January 23, 2021
One of the great things about God’s word is its inexhaustibility. The more we grow in our understanding of God’s word; the more we study it and meditatate upon it and allow God’s Spirit to instruct our hearts through it, and we accept its truths and submit to it; the more we find new gems and new depths in it and we see connections between passages and concepts of which we were unaware. We gain in our appreciation of how intricately various truths are interwoven throughout it. I have often thought of how marvelous it would have been to be one of those disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus as He opened and expounded the Scriptures to them; revealing how the Old Testament writings spoke of Him. How they revealed His ministry and what would happen to Him beginning in Genesis and going all the way to Malachi. It has been a special blessing to see how God, through His Spirit, has been opening my understanding and teaching me as I have been studying and preparing a message on the significance of the Lord’s Supper. This is in preparation for our communion service this Sunday. The more we read and meditate and memorize and obey those things that God teaches us, the closer He draws to us and manifests Himself to us. There is nothing in this world that can come close to the blessedness and the peace of that sweet communion and closeness with the triune God as He manifests Himself to us. This is what Jesus meant when He said in
John 14:20-21 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (21) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
January 22, 2021
Gal 5:14-15 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (15) But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
What a drastic contrast is presented in these two verses. It should seem inconceivable that the Apostle was talking to the same group, especially since he was talking to Christians; brothers and sisters in Christ who supposedly love and serve the same Lord and are being led by the same Spirit. The sad truth is, and one that Paul was well aware, that Christians who refuse to obey God’s command to be loving one another, will often be involved in “biting and devouring one another.” As I was thinking and meditating upon this last phrase, the Lord brought another verse to my mind
1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
We see the “teeth” that satan uses to tear apart and devour are the Christians who ignore Gal. 5: 14 and end up being those in Gal. 5:15.
If we are loving one another, we will not be backbiting and poisoning hearts and minds against each other. Rather we will be supporting and encouraging to one another. All Christians are members of ONE body. Great shame will come upon those members who have and are yielding themselves as instruments of unrighteousness. Backbiting is like a cancer that will spread throughout the body. God will either heal it through the working of His word in the heart and bringing them to confession and repentance, or He will remove it, as I have personally seen Him do on more than one occasion. Satan wants to destroy us or at least destroy, stop or hinder the work God has designed us for. Let us be careful not to do or say anything that would aid him in those efforts for ourselves or for others.
January 19, 2021
Gen 50:19-21 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? (20) But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (21) Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
This is a wonderful example and reminder of what God tells us in
Rom 8:27-28 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Joseph went through some extreme trials. He was betrayed by some in his own family, he was falsely accused and sent to prison, when it seemed like there was hope for release he was forgotten by the butler and there seemed like little hope of ever being released. Yet, through it all, he remained faithful to God in all that he did and no matter what situation he found himself. That is the key. No matter what others may do or say about us, our focus should be stayed upon God and serve Him faithfully. We really have little or no control on what others do or say, but we can trust that God is working all things out according to His master plan for us. God is aware of what is going on in our lives as the Psalmist wrote in
Psalm 69:19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.
God will preserve, reward, and exalt us in the end and those who worked against us God will humble.
Psalm 71:24 My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.
Instead of wasting our time worrying about the wrong others have done towards us, or fretting about the circumstances that we find ourselves, our energies ought to be on serving our God, knowing that He is working all things for His glory and our good. We can rejoice in the knowledge that all things God brings or allows in our lives, is according to His will for us and He is using them to purify us and to mold us into a vessel of His design and for His purpose.
January 18, 2021
I borrowed the following that was shared by a good pastor friend.
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature: and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:6 KJB)
“Be cautious with your speech ! It only takes a couple of seconds to ruin your testimony by using loose words. Whether saved or lost,, the tongue is a “world of iniquity” ! “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may desire.” (I Peter 5:8 KJB) Satan would love to hear you ruin your testimony with your tongue: By this single misuse of your tongue in your speech, you can ruin your opportunity ever to be an effective witness for the hearers, or, you can be an extreme discouragement to others having a similar problem.”
Pastor Rick Mears makes excellent points and is no needed during these days when there is so much division and strife among God’s people. The tongue can be and is a most destructive organ. If we do not take care to watch over our tongue, we can ruin the testimonies and witness of others just as well as our own. This in turn can ruin the fellowship with the ones we were backbiting against. How many hearts and minds have been poisoned against a brother or sister in Christ by Christians. Just two verses later James writes
Jas 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Even as Christians, our tongues can make us an abomination to God, but He tells us the way to avoid this iniquity in
Pro 16:5-7 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. (6) By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. (7) When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
January 8, 2021
We have probably all had those days when it seemed like everything that could go wrong did, or it may have seemed like it. Recently there have been a number of things that have seemed to go wrong in my life. Simple things that I take for granted suddenly did not work or there was a problem. As a Christian we can have full assurance in
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
However, we often stop there and neglect to consider the rest of the thought in the next verse
(29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
God is indeed working all things for good, but that does not mean that all things that happen in our lives are going to be pleasant. In fact, He has many things planned for us that are not going to be pleasant. It is in and through the fires of adversity that we become malleable so that He can more readily form us into “the image of his Son.” That forming will not be fully complete until we shed this flesh of corruption.
