Cross of Christ is an eternal and effectual work. Multitude millions of peoples will be in Heaven because of His selfless sacrifice. Do not let doubt, unbelief, unforgiveness, or selfishness stand in the way of a powerful faith that can and will do great things for God in your heart and in your life. - Preacher
The Passion Week: He Took My Place
Philippians 2:8 ~ And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Colossians 2:14 ~ Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Hebrews 12:2 ~ Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Crucifixion day has arrived. Many believe that Friday would have been crucifixion day but that does not hold to Scripture. Our Lord came to fulfill all the law and the prophets. We know that the Passover Lamb was to be put up on the tenth day of the month and sacrificed (His blood shed for the remission of sin) on the fourteenth day (Exo. 12:3-7). He came into Jerusalem on the first day (Sunday) of the week which would have been the tenth day of the month. Therefore the fourteenth day would have been on Thursday.
Another proof of this is found in Exodus 12:14-20 where we have the command given to refrain from eating leaven for seven days following the Passover. Verses 16 and 18 are the key verses. The Passover is on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish year. On the fifteenth day begins the week of unleavened bread (v.18). This day begins at the close of the fourteenth day. Remember that the Jewish days run from 6 o’clock pm to 6 o’clock pm (the evening and the morning were the first day). The first and seventh days of unleavened bread were holy days that were treated much like a Sabbath day (v. 16). The first day of unleavened bread fell upon the Friday which would put the holy day and the Sabbath day together giving them two days in which no work was done. Therefore, Friday could have been referred to as the Sabbath (Mark 15:29) because they were getting a two day Sabbath in the sense that both were holy days in which they could do no work.
Another reason why I believe this is because the Jewish day runs from 6 o’clock pm to 6 o’clock pm where we are accustom to our day which runs from midnight to midnight. In the Jewish day Christ would have to be down off of the Cross and in the tomb before 6 o’clock pm. If He were left upon the Cross it would have defiled the land according to the law (Deu. 21:22, 23). Jesus dismissed His spirit between 3 and 6 o’clock pm on that day. I believe they just did get the body in the tomb in time. Therefore, Thursday night and Friday would be the evening and the morning of the first day. Friday Night and Saturday would have been the evening and the morning of the second day. Saturday night and Sunday would have been the evening and the morning of the third day. We know that He came out of the tomb early on the third morning. (This is how I personally believe because it aligns with the Scriptures. The day is not the important issue, the fact that Jesus died for our sin and was buried is the critically important issue.
On this day Jesus was examined by Annas who then sent Him to Caiaphas the High Priest (John 18:12-23; Mat. 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; & Luke 22;54, 63-65). Jesus was very cruelly treated all along the way that morning as He was being led from one place to another. He is then led to Pilate who questioned Him and then sent Him to Herod Antipas (Mat. 27:11-14; Mark 15:2-5; Luke 23:1-5; & John 18:28-38). Herod and his men mocked the Lord and then returned Him to Pilate (Luke 23:6-12). Pilate talked with Him and told the Jews He could find no fault in Him (Mat. 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:13-25; & John 18:39, 40). He tried to release Jesus but the religious leaders would have none of it. Pilate thought the people would have chosen to release Jesus if He were put up beside a murderer. But the prophecy was already written and the people cried out for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Christ. He was crowned with thorns and mocked (John 19:1-16)
Jesus was then scourged and had the cross beam of His cross laid upon Him. As He fell beneath the load they made Simon, a Cyrenian, to help Him carry the Cross up the hill to Galgotha. The following is an order of events at the crucifixion as presented by Rev. C. I. Scofield:
- The arrival at Golgotha
- The offer of the stupefying drink refused
- Jesus is crucified between two thieves
- He utters the first cry from the cross, "Father, forgive," etc.
- The soldiers part His garments
- The Jews mock Jesus
- The thieves rail on Him, but one repents and believes
- The second cry from the cross, "To-day shalt thou be with me," etc.
- The third cry, "Woman, behold thy son"
- The darkness
- The fourth cry, "My God," etc.
- The fifth cry, "I thirst"
- The sixth cry, "It is finished"
- The seventh cry, "Father, into thy hands," etc.
- Our Lord dismisses his spirit (Mat_27:50); (Mar_15:37); (Luk_23:46); (Joh_19:30).
The Bible tells us “And they crucified Him.” We found the following description of a Roman crucifixion given by a medical doctor:
“The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. [This is the depression where the palm meets the wrist. Here the nails can be driven through without going through the bone. It is part of the palm and therefore there is no contradiction of the Scriptures.] He drives a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the palm and deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the palms, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain--the nails in the palm are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.
Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over--the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level--the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues--the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues. . .Finally he can allow his body to die.”
All this the Bible records with the simple words, “And they crucified Him.” There is more, so much more, that He suffered and agonized through spiritually that day. He who had never known sin suffered the injustice of tasting sin in all of its degrading, detestable, shameful, wicked humiliation. The PURE and SINLESS ONE became sin and suffered the wrath of God’s judgment. This He did for me and for you. What are we doing for HIM? - Preacher
The Brethren Beloved of the Lord Pt 1
2 Thessalonians 2:13 ~ But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
The “brethren beloved of the Lord” are a special people in the eyes of God. There are those who would have you believe that all of God’s creatures are the beloved. But the “beloved of the Lord” holds a special designation for a designated people. It is true that God loves all people because He is the Creator and He loves His creatures. All humanity is the offspring of God created in His image and likeness, but not all are the “beloved of the Lord”.
The “brethren beloved of the Lord” are those who are of faith in Christ alone for salvation. They are the children of God by the second or spiritual birth. In John 3:3-7 the Lord Jesus told Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” When Nicodemus did not understand what that meant the Lord Jesus explained to him that there is a natural and physical birth of water. This is the birth from the womb of the mother. Then He explained that there was a supernatural spiritual birth that occurs when a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and receives Him into their heart (Rev. 3:20). This is the second birth when we become more than just the creation and offspring of God; we become a child of God.
God loves the world but God has a special love for His children. They are uniform and consistent in their love for the Lord. They abstain from things that would displease God and hinder their walk and relationship with Him (1 Jn 3:3). They renounce self-righteousness as a robe of filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). They abstain from worldly and lustful pleasures. Only those who truly know Christ as their Saviour can see things this way. There are some who may have this in their head, but only the “brethren beloved of the Lord” can have it in their heart. It is with the heart that a person can believe unto righteousness which is the righteousness of Christ applied to our account.
One of the proofs of being one of the beloved is the love that you have for the children of God. You know that you have passed from death unto life because you love the brethren (1 Jn. 3:14). When you love your brothers and sisters in Christ you make a conscious choice to be around them. You love to rejoice when a person is saved and all Heaven rejoices with you when a person accepts Christ as Saviour (Lk. 15:7).
Unfortunately the world does not share in that joy. The world which is under the control of the enemy hates the “brethren beloved of the Lord”. Not all lost people are so hateful, but those who have made themselves the enemy of Christ will hate all those who trust and love Christ. The Lord Jesus told us in John 15:19 that the world hated Him and therefore they would hate us also. Too many today are trying to blend in with the world so that they do not have to endure the ridicule and rejection.
You must learn to love others; all others. God loved you when you were lost in sin and at enmity with Him. Christ died and rose again to bring you forgiveness and justification with God; even while you were yet His enemy. So loving all others starts with the brethren. If you do not love other believers then you cannot love God (1 Jn 4:20). But that love must extend to lost people including those who choose to be your enemy. People who hate you because you are a Christian are deceived by the world and the devil. They are blinded and in the dark about the truth. Your love for them can bring light into that darkness and give them a chance to be delivered. As a “brethren beloved of the Lord” you can “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” - Preacher
The Brethren Beloved of the Lord Pt 2
2 Thessalonians 2:13 ~ But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
As a “brethren beloved of the Lord” you can “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Amidst ridicule and rejection you can live a victorious life. But to have victory you must learn to adopt the ways of Christ in the troubles and the trials that you face. In the storms and struggles you must adapt your life to the Word of God and become an overcomer by the power of the Holy Spirit within you.
When you do, this world will have no hold on you for it is not your home. This world will cease to exist one day and there is a better place awaiting you. You must focus on the eternal things which are the things of God and of His Son. Do not focus your time and energy on this world for it is a temporal plain that you must live in now, but it will pass away and a new day will dawn. That new day begins in part at the moment you are saved, but it is realized more fully at the moment that you depart this woeful world.
As a “brethren beloved of the Lord” you are to live your life in the fear of God. There is no fear of coming under His condemnation for that cannot happen for a child of God (Rom. 8:1). There is a fear of displeasing Him because of your love for Him and your desire to bring Him honor. The closer you get to Him the more you will love and respect Him with greater reverence having a stern hatred for all that is evil and ungodly. All that opposes God and His Christ will be an abomination to you. That which is vulgar, lewd, and distasteful has no place in your life. This includes any and all forms of entertainment which are vulgar, lewd, and distasteful (Psa. 6:18).
As a “brethren beloved of the Lord” you are willing to sacrifice time and talent to serve the Lord. That does not mean that you must quit your job and work for the church full time. It means that you give yourself wholly to the Lord to be His spokesman full time wherever you go in whatever you do. You are His tool to be used to lend a helping hand to those who are in need of help (this comes in many forms; changing a tire, pushing a broken down vehicle, buying a meal for a homeless person, etc., etc.). Whatever you do you are to do it as if you were doing it for the Lord Himself to the glory of God (Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:17, 22-24; I Cor. 10:31).
Are you a child of God? Do you have the righteousness of Christ applied to your account? Do you love to be around other Christians? Do you stand up for the Lord under ridicule and rejection? Do you have victory over the world, your own flesh, and the temptations of the devil? Do you have a healthy respect and trust of the Lord with hatred for all that is evil? Have you given yourself fully to the will of God for your life? If the answer to all of these questions is “yes”, then you are a “brethren beloved of the Lord”. If you can only answer “yes” to the first two questions then you are still a “brethren beloved of the Lord”. However, you need to work on those things that you cannot answer yes to because they hinder the closeness of your relationship with Christ and they weaken you against the enemy. - Preacher
2Timothy 1:7 ~ For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Paul is writing to Timothy who was a young man who had been taught the things of God by a godly mother and grandmother. He had apparently been called to preach under the ministry of the Apostle Paul. Paul had even referred to Timothy as his son, his dearly beloved son, in the faith (1 Tm 1:2; 2 Tm. 1:2). He is encouraging and admonishing Timothy to stir up the gift that God has given him. Timothy must have had some fear and apprehension about filling the position of his calling. There was certainly a fear of persecution as he has seen what is going on in Paul’s life; a prisoner suffering affliction and persecution (v. 8).
So, what is fear? Fear is a cowardly spirit that is afraid of men and devils. It is a slavish passion that hinders us to move forward in faith. Fear is being afraid of what men may say or do. It causes discouragement and deters from the work of the Lord. It will cause some to back away from the Gospel because of what others may say or think about them (Rom 1:16). It will keep you from opposing false teachers, from reproving sin, and keep you in bondage to silence. Things have gotten to the point where they are in our nation partly due to the fear of Christians to speak out. This is due in part to Christians slowly becoming comfortably numb to the sin and degradation around them and partly due to fear of what others may think of them.
But God has not given us a spirit of fear. He has given us the Spirit of power. Within every believer is the power that created all of creation. It is that same Spirit of God that moved upon the face of the waters when the earth was being formed from nothing (Gen 1:2). It is the power that resurrects from the dead. It is a power that must be appropriated on the Christian’s part if they are going to have power and victory in their daily life. The Spirit of God within you will fortify your mind against reproaches and persecutions. He will strengthen you to resist temptations. He will strengthen and empower you to endure the hardness as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has given you the Spirit of power.
He has given us the spirit of love. This is one of the nine fold fruit of the Spirit. It is a love that is beyond the world’s comprehension. It is a love that will allow a person to love even those who have hated and reviled them. It is a love that is sacrificial, selfless, and surrendered to the will of God. We love Him because He first loved us. We love Christ for the love that He proved toward us on Calvary. We love the church because of the love that God has for His people. This love does not seek out its own rewards for there are rewards of the heart just for loving the Lord and loving people. This kind of love seeks the glory of God, the interests of Christ, and the good of souls. When you have a spirit that is fired by such a love as this, you are not easily intimidated by the adversary.
God has given us a sound mind. A sound mind is developed from the principles of the Word of God. You become established in the faith as you read and study His Word. A sound mind is given to heeding the principles and doctrines given by God in His Word. When you heed what you read you will find that you are prudent and provident in your conduct and discipline. It is a self-control that is governed by careful and cautious thoughts and actions. A sound mind is a sober mind that is realistic, reasonable, and restrained. Soundness of mind is a calmness and coolness in all situations and circumstances. It is a mind that is regulated to abstain from all that is evil and all that has the appearance of evil. It is not easily tempted or easily provoked to anger.
God has saved you with a purpose in mind. That purpose is to use the gift that He has given you so that you can live a productive, profitable, vigorous, and vibrant life. You can benefit those around you and be an effective part of the ministry of your church. You have the potential to do great and mighty things for God because He has equipped you to do so (Php 4:13). Be encouraged, be excited, and be enthusiastic for what God has in store for you today and for eternity! – Preacher
Are You Abiding?
John 15:5 ~ I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Both the optimist and the pessimist contribute to society. “How is that?” you ask. The optimist invents the airplane while the pessimist invents the parachute. Both contribute something useful to society for very different reasons. But the truth remains that each has a useful ability. God creates people differently and those differences compliment and complete each other.
But when it comes to doing the Lord’s work the only way you can be useful is to possess Christ as your Saviour and Lord. In John 15:1-6 the Lord Jesus makes it pretty clear that the only way you can be productive, fruitful, and useful for God is to abide in Christ and have His Word abiding in you. Jesus Christ is the true vine. Those who have come to Christ and received Him as their Saviour are the branches of the vine. If you do not abide in the vine you can do nothing for the Lord.
God is the husbandman; He is the one who works and cultivates the vineyard; He is the Vine Dresser. He has done all of the work to prepare a choice Vine which in turn will bring forth fruitful branches. The Christian is the branch. As long as the branch abides in the vine the branch can receive the sap it needs to produce fruit. The sap is the Holy Spirit which gives life and nourishment to the branches. God has done all of the hard work and if you will follow His plan you will be productive. But if you are to follow His plan you must give up your own plans, especially those that are contrary to His will.
The branches that do not bear fruit are removed by God; He is not pleased with any person who does not bear fruit. These people have not given up their plans and replaced them with His. They are not productive or useful or fruitful for the Lord. God will prune, cull out, and take away those branches that are not doing what they should be doing. You can be saved and in Christ and still live a fruitless life. These branches are what are known as sucker branches; they take life and power from the branches that are bearing fruit. They hinder the fruit bearing of the other branches.
This chapter in the Bible is about Christians bearing fruit in their lives. Those who bear fruit are those who live by faith. When you live by faith you will be purged and pruned so that you may bear more fruit. That means that the faith you have will be put to the test so that your faith may increase and you will be more productive and bear much fruit.
These verses go on to tell us that those branches that do not bear fruit are cut off and cast into the fire. This is not a loss of salvation; it is a loss of usefulness. The fire is not a picture of hell. The Lord is very plain in telling us that “men gather them”. The fire is the shame and reproach that a person faces because they claim to be a Christian but they do not bear the marks of a Christian.
They have to deal with the gnawing of a guilty conscious and conviction of the Holy Spirit. They have stress of mind because they know not the peace of God due to their lack of fellowship with Him. The bond of closeness is lacking with productive Christians because they do not share in the workload. Their bond of closeness with the world is lacking because they do not share in all of the things that the world does. They are ashamed of Christ in the world and they feel reproach in the church because they are not useful and productive for the Lord.
When you step out on faith and involve yourself actively in the Lord’s work through your church you can and will do great things for God. You can be useful and bear fruit. The more you give yourself to the Lord the more fruit you will bear. “Much fruit” comes when you daily walk with the Lord abiding in Him and His Word abiding in you. - Preacher
This Same Jesus
Acts 1:10, 11 ~ And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
The disciples watched Jesus ascend back to Heaven from the Mount of Olives forty days after His resurrection from the dead. While they were standing there gazing into the sky two men stood by them and spoke to them. These were undoubtedly angels as we see that they are robed in white apparel. The reference to their clothing speaks volumes about their cleanliness and holiness. These two angels tell them something that is very profound, especially for us today. They told them “… this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
This is the Son of the Living God. This is the One of whom it was foretold that He would be born into this world through a miraculous conception and birth. God told Isaiah some 740 years before His birth that a virgin would conceive and bear a son. He would be named Immanuel which means “God with us”. That prophecy was fulfilled when Mary gave birth to the Christ child. The miraculous thing was not so much the birth as it was the conception of the child. The Holy Spirit of God overshadowed Mary and placed inside her womb the seed of the Son of God. This virgin conceived without having ever known a man and gave birth to the Lord Jesus Christ.
He grew up as any normal child depending on the parents that God had chosen for Him. This One who was there at the beginning of creation has humbled Himself and stepped down from Heaven leaving all of His glory behind. He did so because of His love for all of mankind. He willingly added humanity to all that He was so that He could live the ideal, impeccable life. He was the same as Adam was before the fall in the garden. Neither had a sin nature yet one chose to disobey and thereby plunged all of humanity into sin. The other was obedient and therefore became the perfect payment for sin (Rom. 5:12, 19).
The Lord Jesus was wholly and completely a man in the flesh. He suffered as a man in the flesh so that He could be the Great High Priest for all of mankind. But that is not to say that He was not God for He was wholly God veiled in a robe of flesh. But He chose to subject Himself to being a man so that He could be our mediator and our advocate.
