Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 2 Timothy 2:19
One of the attributes of God taught in the Scriptures is His omniscience, meaning that He knows all things. There are no limits to His understanding. Check out the following verses: Psalms 147:4; 1 John 3:20. A blessed thought is expressed in our verse for today, “…The Lord knoweth them that are his….” The Psalmist declares, “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.” (Psalms 139:2). In fact, He doesn’t just know you that are saved, He knows everything about you. We are told that He knows what we need before we ever ask Him, (Matthew 6:8) and He knows our cares, heartaches and troubles before we bring them to His throne (1 Peter 5:7)
One of our favorite songs at the Church is “He Knows My Name.” The chorus goes like this:
“He knows my name, every step that I take,
Every move that I make, every tear that I cry.
He knows my name, when I’m overwhelmed by the pain,
And can’t see the light of day,
I know I’ll be just fine, ‘cause He knows my name.”
Beloved, He knows more than just your name, and His eye is ever upon you. Whatever you face today, whatever test or trial you are called upon to endure, the Almighty God of eternity knows and cares for you. Rejoice in that today!
In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Psalms 18:6
David’s early years were filled with trouble caused by the jealousy of King Saul. He had to be constantly on the go, hiding in caves and acting as though he were some kind of criminal. This Psalm is a song of praise written by David for the Lord’s deliverance from his enemies. David said, “In my distress I called upon the Lord…he heard my voice out of his temple….” This Psalm was born out of difficulty and sprang forth from a thankful heart for God’s protection and His hearing and answering David’s plea for help.
Do we have times of distress? Are there times when it feels that our adversary is closing in on us? Yes! What are we to do? Do as David did! Call upon the Lord, seeking His protection and His help. Run to Him in the time of trouble. Don’t trust in your own strength, and don’t rely on your own abilities in overcoming the attacks of the adversary. In another Psalm written by David we read, “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” (Psalms 34:15) Remember this, child of God, the next time the adversary seems to be gaining ground and relentlessly attacking you. While you’re no match for him, Your Lord and Savior certainly is! Just keep looking to Him! Amen!
I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? Job 9:2
It is believed that Job is the oldest book in the Bible. If that is true, then this is an ancient question that has been in man’s heart from the beginning; “…how should man be just with God?” The question itself is an acknowledgment that man is not just before God, that mankind is separated from God because of sin. Humanity has been considering this question since the beginning, and continues to do so today. In fact, many have gone to great lengths to endeavor to make themselves accepted with God, but these efforts have been in vain.
There is only one way for men and women to be declared right with God. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference; For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus….” (Romans 3:21-24) Here is the answer to that ancient question, “…how should man be just with God?” Only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is this possible. Have you been declared right with God?
For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Luke 14:11
Jesus had been observing guests that had been invited to a meal on the Sabbath in the home of one of the chief Pharisees. The guests moved about trying to make sure that they were seated in the most prominent seats, which would be a reflection of their importance. He put forth the parable found in Verses 7-10, a very familiar passage most relevant to the occasion before Him. He encouraged His listeners, “When you are bidden to a wedding, don’t seek to sit in the most important seat. You may be asked to move when someone more important than you enters the room. It is much better to be asked to move up to a better seat rather than to be asked to move down.” This was just great common sense, but then He closed out the parable with a deep spiritual lesson in Verse 11.
Implied in the statement is the fact that the Lord is not pleased with one who endeavors to exalt himself before others. It can be as simple as seeking out the most prominent seat of importance in a gathering, or it can be even more self-aggrandizing than that simple act. For instance, Haman was so intent on being recognized as important and powerful in the kingdom of Persia, that when Mordecai the Jew refused to bow before him, Haman devised a wicked plan in which every Jew in the land would be slain. (Esther 3:1-6) He would have succeeded in his vile plan had it not been for the unseen hand of Almighty God protecting His chosen people. Haman should have read Proverbs 16:18-19; “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Haman’s demand to be recognized as a great man resulted in him being hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai’s vengeful demise.
There really should be no room in the heart of a child of God for the desire for such self-exaltation. It is natural at times to long for recognition from others, but we must ever remember that “…promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” (Psalms 75:6-7) Rather than seeking the applause of men we should seek to please our Lord in all that we do, and seek to insure that He receives all glory and honor. He alone is worthy to be exalted and praised. Amen!
I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: Philemon 1:10
As a servant in the house of Philemon, Onesimus had been “unprofitable,” but something had happened in his life that would change that dramatically; he had given his heart to Jesus Christ. When he had gotten himself thrown in jail, who would he meet there but the Apostle Paul? It seemed like that was the most likely place Paul would end up when visiting a new town in order to present the Gospel. While the location might not have been the most desirable, the intention to preach Christ was not effected in the least by prison bars. It will be interesting someday to see just how many cell mates Paul won to Christ. Onesimus was definitely one that Paul led to the Savior as a fellow inmate. With that profession of faith in Christ Jesus, Onesimus went from being “unprofitable” to being most “profitable” to both Paul and to Philemon.