My first reaction and thought was “Lord I do not need this, especially not today.” However, isn’t marvelous how the Spirit of God in us causes our thoughts to seek God’s purpose in them? It is so wondrous to know that God; the glorious God of all creation, is so focused on me personally, that He is deliberately working in and through me for His glory. Oh, praise God that He loves me enough to want me to be conformed to the image of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Our purpose during those times is not to figure out how God is going to use them, but simply focus on how we can best honor God with our thoughts and actions. Instead of being angry or discouraged by those things, we look at them as opportunities to honor God. I believe that is the main difference between the reaction of the flesh and the response of the Spirit.
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
January 1, 2021
Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
The year 2020 was an exceptionally hard and difficult one for so many. It has brought much hardship, suffering and even death to multitudes. Our hearts certainly grieve also with some that are very close to us who have suffered extreme loss recently. It has made me especially thankful for the many ways in which the Lord has watched over and blessed both me personally as well as all members of my immediate family including my mother who turned 100 years old this last August.
I am thankful that as a Christian, my life is in the Lord’s hands. Death would not be a tragedy for me. In fact, I look forward to the day when my eyes shall behold my precious Lord Jesus, who has loved and blessed me and continues to bless me. To actually see Him with my own eyes and to hear His voice audibly with my own ears. That is the day and the moment that I look forward to with much longing. There will be no more trials, no more battles, no more failings, no more grieving in my heart for not being all He would want me to be. But I am also torn, because it also means that there will be no more opportunities to demonstrate faithfulness to Him; no more opportunities to exercise faith in Him and no more opportunities to share the wonderful good news of the Gospel to those who are stumbling through this life without real purpose. They are unaware that there is a great God who loves them; a great Saviour who died for them and a great life that awaits them. A life of real peace with God, a life of freedom from the dictates of the flesh and a life of rejoicing in the wonders of God and His creation.
My prayer for this year, or for the days till He takes me home, is that He might give me the fruit mentioned in this verse as I share the Gospel. That God through His Spirit and power open the eyes of blind hearts that they may see and understand the glorious Gospel and receive that new life in Christ. That God might also continue to use me to teach and preach His word that His saints might be blessed and edified through it. That I also might continue to grow in my understanding of Him and His word through studying, praying, meditating and hiding His word in my heart.
Psalm 116:12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
December 29, 2020
Isaiah 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
Not too long after the Lord revealed to me that He was calling me to minister His word, I wondered why He had given me such an interest in mathematics and science. As it turned out, those were the things that would be the means for me to provide for my family. However, studying them has also been a blessing and have allowed me to see and appreciate even more the wonder of God’s creation. They have also allowed me to see the “hoops” that unregenerate scientist go through in order to try to explain creation without a creator. Before the time of Einstein scientist thought that the universe was static. Then they realized that the universe was expanding and they came out with the “Big Bang” theory, which is not really a theory but actually only an hypothesis. However, since then they realize that not only is the universe expanding but it is accelerating, which means the Big Bang hypothesis in wrong. However, rather than admit it, they have invented the concepts of “Dark matter” and “dark energy”. All they really had to do was to pay attention to what the Bible has said in this passage all along.
Any physicist knows that after any explosion (big bang) the velocity of all the matter will start to slow down, but that is not what is happening. As noted, the matter in the universe is accelerating which means there must be an external force acting upon it. That external force is described in Isaiah 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: The form of the verbs translated sitteth, stretcheth and spreadeth that God had the Prophet Isaiah use, means a constant current action. It is interesting that scientist only in recent history realized that the universe was accelerating. If they had understood what this verse said, they would have realized that God had revealed that over 700 years before Christ. They would also realize that there is a Power beyond the universe that is at work. Once they realize that space itself is stretching (by an unseen “hand”) as the Bible says, then they will realize that there is no dark matter or dark energy.
December 10, 2020
Psalm 86:17 Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.
As I have been reading through the Old Testament, this is the verse that the Lord laid upon my heart to meditate upon and memorize for this week.
Sometimes when people have been cruel or said things against us, or about us, and perhaps have reminded us of past failings and faults, we can be brought down very low spiritually. Satan loves to remind us of how unworthy we are to be used of God for His glory. He will get what is coming to him, along with all those who serve him.
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
The truth is that those who engage in this are blinded to their own sin and by their own self pride to the fact that none of us are worthy to be used by God, except by His matchless mercy and grace.
One way that the Lord encourages us is when He pours out His special blessing upon us. The Psalmist knew this and thus he prayed for God to do it. He also knew that those who were against him would be ashamed as they saw how God was blessing him. Often God will do this even without the asking. This reminds us that our focus ought to be on serving our Lord acceptably. There will always be those who will be envious or jealous and will criticize and seek to discourage us and hinder the work God has for us. Which would be better? Having God repay them for their evil against us personally or having our Lord grant us a “token for good”, that is, a special blessing upon us or the work He has given us, to testify of His approval.