We are all sinners by birth; we have inherited the fallen sin nature from our forefathers. None of us are capable of paying for our sin. The payment for sin is death; not just physical death. This is referring to what the Bible calls the second death where those who leave this world in an unforgiven state of sin, rejecting the Holy Spirit’s plea to trust Christ, are cast into the lake of fire to pay for their sin for all of eternity.
The Lord Jesus took our sin upon Him and became the ultimate sacrifice for the sin of the whole world. He suffered our shame and reproach, literally taking a beating for us in our place so that we would not have to be given over to the torments of an eternal hell. As the weight of our sin was placed upon Him God had to look away and the whole world was covered in darkness. For three hours He hung there between Heaven and earth, between God and man, as the mediator of the New Covenant.
He died on the Cross to pay that payment that we could never pay. He was the just dying for the unjust. The proof of His death is the fact that His body was taken down, wrapped in cloth, and buried in a tomb. His body was in the tomb while He went to where the Old Testament saints (those whose faith and love was in God) were waiting for Him to come and release them and take them to Heaven. He preached unto them the Gospel message of the Messiah coming to set them free and “…He led captivity captive”.
On the third day early in the morning He took back His body and walked out of the grave. He showed Himself to be alive and risen from the dead by many infallible proofs and was seen of a great number of witnesses. All this He did according to the Scriptures as it was written hundreds of years before.
The angels tell them that this same Jesus shall return in like manner and will step down upon the Mount of Olives in the exact same place from which He left (Zec. 14:4). He said He was coming the first time in the exact manner as He came, and He has said that He is coming again, so get ready (Jn. 14:1-6). Sinners need to come to Him for salvation while saints need to be busy about the work He has given you to do. You are to work till the trumpet sounds! - Preacher
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
The pure in heart are those whose aspirations, desires, and affections are set only on seeking and pleasing the Lord. They have been purified by the blood of Christ through salvation and remain clean and free from filth of sin through confession, forgiveness, and cleansing. It is the heart that is single and without mixture in its desire, devotion, and direction.
The pure in heart is not the outward actions as the Pharisees taught. They were outwardly righteous in their actions and yet their hearts were full of bitterness, envy, hatred, and malice. It is not the comparative righteousness that the self-righteous Pharisee had when he went into the temple to pray (Lk 18). In his prayer he compared himself as being better and above other men rather than looking at God and seeing who and what he was in comparison to Him. You should never compare yourself to others, only to Christ; it will keep your perspective in check.
There are two kinds of purity. Positional purity which is that which you have in Christ. And practical purity which is that which you, through the grace of God, put forth the energy to be so that you may have a stronger walk with God. If you are going to be pure in heart you must determine to do things that will keep you pure within. You need to be single minded. You need to forget the things behind and keep moving forward. Do not rest on the good that you did yesterday, and do not let the bad of yesterday hold you back.
You need to set goals. Several times our journey is compared to running a race. As I prepare to run a 5K I have to set goals on what I want to accomplish. I set distance goals that I want to reach, then I set time goals that I need to reach, and then I set a goal to bring all of that together and whittle down my timing. Ultimately I have a long term goal to run the 5K, but my short term goals include exercise, diet, increasing distance, and decreasing time.
In the Christian life we need short term goals of daily Bible reading and daily prayer time. You may want to set a goal of studying something out each week that the Lord has shown you in your Bible reading, a Bible class, or a sermon. You need set goals for talking to others about the Lord and praying for them before you speak to them. Once you have prayed for them you need to go and speak to them. Your ultimate long term goal should be to maintain a pure heart and reach your full potential for Christ.
You need to avoid detours along the way. Anything that will take you away from your goals is a detour. It is a distraction that will take your focus off of the Lord and living for Him. The Bible teaches that a double minded person is unstable in all of their ways. Your goal is to maintain a pure heart that will reach its full potential for Christ. Do not allow anything or anyone to get in your way. If you do you have allowed that to come between you and the Lord and you can lose your purity of heart.
You need to follow through. Once you have determined to live with a pure heart you must do it. Setting goals is great, but the hard work comes in working on and maintaining those goals. The devil will try to distract you with disappointment, discouragement, and disheartenment. Keep your mind single, set your goals, avoid distractions and detours, and follow through by actually working out your plans and your goals.
Set one other goal to stop either weekly or monthly and evaluate your progress and your work. In order for your work to be good it must be according to God’s will – His purpose and plan for your life – and it must come from a heart that is seeking to please and glorify God.
You will be rewarded and happier in general when you are pure in heart. You will have an innate repulsion to sin, you will pursue holiness, and you will see God for who He is to you. - Preacher
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Peace is not the absence of conflict, a truce, or a compromise. The actual meaning of Biblical peace is a combination of two ideas. It is completeness, soundness, or oneness and well-being. In this sense it is used to describe national prosperity, physical safety, or spiritual well-being. It is also righteousness and truth which means that peace is actually righteous prosperity.
The world is always looking for and talking about peace. Men strive to be the peacemakers, not so much for the sake of peace in the world, but more so that they can make a name for themselves. They sign truces and make compromises and never find a true and lasting peace. Why? Because apart from God man does not know peace and cannot make peace; only God can make peace.
The source of all true peace is God. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, …”. Therefore man cannot have a true and lasting peace apart from God. His peace is everlasting and will continue into eternity. But if you are to experience this peace you must have Christ. There is no peace with God apart from Christ. You cannot come to Christ except God bids you to come. When you receive Christ as your personal Saviour you have peace with God for He is the great Peacemaker.
God’s peace is unchangeable because God does not change. He is always the same from eternity past throughout all of eternity future. Once you have peace with God He begins to work in you and to transform your life for His glory and for your benefit. He invests Himself in you and in your life so that you can have the peace of God as you live in this world. This is directly related to your spiritual mindedness as you grow in knowledge and experience a daily walk with the Lord.
The great thing about God’s peace within is that it is safe from attack. No matter what comes your way you can always have that peace that passes all understanding. The lost world cannot understand what they cannot attain on their own. In storms, in troubles, in sorrows, and in persecutions you can have and know the peace of God. Your peace is not conditional on the world without, it rests upon Christ within.
When you know and have this peace you become a peacemaker. As a peacemaker you maintain the peace of God in your heart by dying to self. When you rise in the morning you must put aside selfish desires and take up your cross for Christ and submit to His desires. You must die to sin which is what it means to be crucified with Christ. You must depend on God for your daily bread - spiritual and physical - and all of your needs. Your desire is to please God, at work, at play, or whatever you do today. And a true peacemaker will show compassion and mercy to others just as Christ would.
Those who know and experience this peace have a great zeal, fervor, and desire to see others come to know Christ as their Saviour so they too can know and experience this peace. You ought to have a desire to help others be saved and be at peace with God. As a peacemaker you will also pray and seek to bring others together in peace; getting them to cooperate. It is bringing harmony into the lives of those who have differences and helping them to see that their differences can work together for the glory of God. You can help them come together and use their differences to complement each other and complete God’s purpose.
Following Christ gives you the characteristics of a peacemaker. They are available; setting aside their schedule for others. They have the wisdom to see problems and difficulties from God’s perspective. They are creative in finding ways to be more effective in accomplishing goals and plans. They are persuasive at getting truth to those who put up mental roadblocks. They are resourceful at finding resources that others have overlooked or discarded to meet needs. They are very cautious because they realize that some people will not be open to or accept the truth. As a peacemaker you will be known as a child of God. - Preacher
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for their’s is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
The poor in spirit have the kingdom of Heaven. They that mourn shall be comforted. They that are meek shall inherit the earth. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, shall be filled. Those who are merciful will obtain mercy. The pure in heart will see God. The peacemakers are known as the children of God. These are the characteristics of those who will live godly. And “…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” (2 Tim 3:12).
However, you should never let the prospect of persecution deter you from your walk with God. In the parable of the sower and the seed there was some seed that fell among the stony ground where there was not much earth. This is one who received the seed with gladness but had no root of inner spiritual strength. When the sun was up it was scorched and withered away. This is a picture of one who did not have enough fortitude to withstand reviling and persecution. The Word sounded good, they received it with a glad heart, but they did not have sound doctrine or the endurance to stand for it and they withered away.
Most will tell you today that if you live right the world will treat you right because God will bless you. Some will tell you things that will make you feel good and try to make life out to be a bed of roses. Roses look good and they smell good, but when you get into them they have thorns that will hurt. They do not tell you the whole truth of living godly. They tickle the ears of listeners to make them feel good rather than tell them the whole truth.
The truth is that persecution will come. If you live according to the Word of God, bearing out godly characteristics, and you stand for the doctrines of the faith (2 Tim 4:3), you will be reviled and you will be persecuted at some point. It is not that you are doing wrong when you are reviled and persecuted. The Bible teaches that “…evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Tim 3:13). These are the sceptics and critics who will do all they can to take away your liberty, your rights, and the precious privilege to live godly.
Unfortunately, many are not getting rooted and grounded in the faith and are likely to wither under persecution. You need to know where and how to improve your godliness. You need to be deeply rooted and grounded in Bible doctrine. You need to hear and know truth. And you need to exercise and practice your faith so that you can be strong and endure under persecution.
God reveals to us that we are to “…continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of,…” (2 Tim 3:14). Remember that when it is hot and you are being scorched by the reviling and the persecution of ungodly men, that God is there with you. He has been through it Himself on the Cross and He has gone through the fires of persecution with countless millions who have come before you. He has never failed to deliver one person and HE WILL NOT FAIL YOU. Stand your ground for the reward is to come. You will vanquish your foes by staying the course. You are more than a conqueror. The victory is yours. Praise God, the kingdom is yours! - Preacher
Observe To Do
Joshua 1:8 ~ This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Drifting through life without goals is a cause for personal failure. If we just go along from day to day and week to week we can get nothing accomplished. We need to have direction and aim in our life if we are going to accomplish anything worthwhile. Our goals must be guided by and aligned with Scriptural authority. Without something to aim at we have no motivation, no desire, and certainly no discipline. There is no ambition in today’s culture to aim high and to do better. When there is no definite goal to aim for in your life your motives get turned around and you may find that you have wrong motives. Without goals people are more easily led astray.
Many of our young Christians today are indifferent to the ministries of the church. They can work in a ministry until they find something they deem more important and then leave it without so much as finding someone to fill in or take over. There is no dedication to the work of God and the cause of Christ because there is no drive or motivation. This stems from drifting through life without specific goals.
Too many today drift along just trying to fill the moment. Many are not involved in the outreach ministries and have no desire to be involved. I find this hard to understand because as a young Christian I wanted to be involved in everything in the church. My wife and I were always looking for a place to live that was closer to the church just so we could be a part of everything.
Our Christian young adults seem to have no ambition to aim high when it comes to their consecration and dedication to the Lord. They want to get by with the least amount of work and effort on their part. When it comes time to step up and be counted and to be the living sacrifice that God desires they cower down. They want the best that God has to offer but they want the best that the world has to offer as well.
They become fence straddlers and want to remain in the neutral area where they can have both. But God has told us in His Word that they are “luke warm” and that He will “spue” them out of His mouth (Rev. 3:15, 16). In other words, they make God sick at His stomach while they just play Christian. He would rather they were cold hearted than to be the tepid dribble that claims His name. They try to have their insurance policy of going to church and still be a part of the world.
They have the wrong motives as they go through this life. It stems from them not having a definite aim in their lives; a long term goal to strive for with short term goals to keep them on track. They want to be on God’s side because in the end they know deep in their hearts that it is the safe place to be. But that is not the right motive. They are trying to get by with having the best of both worlds while that is completely contrary to God’s Word (I Cor. 3:16, 17 & II Cor. 6:11-18).
Those who love the world do not have the love of God in their hearts (I John 2:15). You cannot love God supremely and still love this evil, sin-sick world (Mat. 6:24). But many people do just that very thing. They have the wrong motives because they are drifting through life without a definite goal and direction for their life. Having no definite goal is a sign that they are not rooted and grounded in the Word of God.
There are a lot of negative inferences in this devotion. But it is all very true. We need to do all that we can to encourage our young people and our youth to be actively involved in ministry. Those who have positions should try to take someone under your wing and train them in what you are doing. As you enlist them and train them you will encourage and enrich them through your investment of time with them. Set some goals, pray and choose someone to enlist, and go to work for the cause of Christ and the glory of God. - Preacher
Observe To Do All
Joshua 1:8 ~ This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Every goal that you set in your life should center on God and focus on the cause of Christ. The cause of Christ is to save the lost and to salvage and build lives. Your ultimate goal in life should be to fear God and keep His commandments for this is your whole duty (Ecc. 12:13). Your end goal should be to leave behind a legacy of fighting the good fight of faith, finishing your course (living in God’s perfect will for your life), and through it all keeping the faith that was once delivered to the saints (II Tim. 4:7 & Jude 3).
Do you have a direction for your life? Have you set some long term goals to achieve in God’s work? Do you have short term goals to accomplish along the way? If not you can start today by asking God to help you set a direction for your life. Ask Him for clear direction and let Him reveal His divine plan for you. Then with patience watch what He does.
When your faith is at the center of every part of your life - public and private - then, and only then, can you be prosperous and pleasing to your Father. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23). If you leave your faith out of your life, you leave out the only thing that will prosper you in your journey. Without the blessing of God you cannot have nor can you accomplish anything good. If you abide not in Christ you can do absolutely nothing worthwhile (John 15:1-17).
Your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ should be the one thing that is constant in every single detail and aspect of your life (Rom. 8:35; II Cor. 5:14; & Eph 3:19). If it is, then the things of the world will take a back seat to the things of God. You will have a drive and a direction in your life that will propel you to sacrifice for the work of the church and for the cause of Christ. The world may see it as a sacrifice to work for the church before you do other things, but truthfully it is not a real sacrifice. In your heart it becomes the one thing that gives you real, true joy within and a peace that will surpass all understanding.
So many of our young people and our young families in the church miss out on so many blessings of the Lord because they are not willing to get up and go the extra mile (Mat. 5:41). They do that which is required of them and then they go home. Going to church just for the sake of doing your part is a sad state of living. We should not go because we feel that we have to go, we go to church because we GET TO GO! “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psa. 122:1).
If it is a chore to go to church then there is a fault in your heart that you need to take to God for healing. When you do only that which is required and you do nothing more, you are an unprofitable servant (Luke 17:7-10). Only those who do more than is required, doing it out of love for the Lord and love for others, can become profitable. The requirement is to go one mile. It is in the first step of the second mile that Christian joy begins. That is where you begin to prosper as a Christian.
It is not a drudgery to do without the fun and the amusements of the world to be devoted to God. It is teaching a class because you love the children not because someone has to do it. It is working a bus route and bringing children and families to Christ because you have a burden, not because someone has to drive the bus. It is attending to the needs of others because you love one another. The people – the church – are to come together to exalt God, to edify, enrich, and encourage the saints, and evangelize the sinners.
“Observe to do all” is to live the Word of God. That means to love God with all of your heart and to love your neighbor as your own self. It is to fulfill the Great Commission and to teach others to observe to do all that is written in God’s Word. When you live God’s Word you will prosper and you will have success. - Preacher
Humility's Great Reward
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The first sixteen verses in Matthew 5 give a description of true Christian character. Character comes before conduct because your conduct is a product of your character. What you are will always determine what you do. These first sixteen verses teach us that righteousness is inward and comes from the heart. The rest of the chapter reveals that sin is also inward and comes from the heart.
The problem with the Pharisees and their interpretation of the law was that holiness and righteousness consisted of outward religious actions. Their teaching meant that sin was also something that was done outwardly. Many people make these same mistakes today. But the truth of the matter is that God looks upon the heart. What your heart is will determine your destiny for it is with the heart that people believe unto righteousness. If the things you value most are heavenly then you heart will be focused on heavenly things, but if what you value most is earthly then your heart will be set upon the things of the world.
Verses 3 – 12 are what we call the Beatitudes. They are nine specific characteristics of Christian character that can only truly be fully realized by those who have Christ as their Saviour. Each one of these begins with “blessed” which means “supremely blessed”. It carries the idea of having God’s blessing which results in true, practical happiness. The world never finds true happiness because they are never truly blessed of God. The world’s happiness is actually “happen – ness” because it is determined by what is happening around them. The Christian’s happiness is based upon the hope and joy found in Christ and the eternal blessings that He gives to us. It is based upon the joy of the Lord.
The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. This does not mean those who are poverty stricken in this world. Rather it refers to those who are of a humble spirit in distinction to pride and arrogance. Many men, and even women, today may see this as weakness in character. However, it is a strength in character because those who are poor in spirit truly know that the Lord is their salvation, strength, sustenance, and their all in all.
“Poor in spirit” is our attitude toward ourselves in which we feel our need to be humble before God and others. You must be empty before you can be full. The opposite of this is to be self-sufficient. Our sufficiency is not of ourselves (2 Cor 3:5). The world says to be self-sufficient, or as in the direction that our nation is going, to be government-dependent. We are told in James 4:6, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” True humility comes from the heart and draws God’s attention and blessing.
“Poor in spirit” does not mean false humility or cowardice. It is to have a proper attitude of yourself and realize that without Christ you are weak and sinful. In Luke 18:9-14 we see a Pharisee and a publican praying. The Pharisee prayed in a self-sufficient and arrogant way bragging upon his own conduct. The publican beat upon his chest and cried out, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Christ said the publican is the one who left there justified and forgiven.
When you get time read James 4:6-7 and 1 Peter 5:5-7. God says He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. You do not have to cower before others to be humble. Humble is to treat others with the love, respect, and concern that you want to be treated with. It is doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Just remember that you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. You are blessed of God and Heaven is yours, so treat others gently and you will go far. - Preacher
Comfort In Sorrow
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
“Mourn” literally means “to grieve” (the feeling or the act). This has to do with mourning or grieving over sin. It is the act of being brokenhearted with sorrow over your own sin as well as the sins of others. None of us are perfect and the world will vex your soul. Living in this old world gets on you. It is pumping out the garbage of worldliness and wickedness. It is standing opposed to all that is God and all that pertains to God.