Much happens to the soul that places faith in Jesus Christ. There is a miraculous translation from the “power of darkness” to the “kingdom of” God’s “dear Son.” (Colossians 1:13) The unsaved is saved, sins are forgiven, a new name is written in heaven and an eternal future is changed. Something also wonderful happens of which Paul wrote in reference to Onesimus; the unprofitable becomes profitable. The person that genuinely is born again becomes a better husband or wife, a better parent, a better employee and a better citizen. Onesimus became less self-centered and more Christ-centered, less consumed with his own selfish desires and more concerned with the needs of others. He did not become perfect instantly, but did become a work in progress in which improvements could be seen and appreciated. He went from being “unprofitable” to being “profitable.” You see, beloved, the Lord is not just intent on changing your eternal destiny, He is concerned with changing your present state into one that is honoring to Him and of great benefit to others around you. May He continue to work in our lives to make us “profitable” for His kingdom and for those we come in contact with daily. Amen!
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3
What a simple question! It is one, however, with profound implications. We see this played out daily in every arena imaginable; the political, the social and especially the spiritual. It is very seldom that one can see a Democrat and a Republican walking together in Washington because they disagree on just about everything. If they are able to get their heads together on some kind of common ground or cause, it won’t be long before those heads are butting one another again in disagreement. They just can’t “walk together” for they are not “agreed.”
Beloved, disunity is not always a bad thing. When it comes to our faith, we simply do not and cannot agree with and walk with everyone who claims to have faith. In fact, we are commanded by our Lord not to walk with some. Listen to Paul’s admonition given in 1 Timothy 6:3-5; “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” The simple fact is that when it comes to matters of faith, two cannot walk together except they be agreed.
Before we leave this thought it should be noted that, although we are told to “withdraw ourselves” from those whose doctrine is unscriptural, we are not to be of an unkind spirit. As followers of Christ we are always to demonstrate His love, but even the Lord would not walk with those whose faith was driven by the traditions of men rather than the Word of God. He ever loved them, and sought to win them to Himself and to truth, but would not join with them for their doctrines were corrupt. Examine the life and ministry of our Lord, and the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth.
Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Genesis 18:14
The answer to the question is a resounding “No!” There is nothing too hard for the Lord. His power knows no limit. He that created all things and continues to hold them together to this very hour can do all things. While there are things He will not do, there is nothing too hard for the Lord. This was found to be true by Sarah, and it was found to be true by the Virgin Mary. When told what the Lord had planned for her, her question was, “How shall this be…?” His answer was, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
This is an oft repeated theme in the Bible. It wasn’t too hard for the Lord to part the Red Sea, or to feed and care for the Children of Israel in their wilderness journey. He effortlessly parted the Jordan for Israel to cross over into the land of promise. The Lord Jesus restored sight to blind eyes, strength to lamb limbs and even life to lifeless forms. The storms were stilled by His command and the waves became a solid platform upon which He walked on the Sea of Galilee. Death could not hold Him on resurrection morning for there is nothing to hard for the Lord.
Beloved, He can take your impossibilities and make them possible, your unbearables and make them bearable. The Lord can give you strength to do what seems totally impossible to you right now. You may never tear the heavy gates off of a city’s walls and carry them off up a hill, but you will be able to do what to you seems totally impossible. Paul admonished us to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10) The reason he does so is that in our own strength we will fail, but in the strength of the Lord we will never. I must ever remind myself that where I cannot, He can. Where I am insufficient, He is all sufficient. Where I am inadequate, He is altogether adequate. We must all remember that there is not one thing, not “anything too hard for the Lord.”
For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. Obadiah 1:15
Things got really wild in our world today, just like it has everyday since Adam’s fall in Eden. The heathen continue to rage and imagine vain things, just as they did three thousand years ago when Psalms 2 was written. It does seem, however, that the raging is more intense than ever, and that is in keeping with Scripture. (See 2 Timothy 3:13) The mockery of all things sacred seems more widespread and accepted, and the ridicule of Biblical principles seems more and more the rule of the day. Will there ever be a day of reckoning?