December 8, 2020
One of the hardest lessons that I have learned is the reality of what is said in 1John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
It is so hard to accept the idea that some of those who we once thought of as one with us in the Gospel, would turn out not to be so. In one sense it is good, for now their true identity is known and we are no longer fooled about who they really are and really serve. So we now know how better to pray for them. However, it is especially sad to see how effectively satan can blind their minds, so that they may still think that they are Christians. It seems like in recent times they have become even more bolder in their backbiting and false accusations and are in total self-denial that they are doing anything wrong. They are also totally ignorant of the fact that while they are tearing down those who truly know and are serving the Lord and seeking to discredit them, they are having an impact on the minds and hearts of those around them including their friends and family members, both saved and unsaved. In future years they may well wonder why perhaps some of their own family members have turned away from “Christianity”. This of course is all part of satan’s plan for them and is what can happen when someone accepts the doctrine of Christianity, but who has never truly accepted the Christ of Christianity. Unfortunately, they are all about religious works because it makes them feel good and often seek to be in positions to influence others in their church. However, there will be a lack of real spiritual fruit in their lives. Common earmarks are their tendency to backbite about others; a real lack of love for all Christians, and a true burden for lost souls. The Apostle John writes about them also in
1Jn 3:10-11 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (11) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
People may claim that they love a brother or sister in Christ, but the things they say about them or to them reveal the reality.
1Jn 3:18-19 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (19) And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
December 2, 2020
1John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Praise God for our great Advocate. Jesus has paid the complete price for all our sins. And He is the propitiation, that is the propitiatory sacrifice, provided by the Father’s love and appeasing the righteous wrath of God. Webster defines it as “the act of gaining or regaining the favor or goodwill of someone.” When Jesus suffered and died on the cross, He satisfied forever and completely all that was needed to appease God’s wrath upon sin. However, that appeasement of God’s wrath is in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus John tells us in
1John 5:11-12 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Those who have repented of their sin and received Christ as their Lord have the appeasement of God’s wrath, but those who have not will one day experience the wrath of God for their sin.
The good news is what John says in the rest of
I John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Here John tells us that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of all people. No matter who or where they are or what kinds of sins they have committed. God tells us clearly that He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (I Peter 3:9)
Someone might ask that If God is not willing that any should perish, then why is it that so many have and will perish. The answer is that salvation is a free gift that God offers to all, but only those who will receive it, will possess it. Thus John records in
John 1:11-13 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Have you received the free gift that God has provided in Christ?
November 30, 2020
God is so good, so glorious, so awesome, so wonderful, Praise His Holy Name! Oh, how I pity those who do not know Him. How sad it is to realize that there is such a magnificent, infinitely merciful, and gracious God, yet so many who will never enjoy the peace and joy of having a personal constant relationship with Him; of having His Spirit dwelling within; of experiencing His great love and closeness deep within the heart. I praise God and thank Him for all the ways He has blessed and watched over me and my family, but none of that can compare to the blessed fellowship He has with me. If I had a thousand tongues and a thousand years and knew all the languages of Earth and Heaven, words would still fail to express the glory and wonder of the God I know and love.
Psalm 66:16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.
Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
Revelation 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
Pastor Bill Tower
November 14, 2020
My memory passage this week is Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, – my heart is so filled with thanksgiving to God that He chose me. I would be lost and on my way to Hell today if God had not interceded in my life. When I first heard the Gospel, I did not believe it. I went away just as lost as I was before. I had no room or desire for God in my life, but God had a desire for me to become His child. That is a wonder that I will never understand. There was nothing nor is nothing in me, that a Holy and Righteous God would want me as a member of His own family. Yet He chose me anyway and made me His own dear child. He brought me to my knees before Him as He made me realize what a wicked sinner I was and that I deserved to be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented “day and night for ever and ever”.
But He still loved me and sent His Son Jesus, to suffer the wrath that I deserved and paid for my sins on the cross. I died with Christ on the cross that night and was born from above by the Holy Spirit of God, as I repented of my sin and accepted Christ as my Lord. I was made a new creation that night with a new nature, a divine nature, which desires to please and honor my Father in all that I do and with all that I am. I still have the old nature to contend with, and it trips me up sometimes, but I am no longer the servant of it. I despise it and long for the day when God will take me out of this world. However, He still has the work that He has chosen and anointed me to do in this world through the ministering of His word to those around me. Praise God that He continues to guide and direct in my studies of His word and in the understanding, He gives of it that I might prepare each week the messages He has for His people.
November 11, 2020
I John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
This is one of the most clear passages on the triune personage of God. However, it has been either deleted from many of the modern translations or there is a note suggesting that it was not in the original Greek text. The reason for this is that most all of the modern translations are based in whole or in part upon ancient manuscripts that were made by someone who did not believe that Jesus was God in the flesh. In order to cover up the deletion, modern translations split verse 8.
This is also why they left out the wording “these three are one”.
This change in English translations did not take place until around 1800. Virtually all English translations of the Bible before that time had wording that was essentially the same as the King James Version.
The obvious reason for the change was satan’s attack on the deity of the Lord Jesus. This is why they also changed the wording of 1Tim. 3:16 which, speaking of the Lord Jesus, says “God was manifest in the flesh“ to read “He who was revealed in the flesh”.
