Oct 13, 2011

Given

god-giving-life

Forgetfulness about God’s faithfulness to us seems to be a human condition.  The Israelites forgot God as soon as they occupied the Promised Land, followed by a cycle of kindness by the Lord and forgetfulness of that kindness as soon as the distress was gone.

We Christians also find ourselves forgetful about all that God has and is doing for each of us.  We find ourselves facing trials or suffering allowed by the Lord for our benefit and His glory; we call out to him for guidance and deliverance.  He proves His loving care for us and His faithfulness on our behalf; we learn from the experience, and then forget what He has already done when we hit the next snag.

Having found myself in this miserable condition recently, I began to write a list of all the things I could remember that God had and was giving me.  As the list grew long, I was ashamed of my forgetfulness.  This passage came to mind:

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
(Psalm 103:1-2 NASB)

What follows is a list of things that came to mind as I meditated on what God has given:

Breath of Life

Genesis 2:7; Job 12:10; Job 33:4; Isaiah 42:5; Acts 17:25

Blessings of Nature

Psalm 8; Job 12:7-11

A measure of faith

Romans 12:3; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 2:8

Every good and perfect gift

James 1:17

   

Once to die, and then the judgment

Hebrews 9:27

   

His only begotten Son

John 3:16

   

Grace

John 1:17; 1 Corinthians 1:4

Forgiveness

Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 32:1, Psalm 130:4; Daniel 9:9; Matthew 26:28; Acts 5:31

   

Redemption

Psalm 11:9; Psalm 130:7

Justification

Romans 4:25; Romans 5:18;

Peace with God

Romans 5:1

Peace of God

Philippians 4:7-9

Eternal life

John 3:16; John 3:36

Hope

Romans 15:4, 15:12; 15:13

   

Adoption into God’s Family

Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:15;

Discipline as God’s Child

Hebrew’s 12:7-9

To suffer for His Name

Philippians 1:29; 3:8

   

The mind of Christ

1 Corinthians 2:16)

   

All that Pertains to life and godliness

2 Peter 1:3

My daily bread

Matthew 16:11

Guidance

Psalm 23)

Deliverance from evil

Psalm 23; Matthew 6:13

   
   

God’s Word

2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19

God’s promises

2 Corinthians 1:20; 2Peter 1:)

   

The Holy Spirit as a pledge of things to come for us

Romans 5:1-5; Ephesians 1:13-14 1Corinthians 6:19

Power to be Witnesses of the Gospel

Acts 1:8

Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Self-control, etc.

Galatians 5:22

Gifts of the Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

   

Priesthood

Revelation 1:6, 5:10; 20:6

Kingship

Revelation 5:10; 20:6

To be glorified with Jesus when He is revealed in Glory

Colossians 3:4

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Sep 1, 2011

ALERT

battle-trenton During the Revolutionary War, a loyalist spy appeared at the headquarters of Hessian commander Colonel Johann Rall, carrying an urgent message. General George Washington and his Continental army had secretly crossed the Delaware River that morning and were advancing on Trenton, New Jersey where the Hessians were encamped. The spy was denied an audience with the commander and instead wrote his message on a piece of paper. A porter took the note to the Hessian colonel, but because Rall was involved in a poker game he stuffed the unread note into his pocket. When the guards at the Hessian camp began firing their muskets in a futile attempt to stop Washington's army, Rall was still playing cards.

Without time to organize, the Hessian army was captured. The battle occurred the day after Christmas, 1776, giving the colonists a late present--their first major victory of the war.  (From: Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, p. 21.)

Jesus warned the disciples, and Paul and Peter both warned the saints to be on the alert.  In our distracted, careless society these are important warnings for Christians.  So what does it mean to be “on the alert”, and what are we to be alert for? 

To be alert means to be: watchful, observant, undistracted, on guard, quick, sharp, vigilant, wary, prepared; in other words aware of what is going on around you.