“…the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen….” Yes, there will be a day of reckoning, and it is much nearer than most think. In that day, “as thou has done, it shall be done unto thee….” The Lord still keeps the record, and He will judge according to truth. (See Romans 2:1-9) One of the last messages of Jesus in the Bible is, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:12) And, know this, the “reward” here is not necessarily speaking of something good and wonderful. The Bible speaks of a “reward of their shame,” (Psalms 40:15) a “reward of the wicked,” (Psalms 91:8) and a “reward of iniquity.” (Acts 1:18)
Payday is approaching. This means several different things to followers of Christ. It means that ridicule, opposition, and persecutions will forever be ended. It means that those whose mouths continue to speak blasphemous words against our Lord will forever be silenced. But it also means that we need to busy ourselves in the service of our Lord. There are still souls in darkness that can be reached with the Light of the Gospel of Christ. This is no time stop or to allow our message of grace to be silenced. As opposition to Christ intensifies, so must our faithfulness to Him and His cause. The nearer His coming, the more challenging a life of faithfulness will be, but where challenges increase His strength will increase yet more. Just remember, “the day of the Lord is near….” “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:18)
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 Corinthians 6:1
The context of this passage has to do with the subject of salvation. Read carefully from Chapter 5:14 through 6:2. Scripture is clear when it comes to salvation, for salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Salvation cannot be purchased with wealth or earned with works. It is of grace, God’s unmerited favor through the Lord Jesus Christ. The song is right when it says, “Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”
Accordingly, because of God’s grace, He is very longsuffering and patient with humanity. However, Paul admonishes his readers to “receive not the grace of God in vain.” How is this even possible? For some, due to the fact that God is so exceedingly full of grace, their tendency is to postpone coming to Christ. They convince themselves that time is on their side and that someday they will break off their life of sin and come to the Lord. Others convince themselves that such a loving and grace filled God would never judge and banish them from His presence. Such belief is in error, for it makes God unequal on the eternal scale. The same Lord Who is filled with mercy is also just, hating sin and condemning the unpardoned to an eternal hell. For these, grace is being taken in vain, and the true benefits of God’s grace are being shunned.
To receive the grace of God in vain is to accept the message of the Gospel of Christ as true, but then never to personally apply it though repentance and faith. It is to cling to sin rather than to come to Christ. That person that receives the grace of God in vain can never make the plea of ignorance, just refusal. It would seem from Scripture that the person who has known the particulars of the Gospel and has refused to submit to them in faith will face a far more severe judgment from the Lord than that person who has never been affiliated with Gospel truth. For that reason, Paul wrote, “We then…beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” Peter wrote, “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” (2 Peter 2:21) Reader, it you have been blessed to hear and understand the truth of the Gospel, do not receive that grace in vain. Be saved today!
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:17-18
John had seen the Lord Jesus many times, but not like this. He had even seen Him transfigured before him, his brother and Peter, but he had not seen Him like this. This was the resurrected, glorified Son of God with clothing down to the foot and “around the paps a golden girdle.” “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire.” When John gazed down upon His feet, they were “like unto fine brass, as if thy burned in a furnace.” The voice that proceeded from the Lamb of God was “as the sound of many waters.” The radiance of His countenance was “as the sun shineth in his strength.” No, John had never seen or heard the Lord Jesus Christ as he was now, and because of what he saw and heard, he “fell at his feet as dead. You would have also, and so would I.
See how the Lord Jesus dealt with that fear. First, He laid His right hand upon John. That right hand represented the power of the Son of God. With that hand He had touched the sick and made them whole, the dead and brought them to life and the blind and caused them to see. That hand had a nail print in it, but not because it had been overpowered. It had willingly be nailed to the tree. When John felt the touch of that hand it was the touch of assurance, of compassion and comfort. The touch was followed by words that were repeated all through God’s Word, “Fear not….” The Lord was saying, “You don’t have to be afraid, John, it’s Me; the One upon whose breast you leaned at the last supper. The One that loved you, and continues to love you to this day. You don’t have to be afraid of Me, or of the message you are about to hear. In fact, you never have to fear anything, because I will always be with you.” Remember that, child of God, the next time something causes a feeling of fear to rise up in your heart.
And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?
And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.
But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him. 2 Chronicles 10:6-8
The Psalms begins like this, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly….” Rehoboam forsook the wisdom found in the first song of the Jewish hymnal, ignoring the wise counsel of his aged advisors and heeding the counsel of the young men that were brought up with him. The result was disastrous.
We are surrounded daily with “counsel,” advise given on how we should live, what we should eat, where we should go and what we should be doing. Sometimes that counsel is echoing the advise of popular opinion, and at times it is going contrary to what most are thinking or doing. The CDC says do this, the AMA advises to pursue this and the Surgeon General thinks we would be better to follow his counsel. E.F. Hutton thinks this would be the best investment, while Charles Schwab warns that to follow that financial advice could bankrupt you. We really should be taking in 64 ounces of water daily, but others believe 125 ounces daily is the prescription. As you can see, there is no shortage of advice today.
As a believer, all counsel you consider must be weighed and measured by the wisdom of God’s Word. We all know that much that is being peddled today by way of advice and opinion is nothing more than an effort to sale a product. That is something that need not worry us when we get our counsel from the Lord through His Word. It will never lead you astray, and will only always give you what is best for you in every way. Here is some excellent counsel; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God…rightly dividing the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15) and once you find that way that the Lord has prescribed for you keep this in mind, “This is the way, walk ye in it….” (Isaiah 30:21) The wise counsel of Scripture, rightly divided and applied, will never lead you astray.