There are both internal and external evidences why the King James Version, and other versions based of the Textus Receptus Greek text is the right reading. While people can, and do, argue the historical reasons, I believe an honest comparison of the two, will reveal which one is more consistent with the truth of who Jesus is and honors the Lord Jesus more.
I realize that most will not change what they believe about whether the Textus Receptus or the Westcott and Hort Greek text is correct, either because of personal pride or pride and trust in the school they attended. However, for me, having studied the historical evidences, and more importantly the internal evidences and considering which is more consistent and honoring to my Lord, I have full confidence that the Textus Receptus is the right text. Consider also that, if satan wanted to introduce changes into the Holy Scriptures, he would not make changes which would exalt the Lord but to tend to cast doubt on His deity. This is exactly what the Wescott and Hort text does. I pray that at least this might cause some to seriously consider the truth of what I have shared and earnestly pray that the Holy Spirit might convince them of that truth.
What governs what I do, say and teach more than anything else, is the knowledge that I will one day soon stand before my Lord Jesus to give an account to Him. That is true for every believer.
November 4, 2020
Refer to my note on Oct. 29.
1Pe 5:8-14 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (11) To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
2Cor. 11:14-15 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
I mentioned the other day that Satan can, and too often has, used Christians as instrument of unrighteousness to help devour a brother or sister in Christ and that I have come to believe that the method he uses most is backbiting. Also the people he uses most effectively are “ministers of righteousness”. They are those individuals that we would least expect or suspect (including themselves) of being used by satan to cause divisions among brethren.
There are too many reasons why and how someone can justify backbiting against another to even begin to list, but that is not the point. The result of backbiting is always division and it always hinders God’s purposes. Those of us who have been the object of backbiting know how deeply it hurts. If we are not careful, it can, and often does, cause bitterness in our hearts towards our accusers. This also is a goal of the devil. This is why it is so important to take heed and follow closely what our Lord teaches us.
If we give in to bitterness, we are not going to be in a place where God can use us as He wants. Jesus said love your enemies. Do not respond in kind. I have learned the bitter truth that we often cannot change what people think about us or say about us, once their minds and hearts have been poisoned towards us by someone backbiting against us. We can, and should, pray for them and continue focusing on serving our Lord faithfully. There will always be backbiters, their will always be those who despise us. Eventually perhaps they might come to realize how wrong they have been to treat any child of God in such a manner. That will certainly be the case when they stand before God. We must stay focused on serving our Lord acceptably and let God take care of the rest. I have seen how God has a way of turning things around and making things right. It is when we are in that kind of situation that we can honor our Lord and put into practice in our lives what Jesus has told us.
Mat 5:44-45 But I say unto you, 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; (45) That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
October 31, 2020
I shared some comments on my memory passage for this week yesterday. Those comments addressed the serious problem of backbiting that has plagued the Church from the earliest days. While the Lord may have me share more on that another time, I believe He would have me share some more encouraging thoughts about this passage today.
1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Notice that the devil, our adversary “walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” While the devil was created a powerful spiritual being, his abilities are nothing compared to God. I believe the Apostle uses the phrase “walketh about” to remind us that the devil can only be in one place at a time. He is not omnipresent, (present everywhere at once). While he has many of his fellow evil spirits who followed him in his rebellion to help him, he must go about “seeking whom he may devour.”
Compare this to what God tells us about Himself.
Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
God also reveals a blessed truth for those who belong to Him and are seeking to please Him.
Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
Although he is a very powerful enemy, we can resist the devil’s efforts as God tells us in
I Peter 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
The devil knows he is no match for those who are putting their trust in God. This is why we are told by the Apostle James
James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Praise God! The devil doesn’t just leave, he flees. Think about that.
October 30, 2020
This is part of my memory passage for this week.
1Pe 5:8-14 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Every Christian (every person for that matter) has a powerful and very crafty enemy. He is all about destroying. God warns us that he is “seeking whom he may devour”. He is an expert at using every means and every person for his purposes. Unfortunately, this includes Christians. Something that I have observed and said for many years now is “Christians are satan’s favorite people, to use for his purposes.
2Cor. 11:14-15 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Satan can, and too often has, use us as an instrument of unrighteousness to help devour a brother or sister in Christ. I have come to believe that the method he uses most is backbiting and the people he uses most effectively are “ministers of righteousness”. They are those individuals that we would least expect or suspect of being used by satan to cause divisions among brethren. That is why he loves to use Christians. Anytime someone accuses someone else behind their backs or tells something about someone which lowers our respect for them or appreciation of them, or hurts their reputation or testimony, that is backbiting. If we engage in backbiting our heart is not right with God. We are serving satan and his purposes. It makes no difference how long we have been a Christian or labored in Christian services. God makes it clear that His desire is that we are united in love, one to another, which will not be, if we are poisoning the hearts of others towards someone through backbiting.
I will be sharing more on this later, Lord willing.
October 27, 2020
As most of you know, at least once each week I try to share something from my daily devotions and Bible study as I meditate upon my Lord and His word. I share these on Ragged Mountain Bible church FB page also. Our Lord told His disciples “freely ye have received, freely give.” My prayer and hope is they might bless, encourage, and challenge your heart as they do mine and I thank you for the privilege of allowing me to share them with you.
Who Am I?
