• THE CAUSE OF DEFEAT

    0

    “And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.”
    Judges 2:14

    God’s people pay a tremendous price when they refuse to obey the Lord. When we rebel against His will, we sacrifice our sweet fellowship with the Savior and the power of God working in our lives. God does not want His children to be defeated. He has promised us victory and provided that victory through His Son, the power of the cross, and the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. However, that victory is conditioned upon our obedience to Him and submission to His will.

    In our text, God’s anger “was hot against Israel.” The reason He was angry with His people was because they were forsaking Him, following the gods of the heathen and disobeying His Word. As a result, the Lord “delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them…so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.” They would be defeated in the face of their enemies. Defeat came because of their disobedience. Defeat was a part of their chastisement.

    When God’s people are defeated, it is a tragic thing. Families suffer. Many people pay a great price. God’s work is affected and hindered. Reproach is brought on the name of our precious Savior because of our defeat. Defeat does not bring glory to God. One has to wonder how many of God’s children today are defeated. God wants us to have victory in our lives. He wants to give us victory over temptation. He wants us to have boldness in our witness for Him. He wants to help us keep our sinful flesh in submission. He wants to give victory over destructive habits. He wants to make us more Christ-like in our character and attitudes. He wants us to be victorious in our lives. God wants us to experience His joy and power, even in the difficulties of life. We are more than conquerors through Him. We are on the winning side, but that victory will only be realized as we obey Him and follow Him.

    We are not defeated because the enemies of righteousness are too strong for God to conquer. Like the nation of Israel, when we turn from the Lord and refuse His way, defeat will eventually come. But if we follow Him closely, He will guide us to victory.

  • THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST

    0

    “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
    Acts 2:36

    What a great description of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each of His names and titles carry great significance. His name, “Jesus,” identifies His Person and purpose. He is the Savior. He came to save us from our sins. He came to this earth to die on the cross, His blood was shed that we might be forgiven and reconciled to God. He was the Servant of all servants. He went about doing good, healing the sick, delivering the oppressed, and saving the lost. He was a Friend of sinners. He was betrayed, ridiculed, abandoned, and crucified.

    Not only is He the Savior, He is the “Christ.” Jesus is the Anointed One, the Messiah, the promised Deliverer, and the Hope of Israel. This same Jesus is also “Lord.” He is Master, God, supreme in authority. Sometimes people act as though Jesus is their Savior, but not their Lord. The Jesus of the Bible is God, and He is Lord. One cannot have Jesus unless He is Lord. That does not imply that every area of our lives will always be in perfect submission to His lordship, but it does mean that everywhere and at all times, Jesus is Lord. At times, the humility of Christ is so emphasized that His lordship is not recognized or appreciated as it should be.

    His lordship is acknowledged at conversion. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). We are saved when we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. But, the Jesus we are trusting is Lord. Anyone who thinks it is possible to receive Christ as Savior while rejecting His lordship is mistaken. He is Lord.

    His lordship is also recognized in spiritual growth and discipleship. The child of God walks in the light of Christ’s lordship. He is Lord of Heaven and earth, and He is the Lord of our lives. He rules and reigns in our daily experiences.

    This lordship is equally realized in the church: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). The church is to be submissive to the lordship of Christ. He has supreme authority in His churches. We are to be obedient to His commands and follow wherever He may lead.

  • THE HALF HAS NOT BEEN TOLD

    0

    “And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.”
    I Kings 10:6, 7

    The queen of Sheba had heard of Solomon, the king of Israel. The reports she received about Solomon’s acts, his wealth, and his wisdom seemed so remarkable that she considered them to be exaggerations. Though she “believed not the words,” she made the long journey to see for herself. The only way she could know for sure would be to see for herself. When she witnessed Solomon’s wealth and his court, she said, “It was a true report that I heard in mine own land.” She had not been misled. The reports were true. In fact, she continued by saying, “behold, the half was not told me.” What a tremendous change of opinion. She went from thinking that the reviews about Solomon were falsehoods and exaggerations to declaring that her information grossly underestimated the magnificence of his kingdom.