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. Ruth 1:16-17
Wouldn’t you like to have a nickel for every time that has been used in a marriage ceremony over the past several thousand years? It was Ruth’s pledge of faithfulness to her mother-in-law, and it was a stating of her commitment to the God of Israel. This was a major step for this Gentile girl from Moab, and it changed her life forever.
Ruth was saying much in this commitment to the God of Israel. She was saying, “I will no longer be held or influenced by the false gods of my people. My commitment today is made to the God of Israel. His Word will guide my life from this day forward. His will shall guide me and become my beckon call. The things that He forbids I will lay aside. All of my decisions will be colored by, and guided by His Word and my relationship with Him.” She was saying that and more when she declared, “…thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God….”
There’s not a great deal of emphasis placed on that kind of commitment today in modern evangelism, but there should be. In the early church, to commit to Christ was a commitment to the distinct possibility of suffering severe persecution, or even death for the faith. For Jews, it was a commitment that would most likely cost you your place in your family. Some today in our world are facing that kind of opposition if they commit their life to Christ, but most are not, especially here in America.
Response to the Gospel of Christ does call for a commitment. Jesus did ask the question, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?” (Luke 6:46) A verse often used in evangelism says this, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus….” (Romans 10:9) The thought there is, “If thou shalt confess that Jesus is Lord,” that He is the Lord, and that He is your Lord. To say that and really mean it calls for a commitment to Christ. May He ever help us to be truly and totally committed to Him in all aspects of our lives! Amen!
And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. Mark 9:1
Another account of this event is given in Matthew 17. The Lord Jesus was “transfigured” before Peter, James and John on a high mountain. The description of the Lord is quite amazing: “…his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” (Matthew 17:2) The word “transfigured” is an interesting word, coming from the same Greek word where we get our word, “metamorphosis.” One definition of the word, “metamorphosis” is “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.” Jesus was transfigured before these disciples from His human, earthly state to His kingly glory that we will someday behold in His glorious kingdom. When John was caught up into heaven and given the great vision of the
Revelation of Jesus Christ, here is how he described his vision of the glorified Christ: “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a gold girdle. his head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.” What a magnificent image of the kingly glory of Jesus Christ! The redeemed will be most blessed to look upon Him in His glory some day.
Here is an intriguing thought; Jesus said, “…there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have the seen the kingdom of God come with power.” He was referring to His transfiguration before them. However, it is quite possible that there be some reading these words that shall not face death until they have seen the Lord Jesus come in His glory to set up His kingdom upon this earth. Think of that, child of God. We very will could be the generation that witnesses the Rapture of Christ’s Church and all of the glories that follow without tasting death. Check out the following passages: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. Look up and know that our redemption is drawing nigh! (Luke 21:28)
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:1-2
Charles Spurgeon said, “None should be so foolish as to imagine that the Judge of all the earth will put away our sins if we refuse to put them away ourselves.” Sin is such a deceptive thing. It takes on many forms. While sin can be vile, dark and loathsome, even the most seemingly innocent things can be sin. Simple disobedience is sin, as Scripture declares, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
One way to consider sin is that it was sin that required the death of our Savior on the Cross: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree….” (1 Peter 2:24) If sin is so loathsome, even the most insignificant of sins, that it separated mankind from His Creator, and required the death of the Creator to redeem us back to Himself, should we not hate sin also? Should we not endeavor at all costs to avoid it and seek to lay it aside from our lives?
Paul’s question is important; “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Our faith in Christ took us to His Cross where we died with Him for and because of sin. Faith also made us participants in His resurrection from the dead. We have been made new creations in Christ. See 2 Corinthians 5:17. Paul wrote, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from he dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) No, beloved, we cannot continue in sin or live any longer therein if we have been raised in newness of life with Christ. Let’s seek His power to enable us to lay aside sin in order that we might please Him Who died for our sin.
One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. Numbers 15:16
The Lord did not have one set of laws for the Jews and another for the “stranger” that was sojourning with them. The fact that they were not Jewish, had not be raised with an understanding of God’s law, did not exempt the “stranger” from its requirements or prohibitions.
Years ago I was given a speeding ticket for doing 60 in a 45 mile per hour speed zone. When the officer asked me if I realized I was going 60 I answered, “Yes, but that’s just 5 over the posted speed of 55.” He pointed to the back of a sign about 100 yards behind and said, “It changed to 45 right there.” I said, “I didn’t see that and didn’t realize it dropped there.” Guess what, ignorance did not help. I still got a citation. I’m sure you’ve heard it said, “Ignorance is no excuse of the law.”