I am a sinner saved by grace through faith in the finished work and sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
I am a beloved child of the heavenly Father.
I am born of the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit of God dwells within me.
I am part of the body of Christ and fulfill that function within that body for which I was specifically designed.
I am part of the bride of Christ and I am to obey and honor Him as a wife to her husband.
I am a citizen of Heaven to which I owe my highest loyalty.
I am an ambassador for Christ to represent Him and His wishes in this world.
I am a servant of the Most High and Sovereign God of All.
I am a fellow heir of the glories of Heaven.
None of these things were or are the work of my own doing. They were all accomplished, designed and ordained by God for me. If you are truly a Christian, then they are just as true about you.
When you think of me or speak about me, or do something to me, remember, my God knows your thoughts; my Father is listening; and my Master is watching.
Now consider a brother or sister in Christ with whom you may have a quarrel or be “on the outs” with, and replace the words “I am” in those statements to “They are” and consider that last statement with that person in mind.
October 13, 2020
As I have been studying and working on the message for this coming Sunday, I was struck by the wonder of what was happening. Seeking and preparing a message for God’s people is like digging for treasure. As God moves in my heart and His Spirit guides my thoughts, the truths of His word begin to shine forth. I seldom know what the final form of that treasure will look like until I have completely unburied it, but it will shine forth in the brilliance of God’s truth that will challenge, feed and bless the souls of His people, exalt our glorious Lord, and dispel the darkness of error.
One reason why it is so important to be praying for pastors every day.
October 3, 2020
My Old Testament reading this morning was Psalm 18. What a wonderful testament David gives of God’s care for him. Read carefully and try to picture what David says in verses 6-10 which give a beautiful picture of God coming to David’s rescue.
Psalm 18:6-10 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. (7) Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. (8) There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. (9) He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. (10) And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
What a glorious picture of God coming to David’s rescue. It reminds me of those old western movies when the wagons are completely surrounded, the ammunition is just about gone and there is no hope of preventing the sure massacre that is about to happen. But then, in the distance, they hear the trumpet sound of the cavalry coming to their rescue and they see the mighty and strong soldiers coming over the rise as they charge into their attackers with their guns blazing. Multiply that by ten thousand times and it still would be nothing to how God desires and is able to come to the aid of those who put their trust in Him.
We serve this same God, but we should ask if we can say the same as David testifies later in this psalm, about our heart and our walk in this world.
September 30, 2020
Matthew 21:28-30 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. (29) He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. (30) And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
There is a lesson here which I believe is often overlooked. The first son told his father that he would not do what he said. However, notice that the father did not respond in any way to him for his refusal. The father could have immediately dealt with his son’s refusal, but he chose not to. We tend to be quick to react when people do not do what they should. Sometimes we should give people time to think about their response and give them the opportunity to change their minds on their own. If we force or coerce someone into doing something, it can, and often does, result in resentment. However, if we give them time to change their minds after they have thought it over, it can result in appreciation and respect. While some situations require immediate action, there are many others that do not. The Lord Jesus was using this as an illustration of how God deals with sinners. We should all be thankful for the patience God shows towards us and be ready to show that same patience towards others.
Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
August 26, 2020
1Jn 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
Verse 19 is a simple verse yet it contains a powerful truth that is too often overlooked. One of the most discouraging things I have observed over the years is a lack of love among those who name the name of Jesus. There is plenty of “love” among those who have like views. There is sweet comradeship between those who are a part of the “group”. There are many clicks within churches and within pastors or church “leaders” groups. However, those who are outside or not a part of their group are quickly criticized. These things ought not to be and are indicative of a lack of real spirituality. An all too common manifestation of this is the backbiting that goes on, even in and especially among those who are supposed to be mature Christians. It amazes me how readily people accept backbiting against a brother or sister in Christ, even though it is something God hates. It is no wonder that I have heard very few sermons against this most wicked sin that has been one of the common tools satan uses to cause divisions among God’s people. There is much more that could be said about this, but the focus here is on what this verse tells us.
“hereby we know that we are of the truth.” Everything we say about or do to brother or sister in Christ reveals where our heart is. Would those evidences testify that we love that brother or sister? No matter what a person may say, it is what they do that reveals their true heart. God reveals to us very plainly that this is the true test of the true believer.
1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
There are no exceptions in this verse, the intent is whether we love EVERY brother and EVERY sister, for it is easy to love some or perhaps even most. Is there a brother or sister of which our words or actions towards them would reveal we do not love them?
August 25, 2020
Part of my current memory passage is
1Jn 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
The use of a double reference in the Bible is for special emphasis. When John says “in word, neither in tongue”, he is emphasizing to us that love is more than words or language. Here John is contrasting the difference between our words and our actions. This is similar to what the Lord inspired James to write in
James 2:15-17 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, (16) And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (17) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
So it is with love also. Do our actions towards others demonstrate our love for them? God is the greatest example of this for us, and is summed up in
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
There are souls around us that are in far more dire need than those who are “destitute of daily food.” There are many souls who are blindly on their way to hell and every Christian has the truth that can save them. James ask a question that is just as applicable for those who fail to share this truth with those who are lost. “how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
August 24, 2020
My New Testament reading this morning was John chapter 4 which tells of Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman.