Your flesh is weak and will cause you to fail along the way. It is looking for the path of least resistance. It is looking to fulfill its own wants and lustful desires. That does not mean that it is okay to go ahead and allow sin to continue in your life. You still have the choice to say “NO” to sin. Temptations will come and you will have a choice to follow the temptation or to flee from it. Your spirit is willing to follow Christ and His Word. The Holy Spirit gives you the encouragement and the strength to follow Christ and resist the flesh.
It goes without saying that there are sins of omission and there are sins of commission. Omission is NOT doing what the Bible says you are to do; love God, love others, go to church, forgive one another, pray, etc. Commission is doing those things that the Bible says you are NOT to do; adultery, lying, stealing, cussing, sex outside of marriage, etc. When you know to do good, and you do not do it, the Bible says that even that is sin. So be careful not to let your flesh get the best of you.
However, when your flesh does get the best of you there ought to be remorse and sorrow over your sin. You should desire to immediately get right with God. You should long to repent and find forgiveness and cleansing. If you do not then there is something wrong with your heart. If the Holy Spirit is not causing you to be convicted and broken with sorrow for your sin then you need to check your salvation.
Beware that you do not sorrow as the world sorrows. Judas had remorse and sorrow – the sorrow of this world – and took his own life. When Peter sinned, he mourned with godly sorrow, repented and was forgiven. Some are mournful and sorrow only because they got caught, not because they grieved the Lord. Godly sorrow will work repentance in your heart.
You should not take joy in other peoples’ sins either. When you see others sin against God you should be just as broken over their sin as you are yours. It is sin against God. He loves that person and wants to be a Father to them. Therefore out of love for God and the sinner you should want them to know Him and to have a close, personal relationship with Him. You should mourn over the fact that they do not. Just a note here about others failures, the Bible warns against rejoicing over even your enemies sinful failure and defeat.
God has promised that when you are brokenhearted over sin, whether yours or the sins of others, that He will comfort you. When it is your sin you can take comfort in the fact that when you repent and seek forgiveness He will forgive you and cleanse you. When it is the sin of others you can be comforted that God is a merciful, loving, benevolent Creator who will reach out to His creation with the prospect of redeeming His creation. There is comfort for those who mourn and have sorrow over sin and sinfulness in the world.
Mourning and sorrow is a product of sin in the world. Therefore, you may also take comfort in the fact that He has given to you the gift of eternal life. The abundant life that you have now in this world has to do with the relationship that you experience every day with Him as your Heavenly Father. That abundance is in the fact that you are delivered from the penalty of sin and the guilt that it burdens you with. It is being delivered daily from the power of the habit and dominion of sin that you are vexed with daily in this world. But the true comfort and joy comes from knowing that you will be delivered from the very presence of sin in eternity when you leave this lost and dying world behind. - Preacher
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
“Poor in spirit” is our attitude towards ourselves in which we see our need to be humble before God. “Mourn” has to do with our attitude toward sin and our sorrow for it. But here we see “meek” is our attitude toward others. Most people think of “meek” as being weak. Meek is far from being weak. Meek as used in this verse refers to being mild and humble. It has to do with not being easily offended.
It takes great character to be patient under provocation and remain courteous. When others offend and bring injury the natural human nature is to defend self. Being meek is keeping self in check while thinking the best of others and for others. It is to remain selfless while dealing with the affronts of others.
A.W. Tozer once wrote, “The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto."
Most people, even a lot of “Christians”, are prone to self-will. Being meek is not about asserting and enforcing your own rights, but living for the glory of God. You can choose to say or do something when treated harshly. But to choose the high road of self-denial in an effort to show the love of Christ and to give God the glory is of infinitely greater strength and value; value to self and others.
John the Baptist said that Jesus must increase, but he (John) must decrease. When you love the Lord as you ought to, you want others to see Christ in you. Christ was meek and lowly as a man, yet he ran the moneychangers out of the temple, twice. He could have called ten thousand angels to deliver Him from the Cross and to destroy those who had treated Him so horribly. But He remained meek and gave Himself to the tormentors to pay for our sin.
Meekness is not weakness! Moses was meek but was one of the greatest leaders of all time. He commanded an estimated 1.5 million people as they left Egypt. Yet he has this testimony from God: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”
The attitude of meekness is one that is willing to give up on selfish desires and even self-preservation so that others may see Christ. It is to live according to God’s sovereign will so that He can receive the glory. It is a life that says, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” It is the wisdom to live the Word of God and think before you speak or act. It is the fruit of the Spirit within the believer; being gentle, good, and temperate in all things and in all situations.
Being meek is of great advantage and use to you, in hearing and receiving the word; in giving an account of the reason of the hope that is in you; in instructing and restoring such, who have backslidden, either in principle or practice; and in the whole of your life. Meekness serves greatly to recommend salvation to others. When you are possessed of it, and exercise it, you are well pleasing to God.
When you are sorrowful He comforts. When you hunger, He satisfies. When you want direction, He gives it. When you are wronged, He will do you right. And on top of all of that, He gives more grace here and glory hereafter. And then, when all is said and done, you will be a partaker of inheriting the earth. - Preacher
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Here our attitude toward God is expressed; we receive His righteousness by faith when we trust in Christ and His payment for our sin. But hungering and thirsting after righteousness is to diligently and zealously pursue a holy walk with God. Enoch walked with God daily and had this testimony, “that he pleased God.” Joshua wholly followed the LORD his God. David with his whole heart sought after God and had the testimony of being a man after God’s own heart.
When you hunger you seek after that which you desire to eat. When you thirst you look for something that will quench the thirst. These are indications of good health. The same is true spiritually. You will crave that which corresponds to your nature. You will do what is necessary to satisfy your appetite. You do not have to be persuaded to eat. You enjoy what you receive for it appeals to you and it satisfies your longing.
As a Christian your goal should be to glorify God in all things. In whatever you do you should ultimately want to be pleasing to Him. You do this by being like Christ. Christ is the Son of God who came to do the Father’s will. He ultimately pleased God and so you too must be like Christ and live to do the Father’s will.
To be like Christ you must be holy. That is a word that is considered to be archaic and outdated by the younger generation today. But it is an essential if you are to be like Christ and please God. It simply means that you are set apart for God. Personal and practical holiness is to live a life that is sacred which means separate from common secular things and wholly committed to God and His service. Simply put, you must let God have the preeminence in all areas of your life holding nothing back from Him.
When you truly love the Lord your God as you ought to you will be highly motivated to practice holiness. You will desire to keep His commandments and to seek and follow His purpose and plan for your life. His commands, the principles, precepts, and the standards of His Word, of the Christian life, will not be a bothersome or weighty burden. They will be your delight for you will delight to please Him, follow Him, and be like Him.
Loving Him like this is knowing Him better every day. It is not having more knowledge of Him; it is having a personal relationship with Him and knowing Him on a more personal level every day. It is to walk in His love.
There are some who hunger and thirst to know more for the purpose of disputing rather than practicing. 2 Tim 3:7-8 says, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” There are also Bible knowledge and research buffs who do not want to put into practice what they learn, they try to learn simply to know. They are more interested in the dish than the meat.
When you truly love the Lord and you want to have a daily walk and fellowship, and you desire to be with and be around Him, you will hunger and thirst for this every day. The promise of God is that when you do you will be filled. You will not be lacking in your desire to know Him, to love Him, to be like Him, and to please Him for He will come to you and be close to you. When you seek Him He will be found. When you draw closer to Him He will draw closer to you. This is the promise of God. - Preacher
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
This is not legalism; it is the principle of sowing and reaping. You will reap what you sow, the same kind as you sow, in a different season than you sow, more than you sow, and in proportion to what you sow. “Merciful” is active compassion. It is the attitude that does not seek vengeance but is willing to return good for evil. Justice says you get what you deserve. Mercy says you do not get what you deserve. And grace is getting the good that you do not deserve.
Now there are two types of mercy. Unconditional mercy which is what we all receive at salvation. You did not receive salvation based upon your merit. It is what you do not deserve; none of us do. We all come into this world as hell-deserving, hell-bound sinners. But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, saved us in His mercy towards us. Continued mercy is what we receive throughout our life based upon our mercifulness towards others. As we sow mercy we will obtain, or reap, more mercy.
David was merciful towards King Saul when he was consistently jealous and seeking to kill David. David could have killed the King but did not; nor did he allow any of his men to harm him. Christ was merciful on the Cross when He cried out to God to forgive those who had so cruelly mistreated Him and crucified Him. Stephen is the prime example of Christlikeness in returning good for evil. As he was being stoned to death he asked God to not lay their sin of stoning him to their account.
When you received Christ, God showed you mercy. The fact is that God forgives and forgets what has been forgiven. Once it is forgiven He will never remember it again. The problem many have is not with God’s mercy and forgiveness, it is with our feelings. God forgets but we do not. We sometimes do not “feel” forgiven. This is a false guilt and becomes an attitude of defeatism. It is staying down rather than getting up, brushing off, and forging ahead. Proverbs 24:16 tells us, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: ...” When you fail you should repent and confess it to God. When you do He has promised to forgive and cleanse. He forgets about it and gives you a clean slate.
You should continue moving forward for the cause of Christ in the will of God as if it did not happen. To stay in the dirt is to remain defeated. To remain defeated and to carry this false guilt of what God has forgiven and that dishonors Him; it is mistrust of His Word. God did not save you to remain defeated. God’s purpose is for you to continue gaining ground, to continue growing spiritually stronger, to learn from your mistakes so that you can help others avoid them, to honor Him by getting up every time you fall, and glorify Him.
To have victory over this false guilt you must replace your failure with forgiveness. Then you must replace the frustration of having fallen with forgetting. You need to intentionally try to forget and walk away from the guilt. You must leave those things behind that hinder you and reach forth unto those things which are ahead. Set your affections above and daily renew your mind with the Word of God, presenting yourself to Him body, spirit, and soul. Replace your fear with faith and step out in total dependence upon what God has said in His Word. The more you do the more you faith will increase.
When you have victory over your failures you will be able to show mercy to others. You are taking what you have experienced with God’s mercy and forgiveness and passing it on. When you do this you will obtain mercy at the throne of grace and you will find others will be more merciful to you as well. Go out today and plant the love of God in mercy and truth and you will reap a harvest of the same. It will come back to you in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. - Preacher
Your Committal Releases the Power
James 5:17-18 Elias [Elijah]was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly [in faith expecting] that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
Elijah raised the dead child, the son of the widow (1 Kgs 17). Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite & the dead man who was buried in his sepulcher long after Elisha had died and was buried (2 Kgs 4 & 13). Jesus raised the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue right after she had died. He raised the widow of Nain’s son as they were going to bury him. And He raised Lazarus four days after he had died. But He also raised Himself which no mortal man could ever do.
The power to raise the dead is God’s. We credit men with doing what God has done too often. Those who separate from the world and worldliness are those who have the power with God to do things such as Elijah and Elisha were able to do. It comes from a faith that separates us from walking with the world and walking with God. Elijah and Elisha were people just like you and I. But they had committed themselves wholly to the Lord.
It is possible to commit yourself to the Lord without living the life of a monk. You can still keep your job, your family, your home, and all that God has so graciously allowed you to acquire in life and still give of yourself completely, totally, wholly over to following the Lord.
John 17 is the Lord’s Prayer. He prayed that prayer in the garden on the night He was betrayed and arrested. In that prayer there are four things that stand out. First He said that we are taken out of the world. This is our salvation. When you were saved you were taken out of the world and given to Christ. You have been adopted into the family of God and thus you should give yourself to living like a child of God.
The second thing that Christ said in that prayer is that we are still in the world. You are saved and you are a child of God but your residence is still in this world. You live here amongst all the darkness and the wickedness of a sin cursed world. This is our situation.
The third thing that He said was that we are not of the world. You are a child of God and a joint heir with Christ, you still reside in the world among its inhabitants, but you are not a part of this world. Your home is in Heaven. You are just traveling through this world on your way to your eternal home in Heaven. You should never be comfortable in the darkness that we have to live in. This is our separation. When you separate from something, you separate unto something. We separate from the world and separate unto Christ.
The fourth thing that Christ said in that prayer was that we are sent into the world. This is our service. You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. You are to preserve the Christian way of life through your participation in the church; encouraging, edifying, and enriching one another in the love of God. Then you are to reach the lost and dying world with the Gospel by letting your light shine, the light of Christ within you. You do that by sharing your testimony with lost people and convincing them to come to Christ before it is eternally too late. You are to shine and share as you walk in this dark world of sin.
Now Christ is in Heaven and you are in the world. But you are not alone. He has given you His Spirit to seal you for eternity and to lead you through your life. This is our stand. In His prayer on that night He prayed for you (vs. 20-21). That prayer still has power as it has crossed the centuries. Today He is in Heaven making intercession for you so that you may have the power of Elijah and Elisha to live victoriously and so that you might do great and mighty things such as you could hardly imagine.
We may have to walk in this world but we do not have to walk with this world. Live by faith, call unto Him, commit your all to Him and let Him do great things in you and mighty things through you. - Preacher
Turning From Truth
2 Timothy 4:3, 4 ~ “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
Let us start by defining a couple of words. Apostasy is an abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one's faith or religion. Heresy is a fundamental error in religion, or an error of opinion respecting some fundamental doctrine of religion. Heresy, in law, is an offense against Christianity, consisting in a denial of some of its essential doctrines, publicly avowed and obstinately maintained. Heresy leads to apostasy.
When we have an error being taught in the church it is only a matter of time before the devil will be able to pull people into apostasy. My firm belief is that America, and particularly Baptist churches, have become heretical in their teachings and have caused a great many churches to fall by the wayside and become apostate. (Please understand that I am not bashing by calling people out by name. We are just pointing out truth so that others may see the truth and escape the corruption of heresy and apostasy.)
The Southern Baptists wonder why they do not have the number of conversions and baptisms that they once had. But the SBC seminaries have become Calvinistic in their teachings and their doctrine. Calvanism at its very core is anti-evangelical and therefore anti-Christ and anti-missionary. Our Lord Jesus taught confrontational evangelism; He went out into places where the sinners were at and confronted them in love with the Gospel. Paul carried the Gospel into Asia and Europe where it eventually went into Germany and then crossed the Atlantic Ocean into America. But Calvanism teaches that there is no need to go because people are predestined by God to go to Heaven or hell and we cannot do anything about it.
This apostate stand started with heresy. They taught that Old Testament stories were not literal stories and that there was no need to take them as literal. They teach that God did not part the Red Sea; they simply went around the end of the sea where the water was only three or four inches deep. Even if that were true it would still be a great miracle because God drowned one of the greatest armies in that day in four inches of water! Their departure continued when they began to teach that Jesus was not the Son of God in the flesh until He was anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism in the Jordan River. Here we see that heresy, which is erroneous doctrine and departure from the truth, leads to apostasy, a departure from the fundamental doctrines of the faith.
There are those who call themselves “Red Letter Baptists” because all they follow are the words of Christ in red. The problem with that erroneous doctrine is that most of what Christ taught was of the law before His work on the Cross. Though they claim to follow those words of Christ in red, the truth is that they do not because they cannot. I have found it to be a deflection to keep someone from telling them the truth of God’s plan of redemption. They are comfortable living in their sinful life and reject the truth of God’s Word.
Many will pick and choose what they want from the Bible and discard the rest with the day’s garbage. They take what makes them feel good in their sinful lifestyle and reject whatever condemns, offends, and convicts. These are those who will not teach or preach on hell, the blood, the Cross, or real sin. They just want to be “positive and upbeat” and feel good about the sinfulness they indulge in.This is why it is imperative that we teach the whole counsel of the whole Word of God. May God have mercy and deal with them to draw them to real repentance and true faith in Christ.
Stand on the Word and the doctrines of the faith. Stand in the whole armor of God. Stand in the truth even when it hurts by conviction. Stand and you shall not fall. Stand and God will prosper you. - Preacher
Choose You This Day
Joshua 24:15 ~ And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve;
Can it be evil to serve the Lord? Some think it evil because they have to decide to give up some things. To these people the commandments of the Lord are a burden. It is weariness for them to keep the Word of God. They have no pleasure or joy in staying true to His commands.
Those things which seem to be harmless are those things with which they will compromise. The attitude that everyone else is doing it is the wrong attitude. We would do better to know for sure what the Word of God says on everything. If there is something that is questionable then you must find the right answer.
Here are some rules for questionable things:
Will it glorify God? 1 Corinthians 10:31
Can it be done in Jesus’ name? Colossians 3:17
Can it be done for the Lord? Colossians 3:23
What is its appearance? 1 Thessalonians 5:22
Would it hinder another Christian? Rom. 14:21
Does it involve being around the wrong people? 2 Corinthians 6:14
Is it what I want to reap in my children? Galatians 6:7
Am I willing to face it in the judgment? 2 Corinthians 5:10
We must remember that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23
Also remember that when we know to do good and we do it not, that also is sin. James 4:17
Christians must make decisions in their lives that will cause them to stand against and be separated from some things. You will find yourself standing against evil and separated from sinfulness. To choose to follow the Lord is the only way that you can be a conqueror. When you choose to serve the Lord by giving Him your life you will find joy and peace of mind. You will win more battles against the flesh, the world, and the devil. You will win in life and you will win in eternity. You cannot lose by choosing the Lord’s side.