God’s Word is filled with promises, hope and joy, but it is also filled with warnings, restrictions, prohibitions and requirements. A message of hope is given to all mankind through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that says, “Whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) It also says, however, that “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) So while all are given the hope and opportunity of being “born again,” the fact is that all MUST be born again, and if an individual is never “born again,” he will never see or experience the kingdom of God. Never having been affiliated with Biblical truth does not exempt a person from being accountable to it. It is God’s Word for the “quick and the dead,” (2 Timothy 4:1) the believing and the unbelieving. His Word is authoritative for all, and all are accountable to its truths.
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Zechariah 12:10
What a blessed day this will be, the day when “the house of David” and the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” with opened eyes behold their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. They will fully recognize Him as the One “they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him….” Upon these chosen He will pour out upon them the spirit of grace and of supplications. It will be a glorious day of restoration and healing, of love and tenderness.
Beloved, God has not cast off His people that He foreknew. Judicial blindness was passed upon them from God for their rejection of the Messiah, and that blindness will continue until the Church is completed, (See Romans 11:25) When the Church is completed, she will be called out of this world according to John 14:1-3 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and once this has happened our Lord will turn His attention back to Israel. He will fulfill in and for Israel all of the Divine plans He promised through the mouths and writings of His Holy Prophets. He will do this for He is faithful and true, and His Word never returns to Him void. (Isaiah 55:11). Those things He promised Israel will see complete fulfillment, and for that we praise Him, our God and Heavenly Father. Amen!
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4
Not all that mourn are comforted, but all who mourn before and to the Lord do find blessed comfort. Eliphaz was right when he said, “Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7) Because of this “trouble,” mourning is a well known and fully understood malady among the human family. It is sad, but true, that most who mourn will never truly find any comfort at all. Their hurt will know no healing, and there will be no “balm” for their tormented spirit. But when mourning is turned toward the Lord in faith, when the weeping heart rests upon the all compassionate shoulder of the Son of God, it finds blessed comfort. When the broken child of God turns to the message from heaven found in the Word of God, that suffering soul finds peace. What a blessed truth!
Many things cause mourning; the loss of a loved one, the brokenness of division caused by the deceiver or the bitter disappointment caused by sin. Whatever the cause, the Lord and His Word is ever the cure. The mourning heart must ever be brought into His presence to find rest and to be comforted by His Almighty power and amazing grace. Are you mourning, child of God? Has your heart been broken? Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you and longs to bring comfort to your hurting heart. (1 Peter 5:7)
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Philippians 3:10
Paul wanted to know the Lord; not just know Him in the free pardon of sin, but to know Him experientially. He wanted to know the Lord in every way, which would include knowing Him in His sufferings. The only way He could fully know and understand the “power of his resurrection” was to be fully associated with His suffering and death.
This poses for us a question: If being a follower of the Lord Jesus and receiving all of the blessed benefits of His gracious salvation requires us to be willing to suffer with Him, would we be willing to do so. Beloved, that is exactly the case. Listen to what Peter had to say about this; “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps….” (1 Peter 2:21) Following the steps of the Savior will inevitably lead one on the path to rejection, suffering and even death. Most will not be called upon to suffer literal death for their faith, but all will be called upon to die out to self and selfish things. (See Matthew 16:24)
Paul knew that to fully know the Lord requires being fully in step with His rejection, His ridicule, His suffering and His death. His heart’s cry was, “O, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the only way I can do that fully is to know the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” This required a depth of commitment from the apostle that few in our modern Christian world possess today. May the Lord help us to know that level of commitment to our Savior! Amen!
His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. Song of Solomon 5:16
The Song of Solomon is a deeply spiritual book that requires a spiritual mind to comprehend. It is a love story which depicts for us in symbolic form the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. The above verse was the bride speaking of her Beloved. She said that “his mouth is most sweet….” Think about something, child of God, are not the words of the Blessed Savior pure sweetness to your soul? Have His words not spoken comfort and hope to your broken spirit many times in your life? His words can be thought penetrating, and even sometimes rebuking and reproving to our wayward spirits, but even these words are sweetness for they bring us back to the place of blessed fellowship with our Lord. As the bride said, “this is my friend,” and sometimes the words of a true friend are painfully honest. But think about this, what kind of friend is one who will not be honest and sincere in all dealings with us. Jesus is our Friend, our blessed Friend that “sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) This Friend’s words can cut like a knife, but they will always be honest and given for our benefit.
His mouth is most sweet, ever speaking words that will be in our best interest. When needed those words will correct, and when needed they will comfort. These words will draw us closer to Him and further from the wickedness of the world. They will be food for our souls and water for our thirsting hearts. Beloved, the fact is, “…He is altogether lovely.” Like the bride in the Song of Solomon, may we ever be bragging upon our Lord, and letting the world know that “This is my beloved, and this is my Friend.”
Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Joshua 1:2
Every time I read these words my heart is saddened, “Moses my servant is dead.” We read of the excitement and wonder of his youth, his boldness and bravery as a young man, and his wisdom and obedience to the Lord in the years of his maturity. What a hero of the faith! But, the day came when it could be said, “Moses my servant is dead.” It was time for Joshua to step up and assume the role of leader of the Children of Israel.
I love to read and hear of the exploits of great Christians that faithfully served the Lord in their lives. Most of us have had people that have been influential in our lives, people that loved the Lord and served Him before us as godly examples. Our hearts were saddened when the Lord called them home, and we still miss them dearly. Here is the challenge to us, and here is the probing question facing us that remain; “Have I picked up the baton of service for Christ?”
The Lord said to Joshua, “Moses is dead. Get up and get busy. There’s a job to be done, and you’re the one that needs to do it.” This is the challenge to us all. We are the generation now that are to be “standing in the gap” and “making up the hedge.” (See Ezekiel 22:30) Joshua had a job to do and so do we. Thank God for godly examples that have been left us to challenge and to encourage us to faithful service of our Lord. Many, if not most of these, are now in heaven and the time is now for us to “arise, go over this Jordan” in the service of our Lord. May He help us to do so!
Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Psalms 19:11
Turn to Proverbs 4, and read Verses 25 through 27. Now, look in Hebrews 12, Verses 1 and 2. Next, read Psalms 1. The writer of Psalms 19, which happened to have been David, gives us some great counsel concerning God’s Word; counsel that we would do well in heeding. The above passages are just a small example of counsel given in the Bible that followers of Christ need to know and to heed.
God’s Word is filled with warnings. There is a reason for that. You and I are, as the song goes, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” We are sinners, and as such are prone to disobedience and sinfulness. The warnings in God’s Word deal with these very tendencies and temptations. These are not designed by God to make life less exciting and fulfilling. On the contrary, they are given to make life blessed and filled with joy and peace.
Life is like a great journey, a trip from one place to another. Along the way there are pitfalls and dangers, bad places in the road that need to be avoided. There are ways that we can go that will help us to avoid bottlenecks, traffic jams and work zones. When traveling from one location to another, we do well to heed road signs, maps and travel suggestions we can get from sources that know. There is no guide for life’s journey like the Word of God. If you will read Psalms 19:1-14, you will see the importance of this blessed Book in getting us through this life. By heeding God’s Word we are “warned,” and by keeping the truths of God’s revelation to us “there is great reward.”
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10
Remember that the man writing these words was the Apostle Paul, the author of 14 of the 27 New Testament books. He was given the revelation of the mystery of the Church as the Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul’s great missionary journeys are still inspiring missionaries to carry the Gospel of Christ around the world. It is this man that testified, “But by the grace of God I am what I am….” Please know that this was not mock humility on the part of the Apostle. He genuinely believed that He would have been nothing apart from the grace of God.
Has it ever dawned upon you, child of God, that apart from God’s amazing grace we would have nothing at all upon which to boast. Any goodness in our lives is due entirely to our Lord. If we have any abilities, any “gifts,” as found in Scripture, these all come from Him. Even the measure of health we enjoy is from Him.
The challenge comes to us from Paul’s pen; “and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.” He “laboured more abundantly” because of the Lord’s goodness in his life. So must we. God has been so good to us, and has blessed us so. May we ever endeavor to insure that the grace that He invested in us “was not in vain.”
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:4
These words came from the Apostle John, the aged man of God. Many years of his life had been spent preaching the Gospel of Christ and building up the saints of God to whom he ministered. It brought him great joy to hear that those he had led to Christ and mentored were walking in the truth of God’s Word. Might I remind you, however, that these are the words of the Holy Spirit to those who were quickened by His power, to those who were walking in the light of His Divinely inspired Word. Can you hear the Holy Spirit saying this; “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
Jesus said, “Sanctify them with thy truth; thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) God’s Word is that truth that brought us to faith, that nurtures us in this faith, and that keeps us grounded in the faith. It is that light that illumines our path in life, pointing out the pitfalls and dangers facing us along the way. The challenge for us is to “walk in truth.” God’s blessed Word is of little benefit to us if we are not continually walking in its light. To walk in truth is to be obedient to the Word. It is to allow it to shape every aspect of our lives. Jesus asked a probing question when He said, “And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)
Think of all the things that could cause our Lord to have great joy. He could take great joy in His amazing creation, a marvel that we will never be able to fully comprehend. He could take great joy in the angelic host that serve and worship Him continually. But when considering all the things that could bring Him joy, our Lord said that our walking in truth brought Him the greatest joy. May He grant us the will and the ability to add to His joy by walking in the truth that He has given us. Amen!
There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2
These words are from the prayer of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, when she learned that the Lord had heard her prayer in granting her a child. She was overjoyed that the years of her barrenness were about to end, and that she would be blessed to be a mother. This joy led her to a place of praise and adoration of the Lord God.