John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
There is a beautiful connection between God giving in instructions to Moses for supplying life saving water for the children of Israel and salvation provided through Christ. Moses was instructed to smite the rock the first time.
Exo 17:6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
This first incident of striking the rock, is a wonderful picture of Christ being smitten for us on the cross to bring salvation. This is shown in the saving of the thief on the cross. He was about to die with no hope, but Jesus’ death on the cross to pay for sins, provided the way for him to be saved.
Years after the first incident when the children of Israel were in need of life saving water again God instructed Moses to speak to the rock.
Num 20:7-9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (8) Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
Thus Jesus says in
John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
Of course, Moses had no idea of the picture that God was drawing for us. Instead of speaking to the rock as God had instructed Him, he smote the rock. The sacrifice which Jesus made on the cross is sufficient to bring salvation to all.
Jesus said John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Have you called on the Lord Jesus repenting of your sin and receiving Him as that living water?
August 18, 2020
Gen 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Recently I was reminded of this verse and it brought back thoughts I have had about it for many years. The phrase “Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field” has always caused me to wonder. We now understand that a serpent is a creature that slithers along the ground. But this is the result of the curse, which indicates that it did not travel on its belly before the curse. Couple this with the fact that God says “thou art cursed above all cattle” would indicate that the serpent was originally part of the cattle family.
The word cattle be-hay-maw’ refers especially to large quadrupeds, that is cattle. It is different from the word translated beast which is khah’ee which refers to living things in general.
Thus the serpent was a quaudruped, that is, it had four legs before the curse.
The word for serpent is naw-khawsh’; a snake or serpent. It is derived from naw-khash’ which is a verb which means to hiss, or to whisper.
The origin or words is a fascinating study. Many words for things are derived from their most prevalent characteristic. Whether that were some physical appearance or action exhibited by the object or thing.
Thus the prominent characteristic of the serpent, even before the curse was to hiss or whisper. I find it interesting that the word whisper or whisperer is only used thrice in the Bible.
Psa. 41:7 All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.
Isa. 29:4 And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.
Pro.16:28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
It is disturbing that so many who name the name of Jesus, so often behave as serpents. May we ever be on guard against becoming a serpent
July 28, 2020
Those who believe in the New Reformed theology believe and teach that to allow the free will of man, brings God down and makes Him a lesser God than the ultimate Supreme Ruler of everything. However, this is not only not true, since He is the One who created us with free will, but to disallow free will violates the very character of a loving and just God. With no free will there is no justice with God, since it would mean that God was punishing souls for doing something they had no control over. It would also mean that God was neither loving nor good, for He would be creating souls which would be designed and ordained by Him to spend an eternity suffering in the eternal flames of the lake of fire. That is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible made all things good, including man and all the spiritual beings. It was by deliberate rebellion against Him and His will that sin and evil came into the world. Yet, in spite of this, God sent His own Son Jesus into the world to pay the penalty for our sins and offers complete forgiveness and new eternal life to all who will to turn from their sin and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
John 3:15-18 That WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that THE WORLD through him might be saved. (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
June 30, 2020
June 24, 2020
Nehemiah 3:1-4 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.
(2) And next unto him builded the men of Jericho.
And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.
(3) But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.
(4) And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz.
And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel.
And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana.
One of the most common complaints I have heard about reading the Old Testament, is that Christians do not see the relevance of what they are reading. For example, they may wonder why would God include the list of who built what and the order of where they were building. The Bible is an historical book, recording both events and the names of those involved. There are those who claim that the Bible is rhetorical or allegorical. However, the listing of individuals and their families makes it clear this is not the case. If we were to travel to Jerusalem today, we could look upon the very walls and gates around the city and know who the individuals were that built those particular parts, about 445 years before Christ was born. The Bible is like a Time Telescope that we can look through and see actual events and specific people, both in the past and in the future through the prophesies. It might be helpful to remember that as we are stumbling over reading their names. Think about who they were and what circumstances they were in at that time.
May 27, 2020
Part of my memory passage this week is
Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
What a fantastic and glorious truth this is. The context is how Christ, as the Great High Priest, who lives forever, has made the eternal sacrifice for our sins and is now in the presence of God in Heaven. Those two last words, “for us”, are the cause for boundless wonder, joy and peace to my soul and fill my heart with love and thanksgiving for my Lord. Jesus died for me and He is now in Heaven; in the very presence of the most holy and righteous God of creation; and He is there on my behalf. The blood He shed on the cross was the full payment for all my sin, so that I now appear before the all holy God in the righteousness of Christ as described in
Rom 3:22 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:
Jesus is in Heaven at this very moment as my Great High Priest, so that “ There is therefore now no condemnation…” and I am fully accepted and loved as God’s own dear child. Oh, that my words and actions today might reflect that glorious reality.