Trusting Christ for salvation is not the end of making choices and decisions. Salvation is just the beginning of the journey and there are many choices and decisions that must be made. Will I yield or will I not yield to God’s will for my personal life? Will I take up my cross daily? Will I be a living sacrifice? Will I love my fellowman, even those who are my enemies? Will I be submissive and filled with the Holy Spirit? Will I subject my life to the commands and the principles of the Word of God? Will I fight the good fight of faith? Will I finish my course in this life with honor and glory for the Lord? Will I contend for the faith or will I compromise?
The answers to all of these questions are determined by how you live each day of your life. You must daily determine to take up your cross. You must daily present yourself to be a living sacrifice. You must daily yield to the Holy Spirit to be filled and be used of God. You must determine daily that you will fight the good fight of faith. You must be obedient to the Word of God every day of your life. It is a daily work on your part for you must choose you this day who you will serve. Get up every day and be a Joshua and choose to serve the Lord.
There are going to be days that you will not feel like you are saved. You will not feel like you can or should serve the Lord. But you must not allow your feelings to control your actions. Dr. Curtis Hutson used to quote this portion of a poem: “For feelings come, and feelings go; and feelings are deceiving. My warrant is the Word of God, naught else is worth believing.” On days when you do not feel up to the task you must stand upon the authority of God’s word.
If you do these things you will finish your course with honor for the glory of the Lord. You will be fully equipped to contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints. Therefore, "choose you this day whom you will serve." - Preacher
The Growth of Apostasy
Jeremiah 5:30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
There are apostate leaders who are leading their churches down a wrong path. They want numbers, dollars, fortune, and fame, and they believe the only way they can have it is to go along with what the world is doing. NOTE: Anytime you do something to keep up with the world‘s way of doing things, you are going along with the devil himself who has blinded the minds of the lost world! God has said of these leaders, “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof” (Jer. 5:30, 31)? That word “wonderful” means “amazement or horror that confounds the faculties” and the word “horrible” means “something fearful.” God is saying that an “amazing horror that confounds the faculties and a fearful thing is committed in the land.”
That is exactly what is happening in churches all across America as the preachers become “teaching pastors”. They teach fables and speak smooth things that will not convict people in their lust for worldliness. Once they get on the path of heretical and erroneous teaching it leads to “preaching” a false doctrine. This, in turn, allows the world into the church and allows the church to dabble in the world without any condemnation or conviction of sin.
But the most amazing thing is the statement in verse 31, “and my people love to have it so.” The people are the ones who choose their leaders and “heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And … turn away their ears from the truth.” They love to have their ears scratched and tickled with things that are pleasing and agreeable to carnal minds. They want to hear things that will tell them they are "pure" in their human nature with the power of free will and that they are "justified" in their righteousness and their good works (this is religion, not salvation and sanctification by grace).
Jesus taught in Matthew 13:33: “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Many believe that this is referring to the effect of the Gospel in the world. But if you take the whole counsel of the whole Word of God you will find that this is referring to the corrupt doctrine that is brought into the church through heresy and apostasy. First, you must consider that the meal is a representation of the church as it is a homogenized mix of meal, or fine flour, made from the corn of wheat from which Christ is compared in John 12:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
Secondly, you must understand that everywhere in the Bible leaven is used in a bad sense and represents sin, immorality, malice, wickedness, or false doctrine such as that of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Thirdly, a woman, in a bad ethical sense, always symbolizes in religion that something is out of place. In Revelation 2:20 it was a woman teaching in the church: “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”
When the leaven of heresy & apostasy enters the church it will grow until it ruins all that is good. It will continue to spread and invade until the whole is leavened. We must keep the leaven out of the church. To do this you must determine to be committed to the Lord and the preservation of His church. You must be sure that you are following truth in your daily life. You must rise every day and choose to be on the Lord’s side. - Preacher
The Deception of Apostasy
1 Timothy 4:1 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;
The Holy Spirit is warning that in the last days there will be a departure from the faith (our doctrinal beliefs). The word translated as “depart” (afisthmi aphistemi) comes from the root word for apostasy. Notice also that apostasy emanates from “seducing spirits” and the devil himself. The word translated as seducing (planov planos) literally means “deceiving.” we know that the devil is the author of deception.
In all truthfulness we have been in the last days since Christ returned to Heaven. That is the reason that Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has written to warn Pastor Timothy. The express speaking of the Holy Spirit is direct revelation made by Him to Paul. The greater truth presented is the warning of looming apostasy—the departure from the truth. Indeed, it has come to fruition.
It is my observation that the heretical departures from the faith really gained ground with the changing of the Word of God. When in the 1870’s men began to determine that there were many and grievous errors in the Authorized King James Bible the devil deceived them into revising and rewriting God’s Holy Word. At that point in time many of the great revivals began to cease and are now non-existent. The manuscripts they used were corrupt and tainted. The men who secretly had a hand in providing portions of manuscripts were corrupt, and from all of their writings there are not found one single profession of faith in Christ as their Lord and Saviour. There are a great many evidences in their writings of darkness and corruption in their minds as to spiritual beliefs, and some that are absolutely ungodly.
In II Timothy 4:3, 4 we are warned that these things will come to pass. There are those who are turning away from true Bible preaching today. They were once sound in doctrine but now they want the best of the world and the best of Christianity. They want to hear things that do not condemn and convict them for indulging in the things of the world. They have become rebellious in the eyes of God: “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isa. 30:9, 10).
Many think that they are right with God. They believe with the mind - intellectual knowledge - but have never truly believed with the heart. That is not salvation for there is no conversion. They have profession but no possession. If they have not the Spirit of Christ they are none of His. I fear that many have been deceived and convinced that if they just have an intellectual belief then they are right with God. They have no repentance and therefore continue in their sin and condemnation. There is no true salvation experience when there is a change of heart. If they die in this condition they are going straight to hell.
May God have mercy on us today and send a mighty revival that will draw His people back to Him. I pray that a revival will come and open the blinded eyes of the multitudes who have been deceived into thinking that they are right with God. May they see the need for repentance and true conversion of the Holy Spirit. Repentance takes place when belief goes from intellectual knowledge to belief of the heart. In that moment a person finds true repentance that will turn them from their false belief system – easy believism, feelings-based beliefs, works-based beliefs, feel good beliefs, etc. – to a faith based belief of the heart and turn to Christ for true salvation. True repentance is a change of heart that will change your direction.
You can have a part in this spiritual war that we are in today. Choose today to wholly follow the LORD your God by determining in your heart to stay the course, to stay rooted and grounded in sound Bible doctrine, to stay in a good Bible –believing, -teaching, -preaching, and –practicing church, to earnestly stand for and defend our Bible doctrines, and to earnestly pray for revival in your heart, in your church, in your community and town, and in our nation. - Preacher
Praying Intentionally Pt 2
The Psalmist said in 55:16, 17, “As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.” A life of intentional prayer works because it is a life that has fellowship with God. Fellowship with God is a necessity. Fellowship is having the ability to talk to God at any moment about anything and everything. It is having a close communion and association with the Creator of the universe. It is a togetherness that allows you to call upon Him as your personal Father because we “… have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6).
It is a closeness that goes beyond that of any earthly relationship. It is an intimacy that gives us a greater affection, assurance, and confidence than any other that exists. It is closeness to the Almighty. A life of intentional prayer works because it gives us all the benefits of knowing God on a personal level that can exceed all human relationships.
A life of intentional prayer that works is based upon our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. It is based upon the fact that we serve a risen Saviour, the only begotten Son of the Living God. It is based upon the fact that our prayers will be heard and answered because it is the Father’s will and good pleasure to hear and answer the prayers of His children. It is based upon our confidence that our Father will do what He says He will do. It is based upon His Word that He is “… a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” A life of intentional prayer is a life that works because it is a life that walks with God daily.
A life of intentional prayer that works is a life that realizes that everything that we do must be bathed in prayer. Anything that is worth doing for the Lord and for others should be done through prayer. Dr. David Gibbs said that, “Prayer is the greatest power in the universe.” Elijah changed the weather patterns of the earth for three and one half years through prayer. So everything that we do must be done through prayer. Prayer gets a hold of the heart of God and moves Him to action on the behalf of others and ourselves. Prayer is power, and we should pray for the power of God. Without His help and His power all that we do is in vain. We cannot do anything in and of ourselves. It is only through prayer that we can accomplish any good in our life. Intentional prayer works. – Preacher
Stand With Honor
Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
In all three temptations that the devil came against Christ with, He quoted the Word of God. When you are tempted, tried, troubled, or in tribulation you need to know the Word so that you may stand against the devil. It is your only offensive weapon in the arsenal that God provides for you in His armor. Therefore you need to know more of the Word so that you may use and respond with more of the Word. You need His Word to be able to stand with Christian dignity and honor in defense of your faith.
God’s Word is your spiritual nourishment. If you eat two to four times a day to keep up the health of your body, then it makes sense that you need a daily regimen of the Bread of Life to keep up your spiritual health. When the body needs nutrition you get hunger pains. But when the soul needs nutrition, is there a longing for, a hunger for the Word? Get into the Word and allow the Word to get into you. Read It, heed It, hide It in your heart, and meditate on It at all throughout your day.
This is a part of the worship life. If you are going to truly worship God then it is imperative that you spend time listening to what He has to say. Without His Word what would you know about Him? How would you know about His love, His mercy, His forgiveness, and the riches of His Grace if it were not for His Word? It is a love letter to you and if you truly want to worship Him, shut out the world and listen to your Father as He speaks to you through His precious Book.
When His Word is in you It will speak to you and for you in times of need. The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance what you need when you need it. But if you have not put in the time to read It then you do not have your arsenal properly stored up and ready.
To study God’s Word is to hone and sharpen your Swordsmanship. You cannot properly use your weapon if you are not familiar with it. This too is a part of your worship; to be ready to stand and contend for the faith honorably for Him who loved you and gave Himself for you.
Choose you this day whom you will serve, Choose you this day to get into the Word and allow the Word to get into you. Let it transform you so that you will be the person that God desires for you to be. Let IT be your very thoughts and meditation at all times so that when temptations, trials, troubles, or tribulations come you will respond just as Christ did; with Christian dignity and honor. - Preacher
Jesus Is Enough Pt 1
Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
God spoke to mankind in the Old Testament times through the prophets. Under the New Testament Covenant He has spoken unto mankind through His Son, Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour. He has received all power and all authority and has been made the heir of all things.
Christ was in the beginning with the Father when all was created and brought into existence. He was there when the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, when God spoke and brought forth the light of His presence upon and fledgling planet that was just coming together. God the Father and God the Son worked in unison as One and they spoke all that exists into being. They gave life to our universe and They gave life upon this planet. All that we can see, all that can be discovered came from the Creator of all things.
Scientific theories morph and change with every new generation that comes along. Every succeeding generation has to make some new and bigger discovery that refutes the former generation’s theories. But the Word of God never changes. It is easier to believe the Bible than to believe the scientific theories of today because the Bible is constant and has been proven truthful through both historical and archeological discoveries.
The plain truth of the matter is that God spoke the very worlds into existence. The Lord Jesus was there in the beginning and everything that was made was made by Him and for Him. He is the Lord of Glory. He is the physical personification of all that God truly is. All that was made is kept in check by His infinite power and wisdom. He will redeem this fallen Creation and everything will be made right in the end.
He is working right now to redeem fallen man which is the pinnacle of His Creation. Mankind, you, were made in the image and likeness of God. But through Adam’s fall we are all condemned by sin to an eternal demise. But Christ chose in the beginning, knowing that man and free will would ultimately fail under the temptation of sin and fleshly pleasure, to be the One to redeem Creation. He chose to become one of His creatures and be the ultimate sacrifice once for all people, once for all time, and once for all sin.
Though He died on that old rugged cross He arose again three days later and ascended forty days later back into Heaven. There He sits on the right hand of God to make intercession for you on your behalf. He interceded to bring you the Gospel so that you might repent and be saved from an eternal demise. But there is more to it than that. He saved you to have a personal relationship with you.
Your life should revolve around the fact that the Creator of all desires to have fellowship with you every day of your life. He is there for your every struggle, trouble, trial, temptation, and tribulation that you may experience. He is there to comfort, console, strengthen, advise, guide, direct, and walk with you through every good and every bad moment in your life. He is enough!
He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, God in the flesh, come down to save you and redeem you back to Himself. He loves you and desires to talk to you and with you. Look to Him, walk with Him, and talk with Him today for Jesus is enough. - Preacher
Jesus Is Enough Pt 2
Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, …
God spoke by the prophets to the saints of old. Those same prophets still speak to us today in the Bible. The prophecies that have been fulfilled prove the validity of the Bible. They prove that the unfulfilled prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled will happen just as they are written.
Dr. Henry Morris wrote, “The Bible is the very Word of the living God. Its histories are authentic, its science is accurate and far in advance of its times, its practical wisdom for daily living is unexcelled, and its insights into the human heart are profoundly perfect for every need.”
God spoke through these men then and now. But Christ Jesus out speaks the prophets. He is the One who is the Word made flesh. He is the One who fulfilled all the law and the prophets. He is the One who has the words of life. He is the One who is deity that became human. He is the One who is the perfect mediator between God and man because He is wholly God and yet He is wholly man. He is the greatest of all prophets because He is the sum of all that they wrote and spoke.
Christ Jesus outranks the angels. He stepped down and was made a little lower than the angels who have great power, and yet He is higher than any angel could ever imagine being. He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than any of the angels. He has the seat at the right hand of Majesty on High. He has the very ear of God, the eye of God, and the very heart of God for He is God. In infancy He frightened a king, in childhood He confounded the scholars, in manhood He ruled nature, in death He conquered sin, and in resurrection He conquered death.
Christ Jesus will outlast the universe. The universe speaks and cries out of the intelligence of God’s design. Everywhere you look you can see the fingerprint of God. Everywhere you look you can see the light of creation. Everywhere you look you can see the testimony of the One who created all things. Christ was there creating all that can be seen and all that cannot be seen. All of creation was created by him and all was created for His glory. He is the Rock of geology, the Star of astronomy, the Lamb of zoology, the Lord of history, and the God of eternity.
Christ Jesus is our all in all for He is all we need. Christ Jesus is enough because He is all you will ever need. He is eternal and the heir of all things. Praise God we are heirs with Him of all of eternity. He became everything that you are so that you could become everything that He is. He is worthy of all recognition, acceptance, worship, praise, and adoration. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, and the things of this old world will grow strangely dim, by the light of His glory and grace. - Preacher
Where Your Treasure Is
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The one place that you feel most comfortable is in your own home. It is a place of love, comfort, joy, rest, relaxation, and a place of refuge. That is what the Lord Jesus tells us about Heaven. You should seek to lay up treasures there just as you would seek to lay up treasures in your earthly home. In fact, you are to set your affections on that place over and above your earthly home. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
You lay up treasure in Heaven by being a good steward of what the Lord has given you. For some it may be a talent to be used in the church. It may be singing, teaching, encouraging, comforting, counseling, or whatever the Lord has blessed you to do. For some it may be a talent to do a job that pays great money for the prospect of supporting the work and the outreach programs within the church. God gives the power to some to gain wealth for the purpose of using their wealth to support, supply, and sustain the work of the Lord in the local church. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
You lay up treasure in Heaven by being a good, obedient, and faithful servant. That means that whatever the Lord tells you to do in His Word you do it wholeheartedly. You are to love all people; brethren, unbelievers, enemies, etc. Your love is proof of your profession. You are to be faithful without slack in attending all church services and functions. It also means that you refrain from those things that the Bible says to stay away from; things such as the sins of the flesh. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
You lay up treasure in Heaven by reaching out to others. Every believer ought to be involved in soul winning. In fulfilling the Commission given by the Lord Jesus we are to go and teach the Gospel to a lost and dying world. We are to teach them the love, mercy, and grace of God in sending His Son to die for our sin. We are to teach them repentance in turning from their own way to trust Christ’s finished work in His death, burial, and resurrection. We are to reach out to all in love holding forth the Word of life. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Reaching out to others also involves visitation. We are to visit the orphans, the widows, the sick and shut-ins, and the imprisoned. We are to go to them for they cannot come and meet with us in the services. If they cannot come to church then we should take the church to them. In the first century they went from house to house holding church wherever they could gather up a few hungry souls. Are you helping your pastor in soul winning and visitation? “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Jesus asked the disciples, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not those the things which I say?” Laying up treasures in Heaven is like building a house. You must build upon a good and solid foundation. That foundation is Christ Jesus our Lord and the doctines of His Gospel. When trials, troubles, temptations, or tribulations come then it will stand because it is built upon the Solid Rock. But if you do not the things which you are told then you are like the foolish person who built upon their own foundation of sand. When the storms beat against that house it fell, and GREAT was the fall of it. Where is your treasure? Is it in the world or in Heaven? - Preacher
On Praying Ground Pt 1
I John 5:14, 15 ~ And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
We must learn to pray in accordance with the will of God. This is praying with a clear understanding of what and what not to ask for. When we do we know that He will hear us and we know that He will give us the petitions and the requests that we have made to Him.
It is God’s will that you come to Him in faith, with a humble heart, submitting to Him while resisting the world, the flesh, and the devil. You must come to Him, preferring Him and His will in all situations and circumstances, walking daily closer to Him, having no unconfessed sins, having your heart clean and pure before Him, with no malice nor envy towards anyone, having full assurance of faith in the thing that you are asking for.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us that, “… without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Believing that He is and that He hears and answers prayer is the beginning to a successful prayer life. When you were saved you put this principle to work in your life. You were praying according to what God said in His Word. Now that you are on your Christian journey in life you need to keep this principle at work every day. when you pray according to what God has said in HIis Word is praying in the will of God.
But praying in the will of God is not so much always knowing what God desires to do in the thing we are praying for; it has much to do with having our will aligned with His will and desires. It is praying in faith that God hears and answers the prayers of His children. It is praying with an open and submissive heart that will accept whatever God chooses to do because He will always do the right thing. When you pray openly like this you are in essence praying in the will of God. Seek God’s will in your prayer life and you will see answered prayers increase on your journey. - Preacher
On Praying Ground Pt 2
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.
If you are to be on praying ground with God then you can have no unconfessed sin in your life. If there is something in your life that you know is sin, you must cut ties with it so that God will hear your prayer. God has made it very clear that sin will hinder His hearing of your prayers. In Jeremiah 5:25 He says, “Your iniquities have turned away these things (God’s daily provisional blessings), and your sins have withholden good things from you.” Sin hinders your prayers from being heard and from being answered.
God has made a provision in His Word for us so that we can have our iniquities forgiven and cleansed. But you must be willing to admit sin when it is brought to your attention and repent of it. Repentance is a change of heart that will change your direction. If you truly love the Lord you will regret having sinned against Him. You will have sorrow, not because He knows, but because of the grief that it causes Him.
To repent of sin is to turn away from it and turn unto godliness (right thinking), righteousness (right living), and holiness (separating unto God). It is to leave the sin for the life of blessing that God wants to give to you. In I John 1:9 God tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” To confess your sin is to agree with the Lord that it is sin. He already knows about your sin and He knows why you sinned.
When you confess the sin you must forsake the sin. If it is sin and you confess it with no intention of forsaking it, then that is not true repentance. That is not a heart that is truly humble and broken over sin. Why would He forgive us, and how can He cleanse us from the defilement it causes, if we intend to keep on doing the same thing? He cannot! If you are to be on praying ground then you must confess and forsake everything that God says is sin in your life.
Are you going to make mistakes and commit sin? Yes you are. Are you going to fail and mistakenly omit some things that you are supposed to do? Yes you are. That is why we can come before the throne of grace and confess these things so that we might find forgiveness and cleansing. It is not a license to continue to make mistakes and fail. It is the ground upon which we can walk closer to Him every day, knowing His will, and having our prayers heard and answered. That is staying on praying ground. It is the love, mercy, and grace of God to offer hope, forgiveness, and cleansing. To continue in gross sin will grieve His Spirit and cause Him to turn a deaf ear to your prayers.
Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” When you come before God in prayer, take time to think and purge, through confession, any unconfessed sins you may have. That is obtaining mercy which puts you in the will of God. That puts you on praying ground. All of this comes through the power of the blood on the altar in Heaven. There is no reason for you to not have your prayers heard and answered. God does everything in His power to make it possible for us to come to Him and receive His best when we need it. When you are on praying ground He will hear and answer your prayers. – Preacher
Praying With Partners
Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
It is good to pray in conjunction with others. Find a prayer partner whom you can pray with and you will find that your prayer life will become a life of its own; it will take on new meaning and have great power.
When I was in training for the ministry I had a prayer partner for a time. He and I would meet at the church almost every night and pray over anything and everything. We found that God heard and mightily answered prayers. There were times when we would pray for someone who was sick and they would be healed. I noticed that if we missed praying for someone who was sick that they did not get better. So when you know you are in the will of God, and you pray with someone who is in agreement with you about the will of God, Jesus says great and mighty things can be done.
Remember, anything is possible with God for nothing is impossible for the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, all-sufficient Creator of the world. Find someone with whom you would feel comfortable sharing your shortcomings with. I say this because when you pray and you confess your faults to Christ they will hear your confessions. Find that person you are comfortable with and go to work in a time of praying together.
Let me make a note here: I keep referring to knowing the will of God in prayer, and we should know the will of God in prayer. But the more time we spend in prayer the more our personal “wills” and “wants” will align with the will of God. If you do not know the will of God in a situation then pray humbly and earnestly for God’s will to be done. You can pray not knowing God’s will and have your heart ready to accept His will in whatever answer He gives. Just pray with a sincere and a humble heart in these situations putting personal feelings and wants aside so that you are not looking to consume it upon your lusts (trying to pray for what you personally want).
One example here is that when I pray for someone who is very sick and I do not know if God will heal them, I can pray earnestly for God to heal them in such a way that HE receives the credit and the glory He deserves. I would want God to do it so that others may come to know Him and be saved and that those who are saved may be strengthened and encouraged. But whatever He does, we make sure that He receives the praise for allowing us to come and make our requests known to Him.
If they are saved, God may give the physical healing requested. But He may choose to take them home to be with Him where they will receive eternal healing. So either way we can and must praise God for His goodness. If they are not saved we should earnestly pray for the mercies of God to save their eternal soul before it is too late.
Having a prayer partner does not mean that you always have to be together to pray. You can set a time when the two of you can pray at the same time for the same things. You can have more than one prayer partner. Two or three praying at the same time for the same thing in different locations will accomplish great things, and all for the glory of God.
A prayer partner will keep you accountable in prayer. A prayer partner will encourage and enrich your life. Find someone to pray with daily, whether it is a spouse or a friend, pray together earnestly in the power and the will of God and you will see great and mighty things that you can only imagine. - Preacher
Praying With Gratitude
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
We are to pray with others and we are to pray with thanksgiving. God says, “In every thing give thanks:” In every circumstance and in every situation, whether good or bad, give thanks. And then He tells us in Ephesians 5:18 & 19 that we are to be filled with the Spirit and in verse 20 He says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When we walk close to the Lord we will find that we can thank Him for the good and for the bad. You may say that you could never do that, but what you need to understand is that God told us in Romans 8:28, “… that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” All things good and bad work together for our good when we love God and we are living according to His purpose for our life.
When my wife makes homemade biscuits she mixes flour, lard, milk, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. How many of these ingredients would you consider to be tasty by themselves? Lard? Flour? Baking powder? Baking soda? You would probably say none of these would ever taste good alone. But mixed together in a homogenized mix with some milk or buttermilk, some butter, and a pinch of salt, and put into the fire for a short time, you will have the best homemade biscuits this side of Heaven. The good and the bad go together in a mix, then they go through the fire, and they come out as something that is good for the taste buds.
God allows the good and the bad to come and lets us go through a little fire of testing to build and mold us into vessels with a Christian character that will withstand the attacks of the world and of Satan. So we must give Him thanks for the good and the bad. The bad times in my life have drawn me closer to God. They have made me stronger than I was before them (Php. 4:13). I can now thank Him for those rough, fiery trials that I have gone through in my life. I can do so because the good times and the bad times have worked together to make me a better Christian for the Lord and for others to whom I am a minister.
But we are to be thankful in the bad times. That means when things are at their worst I can thank God. How? By looking at the eternal and comparing it with the temporal trials and troubles. The eternal benefits far outweigh the temporal problems. When you think in the eternal realm, keeping you affections set on things above where Christ sits on the right hand of God you can be grateful, even in the troublesome times. You are saved forever. You will live and exist in Heaven forever. You will never be condemned to an eternal hell ever again. One day all of your problems will come to pass away. Praise and thank God for all of these wondrous benefits. Pray always with thanksgiving in and for all things. - Preacher
Praying Intentionally Pt 1
Mark 1:35 ~ And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
You need to set a time every day when you will go to the Lord in intentional prayer. If you do not set a time for prayer you will more than likely not pray. Now we can pray all the day through. Prayer is not a certain posture or place; it is communication with the Lord. You do not have to be kneeling at an altar to pray.
You can pray driving down the road just the same as you can talk with someone who is riding in the car with you. You can pray while you are walking around. You should have a time every day when you find the time to intentionally kneel before your Father in Heaven. It is a time of humble respect for Who He is. He is your Father and He delights to hear you communicate with Him. Now if it is physically impossible for you to kneel, you can kneel in your heart before the Lord. He is looking at your heart, not your posture. Just set aside a special time every day to get alone with God.
In Mark 1:35 we find the Lord Jesus setting the perfect example for us to follow. I have for over two decades now used this as the pattern for my personal prayer time with the Lord every day. Sunday through Saturday I get up early in the morning and spend time with the Lord in Bible reading and prayer. You will benefit from this by drawing yourself closer to God. He promised that if you would get closer to Him He would draw closer to you.
In this verse we find four things that we as Christians need to incorporate into our personal prayer time with the Lord. Our personal prayer time requires prioritizing. Putting God first in every day puts God first in every way. It requires discipline to get up a little earlier than normal so that you might have that time with the Lord. Even when I have to be at work at 5 or 6 am I get up early enough to have my personal time with the Lord. It requires isolation. That is another good thing about doing it so early every day; I am usually the only one up at that time. It requires time because the Lord desires to have personal one-on-one time with you in your relationship with Him. Prioritize, discipline yourself, get alone, and spend time with Him every day. You will be amazed at what He will do in you, for you, and through you. - Preacher
Study To Shew Thyself Approved Pt 3
2 Timothy 2:15 ~ Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Revelation and inspiration brings us to preservation. God breathed His Word into men so that we could hold a copy of that finished work in our hands today. God preserved His Word just the way He wanted it to be in the predominate language of the earth. If it were full of errors then we cannot say that we have a sure Word from God. If we do not have a sure Word from God then we cannot trust Him. If He is not powerful enough to preserve His Word to us without error, then we have no God to serve. If He is not powerful enough to preserve it without error, how could He be the same one who spoke the worlds into existence? We cannot trust that He is the one who made all that exists.
But we do have the process of preservation; the revealed, inspired, and written Word. We believe that the inspiration was preserved in the old King’s English. This subject of preservation has been the cause of so much controversy today. Preservation is God’s power to keep His Words untainted and pure down through the centuries. He promised in His Word that He would keep and preserve it forever (Psa. 12:6, 7). I will give you just a brief summary of why I stand where I do with the King James Bible and you can do your own research and make your own decision about it. I have gone back several times and went through the material. The first time I researched out the process of preservation I did it in a public library. Since then I have had the luxury of the internet.
Back to II Peter 1:20, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” The Scriptures have no private interpretation. Some might say that you need to get a newer updated version of the Bible so that you could better understand what you are reading. I will not go into great detail here about which version is the best for there are many books on the subject of the King James Bible. But I have done my own personal research and I know that there is great corruption in the revisions and the versions that have come out since the 1870’s. That is why I have stayed with the King James for the past thirty years. It has been tried and proven for over 400 years. I say all of this because we are to desire the “sincere” milk of the Word. “Sincere” here in the Greek means the non-deceitful, unadulterated Word of God. We need a genuinely pure Word of God which is not what you will find coming from the corrupt manuscripts that were used in the 1870’s revision committee. Every new version on the market today comes from those corrupt manuscripts.
God has said in Malachi 3:6, “…I am the LORD [Jehovah], I change not.” You must have an unaltered Word from God. You don’t need a “more authoritative text”, “an older manuscript”, nor do you need “the best authorities.” When these are referred to they are usually speaking of the Siniaticus and the Vaticanus manuscripts. The Vaticanus was officially catalogued into the Vatican library in 1475 and the Siniaticus was found in trash at St. Catherine’s Monastery by a German scholar by the name of Count Tischendorf in 1844. It is a very sloppy piece of work and is said to have been altered by as many as ten different men. These manuscripts not only differ greatly from the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus, but they also differ from each other over 3000 times in the Gospels alone! These are not the older and more authoritative manuscripts. However, there are others that are in agreement with the King James text that date as far back as the 2nd and the 4th century.
As a Christian our time in this world is short. Therefore we must study God’s Word. Knowing the Bible and being filled with the Spirit are essential for living a victorious life for Christ. How can you contend for the faith if you do not know what God has to say about it? Be patient and try to get into God’s Word every day that you live. You will find precious treasures in the book, but just like mining for precious jewels, you must dig to find them. Again I say, “Get into the Book and let the Book get into you.” - Preacher
The Love of God’s Word
Psalm 119:140 ~ Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them. A seventeenth-century Puritan named William Bridge said that harping on discrepancies shows a very bad heart, adding: “For a godly man, it should be as it was with Moses. When a godly man sees the Bible and secular data apparently at odds, well, he does as Moses did when he saw an Egyptian fighting an Israelite: He kills the Egyptian. He discounts the secular testimony, knowing God's Word to be true. But when he sees an apparent inconsistency between two passages of Scripture, he does as Moses did when he found two Israelites quarreling: he tries to reconcile them. He says, ‘Aha, these are brethren, I must make peace between them.’ And that's what the godly man does.”
The Word of God is Truth. It is inerrant. We are told in Proverbs 30:5, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” If you look at the Bible’s account of history you will find it has been proven by archeology. When archeological discoveries have been used to try to disprove the Bible, it has never been proven true. The prophecies of the Bible that have been fulfilled thus far have proven to be accurate. In fact, they have been so very precisely accurate that we should take note that those which have not been fulfilled yet will come to pass just as predicted! The kings, the leaders, and the peoples of the Bible have been verified.
When you take into account the prophecies of Christ alone you will find some very startling facts. The likelihood that all of those prophecies could be completely fulfilled in one man is phenomenal. Peter Stoner in his book, Science Speaks, says that the probability of one man fulfilling just eight specific prophecies of Christ are 1 in 1017, or 1 in 100 quadrillion. He then goes on to say that if you were to lay 100 quadrillion silver dollars on the face of TX it would cover the entire state two feet deep. If you were to mark one of those, mix them all up, then blindfold someone and tell them to walk across the state and pick up the marked dollar, their chances of doing so would be the same as one man fulfilling those recorded prophecies.
The Word of God is indestructible. Someone said that the Bible may be without error, but it is not without enemies. Consider for a moment those who hate it, who want to eradicate it, and want it removed from society by keeping it out of the public arena. Why do they want to do this? They want to avoid the possibility that the Bible is true. If it is true they are accountable to God, it matters what they do with Christ, and it matters that they live with integrity. To disbelieve and discredit the Word gives them some since of peace because in their mind they can live without fear of judgment or punishment.
Many have tried to destroy the Bible. They have killed those who wanted it translated into English, they have burned it, tried to discredit it, banned it, and have tried to keep it out of the public arena by removing it from the schools, the courthouses, the military, etc. They have failed miserably in their efforts.
I read a story about a man who had recently been saved and was very badly injured in an explosion. His face was disfigured, he lost his eyesight, and he had lost both of his hands. The greatest disappointment he had was that he could no longer read the Bible. He had heard of a lady who could read braille with her lips and he tried this. Unfortunately the nerve endings in his lips were also damaged. However, in trying his tongue touched the raised characters on the page. In just a short time he was able to read completely through the Bible and has done so many times. He had a genuine handicap but He loved God and His Word.
While some are looking for ways to discredit or destroy the Bible we should look for ways to spend more time in it than ever before. Do you love the Bible enough to find a way to read it if you were handicapped as this man was? How much does the Bible mean to you? Be thankful that we can have it in our hands and read it any time that we want to. - Preacher
Closer To God
James 4:8a ~ Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
There is another process which is not a part of the process of how we received the Word of God, but it is a part of the process of how you as an individual receive the Word of God. It is the process of illumination. That is when the Holy Spirit takes something and brings it to your understanding. Just imagine for a moment that when you are reading the Bible and something on the page just jumps out at you. It is almost as if that verse or portion of Scripture is the only thing on that page. It lights up while the rest of the page goes dark. That is illumination. That is when the Scripture becomes God’s Word to you.
When God illuminates Scripture this way He knows that you need it and He is ready for you to receive and understand what it is saying to you personally. It may be something that you need for your personal life right then. It may be something that you are about to need in the very near future. Or it may be something that you are going to need so that you may be able to effectively minister to the needs of another.
The journey of life that God desires for you is that of a disciple of Christ. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines a disciple as “A follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another.” Hence the constant attendants of Christ were called his disciples and all Christians are called His disciples. Christians profess to learn and receive his doctrines and precepts. It is the governing of our self-will and letting it out to the Holy Spirit that He may guide and direct our lives. In other words, my will and wants and desires are given up so that I might live His will, His wants, and His desires. To be like Christ is to say as He said, “Not my will, but Thine, be done”(Lk 24:42).
However, this is easier said than done. There is a part that you have and that is the role of determining and purposing to do other than you would normally. I determined that it was vitally important for my spiritual life to sacrifice sleep to spend time with God every day of my life, including Sundays. I determined that it was vitally important to have this time when I first awoke in the mornings. This framed my thought processes to always put God first; first in every day puts Him first in every way.
For you it may be to take time at the end of the day to read and study your Bible. But when you awake in the morning, try to meditate upon what you were reading and studying the night before. You can do it as you are going through your morning routine getting ready for work, school, or whatever your day may hold. You may have to get up a few minutes early so that you can just look over what you were reading. Just find a time every day that is convenient for your schedule and spend some quiet time with God; just you and Him in the Bible and in prayer.
The more time you give to study, the more you will learn and the more you will grow spiritually. The more you study the more you will become like the Bible. It is not just learning what it has to say, it is to live the life that is contained within its pages. Jesus was the Word made flesh which came down from Heaven and dwelt among men. When you read and study the Bible it will get into the deepest recesses of your heart and you will become the person that God desires for you to be. It is to be conformed to the image of His dear Son. If He was the Word made flesh and we live the life that is contained in the Word, then we are going to become more like Christ. Living the Bible is to be conformed to the image of Christ and be closer to God.
