Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song;he also is become my salvation."Isa12:2

Mark dear christian friend where your salvation comes from. We know that it is not the works of our own hands that have redeemed us to our Great Heavenly Father, nor is it the merits of any from our lineage. Our salvation is wholly by grace as we are all well aware of. But where did grace come from? In this world we find no grace, and a very limited mercy coming from the hands of the inhabitants hereof. Grace is wholly found in God; it is impossible for us to view God and not be consumed with grace. Faith is the vehicle by which we receive this grace, but were it not for God being so true we would never have reason for faith, therefore faith is also of God alone! Once we receive this salvation by grace through faith how are we to conduct ourselves? Again it is through God; for Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word. (Rom 10:17) And again for the just (justified) shall live by faith.(Heb 10:38) Remember well, that faith, hope and charity are all the spiritual gifts we have today, and all of us have them all! What was Isaiah going to do? He would "not be afraid" for "perfect love casteth out fear"(1 Jn 4:18). Friend what have we to fear with God as the whole substance and sum of our salvation? We never need spend another night fretting whether hell would be our retribution were we to depart this life. We need never fear that God would cast us out, for we can point only to him for our redemption. We can have the boldness of leviathan, and mock at fear; for "if God be for us who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31) and we can praise from the highest places, for God himself is our salvation, and not we ourselves!

Monday, March 30, 2009

"What fruit had ye then in those things...?" Rom 6:21

Often times we need to be reminded of what this simple question points out to us. The fruit that we had while yet in sin was it ever sweet? We may say yes in a moment of carnality; but when we will take a step back and analyze the harvest we will realize how bitter the fruits of sin truly are. The drunkard while in a drunken stupor will say that he is having the best time of his life; but when he wakes in the morning he will say " They have stricken me...and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again." Pro. 23:35. Oh the deceptiveness of sin, how it will tell us that it is enjoyable; yet we see not that it is but for a season. It is so sad to see the drug addict who thinks that everything is just fine, and they disdain any help that is offered. We can see so clearly that the poison they are putting into their body is going to be their destruction, but they seem oblivious to it! Let us also beware lest we fall into the same trap, and the same bitter end as they. You say, I would never think of touching any type of illegal substance. Aye tis' true my brethren, but would you ever be willing to harbor the poison of bitterness within? The little foxes were the ones that destroyed the vines! How shall we escape this damnable beast of sin? Take a good long hard look at the fruits. If there is something in your life causing contention, bitterness, anger, strife, unrest, carnality, or anything else contrary to the will of God, be sure that at the root of the matter is sin. We can look back on our lives and see the debauchery of sin prior to our salvation; why not look at our lives today, and be sure that we no longer harbor any of those same fruits today?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"...so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks." Acts 19:10

Paul had an earnest desire to preach the gospel, and this is just another example of that truth. It took him 2 years but after much work was done, the Spirit of God was able to say that all the people in Asia had no right to burn in hell. What an amazing statement this is! I don't know how many people were living in Asia at that time, but I am sure that this was not an easy task. Often times we see our job that God has given us to do and we shrink back, and think, there is no way that I will ever be able to do this. We must remember that we have the same empowerment that Paul had when all of Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus. Today we have a much better ability to reach many more people, in a much shorter amount of time with the technology of the day. With radio broadcasts, the Internet, printed materials; we are so blessed. Today a missionary can get on an airplane and be halfway around the world within 24 hours, where it used to be a great feat to go to some foreign land. Today we can get in our air conditioned automobiles and travel all around town, rather than walking, or riding a horse, or some other primitive mode of transportation. Sad to say though, I cannot say that the whole town where I live has heard the word of the Lord Jesus. Living in America we tend to think all people have heard; but they have not. I am always amazed at how many people have never heard the plain and simple gospel when I share it with them, sometimes they will say "I never knew that it was so easy". It is going to be a sad day at the Judgement seat of Christ when he reminds us "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required..."Lk 12:48. Let us settle it therefore in our hearts that we will not fail at this great job we have ahead of us. Let us use all the resources God gives us, and accomplish our task.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." Jn 13:7

Friend what is your situation today, does it seem hopeless? Remember the words of the text. There is much about the operation of God in our lives that we simply do not know. Today we do not see face to face clearly, but one day we will. Many times we will go through some sort of a trial, while the whole time we are looking every direction we can, we look up, down, forward, back, side to side; and never can perceive what is the purpose, at these times can't we just hear the Lord say "thou knowest not now". We all know that his ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts(Isa 55:8), but we still tend to question this when in trouble. What a great wonder it is that the Lord in his wisdom and mercy will not let us know all that is taking place at any given time; for were we to know, we would no doubt still try to question why. When Christian was going through the Valley of Humiliation and Death it was a great mercy that he passed through at night when the visions of the terrible beasts were blocked from view, else he would have no doubt turned back. That is certainly the case with us sometimes, periodically we need to go through a season in the night where the way is dark and lonely, and we do not know what is going on, for if we knew we would be scared out of our wits. Oh the great thought though, one day we will know the purpose of our trials, one day we will see that his way was always the best. One day we will see the dangers that lay on either side of the path of our pilgrimage. What a day that will be when we are able to know these things "hereafter", we will certainly fall down at this feet with a shout of thanks and a great hymn of praise. Friend, mark his words and rejoice that even when we do not know what he is doing now, he does!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"...they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid." Jn 6:19

