• WE DO NOT WELL

    0

    “Then they said one to another, we do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the kings household.”
    II Kings 7:9

    Israel was under a severe siege by Syria, and there was a great famine in Samaria, the capital city. Elisha prophesied that there would be miraculous relief and great plenty would come to the region. Four lepers, desperate for food, went to the camp of the Syrians to see if they might find mercy. When they came to the camp of the Syrians, they found it vacated.

    All the soldiers were gone and all their food, money, and clothing remained. After these four lepers spent some time surveying their findings, they came to the conclusion expressed in our text verse: WE DO NOT WELL. They had been miraculously blessed. Their hunger had been satisfied. Their needs were met. They could not simply horde their newfound riches. They felt that if they did not share their blessings, “some mischief will come upon us.” They decided they must “go and tell” others of their discovery.

    We can relate to this great turnaround in the lives of the lepers. They went from poverty to riches in a single night. They went from famine to feasting in a few hours time. This is what happened when we came to the Savior. The moment we trusted Christ as our Savior, we went from condemned sinners to converted saints. Before, we were spiritually dying in want of God’s grace; now we eat of the Bread of Life and drink of the Living Water. We were clothed with the rags of wickedness, but now we wear robes of righteousness. The lepers felt obligated to tell others of what they had experienced.

    When they saw themselves enjoying the bounty of their newfound fortune and ignoring the plight of those in need, they said, “we do not well.” We all get the message, don’t we? How can we be silent about what has been given to us? We were once paupers, and now we are children of the King. We did not work for it nor do we deserve it. We were like spiritual lepers, starving away with no hope, and God gave us mercy. We should not keep this news to ourselves. The lepers said, “this day is a day of good tidings.” We who have found the source of life and hope are to “go and tell.” There are others who need to know what we have found. If we do not tell them, how will they hear?

  • BELOVED OF THE LORD

    0

    “And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.’”
    II Samuel 12:25

    David had confessed and repented of his deplorable sin with Bathsheba. Their first child died, then Bathsheba bore a son that David named Solomon. The name Solomon means ‘peaceable.’ David certainly needed and wanted some peace after the turmoil his sin had caused. The Bible says of Solomon that ‘the LORD loved him,’ (II Samuel 12:24), and He sent Nathan the prophet to give Solomon another name. The name the Lord gave him was Jedidiah, which means BELOVED OF THE LORD.

    What a comforting thing this must have been to David and Bathsheba! He had been chastened for his sin, and David’s grief over his transgression is well known. What would God think of this new baby born to David and Bathsheba? Would the child be accepted? Would it be blessed? God loved Solomon, and wanted David to know that He loved the child. We cannot be sure we understand all the reasons God does the things He does. But surely this was a message to David that God had accepted his repentance and forgiven him of his past. David would not have to continue to pay for his disobedience. God loved the child born to David and Bathsheba.

    What an important lesson this is for us. God certainly does not approve of our sin, but He does extend forgiveness and mercy when we sincerely turn from our wrong. We can start over again. We do not have to live in a constant feeling of regret over past failures. God wants to restore fellowship with us, and He wants us to know that we are loved. Many of us have been through the experience of correcting a disobedient child, and after he has been disciplined, we have held him in our arms and assured him of our love. God does the same thing for us. He confirms His love to us. God loves us. How could we ever get over that wonderful fact? In spite of our failures and blunders, His love remains strong. Looking at this Scripture from the viewpoint of the child, we see another important fact worth our consideration. Solomon grew up knowing that God called him ‘Jedidiah,’ THE BELOVED OF THE LORD. Throughout his life, he would be reminded that God cared for him. It is important that children be secure in the understanding that God loves them deeply.

  • GOD DIRECTS OUR LIVES

    0

    “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.”

    Proverbs 16:1-3

    How is it that God influences our lives? How involved is He in the minute details of our daily affairs? According to our text, the Lord is interested in more of our activity than one might realize. He is able to influence our thoughts, our plans, and our words. The mental processes of our hearts are within the realm of God’s activity. According to the middle sentence of our Scripture, even though all our paths may be pure in our own eyes, He can weigh or arrange our spirits.

    This is an important concept to grasp. Many seem to have the idea that God is not really all that concerned with the particular details of our lives, only its general direction. This is not the case. He is all-seeing and all-knowing, and there are no parts of our journey, no matter how seemingly insignificant, from which He wants to be excluded. This is wonderful news to the person who recognizes the need for God’s continual guidance.