    Many of us could give the same testimony about our Savior. We heard of Him, what He had done, and what He could do for us. We heard of His great wisdom, power, mighty acts, and love. Some would say it sounded too good to be true. Could Jesus be as wonderful as we heard He was? Could salvation be as marvelous as we were told? And then, by His grace, we came to see Him for ourselves. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit opened our eyes and let us see. We saw for ourselves His boundless love, His great compassion, His mercy and grace, His power to save and forgive. And then we too declared, “the half was not told me.” He is everything and more than we could ever imagine Him to be. Words could never adequately describe the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Our text begins with the words, “she said to the king.” She told the king how much she underestimated his glory. We need to tell our King how wonderful He is, how He has exceeded all of our expectations, and made our lives complete. We must also tell others. The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s wonder while she was in her own land. We need to take the marvelous news of Jesus Christ to people wherever they are and tell them how wonderful He is.

  • CHASTISEMENT

    0

    “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”
    Hebrews 12:5-7

    As God’s children, we will all experience His discipline in our lives. He corrects His own. The Old Testament gives many examples of God’s chastening toward the nation of Israel. What should be our attitude toward God’s correction?

    Our text tells us that we are not to “despise” it. We are not to resent it or disregard it. We know that God is just when He corrects us, and His CHASTISEMENT is evidence of His love. The Scripture before us says, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.” Our Father God deeply loves His children, and one way that He manifests His love is through correction. When a parent loves a child, he cannot allow that child to go in the wrong direction without correcting and disciplining the son or daughter. Our love will not allow us to ignore the disobedience of our children. We know that a strong will and rebellion will spell out the ruin of those we love; and because of our love, we chastise them.

    God is much more loving and wise than we are. He will not permit us to continue to go in our own way without chastening us. Our text uses three words in describing God’s correction. The word “chasteneth” means “disciplinary correction or instruction.” This has to do with teaching and training, which would include correction. To correct means “to make it right, or get something back to where it should be.”

    Another word that is used is “rebuked.” A rebuke is a reprimand, reproof, or being told that we are wrong. God rebukes us in correction, sometimes through another person and often through the Word of God. The text also uses the word “scourgeth,” which is a stronger word meaning “to beat or flog.” These words remind us that God’s CHASTISEMENT will become more severe if we do not respond to Him in repentance. It is unwise to ignore His correction.

    None of us enjoy being rebuked or corrected, but it is a comforting reminder that we belong to God. He “dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not.”

  • WHAT SHALL I RENDER?

    0

    “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.”
    Psalm 116: 12-14

    Many of us have struggled with the same question. “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?” How are we to respond to God for the many blessings He has provided us?

    We know we could never repay Him for His graciousness in our lives, but God’s goodness calls for a response. It is good for us to reflect on how wonderfully blessed we are. The psalmist reminds us that God is the source of blessings. So many in our world fail to recognize where our many benefits originate. The Lord is the giver of every good gift. The air that we breathe is a gift from God. He gives us strength and health. We owe our ability to work or earn a living to Him. Our family and friends are the results of His goodness. Above all, we owe our eternal salvation entirely to God. It is only because of God’s grace that we know the meaning of salvation. God paid the complete price for our redemption in the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus went to the cross and suffered in our place because of His great love for us. God recorded the truth about our hopeless condition and His sufficient supply in the Word of God, and then had some faithful servant deliver the message to us. The Holy Spirit brought conviction to our hearts and drew us to God, then birthed us into God’s forever family. We have an inheritance in Heaven waiting for us.

    We also have the promise that we will one day be able to see our Savior, as well as those who have gone before us. How could we ever thank God enough for His benefits toward us? WHAT SHALL I RENDER?

    The last verse of our text says, “I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.” Though we could never repay God for His blessings, the psalmist offers a suggestion for a reasonable response to God’s goodness. He said, “I will pay my vows.” In other words, I will make good all the promises or commitments I have made to God in the past. I will publicly testify to the goodness and grace of God in my life. I will demonstrate my gratitude by honoring Christ with a life of thanksgiving and praise. Our gratefulness can be seen in the way we live our lives.

  • IRON SHARPENS IRON

    0

    “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
    Proverbs 27:17

    Iron tools, rubbed against similar hard materials, such as a file or whetstone, will sharpen their edge, making them more effective. Without that friction, resistance, or whetting, they remain dull and will become useless.