The opposite condition is to be: sleepy, distracted, unaware, incognizant, careless, sluggish, falsely secure.

According to Scripture, we should be alert:

1. For the Lord’s coming (Matthew 24:41-43, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13: 33-35, Luke 12:37)
2. In prayer (Luke 21:36; Colossians 4:2, Ephesians 6:17-19)
3. In teaching the truth and guarding against deceivers (Acts 20:28-31)
4. Against temptation (1 Peter 5:8)
5. Against an unforgiving heart (2 Corinthians 2:8-11)

At the same time, we are not to be anxious.  Being anxious is not the same as being alert. Instead, staying watchful depends on our being in constant contact with the Lord, our first Love, who is the source of all the strength we need, and staying in His word (which is how we know what He wants).  In this way, we can stay both alert and at peace. 

Jun 11, 2011

What Money Can’t Buy and Death Can’t Take Away

infinity clock
 A pastor friend of mine in Tennessee had a cross-stitched hanging on his living room wall that simply read “PASSING AWAY”.  Being in my early 20’s at the time, I thought that was just a zealous saying; impractical to consider.  I was just beginning get the things I wanted.  But through the years, the experiences of life have enlightened me a bit.  Careers, family, friends, finances, health, respect, human love; all seem to live so briefly.  They appear and then disappear long before we are ready for them to.
I happened on a radio program last week.  The speaker, the late Adrian Rodgers, was encouraging listeners to make a list of all the things (we have) that money couldn’t buy and that death could not take away.  I thought on this for a good while and could only arrive at a very short list that met both criteria.  Essentially these things would have to be both un-purchased, that is gifts, and eternal.  Three scriptures came to mind. The first clearly sets out three things that are eternal: Faith, Hope, and Love:
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13:12, NASB)
The second explains the eternal basis for the first three, the Word of God:
The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8, NASB)
The third gives us the benefit of the greatest of Faith, Hope, and Love:
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38, NASB)
So, here is my short list:
  1. God’s love, graciously shown to me when I was without hope, and had no use for Him;
  2. God’s righteousness, freely give to me through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One;
  3. Fellowship with God now, in this life;
  4. An enduring Hope: Eternal life in the presence of the One who has given these gifts.
So, whatever comes my way (or leaves me), I can now rest assured that I have an eternal and loving God and Father, who has first given me Himself and then bestowed on me the finest gifts; practical, strong and enduring—just what I always wanted but couldn’t quite see it.
Scripture Quotations from the New American Standard Bible.

Jan 4, 2011

Peace of God; God of Peace

money-ad

 

King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, (other than Christ) wrote:

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 5:10, NASB)

We may protest that we do not love money in that way, and believe we can excuse ourselves from this futility; but, the implication of this passage, in context with the rest of the book, is that we can substitute anything we want for the word “money” (except, of course God) and the passage still applies.

Solomon was clear that money, sex, knowledge, notoriety, work or status, while not bad in themselves, could not satisfy him; and he had them all in abundance.

Many of us are living troubled, futile and out-of-focus lives because we are still trying to fill ourselves with things that cannot satisfy our real need: to know Christ and His Word, and to live out that Word every day.

Do you feel you have no peace lately?  Are you worried, troubled and anxious?  Do you believe God is not blessing your efforts, and that everything you attempt ends poorly?  Here’s the cure:

6Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

7And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

8For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

9Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you. (Phillipians 4:6-9, Amplified Bible)

To sum up: Are you anxious? Do you lack peace? Pray and be thankful.  Do you feel God is not with you or blessing your efforts?  Try practicing the things you have learned from scripture.

*End Note: This post is for Christians.  If you haven’t believed the Gospel, and don’t know Christ Jesus, peace can’t be yours.  But if you will believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died for your sins, and rose from the dead, the peace of God will be yours and will grow as you listen to and obey the Word of God.

Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified Bible

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE