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Showing posts from September, 2017

The Where and the Way

You know the way to the place where I am going.
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you would know my Father as well.” (John 14:4-6)Thomas said they did not know where, so they could not know the way. Jesus said they knew both. Jesus said He was going to the Father and that He Himself was the way. If you know Jesus, you know the Father.

People today do not know where to go, and they do not know the way. Where is the Father. The way is Jesus. Are you willing to tell people the where and the way?
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." (Matt. 28:18-19)Are you willing to obey Him?

Seeing Him When He Comes

“But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens” (Mark 13:24-27).

Notice the great distress and the great power and glory. Men will see the Son of Man coming.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

Jesus' Stories: The Gulf Between

Jesus told many stories during His ministry here. Some were parables: the lost sheep and the lost coin, Luke 15:1-10; the tenants in Luke 20; the ten minas in Luke 19. Some were true stories: the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 and the prodigal son in Luke 15. We have also been given stories of real encounters with Jesus: Nicodemus in John 3, the rich young ruler in Mark 10, and the woman at the well in John 4.

Let’s look at one of the true stories:
There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, "Father Abraham, have pity on me and …

And Yet

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. (Psalm 147:4-5)This is just one of numerous passages which speak in a limited way of God’s unlimited power and knowledge. Here are a few more:
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.... For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. (Psalm 33:6, 9)

He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matt. 8:26-27)God commands the inanimate. There are no ears to hear, no will to decide, no mind to consider, and yet the stars, the wind, and the waves obey.

Forgiving Someone Who Has Wronged You

There are sins in the Bible that required the death penalty. The death penalty was based on the civil law. The sacrificial law provided forgiveness for sins. The civil law was transferred to the civil government (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2, Titus 3). The sacrificial system was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ, and forgiveness for sins was provided.

Vengeance was prohibited in the Old Testament, and it is prohibited in the New Testament.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:17-21…

Filled with the Holy Spirit

“Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 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 6:3-8)

The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. (A…

God's Delays

Here are some thoughts on the character of God.
By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. (Heb. 11:11-12)

They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation"…The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:4, 9)The first verse has to do with God’s promise to Abraham, which was fulfilled when he was 100 years old, because Abraham knew that God was faithful and would keep his promise. God kept his promise!

The second passage has to do with the promise of Jesus to return to Earth. He gives…

Always and for Everything

This is a biblical thought on gratitude written by one of my sons. It is very true.

The issue of gratitude is related to one of the basic truths of Scripture. In the first chapter of Romans, the apostle Paul tells us that the fundamental problem of sinful man is that he does not want to honor God as God, and does not want to render thanks to Him. There is something about "thanks to God" that the unbelieving heart does not want to accept. Those of us who have been forgiven so much, and then given so much, need to maintain the contrast between the way we live and the way non-believers do. "Always and for everything giving thanks," we are told. And so we do.

Before the Mountains Were Born

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:1-2)

But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children. (Psalm 103:17)God’s everlastingness has been extended to us who believe. It includes everlasting joy and everlasting kindness. “His love endures forever.” Thank God!

More for the Bookworms

When I was a young Christian, I was out at sea in the Navy. I wanted to grow in the Lord, but I did not know how. There were no strong Christians on my ship whom I could observe and learn from. Then I realized that I could learn from Christians who were not present - through books. I have been reading and giving away books ever since.

You may know Elisabeth Elliot’s books. Did you know that her father, her grandfather, and her great-grandfather were all editors of The Sunday School Times? The Sunday School Times was the leading Christian magazine the first half of the 20th century. Her grandfather, Charles Trumbull, wrote Victory in Christ. It is a great book. His father, Henry Clay Trumbull, was an evangelist in the Civil War. He was the author of Hints on Child Training. It was first published in 1890, and it is still in print. The Kindle version is available for only $0.99.

The Common Thread

Here are two verses that have a close relationship with each other:
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. (Rom. 15:2)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph. 4:29)Do you see the common thread? Building others up. What we do and what we say should benefit other Christians.

Here are similar thoughts on evangelism.
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all …

God's Checking Account

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)Notice the “alls” in the sentence: all grace, all things, all times, all that you need.

Pay attention also that all grace abounds and that you will abound in every good work. This is either true or false. If it is true, then thank God!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)We cannot write a check on God’s bank account that he cannot cover. His checks do not bounce.

The Sidelong Glance

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips. (Rom. 1:29)

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5:19-21)I am picking on envy for several reasons. First, envy is listed with murder and other gross sins. The Bible says that people who do these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Another reason is that people do not think of it as evil, just an unpleasant fact of life. They envy others and don't call it sin.
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. (Phil. 1:15)

If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instructi…

That Day

In chapters twelve to fourteen of the book of Zechariah, there are about 17 references to “that day.” Here are a few of them.
On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. "On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more," declares the LORD Almighty. "I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land. (Zech. 13:1-2)

On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. (Zech. 14:8-9)

On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD's house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. (Zech. 14:20)Let us look forward to that day.

Godless Chatter

Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge… (1 Tim. 6:20)We are bombarded with “godless chatter” every day. In university towns, we are immersed in it. In all of this, there is some of God’s truth. People hear the truth in it and consequently do not recognize the “godless chatter” for what it is. This makes the godless chatter even more dangerous.

There are three ways to train yourself to recognize godless chatter:

1. Know the wisdom of God very well. "We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor. 2:6-8).

2. Know the enemy. "…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not u…

My Eschatology

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thess. 4:17-18)

He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Rev. 22:20)You may have wondered what my eschatology is. I do not often speak about it. These few words summarize my anticipation: hope, purifies, encourage, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."

This keeps me from differing with the saints on the order of events at the end time.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:3)

The Glad Anticipation

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
(Psalm 84:1-2)

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
(Psalm 27:4)

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
(Psalm 90:1-2)

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalm 23:6)

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light o…

The Life That Wins (or Victory is Normal)

This is the story of Rosalind Goforth's encounter with the author of one of the best books I have read.

On our first arrival home [on furlough from China], many requests came for my husband to take meetings. When it became known that he could not, I was urged to take his place. But the months of ceaseless overland travel through Inland China with my husband, who was evidently breaking, the nursing, and the anxiety, had all told on me. I felt physically worn, spiritually dead, mentally numb. But deep in my heart I craved for some fresh spiritual blessing, for fresh vision that might enable me to speak once more out of an overflowing hear.

How true, how very true is the sentiment express in the following lines:
Thy soul must overflow
If thou another soul woulds’t reach;
It needs the overflow of heart
To give the lips full speech!The tender, loving Lord saw just what His child needed and once again worked for her beyond all she could ask or think.

We had been but a short time at th…

Those Who Divide

You may have experienced Christians or pseudo Christians dividing the body of Christ. The Bible speaks to us about them in several places.
They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. (Jude 18-19)

Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11)

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. (Rom. 16:17-18)

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that ther…