Enoch was a man who walked with God every day of his life. He was close enough to God that one day God just took Enoch home with Him. That is what it is to spend time with God every day. You are walking and talking with Jehovah God. You are taking instruction from the One who made the heavens and the earth. Jehovah is your God and your Saviour, the giver and the sustainer of life. He will instruct you in the things pertaining to life and happiness, reveal your purpose in life, and give you clear direction, but only if you stay close to Him. Draw yourself to Him and experience His best for you daily. - Preacher
Ye Have Not, Because Ye Ask Not
James 4:2b-3 ~ … ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (Read James 4:1-10)
In the life of the believer there is a very great resource through which he can gain his every need. That resource is prayer. Prayer is nothing more than open communication with our Father in Heaven. Whatever we need we know that we can go to Him because He has promised that He would supply our every need. The Father desires to hear our requests and He desires to fulfill our requests. He desires to have communication with us and to bless us every day of our lives. He loves us and He wants to give us His very best. So when you have a need, or even if you do not, just go and talk with God and see what He will do for you. Remember, He wants to give His very best to you.
Those who are trying to gain the world’s goods and to keep up with what everyone else is doing and with what everyone else has, are just fighting and warring for nothing. The material wealth of this world is temporary. It should not be our primary focus. The Christians that James is speaking to are those who are striving to keep up with the world. They do not have all that they are trying to have and they certainly would find no satisfaction in it if they had it all. When a person has it all, the truth is that it is never enough. They do not have what they are trying to obtain because they have not asked God for it. And yet, when they do ask they do not receive because their heart and their motives are all wrong. They want it to feed the lusts of their flesh driven desires. Someone once asked an extremely wealthy man how much was enough. His reply was, “Just a little more.”
They are seeking the life of this world and not the true life of the world to come. They are working their fingers to the bone within their own power to get what they think they need. The will fight, scheme, plan, and war just to get what they want. We need to realize that trying to gain what we want in our own power is futile at best. This world’s goods are only temporary. Whatever problems or troubles you may have in life can be solved through the avenue of prayer. Prayer links our will with the will of God. Prayer will bring to us a power that we otherwise cannot have.
A child was trying the best he could to move a large stone while his father sat nearby watching. The boy strained with every muscle in his body and with all of his might to move the stone with no success. His father asked him if he was using all of his strength. The child said, “I am using all of the strength that I have.” His father informed him that he really was not using all of his strength. The child looked at his father with a puzzled look and the father said, “You have not asked for my help.”
How many times is it true in the life of a Christian? They will give it everything they have but they lack the proper power to be successful. They have not asked for the Father’s help. When you ask God for help, you tap into the greatest power on earth. You can struggle and strain, war and wrestle, and yet have not because you ask not. God wants to move and work in your life if you would only ask Him.
When we fail to go to the Lord with our requests and our petitions we are in sin. We are commanded to pray. We are to “Pray without ceasing,” “…always to pray, and not to faint” (Lk 18:1). We are told, “… in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Php. 4:6). The stronger our prayer life the more accomplished we will be. It does not matter what people think of you in this world nor in this life. It matters only what you are in your prayer closet. A man on his knees stands head and shoulders above everyone else. You are never more powerful and feared by spiritual wickedness than when you are on your knees. Do not be found guilty of forsaking prayer! This includes praying for every aspect of your daily life; spiritual, physical, social relationships, business success, etc. Whatsoever you do, do it all to the glory of God. - Preacher
Ye Receive Not, Because Ye Ask Amiss
James 4:2b-4 ~ … ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (Read James 4:1-10)
In all that we do we are to do it to bring glory to God (I Cor. 10:31). Foolish praying does not even give consideration to God or try to make Him the first priority in prayer. What would we be like if we were given everything that we ever asked for? I believe that God wants what is best for us, that He offers His best to us, and that we can expect to receive the things that we ask for in faith. But we should be very careful of what our motives are in prayer. We need to make sure that we ask God for the things that we need, but to ask for those things that will bring Him glory and are in accordance with His will.
James says that being the friend of the world is a direct violation of our fellowship with God. It will hinder our prayer life if we give in to the world’s ways of doing things. If we are seeking after the things of the world and have our priorities out of alignment with God’s priorities, we cannot have the things that we seek to have. That is what these Christians were doing. Thus they made themselves adulterers and adulteresses in the eyes of the Lord because they are committing themselves to worldly pleasures and passions rather than spiritual pleasures and passions. They work to obtain their needs through their own efforts rather than ask God. They align with the ways of the world rather than the ways of God.
We see an analogy here of the relationship between the husband and the wife. When we receive Christ as our Saviour, we became the Bride of Christ (II Cor. 11:2). Men need not allow their pride to stand in the way of the spiritual implications of our relationship to Christ. The marriage relationship between a man and a woman is a picture and a type of the relationship between the Church (of whom you are a part) and the Lord Jesus, who is the Head of the Church.
As a husband, if your wife were stepping out with another man and giving her love to him, how would you feel? If she came to you and wanted you to give her money, a car to drive, a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear, how would you respond? I would dare to say that most men would give her and emphatic, “NO!” When you get involved in the world and the world’s ways, and you do not consider the Lord’s will, or His desires, or His glory, you will find that your prayers are not going to be answered.
The world is hostile to God; they are an enemy to Him. Those who follow the worldly ways are following the devil’s ways for he is the prince of the power of the air and the god of this old world’s social and cultural ways (Eph. 2:2 & II Cor. 4:4). We may have to live in this world but we do not have to be a part of this world. When we align with the world’s ways, asking for things with selfish and fleshly desires, motives, and greed, we make ourselves a part of the world. Our prayers become ineffective because it comes from selfish, flesh-driven, worldly desires of the heart.
If we are going to receive what we ask for we must be on praying ground before the Lord our God. That means we do not want to be like these people who are described as keeping up with the world, getting into bed with them, and being seen as God’s enemy when He looks at them. Praying ground is having the right heart and the right motive when we go to the Lord to make our requests known unto Him. It is asking for those things that are according to the known will of God.
Think about your prayer life and ask yourself if you are on praying ground. Know that you are and know that you are praying to seek God’s will when you pray. Praying according to the will of God is to bring Him glory. It is not as much about getting our prayers answered as it is being in the will of God. When you pray the right way, having your will aligned with His, then you will honor and glorify your Father in Heaven. - Preacher
Study To Shew Thyself Approved Pt 1
2 Timothy 2:15 ~ Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
When I first trusted Christ as my Saviour I opened a 1611 Authorized King James Bible and began to read every day. I read great portions of Scripture but I did not fully understand all that I read. I did find that as I would read there were certain things that the Holy Spirit would help me to understand. It was like mining for precious jewels and every now and then I would find one.
Do not be discouraged in reading the Bible. If you are faithful to read every day God will reward that faithfulness and give you what you need to help you to grow. The more you grow in your spiritual life the more of Scripture you will understand. Though I did not have someone there to teach me, I did have the Holy Spirit of God there to give me what I needed as I needed it. We do not feed newborn babies steak and potatoes and God will not start us out on the true meat of the Word. There is a manner in which we feed babies so that they will grow. We start them out on milk, then move up to baby food, and when they develop teeth we can feed them meat. There is a manner in which God will feed you spiritually and you need to be patient and allow Him to grow you according to what He knows is best.
We need a sure Word from God. Let’s follow the course through which the reception of the Bible that we use today came to be. There is a three step process through which God gave us His Holy Word. The first step is the revelation of the Word of God. Revelation is the process through which God revealed specific truths to man which he otherwise could not have known (Deu. 29:29). We gain knowledge through experience, reason, and revelation. The problem with experience and reason is that they cannot answer certain questions which pertain to divine origin and purpose. There are questions, such as, “Where did we come from?” “Why am I here?” These can only be answered through revelation, or someone telling us where we came from and why we are here.
God has given us the light of creation and the light of the conscience. In Romans 1:20 we find the light of creation and in Romans 2:14, 15 we have the light of the conscience. Through creation we can know that there is someone greater than us and that all that exists has the fingerprint of intelligent design; a Creator. Through our conscience we can know that there is good and evil, and, even though some may try to deny it, the fact remains that we find there is a right and wrong. Now we have, through the process of revelation, the specific truths of the Word of God.
Hebrews 1:1, 2 tells us, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” God spoke to men in many different ways in the past. With some He spoke directly as with Abraham and with Moses. With others He spoke in dreams as with Joseph and Daniel. And with some He spoke in visions as He did with Ezekiel and Isaiah. And at last He has spoken to us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The point is that these are the actual words which God spoke. We are to receive them as His Words as did the Thessalonians when they heard them: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Ths. 2:13). When you receive it as The Word of God it will have an effect upon your life.
There is a cache of holy knowledge just for you in God’s Word. Read it and allow the Lord to reveal His many wondrous truths to you. He has made numerous promises to you that you can claim, but you must get into and receive His Word to know them and claim them. - Preacher
Study To Shew Thyself Approved Pt 2
2 Timothy 2:15 ~ Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The second step in the process is inspiration. In II Timothy 3:16 we are told, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God ….” That literally means that God spiritually breathed His Words into the heart of men whom He chose to be His penmen. Just as your breath crosses your vocal cords to produce the sound of your voice and the words you speak, so the breath of God breathes onto the heart of men His words and they came forth through them. We find this process in II Peter 1:20, 21, “… no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” These men were nothing more than the keyboards of a typewriter, each one having his own unique character which God chose to use, and the Holy Spirit of God typed out the very Words that God wanted spoken and recorded.
Revelation and inspiration give us a sure Word from the Lord. It is profitable to us for doctrine. Our philosophy of life (what we believe and how we live) is based upon our Theology. Our Theology is based upon Bible doctrine. Doctrine is the belief that we get from God’s own Word. It is given to us so that we may believe right. We can believe the truth about the revelation of God and who He is, of His creation of all that exists, the fall of man, the redemption of God through the substitutional sacrifice of Christ, the end time prophecies of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, of His return and the end of all that is evil and wicked, and our eternal life in Heaven.
Reproof is the conviction of sin in our life. It is profitable because conviction of sin shows us the way of salvation through the Lord Jesus. Reproof tells me that I must be saved, but that I cannot save myself. It shows me that the only way to be saved is to appropriate a righteousness that I cannot attain. It is reproof that convinces me of the judgment that is to come to all of those who have not the righteousness required to escape that judgment. Reproof is profitable so that we may get right with God by accepting the work of Christ in place of our own work and receiving Him as our personal Saviour.
Correction is profitable for it gives us the way to stay right with God. Correction is there to show us how to do the right things the right way. After we are saved we are still battling the temptations of the flesh, the world, and the devil. Sometimes we may make mistakes and make a wrong choice or decision. Some may feel like they need to be saved again, but when you are truly saved it is eternal. The truth is that there is forgiveness for our mistakes because of the blood of Christ; He is our advocate (I Jn 1:9; 2:1). As we grow in the knowledge of God’s Word we will find the right way to do the right thing so that we can stay right. It will reveal to us the way of salvation and the way of holiness and righteousness. Holiness is having right thoughts guided by the Word of God and righteousness is having right actions that follow holiness.
The Word of God is profitable for instruction. As we grow in the Lord we should come to a place of spiritual maturity where that we may teach others the right way from salvation to sanctification to service. When we believe right, get right, and stay right we can guide others right. The Word of God is profitable to us to help us to become profitable to others. This is how we fulfill the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, 20.
If the confidence of our salvation is dependent upon what we have received from the Word of God then we definitely need a sure Word from the Lord. His revelation and inspiration have given us that sure Word that is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction. Live by it and live in it. Get into God’s Word every day and let God’s Word get into you. When you do you will see and experience your best life and the best of living. You have not begun to live until you live by the Word of God. - Preacher
Salt & Light: Your Impact On The World Pt 1
Matthew 5:13 ~ Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Jesus said we are the salt of the earth. When we think of salt we automatically think of seasoning the taste of food. It is also an important method of food preservation. But salt may also be very deadly. When we compare the Christian walk of faith to being the salt of the earth, there is a great deal of truth to that statement that we need to analyze and understand.
As the salt of the earth we can look at this verse as relating to Christians being a flavor and preservative of society. The meaning of the Greek word that was translated “salt” here carries the idea of having prudence. Prudence deals with being deliberate and quick to find the most suitable means for accomplishing something. Being prudent is exercising caution in foreseeing and avoiding evil while preserving truth.
So what does all of this mean? As the salt of the earth we are to carry out our God-given purpose in life with not only wisdom, but with prudence. We are to be deliberate in our walk as Christians and to use caution to do the right thing the right way. We are not to allow the world’s influence to infiltrate our life. We are not to allow the world to muzzle our testimony. We are not to compromise the faith once delivered to the saints for the sake of increasing our influence. The truth is, when we compromise to gain influence or to be accepted by the world, we have been influenced by the world to do so.
Political correctness says that we should not bring our faith out into the public. But Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” You do not have to be a preacher to go out and lovingly share your testimony with others. If you keep silence because you do not want to offend people and because you want them to like you then your salt has lost its savor!
You are not out to please the world or the politically correct crowd. You are out to please your Father in Heaven and to tell the world about the Lord Jesus Christ. You are to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecc. 12:13, 14). The pilgrims aboard the Mayflower wrote the Mayflower Compact before getting off the boat at Plymouth. The very first paragraph starts out as thus: “In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, France and Ireland, king, defender of the faith, etc. having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, …” We bring glory to God by fearing Him, which means to have reverential trust and respect, by being obedient to the faith once delivered (Jude 3), and by telling others the good news of salvation brought down to man by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is how we are to be the salt of the earth, to season the lives of others with the truth of the Gospel and preserving society by being a strong voice for the good of mankind.
Jeremiah warned Judah, by the Word of God, that judgment was coming. God in His mercy gave them warning and command to repent and turn back to Him. God’s people answered and said, “We will not.” Jeremiah was a strong voice for the good of His people. God expects the very same thing from us. You are to “…shew forth praises of Him…” Who has called you out of darkness and has brought you into His light.
The world around us today is refusing to walk in the good ways of the Lord. Many think it is a pathway too narrow for their taste. No matter what the world does, we, the people of the Lord, must stand tall. You must stand unashamed of who you are. You must hold your head high and walk in the paths that God has ordained without apology and without backing down. Go out this week and be everything that the Lord commands and desires for you to be in this world. - Preacher
Salt & Light: Your Impact On The World Pt 2
Matthew 5:13 ~ Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Jeremiah warned Judah, by the Word of God, that judgment was coming. God, in His mercy, gave them warning and command to repent and turn back to Him. He told them, “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jer. 6:16). Jeremiah was a strong voice for the good of His people.
Just as Jeremiah was a strong voice for the good of his people in the dark times in which he served God, so we too are to be a voice for the good of the people around us. You do not have to alienate people because they do not agree with what you believe. Someone asked me if they could be friends with someone who is outspokenly gay. My reply is that we should befriend them and not alienate them. We know the truth of the Word of God and that is what they need to hear and understand. They must see God’s love and God’s Word working in our life as we befriend them and love them.
You are a vessel that God desires to use for His glory. He allows people to come into your life so that you may be a witness of His love, mercy, and saving grace. He will allow people to come into contact with you so that you may be a purveyor of His truth. You cannot condone sinful lifestyles no matter who it is or what they are doing. You can lovingly convey the truth of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Just share Christ with them at every opportunity that you have to do so without argument or conflict.
We can utilize opportunities to share our faith and to share Christ with them out of a heart of love for Christ and love for their immortal soul when we are friendly towards them. We cannot force them to hear or believe by trying to shove it down their throat, but we can love them to Christ by the love, help, and power of God. If we critically judge them then we put up a barrier that will make it nearly impossible for us or anyone else to share the love of God with them. Be a positive voice for what you believe.
All you can do is share truth with them and then only if they want to hear it. The truth they need to hear is the Gospel truth. You cannot compromise truth to be their friend. The truth is that they are in bondage to the confusion of the world’s lifestyle choices.
They must be able to see the truth in you and when they come to know the truth then God can work in their heart to break the chains of bondage. Everything must point the way to Christ for He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. His saving power is what breaks the chains of sin and bondage and nothing else will do. Know Scripture and share Scripture that will be productive in opening their eyes to Christ and do so out of a genuine heart of compassion and love.
You are to be a vessel of honor, a preserver of truth; God’s Word is truth. You preserve that truth by incorporating His Word into your heart and into your life. The world tells you to leave your faith at home or inside the church, but your faith should be the core dictate of your life. Your life - the way you live, your work ethic, your relationships, your worship practices, and your integrity, all that you are - is dictated by the fundamental doctrines of the faith that God has given you out of His Holy Word.
Determine that you will have the fortitude to stand your ground and be the Christian God desires for you to be. Do so with love and compassion for those who do not know the truth. Help them to see there is a better life with Christ than there is without Him. Help them to see and know His love through you. People do not care what you know until they know that you care.
Your impact on the world is this: Be the thermostat and not the thermometer. The thermostat controls and sets the conditions while the thermometer just measures and matches the conditions. - Preacher
Salt & Light: Your Impact On The World Pt 3
Matthew 5:13- 15 ~ Ye are the salt of the earth: … 14 Ye are the light of the world….
People are praying for revival in our nation and God knows that we need revival. He wants to send that revival but His people must get back to basics before He can do it. We are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Too many Christians have lost their “savour” in the world. They have indebted themselves. They have to compromise or lose everything they have. They are slaves and they have lost the energizing power to let their light shine.
When Christians get back to being the salt and the light then we will see changes take place in our communities and our nation. If we are going to see revival and see change there must be a change of heart. The only way we can save our people from destruction is by changing their hearts. The only way to change their hearts is to lead them to saving faith in the Lord Jesus. Saving faith is a working faith that changes lives. Changed lives will change a society for the good. It will take intentional sacrifice on the part of God’s people.
We are to not only be the salt of the earth when we are out in the world, not only when we are in the church, but we must maintain our walk even when there is nobody around. This is a place where a great number of individual Christians fail. “Well nobody will know if I just take a peek at this, or if I just have a little taste of that. What harm is there if I listen to this, read that, or watch something foul.” Our integrity should hold to our profession and it will if we have possession. God the Holy Ghost is always there watching, so, technically speaking, you are never alone.
