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Showing posts from February, 2008

Character of the Son

The Love of God – Character of the Son

… and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)



(Taken from Day & Night, 2006)

Character of God the Father

The Love of God – Character of God the Father

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)


Based on the twice stated, “God is love,” we have

1. a negative statement: “whoever does not love does not know God

and

2. a positive statement: “whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”


(Taken from Day & Night, 2006)

The Easiest Way to Disobey

“’Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.’ The LORD heard you when you spoke to me and the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good. Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!’” Deuteronomy 5:27-29 (NIV)

They promised to obey, but did not obey.

The easiest way to disobey is to refuse to listen. If we stay ignorant of God’s word then we do not feel responsible for our sins. However, that does not fly with God anymore than explaining to the speed cop that we did not see the speed limit sign.

Here is what God says in Leviticus 5:17 and in 1 Corinthians 4:4:

“If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible.” Leviticus 5:17 (NIV)

“My conscience is clear, b…

Desires and Promises

There are things in this life that we desire very much. They are legitimate desires. They are more than desires on our part; they are promises on God’s part. Desires or promises, they are listed in a beautiful way in Isaiah 58:11,

“And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

There is a hitch to this promise of continual guidance and spiritual refreshment. It is an “iffy” promise. Here are the “ifs”.

“IF you take away from the midst of you the yoke (Slavery), the pointing of the finger (accusation), and speaking wickedness (vanity KJV, boasting), and IF you put yourself out for the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday” (verses 9, 10).

Earlier in the chapter we find that God will answer when we call, that our righteousness will go before us, His glory w…

The Price for Peace by C. Stephen David

Below is an article from a co-laborer in India. He has had “How to Be Free From Bitterness” translated into Telugu and is working on an English edition that fits into Indian English and idiom. His name is C. Stephen David.

THE PRICE FOR PEACE

“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy” (Hebrews 12:14).

No one is immune from conflicts in relationships. Virtually all of us know the hurt that often causes intense pain within interpersonal relationships. Needless to say, living in unity with others is not an easy issue. Remember, there is a price to be paid to live at peace with others. Healthy relationships are not built automatically but with great effort.

The Lord once taught me a wonderful lesson regarding the price I have to pay for preserving peace in relationships. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, one day, I hurriedly got on the bed to sleep. Before going further, I must say that my wife is known for cleanliness. She usually surprises the guests w…

Glory in Nothing but the Cross

Paul gave this warning, and we would like to repeat it.

“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3).

In the Lord’s message to the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:4), He says, “But I have this against you that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”

Both of these statements say that there is a “first love”—“a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” that must not be abandoned or left behind.

This first love was a responsive love.

“We love, because He first loved us” (I John 4:19).

His love for us meant His death upon the Cross for our sins. His resurrection meant our justification in the sight of God, God’s seal of approval on the death of His Son as providing salvation from sin and eternal life to all who will believe. We must never cease loving Him for His mercy and love toward us. Therefore, we must never cease to dwell on His love shown at the Cross, for it is this…

God's Direction...

We have meditated on the way people are directed by God or how they direct themselves. Here is one way. It is not good.

“ ‘Woe to the rebellious children,’ says the Lord, ‘who carry out a plan, but not mine, who make a league, but not of my Spirit that they may add sin to sin who set out to go down to Egypt without asking for my counsel.’ ” (Isaiah 30:1, 2)

This is descriptive of the world, individuals, and nations. They have plans that they implement. The plans are not God’s. They make treaties, agreements and contracts and the Spirit of God is not present. They do not ask the Lord for advice. In our experience many Christians follow this pattern. God says, “Woe to the rebellious children.”

Joshua, in the early stages of the conquest of Canaan, was deceived by the Gibeonites and he made a treaty with them under oath. Here is a selection from Joshua 9:14, “So the men partook of their provisions, and did not ask direction from the Lord and made a covenant with them to let them live and th…

Love Deeply

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8 (NIV)

I’m quite sure that this is not saying that love overlooks sin. Love sees sin, and then covers it: in this case, lots of them, “a multitude of sins.” We know that this is true of the love of God, but is it true of us? The imperative is directed toward us, “love each other deeply”. I think it must be true of us. I Corinthians 13:5 tells us that “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” The opposite of covering sins may be keeping a record of them. “Love each other deeply.” “Deeply” has to do with the quality of the cover. Perhaps deep love provides deep cover as in “Thou will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). This cover is not speaking of our own sins, but of others’ sins, for two reasons:

1. “He who covers his sins shall not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

2. “Love each other deeply.” This love is the love that forgives o…

Living in the World on God's Terms

“I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people.” I Corinthians 5:9 (NIV)

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” II Corinthians 6:14 (NIV)


There are five rhetorical questions which give reasons why we should not be partners with unbelievers. However, we are not to avoid unbelievers. To be successful in avoiding them we would have to leave this world. No, we are to be in the world on God’s terms, not on the world’s terms.

We see Christians, while in the world, compromising with the world. This causes a reaction among other Christians to avoid the world so they, themselves, will not compromise. Both of these are wrong positions.

If we live holy, godly lives in this world, the world will be convicted of its sin. There will be two reactions to their conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit.

1. Conversions to Christ.
2. Persecution of those who want to live …

Guilt vs. False Guilt

Guilt is first a fact and maybe a feeling.

If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD's commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible. Leviticus 5:17 (NIV)

The feeling may not record the real guilt.

False guilt is always a feeling and never a fact. Real guilt when confessed in repentance is always forgiven.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9 (NIV)

False guilt, when confessed, is not forgiven by God because it is not a sin. The “guilty” person keeps on confessing and receives no relief. He has believed the lie of the accuser. This is not conviction of the Holy Spirit. The sin that must be confessed is believing the lie of the devil.


