• THE REPAIRERS OF THE BREACH

    0

    “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”

    Isaiah 58:12

    This passage is a part of a larger context which includes a number of promises to God’s people, specifically associated with their sincere repentance with prayer and fasting. A careful reading of the passage reveals promises having do with our children, and their influence on future generations. Of special interest is the phrase, “thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach.”

    A breach is “a break or a gap in a fence, hedge, or wall.” Walls or fences were constructed for protection and preservation. Boundaries were hedged to preserve property lines, and towns were walled to protect from enemies. When these walls were broken, eroded, or allowed to deteriorate, it caused breaches or gaps, and a break down of protection. Someone would have to repair the breaches or the occupants would be in great jeopardy.

    In every generation, “repairers of the breach” have been greatly needed, and they are certainly needed today. Walls of protection and separation have suffered great damage. Compromise and disobedience have eroded the hedges that ought to protect. We have witnessed an all out assault on the protective walls of our homes, our churches, and our nation. Moral walls have been greatly damaged.

    Attacks on traditional marriage, opposition to public references to God, and legalized abortion are examples. The hedges around the Lord’s churches have been weakened by worldliness, ecumenism, and rejection of Biblical truth. The safe haven of families have been breached through similar matters of compromise and disobedience. The spiritual protection of individual lives can be removed by willful sin and giving ground to the enemy.

    To restore the protection, the breaches must be repaired. How can we rebuild the walls around our lives and ministries? Through repentance, obedience, and intercession, we can see these hedges rebuilt. The number of those who are determined to see the old landmarks removed continues to grow. We must be just as committed to the cause of following the old paths of obedience and godliness. And as such, we too can be called “repairers of the breach.”

  • THE PROCESS AND THE PRODUCT

    0

    “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. 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.”

    Romans 8:28, 29

    This is one of the most familiar and often quoted verses in the Bible. It has frequently comforted us in our times of tribulation or sorrow. We have been given confidence that there is a reason for the things we go through as followers of Jesus Christ. When God permits things to come into our lives, He promises that they will “work together for good.” We are then taught that the ultimate objective God has for us, is that we might be “conformed to the image of his Son.”

    The finished product has to do with our taking on the likeness of Jesus Christ. The product is of great interest to every sincere follower of Jesus. We want to be more like Jesus. We want to sin less. We want to be more holy. We want to love God more and love this world less. We want to care for others as our Savior does. We want to serve others in the spirit of our Lord. We want to please the Father in all that we do.

    Again, we want to be more like Jesus. However, in order to have the product, we must accept the process. How is God going to make us more like His Son? He has chosen to use the things that often appear to be intrusions, invasions, and inconveniences to help conform us to the image of Jesus. If we are going to have the product, we must be willing to accept the process. God is going to use the events and situations of our lives to make us less like ourselves, and more like Himself.

    We all have “rough edges” that need to be removed. We all have attitudes that are in need of being overhauled. We sometimes have priorities that are out of line. God uses the things He allows to come into our lives to expose areas that need to be corrected. For instance, problems may reveal a lack of trust in the Lord. Opposition may manifest bitterness. Hardships may expose unrealistic expectations. Success may cause pride to surface.

    It is through the refiner’s fire that impurities surface. Do not be discouraged. The process may be painful, but the product will be rewarding. God is using our circumstances to bring about the product He desires.

  • KEEPING A RIGHT ATTITUDE

    0

    “And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto then, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?”

    Numbers 20:10

    Because of the lack of water, the children of Israel rebelled against Moses, complaining that they would have been better off in their Egyptian bondage. The Lord instructed Moses to speak to the rock, and it would bring forth water. Instead of obeying the Lord, Moses, provoked by their bickering, spoke angrily to the people: “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” He then smote the rock. The result of Moses’ bad attitude and resulting action was devastating. He would not be able to lead the people he so cared for into the Promised Land. One of the greatest men of God of all time would not complete the assignment given to him by His Maker.

    As much as any experience in the Bible, we see the extreme importance of keeping a right attitude. How serious is a bad attitude? When we think of horrible and damaging sins, we generally think of such things as acts of immorality, dishonesty, idolatry, etc. Obviously these things are serious, but sins of the attitude can be equally costly and harmful. Examples of sinful attitudes would be anger, lust, pride, covetousness, bitterness, hypocrisy, stubbornness, impatience, and a host of others. It would be wise for us to treat attitude sins as being just as wicked as fleshly sins.