May 19, 2020
1Timothy 2:1-4 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
I exhort therefore – the word that Paul uses here is a very powerful word. It means to implore, beseech or intreat. It is not just a suggestion or invitation. It is necessary for God to implore us to do these things because they do not come naturally to us. How often are we guilty of not doing these things which God’s word clearly tells us to do. Have many of us have done these things today, this week or this month? Note the importance that Paul places upon these things for he says “ I exhort therefore, that, FRIST OF ALL.” It is easy for us to complain about how bad things are in our nation and in our government. Paul, and the early Christians lived at a time and in places where the government and religious leaders were extremely hostile towards Christians. Yet Paul does not rail on them or on how bad things were. Rather He tells us what we are do about it. There is nothing more powerful that prayer. Rather than simply complain or vent, we need to be offering “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks” for all men; (2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
Are these things on the list of things we do daily? What changes might we expect to see if God’s people were faithful in what He exhorts us in this passage.
May 18, 2020
Judges 8:4-10 And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them. (5) And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian. (6) And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?
The Lord already had given Gideon a tremendous victory. One hundred twenty thousand of the invaders had already been slain. He chased the remaining invaders back across the Jordan river and his men were faint and hungry. The size of the army they were chasing was still 15000 strong. It’s understandable that the leaders in Succoth thought that there was no way Gideon and his 300 were going to defeat them. So Gideon goes on another 10 miles to Penuel and they also refuse to give his tired and hungry men any food. It would have been very tempting at either of these times for Gideon and his men to think they had certainly done enough. It would be nice if they returned home rather than go on to fight an army that they had no natural ability to defeat. But God had said He was going to give the Midianites into their hands and Gideon was not going to stop until the last two invading Midian Kings were destroyed.
May the Lord help us to continue fighting the good fight of faith even when we are tired and faint and the enemy is still much stronger than we can defeat.
Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
May 9, 2020
Gal 6:1-5 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (2) Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (3) For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. (4) But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. (5) For every man shall bear his own burden.
Some imagine that v5 contradicts v2, but v5 is talking about an inward perspective and v2 is talking about an outward perspective. We should be a help and encouragement to those around us, but we also bear the responsibility for our own sins. We rejoice in the fact that God completely forgives and cleanses us from our sins when we truly repent and confess them. However, the self examination mentioned in v4 should lead to our feeling the “load” of our own sin: and this should lead us to bear sympathetically with our neighbor’s burden of infirmity. The knowledge of past sins should not be just pushed out of our minds. Rather, that knowledge will help us in our daily walk. The sorrow and shame of them should keep us from repeating them. It will also increase our appreciation, our love and our dedication to our Lord. David, Peter and Paul are a few examples of this in God’s word. Let us let the knowledge of our past sins do its work; to help purify our walk with the Lord; to have empathy for our fellow sinners; and to renew afresh our love and appreciation for what God has done for us.
April 23, 2020
My memory passage for this week is
Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
This may seem like a very simple and easy thing to do at first glance. However, it is easy to overlook the connection between the phrases in this verse. The overlying emphasis is that we owe a debt to every person and that debt is to love them. In order to understand what this means; it is necessary to understand what the word love means in this verse. First, it is NOT the noun love, but the verb love. It is not talking about a warm affectionate feeling. It is talking about action. We have little or no control over our feelings, for they are reactionary. However, we have full control over our actions, so we have no excuse for not obeying what God says. God’s word further instructs us as to how this love behaves, so that we can conduct ourselves accordingly.
Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
No matter who the person is, we should be kind and considerate to them. These are natural for those whom we have an affection for, but we OWE them to every person. There are no exceptions allowed. This does not mean that we overlook their sin and wickedness, but it does mean that our actions must always be just and good. Our Lord Jesus is the greatest example of this.
We ought to have the same mind towards others that God had towards us. Our desire should be to view all as either actual or potential brothers and sister in Christ, for so they are. Just as God has worked the miracle in our own lives and hearts, He can and desires to do the same in theirs.
April 13, 2020
2Ch 18:18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.
Imagine what a fantastic sight that must have been which the Lord allowed Micaiah to see. I have sometimes thought about collecting all the passages in the Bible that describe Heaven and the throne of God and putting them all together. What a glorious place it is. Isaiah describes a vision on Heaven in
Isa 6:1-4 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (2) Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. (3) And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (4) And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
It is hard to imagine what it looked like to see all the thousands upon thousands of the angelic host of Heaven stretching out to the right and to the left from the throne of God.
Consider what Jesus said in
Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
What a glorious sight it will be to see Jesus coming with “all the holy angels”. The whole sky will be filled with the brightness of the glory of Jesus and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of His holy angels.
I pray you are doing well.
Thursday, April 9, 2020
As I was preparing a message recently, the Lord brought to mind an incident that happened in my own life. I had been misjudged by someone and as a result they sinned against me. Yet even after they realized their error, they refused to confess and repent of their sin. As I thought about that and as I think about it now, my heart is greatly saddened at the loss of the sweet fellowship we once enjoyed. Even though I have forgiven them completely and desire earnestly that someday it might be restored, there is a greater reason for my sadness. Unconfessed sin is a poison to the soul. The only way to get rid of it is by repentance and confession.
One of the most powerful verses in the Bible is Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
To not repent of our sin is to cut off our prayers so that our Lord will not hear them.
What a horrible thought. This truth is so important that God declares in Isa. 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.
We may wonder some times why the Lord is not answering our prayer. It would be wise for us to consider the real possibility that it is because of some sin which we have refused to repent and confess. Will we allow our pride to block our prayers?