    Not only is God capable of directing us in the most personal and practical parts of our existence, but we can also be certain that He desires to do this. He wants to bear influence on our thoughts and plans. He wants to direct our paths. He wants to lead us toward the proper attitudes and decisions. He wants to guide us daily. As our Shepherd, He leads His sheep.

    What is our role or responsibility in experiencing such divine influence in our lives? The third verse says, “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” We are to consciously trust the Lord to guide us and influence us, even in our thinking. The word “commit” could be described as rolling our plans or projects over on Him. As we give Him our ideas or our purposes, He in turn influences our thoughts.

    As we so often find in the Scripture, God works through the faith of His children. He wants us to trust Him, even with the smallest of things. Most of us realize that we have the tendency to bring our urgent and more pressing needs to the Lord, but we neglect to involve Him in the minor details of our days. This wisdom from God’s Word should motivate us to look to Him frequently for His wisdom and guidance.

  • DESPISE NOT PROPHESYINGS

    0

    “Despise not prophesyings.”
    I Thessalonians 5:20

    The word “prophesyings” would apply to both the prophecies of the Scripture, as well as the proclamation of the Word of God. For instance, the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, His person and work, and the many prophecies that have been fulfilled in the coming of Jesus, are not to be despised. Equally, the prophecies concerning future events such as the return of Christ, the Judgment Seat of Christ, His future earthly reign, and other such revelations should not be neglected. Just as importantly, the preaching, or setting forth of Biblical truth, is also prophesying and should not be disesteemed.

    There was a tendency in the early churches to exalt temporary gifts such as speaking in tongues (other languages), but then despise the faithful proclamation of sound doctrine. The inspired Word of God commanded them, and instructs us as well, not to undervalue the importance of Bible preaching. The stating of Bible truth in language simple enough to be understood is of inestimable value. Whereas certain temporary gifts were given to the apostles to confirm the messengers and messages of God’s Word, the gift and calling of setting forth the truth is a permanent office in the churches. The Biblical means by which the lost are to be convinced and believers are to be edified is preaching. Men are to preach the truth as it is, to men as they are.

    The despising of Bible preaching was not something peculiar to the New Testament era. It has become increasingly scorned in our generation. For many, it is considered outdated and offensive. Those who occupy the pulpits in many places of our land have been convinced that other methods are more effective and more palatable to the carnal mind. These trends are in direct violation to the clear teaching of the Word of God. Because the general population of our society has no appetite for Bible preaching does not give us the liberty to adjust God’s program or revise His plan. Bible preaching should be, and should always remain, the central activity of the Lord’s people and His churches.

    That being the case, we should all develop and maintain a hunger for the proclamation of God’s Word. Not only should we personally learn to love and appreciate Bible preaching, we should also lead our children to “Despise not prophesyings.”

  • WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?

    0

    “And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.”
    I Samuel 23:16

    David was living in the wilderness because of Saul’s intention to kill him. The Bible says that Saul was searching for David every day, but God did not deliver David to his foe. It was at this time that “Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.” When David most needed a friend, Jonathan was there to support him.

    We need the right kind of friends in our lives. We learn, both from experience and from the Word of God, that we will be greatly influenced by our associations. It should be our desire to try to influence our acquaintances for Christ and invite them to church, but an acquaintance is not the same thing as a friend. Like Jonathan, a true friend is one who stands with us in times of need. Jonathan “arose, and went to David into the wood.” There he “strengthened his hand in God.”

    A true friend encourages us spiritually. What a blessing it is to have such a Christian friend! We do not need friends who support us in evil or encourage us to do wrong. As Christians, we need friends who care enough about us that they will encourage us to do what God says and what will please the Lord. We all should be thankful for the positive support we have received from close Christian friends, perhaps a spouse or other family member, or a godly relationship with someone else. We often find these kinds of friends in our church family. We should certainly appreciate the encouragement we have received in our lives from close friends who have stood by us and encouraged our “hand in God.” It should be our goal to be the kind of friend that will strengthen the hand of the brethren. Christians do not need friends who are always negative and critical.