But we must also realize that there is a right way for doing the right thing. God has outlined all through His Word the guidelines for living the Christian life. We must follow the whole counsel of the whole Word of God from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (See also Pro. 16:25). The right way to accomplish God’s work is outlined in our instruction manual known as the Holy Bible. After all, it is our Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It is the Gospel truth that people need to hear and that is what we need to convey and share with them.
If we are allowing the Word of God to govern our lives so that we can be the salt of the earth, then the natural effect of that would be a light shining within us. But this can only be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. His presence within us is like the oil in an old coal oil lamp. Without that oil there is no light because there is no fuel to burn. He is like the electricity that flows through an incandescent light bulb. Without the electricity to heat the element there is no light.
So we can read the Word of God and it can have an effect on our lives, but for the light to truly shine we must have that power of the Holy Spirit within. He is able to produce a work within that will begin to show up in our outward life. He is the one who gives us the ability to understand the Word and to apply that understanding to our hearts and lives. Without Him we could only accomplish so much. However, the light will not burn without the oil of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives you understanding and helps you with the application of God‘s Word.
But there has to be an effort on your part to keep the light burning. The Lord does not force you into anything, but He does reward those who are diligent in their quest to live the Christian life. Be the salt of the earth that you are supposed to be. Always be the one to season the lives of those around you. Always be the one who will hold to the truth of God’s Word. Yield to the Spirit and allow Him to work in you. Allow Him access to every area of your life so that He may clean you up (Eph 5:26). The cleaner you are inside the brighter your light will shine through. The more you yield, the greater your influence and your impact on the world around you. You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. – Preacher
Salt & Light: Your Impact On The World Pt 4
Matthew 5:13- 15 ~ Ye are the salt of the earth: … 14 Ye are the light of the world…. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Following the Lord Jesus Christ and becoming His disciples will allow us to shine like a city set upon a hill. The Psalmist wrote, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way“ (Psa 37:23). As we stated before, the Bible is our Instruction Book. God has outlined the best way to live our life in His Word and that is where we will find the delight of our life. You need to incorporate some things into your life so your light can shine brightly.
First, read the Bible daily. We should have a time set aside every day that we just sit down and read through the Bible. So many Christians have such a weak testimony because they do not read their Bible every day. Let’s say that we have a glass full of old dirty, muddy water. Then we start pouring good fresh, clean water into that glass of dirty water every day. Some days we pour a cup, some days a glass full, and other days just a few ounces. Over a period of time we will affect that old dirty, muddy water and it will begin to become clean and clear. The same is true with our lives. As we keep pouring in the Word of God our hearts will become cleaner and the things of God will become a delight to us. Read the Bible daily.
Secondly, study the Word of God. Sometimes in our reading there will be a verse or a portion of Scripture that will catch our attention. When this happens, take the time, whether then and there, or later when you have more time, to study it out further. If you do not have time right then to do it, set a definite time to sit down and do it or you will find that you never will.
I have always believed that if God illuminates something in the Scriptures while I’m reading it is because I need it. If I do not need it now, I will need it in the future for myself or to help someone else. The first time I sat down and started reading through the whole Bible there were instances every week where God allowed me to minister to others with Scriptures that He had illuminated while I was reading. Study helps you to be a better Christian because it develops growth, strength, and allows you to be a help to others.
Thirdly, meditate on and pray over the Word. After reading and studying Scripture, take some time to just sit and meditate. Unplug from the world and all social media devices. Turn off the TV and the music. Get alone and just think about what God is telling you and what He is trying to teach you.
Jogging is one of my times to meditate and pray about that which God is teaching me. How can you pray and jog at the same time? God is my Father and He hears me when I talk to Him. I have times every day when I get alone in my prayer closet with God, on my knees before Him, over His Word, and making supplication for the saints. But when I’m out running I just like to think about the things that God has revealed to me in His Word and to talk to Him about it. I do meditate at other times as well.
As you do you will find that your desires come from the Lord Himself. Psalm 37: says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Listen to the words in this song and then look very closely at this verse and you will understand: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and Grace.”
The closer you get to Him the more you become like Him; your will, your ways, and your desires. And the exciting thing is that it is natural and you do not have to struggle to be a good Christian; it becomes your nature. That Christian nature is the light of the world that allows others to see the truth of what real life - life more abundant and free - is all about.
Do these things - read, study, and meditate – and bathe it all in prayer with thanksgiving, and you too will become a light unto all those around you. - Preacher
Salt & Light: Your Impact On The World Pt 5
Matthew 5:16 ~ Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. God is not doing all of this work on us just so that we can consume it upon our lusts. We are not doing all of this just for ourselves. If so then we are not truly following in the footsteps of Christ. He did not come into the world and do all of His good works just so that people would love Him. He came into the world because He loved us. He came to offer His life a sacrifice and a ransom for our life so we could have a more abundant life today and eternal life at the end. That abundant life is the life that Christ lived; it was abundant in good works towards others. Our blessings come from being a blessing to others.
Jesus taught, “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (Matt. 5:41). The origin of this custom finds its beginnings in Persia with the Persian government who had regular couriers to carry letters and news to different locations. They had the power to command help by pressing horses, and sometimes their owners, or ships, into service for the king. This was a custom picked up by the Romans. A Roman soldier could call upon anyone he chose to carry his burden (backpack, payload, government dispatches, etc.). When compelled to do so, Jesus said that if he called upon you to go a mile, to go with him two miles.
Why would anybody in their right mind do this for a Roman soldier, an enemy, one who thought that you were the lowest of the low? Because by doing so you accomplish three things. First, in the context of the Scripture, Matthew Henry says, “The plain instruction is, suffer any injury that can be borne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to the Lord's keeping. And the sum of all is that Christians must avoid disputing and striving. If any say, Flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, let them remember, that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and those who act upon right principles will have most peace and comfort.” In other words, it is the right thing to do.
Secondly, our Christian joy starts with the first step of the second mile because now we are doing that which is not required of us and this is our blessing. And thirdly, we show forth the love of Christ who not only left Heaven to come into the world and free us from the bondage of sin, but went the second mile to take our place so that we could go free. We are letting our light so shine that others may see our good works and glorify our Father.
Our nation is “dumbing down” our citizens so that they will only accomplish what is required. We can’t get ahead of anyone else so why go the extra mile, why do the extra work? We all get the same grade in school whether we do extraordinary work or just do a really bad job. Everyone gets a trophy and we do not leave anyone out, even if they did not do the hard work. Everybody makes the same pay no matter what their skill level may be. This is the mentality of those who are in charge in our federal government. But with God this is not so. God rewards the faithful. He will prosper you as your soul prospers (3 Jn. 1:2). But you have to have the right mindset and realize that all that God blesses us with is for us to use to share the Gospel with others and to lead them in their Journey of Faith.
You are to let your light “so shine” before men. “So shine” literally means to influence the world around you as Christ would. When asked to do something at work, do you just do what is expected and then stop? That is the world’s way of doing things. As a Christian you are to do more than is required. You are to go beyond what is expected. That is when you are letting your light “so shine.” That is when men will “glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” Your good work ethic and your shameless wearing of the name of Christ brings glory to God.
Be the salt, be the light, and so shine that others may recognize God in you and give Him glory. Preacher
The Weight of The Word
Proverbs 11:1 Balances of deceit are an abomination to Jehovah, And a perfect weight is His delight.
“A perfect weight” refers to the weights that were certified for the use of weighing things out. There has to be a standard from which all weights may be certified. In the international community today there is a kilogram of platinum and platinum-iridium alloy stored in France at a constant room temperature to ensure its perfect weight. Unfortunately, it is no longer a perfect weight; it has gained some 50 microns of weight from surface contamination. But it was designed as the standard for all other weights to be compared to and to be certified by.
God has no pleasure in the dishonest dealings of commerce. In fact, it is something that truly disgusts Him. The dishonesty of some brings injury and harm to estates and properties of families. It is costly to those who are trying to live honestly in a crooked and perverse world.
Even more so is the dishonesty in spiritual and religious matters. To defraud those who are trying to live righteously and godly is to harm the relationship that God has with His children. As any good parent, I am sure that God is not pleased when someone tries to defraud others with heretical and apostate teachings.
A great many of protesters came out of the Catholic Church after Martin Luther tacked his thesis to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Those who came out of that church became known as the Protestant religions. The one thing they all had in common is that they each brought the parts of the Catholic religion that they liked and agreed with out with them. Thus we have many different Christian denominations today.
The one good thing I can tell you is that the true Baptist did not come out from the Catholic Church. It was never a part of that religious organization. True Baptists were always those who were on the outside of the Catholic Church and always hunted and persecuted by them for “heresy.” They were not always called by the Baptist name but were known by many different names; some called by the name of their leaders and others by the name of their location.
The one thing that the Baptist Faith can attest to is that they truly received their doctrine directly from the Lord Jesus Himself. Jude wrote, “Beloved, … it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints,” (v. 3). “The faith” is the body of doctrinal beliefs that true Baptist follow. Once delivered has to do with the teachings of Christ and the writings of the New Testament.
Therefore, we have a more sure Word to follow which is the perfect Word of God. Everything spiritual and godly must be compared to and certified by this Weight. It is given to us by the process of revelation, inspiration, and illumination. God gave it to men whom He chose to write it, His Spirit gave them the very words to put down in their writing, and His Spirit teaches it to us through a process of illumination. Illumination is God giving us what we need when we need it. It is infallible which tells us that it will never fail us. It is inerrant which tells us that it contains no errors. It is alive and powerful for it will save lives, homes, and families from doom and despair.
This perfect Word is preserved by God in the Old King James Bible. We do not have to worry about corruption as long as we stay with the original that comes out of the 1611 King James Translation Project. It has been tried and proven for over 400 years. Now the devil is working to change it just as he did God’s Words to Eve in the Garden of Eden.
We also have a more perfect weight in the Living Word of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord. He will never change. He is always the same and you can trust Him when all else fails. - Preacher
Wear The Name Without Shame
Proverbs 11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
There is no wisdom in pride. Pride promotes self as superior in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, knowledge, etc. Pride brings with it contention because of its excessive self-esteem. But pride will bring shame to the prideful heart because it comes before destruction and failure. Adam and Eve, Haman, Nebuchadnezzar, and many others have fallen prey to their own pride.
God tells us in His Word that the pride of life does not come from Him. God will resist the proud for pride is contrary to God. Psalm 34:18 tells us, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” The broken in heart are those who are broken over their sin; the contrite spirit literally means “crushed”. When you realize you have sinned, and you regret it from deep down within, wishing you could have a “do over”, then you are of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
Therefore, those who are lowly and humble have wisdom. They have turned from sin and have turned to God. They have disowned the things of darkness and have turned to the light. They see the crucified, risen, and living Saviour as high and lifted up above all things while seeing themselves as the least of all saints and the chief of all sinners. These are they who are wise unto salvation. These are they who will draw close to the Father and live in His honor and glory. These are they who will unashamedly wear the name of Christ.
I was at a basketball game this past week and I saw a lady with a “Witness-T” on. I could not read all the writing on the shirt due to the distance I was from her. But there were five letters that were emblazoned across her shirt that I could read. They stood out in large bold print like a sore thumb. Those five letters were the name “JESUS.” She was wearing His name unashamedly. That is how He should be in our hearts and minds; standing out amidst all of the other stuff that is going on in us and around us.
There is great value in wearing the name of Jesus unashamedly. You will benefit from His protections. When something holds you up from getting somewhere in a timely manner, it could be the Lord keeping you from harm. I believe when you get home you will find out He was protecting you when you had no knowledge of it.
We also benefit from the providence of the Almighty. We live in a free nation as a free people because of the providence of God. It was His providence that led the Pilgrims to come over and start the settlements in a new world. This led to colonies, states, and the greatest nation on the earth.
We benefit from His purpose. The purpose of God was to evangelize the world through the missions programs and the missionaries that came from America. There was a time when we were the light of the world and the salt of the earth. This was all due to the providence and the purpose of God to establish our nation as a beacon of Christian hope to evangelize the world. Unfortunately, like Israel, we have forgotten God and all of His blessings and benefits. We are not the nation we once were. The only thing that will truly make America great again is for God in His mercy and providence to send a great and mighty revival.
When we as a people will humble ourselves and pray and seek His face we can get His attention. But the one thing that will cause God to move and intervene on our behalf is for His people as a whole to turn from their wicked ways; the worldliness we have become so comfortable with. Then will God prosper His people once again and forgive our sin and heal our land. The question is, “Will God’s people turn from their wicked ways so that He can forgive and heal?”
Pride causes trouble and brings shame, disgrace, and dishonor. But the humble heart will draw God’s attention as it seeks to draw closer to God. Wear the name of Christ unashamedly. Be humble, draw close to God, and He will draw close to you. - Preacher
Righteousness Applied Deserves Righteous Living
Proverbs 11:3-4 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
The word “integrity” comes from the Greek word tummah (too-maw’) which means “innocence.” It is doing the right thing even when there is no one around. The word “upright” comes from the Greek word yashar (yaw-shawr’) which means “straight.” It refers to honesty and truthfulness. These are the guiding principles for good character. You cannot have integrity without honesty and truthfulness and you cannot have honesty and truthfulness without integrity.
While these may be the guiding principles for good character, the Spirit of God is the best guide that you can have. He is the one who will lead you into all truth and uprightness. He will be your guide and overseer as you yield to His leading. This means that you will go against the desires of the flesh which tend to lean towards following feelings and pleasures. Following Him is following His Word anddenying selfish desires.
There is more to following the Word of God than simply reading, hearing, and studying. These are necessary food to the soul but then there must be exercise and application. You must put the Word to work in your life. What is says to do you must do. What it says to stay away from you must stay away from. These are the guidelines and the guardrails to a safe and blessed life. His righteousness has been applied to your life and deserves for you to live accordingly; yielding, obedient, and abiding.
On the other hand there is the “perverseness” which is the distortion and deception of transgressors. The transgressor is one who violates the commands and principles of God. These deal treacherously with God and with men. They care only for themselves. They follow the path of least resistance which tends to lean towards fulfilling the desires and the feelings of the flesh. These will live contrary to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
These will fall into ruin for they will be deceitful in business, in marriage, and in relationships of every kind. Their dishonesty causes loss in business, in family, and more importantly in their spiritual walk. They have corrupted their way and it will catch up to them sooner or later. God will deal with them for He alone owns vengeance. He will repay the works of the transgressor. For you who are saved your transgression was paid in Christ on the Cross. For the lost, they will stand before Him and give an account of their corrupt dealings. Their prosperity in this life will not buy nor shield them from the wrath to come.
We will all stand before God and give an accounting to Him of what we have done in this life. Both those who are saved and those who are lost will give an account of every idle word that you have spoken. You will give an account of what you have done in your body, good and bad. You will answer for what you did with the Word of God. The lost will answer for what they did with the Son of God.
For the saved it will mean the receiving or the loss of reward. But for the lost it will mean the level of eternal punishment received. First they will spend eternity paying for their refusal to trust Christ. Second they will be given a level of punishment and torment that is determined by how they lived their life. The greater their sinfulness the worse their eternal punishment will be. That is why “the Books” (God’s Word) will be opened at the judgment to judge them according to the Word of God. This is the second death (Rev 20:14 & 21:8).
You were created to have a relationship with God your Father. Your original design was to live a life free from sin and its consequences. By faith in Christ you were given a second birth to become a child of His. You should walk daily with Him for His righteousness is applied to your account. It has paid in full the debt you owed, given you abundance of grace, and has delivered you from the second death. Therefore His righteousness applied deserves righteous living from His children. - Preacher
Direction and Deliverance
Proverbs 11:5-6 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.
The righteousness of Christ applied to our life deserves for us to live a righteous and upright life before God and before the world. It is this righteousness that leads us to strive for perfection in our spiritual walk and our relationship with the Lord. The word “perfect” means “whole or complete.” It is referring to spiritual maturity not sinless perfection.
All believers should desire to be sinless and perfect. But the truth is that as long as we live in these fleshly bodies we will struggle with sin. It will creep into our life from time to time and rear its ugly head. However, that is no excuse to let down your guard and allow sin free access.
Spiritual maturity means that you are grown in the Lord. But it also means that you are in a constant state of spiritual growth. You will never “arrive”, as some might say, as long as you are in this world. You will always struggle to maintain your Christian character and walk. The good thing is that the longer you walk with the Lord the easier the struggle becomes.
When you walk with the Lord He will direct your life. He will lead you as a Shepherd leads His sheep. As you follow Him you will experience more and more victories. The more victories you experience the easier it is to maintain spiritual integrity. His righteousness leads you to live a godly life for His glory. Praise God that when we live for His glory we prosper and benefit from it.
“Righteousness” is a principle of life while “upright” means the practice of that principle of righteousness. Your righteousness will lead to direction and stability for yourself and for others. Your uprightness can encourage your brothers and sisters to be more dedicated and devoted in their relationship with the Lord.
Are you devoted to the Lord? Are you wholly given to His leading in your life? To wholly follow the Lord is to be committed spirit, soul, and body to living for Him. To follow means that you are consistently moving forward. As the Apostle Paul said, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” To “press toward the mark” is to keep moving forward in your spiritual growth (receiving and embracing the things of God), in your spiritual walk (applying the things you have received of God), and in your relationship with the Lord (getting closer, giving more, and doing more).
You must live this before the world and allow them to see your closeness to God develop and grow. Those who do not know the Lord need to see that He is real and that He rewards and provides for His own. This will give the Spirit an opportunity to compel them and draw them to repentance and surrender. Your daily walk could be the thing that will help others be convicted of their sinfulness. It could lead them to turn to Christ for salvation.