    In the same way, Christians through fellowship and wholesome exchange of ideas increase their effectiveness and improve their walk with Christ. The absence of this kind of relationship with other Christians will eventually cause our spiritual effectiveness to suffer. There are reasons the Bible puts such an emphasis on God’s people having the right kind of fellowship. We need each other. We need the influence of other godly Christians in our lives. This is one benefit of friendship. The counsel and opinions of good friends can help us. Through the right kind of fellowship, “a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” The right kind of friendships and fellowship will make us better servants of the Lord.

    Of course, the opposite is also true. The wrong kind of associations or friendships can have a negative affect on us. The Bible tells us that, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). Friends who constantly undermine our faith and tempt us to compromise are not the type of friends that we need. We need friends who will contribute to our spiritual progress and help us reach our potential for Christ. Christians who are not engaged in the right kind of fellowship are missing out on one of the more important influences we can have in our Christian growth.

    This verse not only speaks of one of the benefits of friendship, but it also identifies the responsibility of Christian friends. We are to share or exchange ideas with others.

    Many times, those of us who are Christians enjoy visiting with other believers and having social times together, but without the spiritual conversations and input that contribute to meaningful fellowship. Just spending time together as Christians will not necessarily produce the improved character that this verse speaks of. We need the kind of fellowship that includes discussion about our spiritual journey and opportunities to share with friends what Christ means to us and what He is doing in our lives.

  • CONSIDER YOUR LATTER END

    0

    “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!”
    Deuteronomy 32:29

    Moses, the aged prophet, had rehearsed God’s dealings with Israel, placed before them a challenge to obey God, and publicly charged Joshua to be his successor. He then taught the children of Israel a song. The verse of Scripture we are considering is actually part of the song that Moses is leaving his people. In speaking of a shortcoming of his beloved people, Moses describes a mistake that is all too familiar today: “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” Moses laments the fact that they were too shortsighted in their vision. They did not consider where their present decisions and choices might lead them.

    This is good advice for each of us. CONSIDER YOUR LATTER END. If people “would consider their latter end,” it might serve as a strong deterrent to disobedience and an incentive to resist temptations. Israel was guilty of disobeying God’s commandments. They had made marriages with the heathen in defiance of the Word of God. Rather than separating from the ungodly worship of their neighbors, Israelites participated in their idolatrous practices. Where did they think these decisions would lead them? What might be their “latter end”? Are there not consequences for rebellion and disobedience? Chastisement would surely come. The sins of the fathers would invite greater abominations by their children. Idolatry accepted in the high places would open the door for idolatry in the house of God. Eventually, the nation would be overcome by its enemies, the temple destroyed, Jerusalem ravaged, and the people taken captive. They would not “consider their latter end.”

    Satan wants us to believe that willful disobedience will bring no consequences. He wants us to think only of the immediate, with no regard for the future. God wants us to think about where our journey will lead us. What will be the “latter end”? Where will a life of selfishness end up? Will we be thankful we lived for self rather than for God? Will our children be left with a good example of what Christian living is supposed to be? What about that appointment we all have at the Judgment Seat of Christ? Many heartaches and disappointments could be avoided if people would “consider their latter end.”

  • DON’T GET SPOILED

    0

    “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
    Colossians 2:8

    The Bible is filled with warnings, and our text today is given to warn us. The word “beware” is calling us “to caution, to take heed.” There is a real and imminent danger that we need to be alerted about.

    The warning is that men might “spoil you.” The word “spoil” describes being led away as booty after combat. The spoils of battle are those things that the enemy gains as a result of winning a skirmish. We are indeed in a war between good and evil, between truth and error, between God and Satan. God does not want us to be the spoils of battle.

    How are men spoiled? Concerning this spiritual warfare, the Scripture teaches us that the weapons that strive to defeat us are ideas or beliefs. Our text uses this language, “philosophy, and vain deceit, after the traditions of men,” and “rudiments of the world.” People become casualties of war through deception and believing things that are not true. The enemy would prefer that we hold to “traditions of men” rather than the Word of God. Many people are being spoiled in our day. The teaching of evolution instead of the truth of creation is spoiling children. False prophets are spoiling simple followers who accept their traditions that are not based upon the truths of the Bible. Bitterness and unforgiveness are spoiling those who choose to hold to grudges rather than accept God’s grace to forgive. Humanism, secularism, and materialism are spoiling multitudes.