    One of the amazing things about being a child of God is to know that Jesus can be our Friend. In John 15:15, He called His disciples friends. Jesus is the best Friend we could ever have. Like no other friend, He comes to us and stands with us in our times of difficulty. He strengthens our “hand in God.” He supports us and always encourages us to do the right thing. If you are saved, you have a Friend. Being alone, especially in a time of great testing, can be extremely difficult. It is good to have a shoulder to lean upon. For the Christian, we are never truly friendless.

  • WE COME BY THE BLOOD

    0

    “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.”

    Hebrews 9:12; 10:19

    It is through the blood of Christ, and only through His blood, that we are able to come to God. In God’s great plan, there could be no forgiveness of sin without the blood of a perfect sacrifice. The blood of goats and calves could not satisfy; they were only a type of the Lamb of God that would come. It was “by his own blood” that He “obtained eternal redemption for us.” The price was greater than we can comprehend. The sacrifice that He gave was sufficient to satisfy the holiness of God, to cleanse and justify every guilty sinner that ever lived, and to present us blameless before the Almighty Judge. When we come to Him as lost sinners, WE COME BY THE BLOOD. Salvation is in no part dependent upon our works or deeds. It is made possible by His blood, and full pardon is freely given to those who trust completely in His blood.

    Confidence in any human effort or contribution is not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. When a person repents of his sin and puts his faith completely in Christ’s death on the cross, he is born again by His grace and adopted into God’s forever family.

    Not only do WE COME BY THE BLOOD to receive salvation and eternal life, but henceforth we come before Him the same way. Our prayer life and fellowship with God is through the blood of our Savior. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” When we come to God in prayer, we are able to come because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Our text tells us that we can come with “boldness,” or assurance and confidence because of the blood. We all have felt unworthy to pray. We have felt that our mistakes have made us unfit to converse with the Almighty. Why would God listen to us? How can I know He hears me? Have I earned or deserved His attention? Have I been good enough to merit His favor? Satan continually accuses us of our failures.

    However, it is not our goodness that earns us a place at the throne of God. We do not come by our deeds or good name. When we come to God in prayer, we are told to come in the name of Jesus. WE COME BY THE BLOOD.

  • FALSE PROPHETS

    0

    “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.”

    Jeremiah 23:16, 17

    It is not just the absence of preaching that causes it to be difficult to reach people. Helping someone who has never been exposed to truth can often be rather simple and effective. However, the thing that makes it more of a challenge is the presence and popularity of FALSE PROPHETS and distortions of the truth. This is not only true regarding the message of salvation, but also the message of church loyalty, separation, etc. Jeremiah’s message was, “Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you.” We are not to listen to false teachers or preachers. Their message is not from God, but rather “a vision of their own heart.”

    Why would people so readily believe the message of false teachers? There are probably many reasons, but at least one is found in our text. The untruths of these prophets can be more appealing than truth in the ears of the unsaved or unspiritual. Notice Jeremiah’s words as he speaks for God, “They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” These false preachers were telling those that despised God that they would have peace, and to those that walked after the desires of their own heart, “No evil shall come upon you.” In essence, they were saying, “God does not care what you do. Do as you please. There will be no consequences for your sinful or sensual decisions.” This is in great contrast to a true man of God who says, “Thus saith the Lord.”

    We have a similar situation today. Many are claiming God’s authority and preaching contrary to His Word. God’s Word is still the final authority. Without His Word, we have no message. Preaching against sin and calling Christians to holy living is becoming a thing of the past. Those today that preach freedom to compromise and rebel, without consequences, are preaching lies.

  • DO IT HEARTILY

    0

    “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

    Colossians 3:23, 24

    The Bible teaches us that God is not only interested in what we do, but also He is interested in how we do it and why we do it. Our motives are extremely important to God.

    In our text, He gives us principles that add meaning to our daily activities. The context of this Scripture is dealing with servants obeying their masters. How should a slave relate to his owner? Of course, slavery is no longer a practice in most parts of the world, but these principles can be applied to our lives as well. If a Christian slave is expected to have the right attitude in serving his master or owner, surely we should have the proper outlook in our areas of service, employment, or responsibility.

    Notice that it says, “whatsoever ye do, do it heartily.” This has to do with our attitude in our work. It has to do with the way we do our job and how we feel about it. We are not to do it grudgingly or with complaining, but with goodwill. Doing something with the right attitude certainly makes the doing of it more enjoyable. God is interested in the spirit in which we work. If we are employed in some manner, as Christians, our attitude about our work will say something to our employer about our faith. We want to be enthused about our service.

    In the Lord’s work, hearty service is required and needed. Jesus contrasted the hireling with the shepherd. The shepherd served with love for the sheep while the hireling served for personal gain and ambition. We can serve heartily because we know that as Christians we are serving the Lord, not just men. It says, “do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” If what we are doing is part of God’s will for us, we can actually see ourselves as His servants. We are serving Him. This again adds great meaning to our involvements. It makes it much easier to work and serve with enthusiasm if we remember who we are serving. We are serving the King of kings. We are working for the greatest Master.

    Our text also tells us that, “of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Our reward for our labors is not simply temporal. We are not just working for a paycheck or a temporal recognition, but we have an eternal reward to anticipate.

  • HE RESPECTS THE LOWLY

    0

    “Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.”
    Psalm 138:6

    Could God be mindful of such as we? The psalmist reminds us that, “the LORD be high.” He is exalted above all. His majesty and greatness is higher than the heavens. There are no earthly rulers to compare to Him. He has all power and glory. The earth is His footstool. The winds and waves obey Him. The sun and moon fulfill His command. He is without equal. Does He know us? Does He care for us? Why would the Creator of all be interested in us? The Bible says that He has “respect unto the lowly” From His high and lofty position, the infinite and unchanging God has concern for the humble. Even though He is lofty, He respects the needy. God’s attention is on the base and insignificant.

    This is one of the great comforts to the sincere seekers among us. Jesus notices the unnoticed. He observed the widow as she gave her meagerly mites and proclaimed that her giving exceeded the others. He saw the blind and crippled along the roadside, and He heard and healed the one that others would have bypassed. What a kind and gracious God we know and serve! The beggarly Lazarus, after breathing his last humble breath, was carried by the angels to Paradise. The world is blessed with multitudes of lowly children of God, not known for extravagance or wealth, not honored for accomplishments, yet having the respect of the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

    Perhaps you are one of them or you have known of their kind. There are those who will never see their name in print or hear the applause of men, yet the Bible clearly declares that God is watching over them. He respects the lowly, but “the proud he knoweth afar off.” God is near to the humble, but He keeps His distance from the proud.

    How many times men sacrifice the fellowship of God for the praise of men. Let us all be warned of the danger of thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought. God is not impressed with our reviews or achievements. We need to learn to walk humbly with our God. He respects the lowly, but ignores the proud. Our pride will always hinder fellowship with the Savior. Let any recognition we receive be directed to the only One worthy of praise, the Lord of glory. God promises to be near to us as we walk before Him in humility.

  • WHO IS GOD LOOKING FOR?

    0

    “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”

    II Chronicles 16:9

    Asa was one of the greatest kings of Judah. He removed the altars of strange gods and commanded his people to seek the Lord and obey Him. He even removed his mother from being queen because of her idolatry. However, when the king of Israel came against him, Asa made a league with the king of Syria and sought his help. Rather than depend upon the Lord, the king would put his trust in man. When Asa did this, the Lord sent a prophet to tell the king that He was displeased because Asa was relying on the king of Syria and not relying on the Lord.

    Our text is the great proclamation included in the prophet’s message to king Asa. Although these words were given specifically for Asa, they remain a promise for all of us. God is looking for people who will trust Him completely. His eyes “run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” Wherever people are, God is surveying the population. He is looking where we are. WHO IS GOD LOOKING FOR? He is looking for those “whose heart is perfect toward him.” What does that mean? He is looking for those who meet a certain condition of the heart. He is not looking for those who never fail and are perfect in their deeds or performance. Although He is not pleased when we sin, we know that if He were only looking for those who are sinless, He could discontinue His search. We all are still sinners. He is looking for those who trust Him with all their hearts.

    Asa was rebuked for trusting in the king of Syria instead of trusting in the Lord. The man of God told Asa that he did not need to rely on a heathen king, for God was looking for people who were willing to trust Him. God wants to find those who trust Him completely, that He might “shew himself strong” on their behalf. He wants to demonstrate what He can do through the lives of those who are willing to trust Him.

    This is as true today as it was in Asa’s day. God’s eyes are still looking to show Himself strong through those whose hearts are looking to Him in faith. He wants us to rely on Him, not on ourselves or the plans or programs of the world. As God’s eyes today “run to and fro throughout the whole earth,” will He find our hearts trusting perfectly in Him?

Page 1 of 14212345»102030...Last »