Think for a moment about the words of praise she offered to the Lord: “There is none holy as the Lord….” Amen! When Isaiah was caught up into the presence of the Lord, he heard angelic beings that rest not day or night, but continually cried out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts….” (Isaiah 6:3) Seven hundred years later, the Apostle John was blessed to hear those same beings still sending forth those praises to our God. There is none holy as the Lord.
Hannah acknowledged in her prayer that there “is none beside thee.” How true! There are myriads of false gods that are worshipped around the world, but there is only One Lord. In the great Shema of Israel, the prayer is offered to God both morning and evening, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
Finally, in her prayer she praised the Lord for being her Rock, the firm foundation upon which her faith was founded. Beloved, He is our Rock. We are built upon Him, and He provides for us a firm foundation upon which we stand. All around us is sinking sand, but He is our Rock. Isaiah said, “…the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” (Isaiah 57:20) Not so for the child of God. Like the wise man, our “house” is built upon a Rock, and that Rock is the Lord Jesus Christ. Such thoughts compel us to life our voices like Hannah to praise the Lord our God. May we ever do so, and may we do so this very day! Amen!
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 1:11
The prophets could not really see the Church of the Lord Jesus, but they could see that the Gentiles would turn to the Messiah. See Isaiah 11:10; 42:1,6; 49:6. Not all Gentiles lift up the name of our Lord as great, but His Church which is primarily made up of Gentiles does.
Think of this, child of God, around this world today there are souls that are lifting up their voices in praise of our Lord for His saving grace. From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, and in every place around the world grateful hearts are praising the name of the Lord. Its happening today in China, in Russia, in the Congo, in Brazil, in Argentina and in all places around the world. As you read these words, some believer in a foreign country is bowing before the Lord and worshipping Him for His goodness and for bringing him to saving faith. Truly, His name is great among those who at one time were considered “heathen,” but now are known as the children of God that make up His Church.
What about at your house today? Will you be lifting up His name and offering the incense of prayer and praise to our God? Paul encourages us to “…offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:5) There is no purer offering than that which is offered from an adoring heart that has been cleansed by the grace of God.
May we be encouraged today in this place to offer up to our Lord the purest incense of our adoration and worship. His name truly is great, and must be honored and worshipped as such. Find you a place today, child of God, and spend time before His throne praising Him for His goodness to you and to your family. Amen!
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: Genesis 3:4
What a liar! What a deceiver! Eve fell for his deception and his lies, and the rest is simply sad history; a history that is being played out every day around the world. Eve did die. She died that very day spiritually, and physical death began its march in her that day, culminating in the ending of her life on earth some years later. Around 150 thousand people will die around the world today, and all 8 billion or so were spiritually dead due to Satan’s lie. Some have been “quickened” or brought to life spiritually through the work of the Holy Spirit, but most are still dead in their trespasses and sins. And, beloved, that is due to the lie we read in Genesis 3:4; a lie that Eve believed, and the rest of the world continues to believe to this very day.
The sad news is that all are dead in their trespasses and sins, but the good news is that the dead do not have to remain that way. There is life in Jesus Christ. He said, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Satan’s lie can be overcome by Jesus’ truth, and spiritual death can be exchanged for spiritual life.
Some are fascinated by the horror fantasy of people walking around doing acts of violence that are really dead. That is foolish, but the fact of the matter is that the world is completely filled with the spiritually dead that are walking about awaiting the day when physical death will take them out of this life. That reality comes from Eve’s acceptance of Satan’s lie in the Garden, and lest we condemn her too severely, we would have fallen for the lie too.
Satan’s lie can only be overcome and conquered through the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. He said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) Beloved, have you been set free by the truth of the Gospel? Have you been made to realize that spiritual death has separated you from God, and that separation can only be bridged through the Lord Jesus Christ? If you have, thank God today for that glorious truth. If you have not, call upon the Lord that you might be saved from sin and death caused by Satan’s lie. Amen!
He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. Proverbs 10:5
This verse can be applied in many areas of life. Of course, it can be applied to our lives in reference to our employment and our planning ahead for those expected and unexpected events we all face. Let’s apply it spiritually. Simply put, now is the time for serving our Lord, for gathering in this summer of opportunity. This is not the time for “sleeping in harvest.” Doing such makes us sons and daughters of Christ that cause shame. Laboring for the Lord takes on many faces. Simple obedience to His Word is a sign of wisdom. Faithfulness to Him, His Word and His Work in the world is a means by which we labor in His harvest. Of course, gathering in the summer would include being actively involved in endeavoring to share faith with others with the goal of influencing them for Christ. It is witnessing, handing out tracts or issuing invitations to attend church. Gathering in the summer is living out the principles of God’s Word in the midst of a crooked and perverse world, letting our lights so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.