    There is much in the account of Moses and his outburst that we can relate to. Most, if not all of us, struggle with attitudes that we know are not pleasing to God or benefiting to others. Sometimes we blame those attitudes on others. The continual carnal complaining of those Moses was trying to lead provoked his bad attitude. Their negativism and criticism was inexcusable.

    In a similar way, our poor attitudes often manifest themselves because of the actions, or attitudes, of others. However, in spite of the behavior of others, we must accept responsibility for our responses. We cannot excuse our poor reactions or blame our sin on the actions or attitudes of others. It would do us good to contemplate the damaging effect our complaining and murmuring could have on others, including those who are leading us. By God’s grace, we want to daily walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to influence our attitudes, to honor Him and edify others.

  • THE STABILITY OF FAITH

    0

    “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.”

    Psalm 125:1

    God certainly wants to bring a sense of security to our lives. This is something we all need, especially in times of great instability and uncertainty in our world. The Bible uses such words or phrases as steadfast, unmovable, grounded and settled, and not moved away to describe the stability God wants us to experience. What is the secret or the source of such stability? Is it our occupation or location? Is it our popularity or personality? Is it our circumstances? The Psalmist gives us the answer to these questions: “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed.”

    There is a special measure of consistency found in those who are exercising faith in God. Faith, true faith, faith that is resting in the Lord and His promises can give such stability to our existence. There is soundness and security to the one who has his “trust in the LORD.” What a blessed place this is, this place of trust! When we trust the Lord completely, it removes fear and doubt. Satan wants us to be confused and worried, but God wants us to be at peace and rest.

    It is amazing how unstable and insecure people are, even those who claim to be God’s people. This instability sometimes causes people to look for some external change that can bring the satisfaction they desire. So they change jobs, churches, careers, etc., because they are not content. Multitudes of God’s children have left the place of His will because they were not genuinely trusting the Lord right where they were. Often, the answer to that instability lies within us. Our all-sufficient God invites us to trust Him completely with our needs and concerns, and find Him as the source of our steadfastness. He is described in the pages of Scripture as a Rock. Surely if we can trust Him with the matter of our eternal salvation, we can trust Him with the lesser issues of our lives.

    How can we develop a more consistent, steady, stable life? We must take a serious look at our faith or the lack thereof. Being steadfast, settled, secure, and consistent are not simply the results of a life free from difficulty or disturbances. Rather, it is the fruit of the heart that is completely depending on God and resting in His faithful promises.

  • MEDITATING ON THE LORD

    0

    “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.”

    Psalm 63:5, 6

    Is it any wonder that the Bible describes David as being a man after God’s heart? David wanted to know the Lord, personally and passionately. A part of that pursuit included David, while upon his bed, remembering God and meditating on Him in the night watches.

    The night watches refer to periods of time in the night, usually when sentinels would be assigned to watch or guard the city. What do we think about in the night watches? The night can be a time for worry and stress or a time of reflection and meditation. David found that it could be a time for praise and thanksgiving and for prayer and rejoicing.

    He spoke of remembering God upon his bed and meditating on Him in the night watches. The word meditate means “to think on, to concentrate on, to ponder.” In a number of places, the Bible speaks of the benefit of meditating on the Lord. The mind is a powerful gift, and the way we use it will greatly influence our attitudes and our actions. Our thoughts can either be productive or destructive.

    We must learn to control and to direct our thoughts to those things which are beneficial and profitable. The wrong kinds of thoughts can lead to discouragement, unbelief, strife, envy, bitterness, and a host of other undesirable attitudes. It is a great discipline to learn to focus our thoughts on God and to keep our minds stayed on Him. It is hard to worry or to be angry when we are concentrating on the Lord and His blessings in our lives. David said that when he remembered God and meditated on Him, his soul was satisfied and he joyfully praised the Lord. David’s thoughts about God brought a satisfaction and peace to his soul and a spontaneous praise for the Savior.

    Learning to meditate on the Lord is a powerful spiritual exercise. We should meditate on God’s greatness. Think about all that He has done in creation, in history, and in our personal lives. Meditate on His goodness. It is good for us to dwell on the great love of God, His sacrifice for us on the cross, and the gift of eternal life. Think about His promise of an eternal home in Heaven, as well as the benefits He daily loads upon us. Our lives will be enriched as we learn to focus our thoughts and affections on God and eternal things.