(Taken from Day & Night, 2005)

Attitudes Towards Other Believers

“As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, not for disputes over opinions. One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgement on him who eats; for God has welcomed him” (Romans 14:1-3).

This is a chapter about attitudes towards other believers. The basic premise is that a believer belongs to God and God receives him without looking down on him or condemning him and therefore we should also receive him in the same way. This is saying that there is something more important than “being right.” God allows us to think we are right; the next verse says, “Let everyone be fully convinced in his own mind.” He allows us to think differently, but He does not allow us to break fellowship because we think differently. Please read the rest of Romans 14.

You will notice that the “kingdom of God does not mean food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” …

Models of Concern

There are two paragraphs in Philippians (2:19-30) which describe men who are rich in concern for others.

Notice what Paul says about Timothy:

“There is no one else here like him who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”

Notice what he says about Epaphroditus:


“He is distressed because you heard he was ill” and “because he almost died for the work of Christ risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.”

And what he says of the Philippian Christians:

“Whom you sent to care for my needs” and of himself “I am confident that I will come soon” and “therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety.”

This overwhelming love for others in Jesus Christ seems to be an exception now as it was then.

“For everyone looks out for his own interest, not those of Jesus Christ.”

When a person looks out for the interests of Jesus Christ, he begin…

Forgiveness from the Heart, Part II

So watch yourselves.
"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." (Luke 17:3-4)


Let’s look at the text in Luke 17. The fellow sins against me seven times in one day. After each time during the day he says “I repent.” After a few of these sins and the same number of “I repents” I begin to get suspicious that he is not really repentant. I have to forgive him from my heart only on his statement that he is repentant. I am not allowed to judge the sincerity of his repentance. The seven times is again not the number seven only, but a lot of times. The Luke 17 passage does not tell me to refuse to forgive him until he repents. Also in Matthew 18 (the seventy-seven or seventy times seven) the forgiveness is not dependent on his repentance. It is dependent on my prior forgiveness.

God is the only one who can forgive sins so that clea…

Forgiveness from the Heart

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

“[Love] is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (I Corinthians 13:5).


The above verses are emotions of the heart. Earlier in Matthew 18, Peter asked Jesus for a commendation if he forgave his brother seven times. Jesus replied 77 or 70x70 or 490 times. Is there a difference between the two numbers? No! the meaning is in the conjunction of the two sevens, that is, times without number, or an infinite number of times. Jesus …

Love and Peace

This is an age when “Love” and “Peace”, two great words with unlimited quality in them, are used as synonyms for limited physical events such as “sexual relationships” and “no war”.

Two other words come to mind which are not as unlimited in meaning and where no attempt has been made to change their meaning. They are largely ignored, foreign to our vocabularies. This is a time of violent expression and polarization of peoples, opinions and nations. Even the Christians find themselves choosing up sides and thereby ruling out the use and practice of these words. These words are “gentle” and “kind”.

Ephesians 4:31, 32 say:

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger, and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Verse 31 speaks of wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking, motivated by malice and bitterness. It is almost a description of the world today, or at …

The Holy Spirit: Power

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19


(Taken from Day & Night, 2006)

Workplace Bitterness

I received a response to my booklet, How to be Free from Bitterness. Here is a portion of that question.

Question:

“My problem is that there are several people that I work with that annoy me. I’m talking about vile language and music, crude jokes, put-downs to other co-workers and laziness that no one can, or will, do anything about. I have made my objections known in a kind way and continually try to give it up to the Lord, but I still struggle. Could you speak to workplace bitterness in one of your upcoming messages?”

Answer:

If the person who is a temptation to you IS a Christian then you have a responsibility to him to correct him.

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1 (NIV)


If you are annoyed, you are not rejoicing. You are not spiritual and you will not do it gently. Consequently, you are not qualified to correct him even if your words are kind.

You are to restore him fo…

The Holy Spirit: Quality of Life

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24

The Holy Spirit gives us a new character. It is just like the character of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


(Taken from Day & Night, 2006)

Bible Reading

Many years ago I was speaking at a men’s conference from an evangelical church. At the first session I gave each man a 3 x 5 card and asked them to put three numbers on their card, but not their name.

The first number was answering the question, “How many years have you been a Christian?”

The second number was answering the question, “How many times have you read the Old Testament in its entirety?

The third number answered the question, “How many times have you read the New Testament?”

After collecting the cards I added up all of the years and all of the times and then divided the total times into the total years.

If my memory is correct the Old Testament was read once every 27 years and the New Testament once every 17 years. However, since then I have gotten averages of 7 ½ years OT, and 2 ½ years NT. If a person is a very slow reader the whole Bible can be read in less than 80 hours. How do I know? An audio Bible can be purchased on 48 cassette tapes or on a CD.

The first time I read the …

The Holy Spirit: Assurance

“Set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 1:22

“He” anointed us, 2. Set His seal of ownership on us, and 3. Put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Maybe this is saying the same thing three times. Or it may be three different acts of the Holy Spirit.

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13, 14

“Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14


“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also …

Unity

You will receive in the next few weeks, the Lord willing, several thoughts on the unity and disunity of the churches. In any given community, the body of believers is made up of all saved people and no one who is unsaved.

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47 (NIV)

The church was made up of people of both sexes.

“They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Acts 1:14 (NIV)

“Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.” Acts 5:14 (NIV)

The church included Jewish priests.

“So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7 (NIV)

The church included other races, cultures and nations.

“And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” Acts 8:38 (NI…