1Jn 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
2Ch 15:1-2 And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: (2) And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.
As I read this verse this week in my devotions, I was reminded about another verse that mentions the word forsake.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Too often some Christians will grab onto a saying from the Bible and not look deeply into the context. I knew a deacon once who had a habit of this. While it is true that Christ constantly dwells within every Christian, this does not mean He will help them out of every trial or difficulty. In fact, He may be the One bringing it upon them. God makes it clear that He deals with us according to our actions and attitudes. If our hearts are not right with Him, we can expect Him to deal with us accordingly. In fact, sometimes it is even God’s will for us to commit to destruction, a Christian who is overtaken in a sin, as Paul instructed the Christians in Corinth.
1Co 5:3-5 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, (4) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, (5) To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Praise God that the one Paul was speaking of repented and got his heart right with God, but that is not always the case. If we persist in our sin He will deal with us as He did with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5. God gave them each the opportunity to repent and tell the truth before they were struck dead from God.
Our actions and our heart’s attitude matter. If we are deliberately sinning against God, God is going to deal with it. God does not change. What He said by the prophet Azariah to Asa is still just as true for us today.
“The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”
Lord, help us to examine our hearts honestly before you. Give us the wisdom and strength to confess and forsake that which is not pleasing to you and be walking according to your will today.
Love in Christ,
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
2Sa 22:6-7 The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; (7) In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
This is the passage that the Lord has laid upon my heart to memorize and meditate upon this week. It seems very appropriate for the times we are in. There are no extra words in God’s word. It is important for us to realize that every word and phrase is there by God’s design and purpose. When something seems to be repeated it is important that we consider it carefully.
“I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God” This reveals the intensity with which he was praying. The more trouble we are in or the greater we feel the need, the more intense will be our prayer. The Lord convicted my own heart this morning for my lack of prayer and praise for Him. It is not that I have not been praying and praising Him every day, but I have not been nearly as intense or filled with praise towards Him that I should have been. It is so easy to take the things God does for us and the way He supplies our needs for granted and not really praise and thank Him the way we should.
“he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears” Here we see another doubling. It speaks both of the surety of God’s hearing his prayer and of the wondrous blessing that the God of Heaven and Earth would listen to his cry.
Oh, what a glorious privilege we have to call upon the God of Heaven, knowing that He hears us.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
My New Testament reading this morning was Acts 16 and describes the events of Paul’s trip to Philippi.
Acts 16:22-27 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. (23) And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: (24) Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
Paul and Silas came to Philippi to bring the Gospel to the people as God had specifically led them to do. Yet, now, they are beaten and thrown into prison. Their beating was severe for it says “they had laid many stripes upon them.” The Jews never gave more than thirty-nine stripes to any criminal; but the Romans had no such law or restriction and they gave as many as they chose. Some believe that Paul refers to this in 2Corinthians11:23 where he says “in stripes beyond measure”. Each stripe was a wound inflicted by the whip or rod. These were probably open wounds as indicated by verse 33 “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes;”
It is significant that we see no word of complaint or questioning from Paul or Silas. Instead we read in verse 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
Prayer and praise are an unbeatable combination. When we suffer as the result of being faithful to God, instead of complaining, we should realize as Paul and Silas did, that it is a great honor and our God is well pleased with us. It is during times of adversity that our faith and love for God can shine forth as a bright beacon. God will always honor our faith. Sometimes He will do it in a most remarkable way as we see in the rest of the chapter.
(26) And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
Paul and Silas had no idea how God was going to work things out through their suffering, but God knew a jailor who needed salvation. Praise God for His love and mercy.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
My Old Testament reading today was in II Chronicles. Solomon was the wisest king who ever ruled on this Earth. 2Ch 6:12-14 And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands: (13) For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven, (14) And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:
Oh, that the leaders of our country might awaken to these great facts about the God of creation. It would be so great and marvelous to see even one of our national leaders bow down before God in public and pray a similar prayer for America and her people. God has so much love for all people upon this Earth and He demonstrated it by sending Jesus into this world to take the full punishment for the sins of the whole world “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn.3:16)
This is what the Apostle Paul wrote about in
Rom 5:6-9 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
It is so sad that so many will die in their sins because of their refusal to believe God.
Rev 21:7-8 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death
Friday, March 20, 2020
Psalm 119:39-40 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. (40) Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
“Turn away my reproach which I fear” – for those who love God and are seeking to please and honor Him, there is nothing more shameful than to be found guilty of sinning against Him. Satan and his children love to accuse those who are seeking to live for God. They love to discredit the servant of God, because by doing so they can bring shame to their testimony and hinder their witness. Even those Christians who are not living a vibrant life for God, often take secret pleasure in seeing a devoted Christian stumble. “They think they are so high and holy, but they are just a phony.” They think that by discrediting them, they are discrediting the standards by which they live. This is why they are so quick to make known the sin of others through backbiting and gossip. However, all backbiters will be put to immeasurable shame themselves when they appear before the Holy God. To sin so against a Child and servant of God is to sin against God Himself. It is well that the Child of God fear the reproach of sin in their lives, for it can help them from straying from the path of righteousness.