  • JESUS KNOWS THE REAL YOU

    0

    “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”
    John 2:23-25

    God knows us even better than we know ourselves. He knows our thoughts, our hearts, our motives, and our desires. He knows when we are sincere and when we are being hypocritical. Many people were attracted by the miracles of Jesus and apparently believed Him to be the Messiah. But, what He knew about them caused Him not to commit Himself to them. He knew that they were only interested in His physical miracles and not in His spiritual kingdom in their hearts.

    There is a vast difference between believing in Jesus and trusting in Him for salvation. These people “believed in his name,” but they were not saved. Jesus did not “commit himself unto them” because He knew they were not sincerely coming to Him in faith. Many people fit into this category. They know who Jesus is and recognize what He has done. They are impressed with and would like to benefit from His miraculous power. They are not, however, interested in following Him. It is one thing to want Jesus to do something for you, yet another thing to want Him to do something in you.

    A person is not saved who does not come to Jesus in repentance and have sincere faith in Him. It is essential for us to understand that God knows us thoroughly. This basic reality makes hypocrisy so foolish. God cannot be deceived. A hypocrite may deceive men, but the Lord cannot be fooled. There is nothing about us that He does not know. We do not have to, nor could we impress Him because He knows what is in us. For some, this may be a disconcerting thought. But to those who love Him, who sincerely want His kingdom in their lives, it is comforting to know that He knows us.

    When we faithfully serve Him, He knows it is not to try to win His favor. It is simply because we want to please Him. When we fail Him, we know that He knows our hearts. He knows those who love Him. He knows those who truly want to follow Him and serve Him with their lives. We can be honest and transparent before the Lord because He knows the real person that we are.

  • THE POTTER’S HOUSE

    0

    “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”

    Jeremiah 18:2, 5, 6

    Such a powerful and practical object lesson is seen as God sends Jeremiah to visit the potter. The prophet heard from the Lord while observing the craftsman at his trade. As the man of God watched the potter at work, he learned a lesson about how God works in lives and nations. The message for Jeremiah had to do specifically with the relationship God had with the nation of Israel.

    God maintains influence and power over individuals and nations. It is arrogant for individuals or nations to think that they are above the dominion of the Almighty. God wanted Jeremiah to see the potter as an illustration of the Lord’s direct involvement in His people, and the clay as representing His people. Though Jeremiah’s lesson was particularly for Israel, we can easily see how this principle applies to our lives as well. The potter has the authority and the ability to shape the clay into the image that He desires. We are the clay and He is the Potter.

    Because God is the Potter, He knows what He wants to do in our lives. The Potter has a vision of what the finished product should look like. Sometimes we may have an idea of what our lives are to be, but it is more important that we realize that the Potter knows what is best for us. Because He has a plan for us, He may allow certain influences into our lives that will help bring about the changes that He desires. These changes can be troubling and perhaps painful. However, since we know that He is the Potter, we can trust Him with our lives. We are a work in progress. The Potter is working in our lives and shaping us into the image that He desires.

    Just as the vessel in Jeremiah’s day was marred in the hands of the potter, our lives, too, may be marred or disfigured. The Potter has the ability to take that clay and make it into another vessel, as it seems good to Him. Because we are only clay, we should respect and submit to the work that God desires to do in our lives. We should also be reminded that we are only vessels. Each of us is unique and custom made, being shaped by the Potter to carry out His perfect will, all for His glory.

  • QUITTING IS NOT AN OPTION

    0

    “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”
    II Corinthians 4:8, 9

    Whoever started the rumor that the Christian life should be free from trouble knows little about the Bible. God never promised us a problem-free journey. From the words of Paul the apostle, who endured great suffering for the cause of the Savior, we find encouragement to persevere. Paul knew what it was to be persecuted, abandoned, misunderstood, and misrepresented. However, there is one thing he did not know. He knew nothing about quitting.