It was a sad day when the disciples saw their blessed Lord coming to their aid, and fears were raised in their hearts and minds. They had been sent out by the Lord to cross to the other side, and in the middle of the sea; in the middle of the night, when they had gotten to where there was no sight of land where they came from or where they were going, he came to them. These twenty five or thirty furlongs would have been around 3 1/2 miles into the sea in a storm, on a clear day you can only see about 4 miles from land. The disciples were not rebuked for their lack of faith on this occasion however, but they did learn an important lesson; and became a wonderful type for us. How true it is that we so often get sent out on a mission from the Lord that seems rather reasonable, but once we get to the point of no return the sea begins to swell and hope begins to fade. We will typically find that when we get this far out on the limb as it were, that is when the Lord himself will step in to come to our aid and rescue. Lord help us that we will not do as is so common; just as the disciples grew fearful, often times we do as well, when the Lord shows up on the scene after a season of trouble. When he shows up we can be sure that what we have been striving for for so long is just at hand. Many times I fear that when we see him though, we tend to pull back, rather than rejoice that our help has arrived. Have you prayed for something? When it happens don't fear, keep your eyes on the goal. The devil is the one who tries to get us to fear the coming of our Lord. Remember he is coming as our help, not our adversary, so allow him to work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"... He hath done all things well..." Mk 8:37

Oh how we all could say an emphatic amen to that statement. How many times has it been that we were in the midst of some trial that it seemed would never end, and it seemed to have no purpose; but at last we came through and saw that the Lord was working all the way through the storm. That may be your case today; in the heat of a battle, or in the midst of a great storm; don't forget all the other times where the Lord even Jesus has taken you through and turned the devils trials into the Christians blessing. There have been cases in my life personally that things just did not make sense at the time, but in the end I could certainly say "He hath done all things well." Remember young Esther when she was taken (with or without her consent we do not know) and brought to the beauty pageant for the King; all things probably seemed wrong, but at last the good hand of God showed through and she knew that she was there for "such a time as this". Maybe as is the case with our son, you have an ailment that is going to seem to hinder you; NO do not allow it, despise the notion, for when we are weak then are we strong! Remember that the Lord has a reason for all things, and he does not make any mistakes! These people praised God when they saw his miracle of making the deaf to hear and the blind to see; but before they could be healed they first had to be infirmed. That could be where you are today, so just count the infirmity as the beginning stages of a miracle. Whatever your position is use it as an opportunity to give praise to God. Are you in health? Praise God. Are you distressed? Praise God. Are you at the point of exasperation? Praise God, for he has put you there.Praising God is our duty as humans, never mind as Christians. H.G. Spafford realized this in the midst of the deepest despair and penned the words:
"When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul".

Today can you mount up on wings of faith and cry out "He hath done ALL things well."?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"...for his word was with power." Lk. 4:32

What awesome power is found in the words of Christ! The words that fell from the lips of the lowly Galilean were never words of eloquence so great that only a mastermind could understand what was being said. Contrariwise he used plain, everyday words to convey his message of salvation, so that the simpletons and even little children could perceive what he meant. How amazing, and sad it is; that the wise and prudent tried to look into what he was saying rather than simply accepting it, they seemed oblivious to his teaching. Today the same is so true, many people cannot get a grasp on the Gospel message; not due to a lack of education on their part, nor due to a lack of clarity on the Preachers part, but simply for the fact they won't accept the power of the message. The Pharisees were a very religious and highly educated people, but would not receive the power that came in the message of God, therefore they "erred". No matter the level of intelligence, the Gospel is ample to save, simple to understand, while yet being powerful enough to confound. What gave Jesus power in his words more than any other person in his day? Certainly humanly speaking the religious crowd had far more and better education, and would be more qualified to teach the people. What Jesus had though was a correct interpretation of what was already implanted in the hearts of the people, and found in the scpirtures. Today we need not have a high degree, or be trained by the finest of educators; what we need is some good old fashioned Bible without all the other frills attached. Common people have always responded well to plain Bible teaching and preaching, religious folks have always bucked at the authority of God and therefore have never liked Bible teaching. Make it you goal to never buck at the word of God, because he who speaks it is speaking as Jesus with "power".