If they do not see it in you then who will be a light to them? As we have said before, their wicked ways will be their utter ruin and destruction. Their pride, their self-sufficiency, their hostility to God and His ways, and their contentment to live in sin will cause them to fall prey to their own devices. Those who accused Daniel and had him put into the lion’s den were the ones who were next cast in and were devoured by the lions themselves.
The only difference between you and a lost person is that you have Christ as your Saviour. Therefore you have the strength and power of God to overcome temptations and sin. If they had Christ they could have victory just like you. Live so that your direction and deliverance will help direct and deliver others. - Preacher
Where Is Your Voice?
Proverbs 11:11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Pro 14:34). When Israel followed the righteousness of God’s commandments they were the powerful nation whose enemies feared them. But when they turned from the righteousness of God’s commandments they fell into defeat and captivity.
America was once a righteous nation; she was founded as a Christian nation whose sole belief was the Word of God. Her laws originally had to be backed up by the Scriptures. Her leaders had to attest to a firm belief in the Triune God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost just so they could sign up to run for office. In some colonies the leaders had to profess faith in Christ as their personal Saviour before they could register to run for office.
All of these truths can be found in the documents and the writings of the founding fathers and in the compacts and state constitutions. These documents were mostly written in cursive writing. Today they have ceased to teach children to read and write in cursive writing. That means that they will not be able to read the documents that were written in the founding of our nation. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are some of those documents. They affirm that our nation was built a Christian nation that was founded upon the Word of God as a righteous nation that God blessed and exalted.
America as a nation has strayed far away from what she originally was. The leaders today are progressive liberals that do not want to hear the Word of God or even acknowledge that it is what was used as a guiding principle in the founding of our nation. They do not believe that God blessed and raised us up as the most powerful nation on earth because of our allegiance to Him.
The wicked have painted America as a sadistic, intolerant, racist nation that owes the world an apology for its exceptionalism. Our nation is about to go over a cliff because of the mouths of the wicked. They have lied for so long, so loudly, and so often that their lies have been accepted as truth. They will deny, distort, and twist the truth to make it seem like the worst possible thing that could exist.
Christians and the Bible have now been targeted as the problems with America rather than the solution to America’s problems. If the Word of God says that it is sin then you cannot call it anything else. It does not matter if it is sodomy, adultery, sex outside of the marriage, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, drunkenness, murder, theft, or lying, the Bible says it is SIN and that is exactly what it is. But our nation has become a feel good, entertainment conglomerate.
Therefore anything goes as long as it feels good and does not go against what the individual person thinks truth is. They say today that there is no absolute truth. Their mentality is that your truth may not be my truth. Your sin may not be my sin. The truth is that there is absolute truth and it is the Word of God and it does tell us that sin is sin no matter who you are.
They have so denigrated Christians that they will not speak out against the insanity that is occurring today. When men are allowed to enter a ladies restroom, when they say a child can now be aborted up to the time of birth, when they tell our children they cannot carry a Bible or pray, then every Christian in America should shout out loud a resounding “NO!!!” But the Christian majority has grown silent.
Today there is no godly counsel, no knowledge of truth, no principle followed, no lifting up of Christ, and no true wisdom because the progressive liberals have done a great job at silencing the Christian voice. Where do you stand today? Is your voice silenced? Are you living in a way that God can bless you as He did our forefathers? God said it is “By the blessing of the upright the city (or nation) is exalted.” Our nation needs to get its Christian voice back. Will you let your voice be heard, or have you been silenced? – Preacher
Commit, Trust, and Experience His Promises
Psalm 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
The word translated “commit” in this verse means “roll”. It has the idea of entrusting your all to the LORD. Your whole life and being is to be committed unto Him. The way you live, all your affairs, and your manner of living is to be committed unto the LORD.
It should go without saying that this does not mean that you are to sit still, be inactive, and do nothing while leaving everything up to God. It means that you should seek His counsel and His direction for your life. Your Father is omniscient; He is the all-knowing God. He knows your past, your heart and your thoughts, the trials and difficulties ahead, and the battles that you will face. He knows everything about you; past, present, and future.
Does it not make sense to turn to Him and seek His direction so that you can face and conquer what lies ahead? Here is Someone who knows what is ahead and what is coming in your life. He will not tell you exactly what is coming for that would spoil you and be the ruin of your life. However, He has made provision in your life to help you get through whatever comes your way. He will guide your steps and your path so that you can correctly navigate your life.
He has given you a compass and a navigator to help you with what you have to face. The Compass is His Word and the Navigator is His Holy Spirit. Therefore in whatever situation or circumstance you find yourself in, you have God’s presence and you have God’s Word. Wisdom is to commit to Him who knows the right way to navigate your life.
The Psalmist wrote, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved, (55:22).” God cares more deeply for you than you will ever be able to comprehend. He loves you supremely. His heart’s desire is to give unto you His very best. To commit your all to Him is to make Him preeminent in your life so that no person or thing will ever come between you.
Then we are told to “Trust also in Him.” You have peace with God because of Christ. You are a child of the Most High because you chose to believe His Word and put your faith for salvation in Christ His Son. You trusted Him to save you because He said if you would repent and believe He would.
By the same rule you are to trust Him for all your need for every day. His supply is endless and He has enough for whosoever will come to Him (Php 4:19). To “trust also in” means to be at ease because you know the One who saved you is the One who will sustain you. He will finish what He started. He may not have promised you a smooth road through life – we do live in a sin-sick world – but He did promise you a sure road (Php 1:6).
When you “trust” in Him you have peace of mind knowing that He will provide the ways and means to get through this life in this world. When you “commit” and “trust” you have His promise that “He shall bring it to pass.” What He has promised He will do. He will not go against His own Word. Bring your needs and your requests to Him and experience the peace of knowing He will take care of you.
Go beyond simply believing what God can do. Take action and step out on faith so that He can do what He desires to do for you. You must walk by faith to please Him. It is His good pleasure to give you His very best, to answer your prayers, to protect, prosper, and to provide for you and yours.
You must commit to entrusting your all to Him. This is to step out on faith in His promises. You must trust that He will give you His very best. When you do this you will experience the fullness of His love towards you and you will be very blessed indeed. - Preacher
Proverbs 10:17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
How do you react to criticism? Do you receive it as constructive and corrective? Or do you react out of defense without giving any consideration? Instruction is good even when it comes to you from a point of correction or criticism. Try to receive something helpful from it even if it is not true.
Pro 9:8-9 tells us, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Here we see that those who can take reproof (to be charged with wrong or a fault), criticism, and correction and learn and grow from it are those who are wise.
I have always been one who wanted someone to tell me the truth, even when it hurt. I want to hear the truth so that I can correct my mistakes and my faults and be right with God and man. However, there have been times that deep down inside I did not take it so well. But by the grace of God I have learned to listen and to assess and consider others criticisms, even those that are unfounded. By listening to their complaints you can learn them and what makes them tick. This may help you to be a better leader.
Many times the children of Israel came against Moses and complained about his leadership. They said he brought them out of Egypt to starve to death, to die of thirst, and said he did not know what he was doing. They wanted to turn around and go back to Egypt. But Moses listened to their criticism and their complaints. By listening he learned how to pray for them and to intercede with God for them.
Someone once came up to the pastor after service and began pointing out several faults that he had in his preaching style. The preacher did not even consider arguing with the person or try to defend himself. He just very humbly asked if they would not mind praying for him.
Unfounded criticism can be helpful to those who are in leadership positions because you can listen and learn where others may be coming from. Listening to others helps you to better understand them. This knowledge can help to minister to their needs even if they do not see those needs. It may help you to pray and intercede for them as Moses did for Israel.
When you are in a leadership position you will hear criticism and complaints. You must learn to deal with it in a positive way. I once read where Winston Churchill framed in his office these words of President Abraham Lincoln: “I do the very best I can; I mean to keep going. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won't matter. If I'm wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won't make a difference."
Those who are wise and receive instruction, even from criticism, are those who are in the way of life. This is a life that is lived to the glory of God. It is lived to strive for spiritual maturity so that you may honor Christ your Saviour. It is not lived to earn merit for eternal life. It is not a life lived to boast and brag of what has been done in the flesh. It is lived purely to please the Lord your God and to bring Him all praise and worship and glory.
The phrase “that keepeth instruction” refers to the instruction in righteousness that comes from the Scriptures. It is to live with the insight into the mind and will of Almighty God. It is lived by the grace of God. It is lived in the power of God. It is lived in the presence of God the Holy Spirit. It is lived to uphold and obey the doctrine of Christ which is steeped in the love of God.
If you want to avoid criticism you only have to say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing. However, if you are a Christian, you can expect folks to criticize, but you ought to live so nobody will believe them. Learn to listen, think about with calmness and clarity, and consider any criticism brought against you. Learn from it, be instructed, and be wise. - Preacher
Quick To Hear, Slow To Speak
Proverbs 10:19b … he that refraineth his lips is wise.
In verses 18-21 there is a sequence of contrasts set forth between the mouth of the just and the mouth of the fool. The first thought is that of a person who pretends to be a friend when truly they are not. “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool,” (v. 18). There are several examples in the Bible but the greatest example is that of Judas Iscariot who betrayed the Lord for 30 pieces of silver. He lied to deceive and hide his true intentions. This is folly and it is wicked in the eyes of the Lord.
It is also said that to slander another is the way of the fool. He does not even try to hide the hatred within. He just spews forth the poison from his lips that causes great harm to his neighbor’s reputation, good name, and his credibility. We see much of this in the “leadership” of our nation today with their lack of civility. They spew forth their vile hatred for one another openly and now we see it in every facet of our society.
“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, (v. 19).” The multitude of words is the issue of those who have to speak to be heard and yet have nothing significant or of importance to share. There will be vain words spoken that lead to falsehood being communicated. This is the way gossip will start. Someone will say something, the next person has to make it sound more profound than it actually is, and then it becomes more and more false as it morphs and grows while being passed from one person to another.
This verse also speaks of those whose mouths are corrupt with filthy conversation. Someone who uses profanity in every other word that proceeds from their mouth is just trying to give more power to their words. They feel they have to do this because their words have no meat, no meaning, no weight, no bearing, and no importance. In these scenarios there is a multitude of words and no lack or want of sin.
“… the heart of the wicked is little worth, (v. 20).” The Lord Jesus taught that what comes from the mouth actually comes from the heart. Those who have to speak with such sinfulness and have nothing to contribute in conversation speak from a corrupt heart. The sad thing is that the wicked heart has no value. The good thing is that Christ died for those with a wicked heart. This is who and what I was before Christ came into my heart. I was wicked and of little worth without the Lord Jesus. As a born again believer you should have concern and compassion for these people and pray daily for their conversion because such were some of us.
“…fools die for want of wisdom, (v. 21).” This has to do with the spiritual death of the wicked. Are they Christ rejecters or are they just ignorant of His redeeming sacrifice. Their rhetoric and their life are void of any light and are very destructive. It is destructive to their eternal state and to those who know them. Remember that people are watching even when we may be unaware of it; you will influence and impact the lives of others just by living in this world. Be sure you are living the salt and light kind of life.
Those who refrain their lips are those whom the Lord calls "wise." The Lord gave you two ears and one mouth. He is trying to tell you that you need to listen twice as much as you speak. Your words ought to be as “choice silver” in the ears of listeners. People should desire to hear you speak and they should receive something that will benefit them when you do speak. After all, “the lips of the righteous feed many, (v. 21).”
We are taught in James 1:19 to “… be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Again the thought is that we need to listen more than we speak. We need to be thoughtful and methodical in how we answer someone in any given situation. We teach our children to “think before you speak,” but do we take our own advice and apply it to our own selves?
It would do God’s people well to have the right heart, the heart of the Saviour; kind, compassionate, loving, tenderhearted, and forgiving. It would do God’s people well to speak from their heart. May we be like Christ and love people where they are and pray for their deliverance from the bondage of sin. - Preacher
The Blessing of God’s Blessing
Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
“The hand of the diligent maketh rich,” (v. 4). Those who are diligent to use what the Lord has given them will find that they will be blessed beyond measure. Now the riches of the grace of God have made us all very spiritually wealthy. We do not have to worry about death or dying or what eternity holds for us. We shall not taste of death because Christ has already done that for us. You are eternally wealthy.
But what you do with the blessings of God’s grace will determine your blessings in this world. We have been given the promise of the abundant life. Our life is replete with love, grace, wisdom, mercy, truth, fellowship, peace, and so much more. Now we are to take that life and put it to use by being a blessing to other people in this world.
We should bless others with the message of the Gospel. How can they have what we have if we are not willing to share it with them? Someone told you how to be saved and therefore you must tell others how to be saved. This is sharing the blessing of salvation that God has given you with others so that they also may be blessed.
Now it goes without saying that God’s blessing of life extends even to physical wealth. God blesses you according to what you do with His blessings. I am not preaching a prosperity gospel, but the blessing of God can make you rich spiritually and financially. It does not mean that you are to allow financial gain to become the reason for living for the Lord for that will ultimately fail you, nor are you to expect to become “filthy rich.”
You are given the ability to gain wealth by the power of God (Deu 8:18). But he gives that wealth to those who will use it for His glory. Those who would consume it upon their lusts have lost out already for He says that a stranger will take it away (Ecc 6:2). Remember the Lord and share His blessings with others.
R. G. Le Toureanu was a prolific inventor of earthmoving equipment during the period that our interstate road system was being built across the USA. In the beginning of his life he gave 10% of his net profits in tithe to the Lord. By the end of his life in the late 1960’s his tithes and offerings consisted of 90% of his profits and he still had more than he could possibly live on. He gave to churches and Christian schools and whatever he could give to in the Lord’s work. The more he gave away the more the Lord gave him.
When you are walking with the Lord daily and you are sharing His blessings with others He will give you more than you can stand. He blesses you so that you might bless others. When you see God’s blessing upon your life in that light then you can never out give the Lord. The more you give in service to Him – of your tithe and offering, talent, and especially time – the more He will give to you.
God will give you what you desire in life. In Romans One the people wanted to be given to the pleasure and the sinfulness of their flesh. That is the way our culture is today. God turned them over to uncleanness (v. 24), to vile affections (v. 26), and to a reprobate mind (v. 28). For those who want to please and glorify God with your life God will give you the desires of your heart and mind. He will give you what you want more of.
When things are not going so good, what we might call “mountaintop experience”, God still blesses you. When God blesses in these times it is His manifold blessing. This verse is saying that the blessing of God - His favor and goodness towards us - has no sorrow attached to it. So on bad days when God blesses you it is an added blessing to your blessing because it always brings joy, rejoicing, peace, wisdom, and grace, but it never brings sorrow.
God’s blessing always comes with blessing attached to it. Count your blessings today and give verbal out loud praise to God for His goodness towards you. - Preacher
How Is Your Outlook?
Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
Remember that the fear of the LORD is reverential trust of God with a hatred for all that is evil. Those who have the fear of the LORD are going to see a longer life simply because of the life they live. Those who live godly will separate from the world and from the wicked lifestyles that bring danger and destruction with it.
Those who live wickedly live a dangerous life in more ways than one. Spiritually they lack true wisdom to make good, safe, and wise choices in life. Many who live wickedly live a self-destructive lifestyle. They are given to the lusts of the flesh participating in all manner of sins that are detrimental to physical health. Therefore it is true that they will have a shorter lifespan than they would if they lived a godly life.
It thus becomes true that those who do live godly in the fear of the LORD shall have hope and gladness on their radar. They can expect the blessing of God upon their life. They can look forward in happiness to what tomorrow holds because of Who holds tomorrow. Your hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. You have a sure foundation and a sure anchor of hope that is steadfast and unmovable.
The hope of the wicked is not so. It can be positively optimistic with wishful thinking but that is as deep as it goes. They do not know what tomorrow brings and they have no one to hold their tomorrows together. Their sinful living pays terrible dividends because the pleasure for a season is shortened by the long-term consequences. Sinful living, however long it may be, pays the wage of eternal damnation.
As a Christian you can continue getting up and facing every day with joy and gladness. God has blessed you with another day to live and breathe and to move about and have your being. Even for those who are living in unfortunate circumstances there is joy and blessing to know the Lord as your Saviour. We have the greater outlook. The way of the LORD is wisdom to the upright. The joy of the LORD is your strength. You can get up and face every day with the wisdom and the joy of the LORD for they give you the courage to enter into and make it through another day, even when things are tough.
Those who do not have the LORD are starting out every day in a deficit. They compose their own life and their own destruction because they do not know, nor do they have the Lord’s blessings. Without God they can do nothing but expect the worse that the devil and the world have to offer them. Some may know the truth and reject it; they shall rue the day when they open their eyes in eternity. But so many more are ignorant of what they do not have; they are deceived. They need our help to see the truth. They need the Gospel; it is the power of God to save them from their deception and an eternal hell.
Many of the ungodly may seem to have the upper hand in this life. They may seem as if they are prospering and getting ahead. It may look like they have it all figured out and are living high on the hog. But the truth is that they will not inhabit eternity. Only the godly will inherit the earth in the Millennium and enter the Eternal Kingdom while the wicked will enter into the eternal damnation of the Lake of Fire.
Knowing what we know, possessing what we have, we have the greater responsibility to speak to those who are so deceived and to warn them from their wicked ways. We must show them the goodness of a life with Christ. They must see our joy and our rejoicing, our hope for tomorrow and for eternity, what they are missing, and how they can benefit from having Christ and the life we have.
Our lifestyle should emulate and be an example of the goodness of God upon humanity. They must see the benefit of the grace of God in our life. Those who claim to have Christ and are never happy, never joyful, are always struggling, and complain about their life all the time turn people away from God and away from trusting Christ as their Saviour. Be sure this is not you. Go out into the world in the joy, the blessing, and the goodness of God and let others see your joy. Smile like God loves you because He really does. - Preacher