    Jesus warned his closest followers that they would, as He did, have to face and endure hardships. It seems that many Christians in our present generation are not willing or prepared to suffer for our Lord. Unfortunately, false teachers are abundant. They preach a message contrary to the Bible, often implying that believers should be exempt from pressure and conflict. Such promises are not found in the Scripture. Paul understood that there would be afflictions, and that there was purpose in our problems. He took comfort and courage in the principle that through our persecutions and trials “the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”

    It is often in our most perplexing and demanding experiences that God’s grace and power is seen. Knowing this helps us endure whatever difficulties life may bring. Wherever our path leads us, and whatever challenges we face, God has promised to be with us. He will be there to support us, offering us wisdom and strength, and using each valley to further His work in us and through us. When the road is difficult and our resources are exhausted, faith will find a way to persevere. Quitting was not an option for the great apostle. He may have been knocked down, but he was not knocked out.

    We should be thankful that quitting was never an option for our Savior. His commitment to Calvary was not dependent on either comfort or convenience. Let’s settle it in our minds today. With God as our Helper, and those who have gone before as our examples and encouragement, by grace we will not quit until the race is done.

  • YOUR LABOR OF LOVE

    0

    “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
    Hebrews 6:10

    Could it ever be possible that God might overlook, forget, or fail to reward us for our service in His name? We can be certain; the Scripture makes it clear that this could never happen. To do so would be less than righteous; and we are reminded that, “God is not unrighteous.”

    Indeed, God is holy, could never sin, and always does what is right. As obvious as this truth is, that God is always just and perfect, sometimes His judgment or will is questioned and even criticized, even by those who claim to be His children. There are times when God’s people question whether the things which He permits are right. In our text, we are encouraged to know that God will always do right, including remembering and rewarding our service. The enemy might tempt us to doubt if it is worth it to serve the Lord. For this reason, God wants us to have great assurance and conviction that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.

    The verse refers to our “work and labour of love.” Every child of God is called and commanded to work for and serve the Lord. What a privilege it is that God would save us and then allow us to be a part of His work! We should never get over the wonder that we are servants of the King of kings. Our Christian service is a labor of love. We serve the Lord because of our love for Him and for all that He has done for us. We do not serve Him because we have to, or because we will be punished if we don’t. We do not serve Him to earn His favor. We serve Him because we love Him. It is not difficult to serve someone you sincerely and fervently love.

    One day, when this life is over, we will be justly rewarded for the way we have “ministered to the saints, and do minister.” We will be rewarded for the acts of kindness and deeds of generosity and sacrifice we have rendered “to the saints.” When we think of Christian service, we usually think of missionary work, preaching, knocking on doors, etc. This too is the work of God, but God’s people also need ministering to. The brethren need encouragement, support, and understanding. God wants to use each of us to minister to others; and we can be sure, God sees, remembers, and will reward every act of service “shewed toward his name.”

  • HOLD THE TRADITIONS

    0

    “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”

    II Thessalonians 2:15

    Traditions are those things which have been passed down or transferred from one generation to another. Some traditions are worth preserving and observing, but others are not. Jesus rebuked some of the religious people in His day for exalting their traditions above the Scripture. In their case, the traditions had effectively replaced the Word of God. They were more committed to their man-made traditions than the inspired Truth.

    We all must be willing to let go of traditions that are only the philosophies or opinions of men. However, when Paul wrote to the church members in Thessalonica, he admonished them to “hold the traditions.” These traditions were were based on the teachings of the Bible and they were to be protected and preserved. It is interesting that we are encouraged to “hold” these Biblical precepts and principles. The command to “hold” implies action. We are to seize or retain truths that have been imparted to us.

    The fact that we are to “hold the traditions” implies that there are forces present that will attempt to take these traditions from us. We know this is true. There has always been an attempt to cast doubt on the integrity and accuracy of Scripture, as far back as the Garden of Eden. There are many liberal and compromising elements in our society, as well as in the religious community, bent on eroding our confidence in the Bible. Therefore, we must be diligent to “hold the traditions.”

    It is not original with us, but we sometimes say, “If it is new, it is not true; and if it is true, it is not new.” There is certainly nothing wrong with advances in such things as technology, medical treatment, etc. Even Bible study has been aided with the availability of the computer. However, the contemporary trends toward new forms of worship, new Bible translations, new standards of behavior and appearance, new alliances forbidden in the Scripture are direct assaults on the traditions that have been passed to us.

    In referencing the origin of those worthwhile traditions, Paul said, “which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Bible truths make up those traditions which we are to hold to. When tempted to relax our grip on God’s Word, be reminded to “hold the traditions.”

Page 1 of 14612345»102030...Last »