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Ps. 133:1

Will there be any quarrels in heaven? I can hardly imagine that there would be any who would be obstinate enough to say yes! Living here as strangers and pilgrims we sometimes tend to lose our patience with those whom we are sojourning with, but we must beware for our adversary knows this is a weakness, and will try to use it against us. Many times while in the heat of our anger it is well justified, but after the flames of rage have cooled some we see that there really was no need to be so vehement. In times like these we need always to slow down, the Devil likes to get us to drive furiously as Jehu. When I speak to men in jail, many of them will say that things just happened so fast they seemed like they had no control. It was not customary for them to do some of the acts of violence they did, but alas the Devil was able to transcend reason and get them to work out of rage. Even the holiest of saints is subject to the adversaries attacks, so beware Christian the "wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." What a blessed time we may enjoy in sweet fellowship with those we call brethren; we should strive to never let that fellowship be destroyed under any circumstances. How good it is when a Church is operating properly, and those within are in unity, not with family only; but as the body of Christ. Let the time on this earth prepare us for the time we will spend at our Blessed Redeemers feet, and learn how to dwell together here; today. We all understand that there are many things that will be far different when we reach glory, but let this not be one of them. Someone has once said
"To live above with saints we love,
Oh that will be glory;
But to live below with saints we know,
Well that's another story."
Do we not seek rest; seek unity. The rest we seek that is found in Christ, is very intricately tied to the peace we have with one another. Do you have a quarrel today? Why not resolve it before the sun sets tonight?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

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

Often times while we are in the midst of affliction it is our cry to our Heavenly Father that He would remove the affliction from us. That is what makes this such a profound statement; "It is good for me that I have been afflicted". History tells us the author of Psalm 119 was Ezra, no doubt living in Babylonian captivity was a very trying experience for any child of God, that had set himself to seek and know the God of his fathers. After 70 years of Babylonian captivity there were probably many who had forgotten the God of their fathers, and that would be lonely for Ezra. It is a sad day when the children of God forget their own Father. Alas; it is so though,and many times we will have no companion like Faithful along the road to the celestial city, but although we walk alone we still must walk. At these times of trial don't give up, if the Lord has put you there, he will always know where you are. The most beautiful diamond the world has ever seen started out as a lump of coal that was put under tremendous pressure for an extended period of time. The troubles that you face as a believer are by a certain design of your Father, so don't lose heart when everything is going awry, remember "it is good". Ezra learned a great deal of respect for the word of God in the midst of affliction, so much to even call it his lamp and light in the weariness of this world. Many times this trying is just what we need to wake us up , and renew that desire within us for the word of God. Often times it is in the midst of trials that we will learn the statutes, or ways of God far better than in times of ease, for in the midst of trials we can see clearly the faithfulness of our Father, and know that every move he makes is all because he loves us. Whatever trial you may face, weary pilgrim, take courage for; "we know that all things work together for good..." (Rom 8:28)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mic. 6:7 "Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"

What due can we render to the Lord Almighty for our sins? All that has ever proceeded from our bodies has been defiled by the inherent sin of humankind. The sin that we view as most treacherous, in all reality came directly from our wicked sinful heart. The transgression of Gods holy law, has been the separating force that has withdrawn us from his blessed presence. The righteousness that we claim as our own will be to no avail as it is tainted by the leprosy of our sin. When we view that righteousness, as God sees it, we can realize, that, it is the force that is actually keeping us from him. Naaman the leper found that his awful disease was ruining his life, and ran to the man of God for his cure. There is where we will find healing as well; for "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word"(Rom. 10:17) and "how shall they hear without a preacher"(Rom. 10:14). Would God be satisfied with the sacrifice of our body... an emphatic no should be heard. Can we render ourselves as servants to God in such a sinful state... once again no! The lepers in Israel were placed without the camp where the presence of God was, so as not to defile his elect. True today, spiritually, there is a line of demarcation between the saved and lost, they cannot enter into the congregation of the Lord without first having been cleansed. What a grand privilege to be cleansed from such a terrible disease! Where did it come from, not from any fruit of our body, but in the work of our great high priest Jesus. Thank God today Christian that the fruit of our body is not required of us, but the blood of his was sufficient to wash, cleanse, and purify us when he "bare our sins in his body on the tree"(1Pet 2:24). There is no greater thought to me than that all my sins were laid on him and I shall not owe any price for the sins of my soul.
"My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to his cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Neither will I hide my face any more from them..." Eze. 39:29

What a most glorious thought this is to think about, dear Christian friend; that God will no longer hide his face from us. A grand sentence from the lips of our divine King, to remind us of just how far his grace is carried forth. Today we live in the world as strangers and pilgrims, weary and worn we often attempt to look for the face of our King but alas it is hidden from us. It is not due to a lack of compassion or grace on our Lords part, but due to the presence of sin on ours that his face is at times hidden from us. He has said that his hand is not shortened nor his ear heavy but due to our sins he has separated from us(Isa 59:1). We can be certain that the lack of Gods presence in our lives is solely due to our infirmities, and not his lack of mercies, which are new every morning. Dear friend this is why a constant state of wariness of sin is so vital. We must watch for sin, as the deer in the woods watches for the predator, as it will destroy our bodies and damn our souls. Our God has never yet blessed sin, so we must remove it. Also if we are to see the face of God we must have a righteousness far more superior than our filthy rags, and be found in him. Just as Moses when he made his ambitious request must have been placed in the cleft of the Rock, so must we. For it is only from thence that we shall see his glory. Truly Christ is the Chief and Cornerstone that we must stand on throughout our entire pilgrimage here. How is it today, would Christ truly be pleased with you, if not, why not now claim 1 John 1:9 and then draw nigh to him(Jas 4:8). God desires for you to have the grand privilege of his face shining on you will you then fulfil his joy?