    God wants us to be warned. A little leaven has the power and potential to leaven the whole lump. To avoid being spoiled, we are to build our lives on Christ, not on the wisdom of this world. The verse that precedes our text tells us to be “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught” (Colossians 2:7).

    People are spoiled through error when they do not know, or have not believed, the truth. Because they are not established in the faith, they are susceptible to false teaching. The great battle that is being described is a war of words. False imaginations, unscriptural ideas, and lies against the Word of God are the weapons of the enemy. To prevent being spoiled, we must arm ourselves with the truth, recognizing and resisting every falsehood.

  • SEEKING HIS PRESENCE

    0

    “And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.”
    II Chronicles 9:23

    Solomon’s wealth and his wisdom were beyond imagination. People traveled great distances to witness the magnificence of the temple and Solomon’s court. He “exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom” (I Kings 10:23). He wrote three thousand proverbs and over a thousand songs. Much of our Book of Proverbs in the Bible is attributed to the writings of this wise king. Our text says, “all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom.” Imagine the respect and interest these dignitaries had, with a desire to be in Solomon’s presence and to hear his wisdom. Had we lived in the days of Solomon, it would have been a great privilege to be in his presence and to hear his words. However, we are reminded that Jesus said in Matthew 12:42, referring to Himself, “a greater than Solomon is here.”

    There is no king like our King. As much of a privilege as it would have been to sit in Solomon’s presence and to listen to his wisdom, we have an even greater opportunity. We can be in God’s presence and hear His Words and wisdom. As earnestly as the kings of the earth desired to be in the presence of Solomon, we ought to seek to be in the presence of Jesus. We want to live in His presence, walk in His presence, sing in His presence, and serve in His presence. Of course, we realize that God is everywhere, and we are always in His presence. But He has also promised to manifest Himself in our hearts and lives and dwell, particularly, where He is welcome. He said, for instance, concerning the assembly of His churches, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). When the New Testament church assembles, Jesus promises to be in their midst.

    It is interesting that kings would travel great distances to be in Solomon’s presence and to hear his words, while many who claim to belong to Jesus will not choose to gather with fellow church members to learn of One greater than Solomon. Through prayer, the child of God is invited to “come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16).

    If kings passionately desired to visit the throne of Solomon, should we not more so desire to visit the throne of God in prayer? May it be said of us that we “sought the presence” of our Savior.

  • TAKE HEED WHAT YOU HEAR

    0

    “And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”
    Mark 4:24, 25

    These verses follow one of the most important parables Jesus taught, the Parable of the Sower. This parable has to do with the reception of the Word of God.

    Using the analogy of sowing seed, the seed being the Word of God and the soil being the heart of man, Jesus taught how the condition of the heart affects the influence of the truth. Sometimes the seed is sown by the wayside, on stony ground, among thorns, or on good ground. He then spoke the words of our text, warning about the importance of hearing and obeying God’s Word. The phrase, “Take heed what ye hear,” has to do with the manner in which we attend to the Word of God.

    What do we do with the truth that is given to us? Do we believe it? Apply it? Share it with others? Obviously, the manner in which we receive God’s Word will have a direct bearing on how it affects us, but the following words of our text reveal something else affected by the way we heed God’s Word. Jesus said, “with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.”

    Our response to the truth that God has previously given us will influence the truth that will subsequently be given to us. If we are faithful to learn, apply, and share God’s truth as we receive it, He promises to give us more truth. By the same token, when we do not take heed to the revelation we have received, and refuse to obey the commands given to us, we should not expect God to continue to show us things from the Scripture. Why should God show us more of His will if we are not attempting to follow what we know to be His will? If we want God to show us more of His Word and will, we must diligently seek to walk in the light He has given us. We cannot just pass over or ignore the truths that challenge us, and then expect God to continue to open His Word to us.

    When we refuse some point of revelation, it will have a direct affect on what God shows us in the future. However, when we, by faith, receive and obey God’s Word, we are meeting God’s requirements to be given further direction and truth.

Page 1 of 14012345»102030...Last »