What a privilege it is to be called a “son” or “daughter” of the Lord. John wrote, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God….” (1 John 3:1) That blessing, that privilege demands a corresponding response. Anything less is a “shame.” Something as simple as the opening of a door for someone should be in turn thanked with an expression of gratitude. A yielding of a right of way on the road should be given a wave of thanks. That’s just simple driver’s etiquette. But the blessed privilege of being one of God’s children through the New Birth demands a grateful heart and attitude, and there is no greater sign of gratitude than a joyful and willing service rendered in the name of our Savior. Let’s pray and strive to be sons and daughters that bring honor to our Savior by faithfully serving Him! Amen!
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. Romans 14:7
A hermit is a person that lives in seclusion, a practice that is found in many religions of the world, including that of professed Christianity. The practice of living a life as a hermit religiously is called “eremitism.” A man who was referred to as St. Paul of Thebes, reportedly the first hermit, lived in the third century in Egypt. It is said that he lived alone in the desert of Thebes from the age of sixteen until he died at 113 years of age. He was declared a saint in 491 by the Catholic Church for his willingness to live his life as a hermit for his faith.
According to the Apostle Paul, none lives to himself and none dies to himself. I fail to see the usefulness in the Lord’s kingdom in one secluding himself from all contact with others. In fact, the Lord commanded His disciples to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) Admittedly, some are simply too cantankerous to get along with others, but when it comes to faith, “none liveth to himself.” I have to admit that there are times the life of a hermit might be appealing if I could just have Lynn, and my kids and grandkids, and my….. But that’s not really being a hermit, is it?
There’s another way to think of this truth: my life can’t be lived just for me. It must be lived for my Lord, and for the benefit of others. Paul wrote, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Philippians 2:4) Even the Lord had to have those times when He withdrew to desert places for rest and prayer, but then it was back to the multitudes and their needs. Beloved, we do not live unto ourselves, but unto our Lord and His will for our lives. May He help us to keep that in mind when life makes desert living in some cold, dark cave an appealing thought. Amen!
And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.
The Lord’s adversaries had observed Him intently, and they knew well that they could not find any accusation against Him for vileness or wickedness. There was never a criminal act or violation of common decency for which they could bring accusation. The only way they could bring accusation against our Lord was to catch Him doing something good that would be in disagreement with their misguided interpretation of the Law of Moses. “We caught Him in the act of healing the withered hand of a needy soul, and of all things He did it on the Sabbath day. How dare He do such a terrible thing!”
We read this two thousand years later and just shake our heads in disbelief of their skewed sense of values based on an erroneous interpretation of Scripture. The really amazing lesson in this event in the life of our Savior is the fact that the one and only way they could bring accusations against Him was to find Him in the act of doing something kind, productive, lawful and good. They knew that His heart could not allow the man with the withered hand to continue in his suffering, that He would have to act to alleviate this hardship. What a gracious Savior! What a just, holy and righteous Savior!
Here is the challenge. Would it not be wonderful if people could go over our lives with a “fine toothed comb,” and not be able to find anything at all for which to condemn us saving only in the doing of something good and Scriptural? “We caught her praying in public over her food!” “I saw him myself taking this dirty, worthless fellow into the store to buy him something to eat!” “All they ever want to do is talk about Jesus, go to church and invite everybody else to do the same! Who do they think they are? What makes them so high and mighty?”
It is really a shame when a Christian layman or pastor is caught doing something bad or illegal. When news like that is made public it is a reproach to our Lord and all He represents. Let’s make it our goal that if we are to be challenged or accused, that it will ever be for the doing of something sanctioned by and honoring to our Lord. Amen!
But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it? And looking around about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. Luke 6:8-10
He looked “around about upon them all,” the scribes and Pharisees whose hearts were filled with hate and hardness. Those eyes at times fell on men with anger and grief. See Mark 3:5. Praise His Name, there were many times that those eyes were filled with pity and compassion. See Matthew 9:36. On this day, His look was incredulous, filled with disappointment and perhaps frustration. He looked at Peter one night, just after Peter had denied Him, and it melted Peter’s heart. How could these men stand there before this soul with the withered hand and withstand those penetrating, piercing eyes of the Son of God? John saw the glorified Christ in heaven with “eyes…as a flame of fire,” (Revelation 1:14) eyes that looked beyond the facade of religious hypocrisy of these men who should have been Israel’s representatives of all that was good and holy.
Regardless of this, Jesus’ eyes looked upon the needy man with passion and determined to meet His need. He did just that! He did the very same thing for us; He looked upon our need of forgiveness and cleansing, and offered Himself on Calvary to provide that need. Praise His Name for that look of compassion! Our prayer should ever be, “O Lord, please help me to see all things just as You seem them, and especially I pray that You would give me eyes of compassion for needy souls.” Amen!