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Showing posts from August, 2019

God’s Faithfulness in Humbling and Exalting

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).

This truth is also found in Philippians 2:3-11:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory …

An Empty Life

“There has never been an emptier life than the one which has itself as its center. You take the throne of your personality and sit on it, and you appear conspicuously too small! It was never meant to be your throne. We were created in God’s image, not in our own image. Therefore, whenever I take the center of my personality and sit on it, I am out of place. I am simply too small for the throne of that personality. I cannot meet my own desires.” – Festo Kivengere, excerpt from The Spirit Is Moving

CCM has just republished this book. You can order a copy here.

Bible Reading Challenge Invitation: #KeeptheFeast

You Are Worthy

The two greatest events in the history or the world are the creation of man and the redemption of man by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The four living creatures and the 24 elders sing about these two events in Revelation 4:11 and in Revelation 5:9-10.

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Rev. 4:11).

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10).

Both hymns start out the same: “You are worthy.” There are different reasons given: “for you created all things,” and “because you were slain.” The first hymn is limited to the choir of 28. With the second hymn, the 28 are joined first by upwards of 100 million angels a…

Getting Our Grieving Backwards

“Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?” (1 Corinthians 5:2).

“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13).


There are things about which we should grieve and things about which we should not grieve. In the first category is sin in the body, the church. In the second is the death of those who die in the Lord. Like many things, we have these backwards. Sin in the body should cause the whole body pain.

“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).

Let us ask God for a conscience that reflects the sin of the whole body, not just our own private sin. Let us also ask for a great joy for those who go on ahead to be with Christ.



Written September 1984.

Book Recommendation: Patricia St. John

I would like to share with you some thoughts on books. One of the books I have read and appreciated is Nothing Else Matters by Patricia St. John. This is a book by a missionary who is also a children’s author. Other books by her include The Tanglewoods Secret, Treasures of the Snow, Star of Light, and Where the River Begins. Nothing Else Matters is reading for adults about children in Lebanon. Its theme is forgiveness: its story is of killing, sacrifice, and bitterness. The benefit of reading it is great. The salvation message is clear, and the theme of forgiveness is powerful. I would also encourage you to read her other books, specifically Star of Light.

Eating with the Varsity Team

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).

Among Christians there seem to be many differences on how they view good and evil. They tend to be either legalistic (following rules taught by men) or licentious (violating God’s rules). Both of these are wrong.

There is another difference: that is the difference between infancy and maturity. There are many Christians who need to be taught elementary truths all over again. Much of my time is spent in this occupation.

However, it is not the amount or depth of teaching that makes a Christian mature. A …

Something to Remember at Work

"Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: 'See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him'" (Jude 14-15).

The word ungodly is used four times in Jude 15. Verse sixteen gives the characteristics of these ungodly people. The difficulty is that they sound like characteristics of Christians we all have known. Here is verse sixteen: "These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage."

Grumbling and faultfinding is stock in trade for the world. However, Christians who work in the world may find it easy to pick up the practice. Instead of providing light, we pick up the darkness. Let us remember that Jude says that it is an ungodly practice.


Same Page Sum…

Riches in Christ and the Full Armor of God

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" (Ephesians 6:10-13).

The first three chapters of Ephesians tell us of the riches we have in Christ. It would be difficult to meditate too much on these riches. Then we come to two-and-a-half "obedience" chapters. Now we have teaching on war, real war, deadly war. Notice that verse 10 and 13 both say "Put on the full armor." The emphasis is on the wholeness, the completeness of the armor, "so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.…

Being Prepared for Good Work

"In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware and some for noble use, some for ignoble. If anyone purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work." (2 Tim. 2:20-21)

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16)


We as Christians should be prepared and equipped for any good work, and every good work. It looks as if the preparation takes place first by cleansing—a pure life, a holy vessel—and second, by the Word of God. A cleansed vessel and inspired Scripture—wonderful means of preparation.


Same Page Summer Bible Reading
Written March 1983.

The Christian Response to the Refugee Crisis

It is fairly easy to be moved with compassion when we hear of orphans in need or widows in need. We find it harder to be moved with compassion for aliens in our land, especially if they are of a different race and language. Over and over again in the Bible, aliens are included with widows and orphans. They must be cared for (Deuteronomy 24:17, 19 and 27:19, Psalm 94:4-7).

It is not an absolute rule, but normally you can tell which is the relatively righteous nation by watching which direction the refugees flee. This year there are millions of refugees fleeing from South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria. If these people flee towards us, and we are not moved with compassion and do not treat them as the Bible requires, then we are violating the clear teaching of Scripture.




Written October 1980; revised August 2019.

Wait for the Lord

"Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth,
He does not faint or grow weary,
his understanding is unsearchable,
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint."
(Isaiah 40:28-31)

Being All Things to All Men

In 1 Corinthians 9 and 10, Paul makes a few amazing statements about himself and then says that we are to follow his example.

“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 things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Cor. 9:19-23)

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks, or the church of God—even as I try to please everybody in eve…

What Paul Says About the Conscience

Dear Friends,

In the Bible we see instances of consciences that are clear, weak, evil, defiled, seared, corrupted, witnessing, testifying, good, and cleansed. It would be easy to draw a conclusion that a good, clear, and cleansed conscience would reflect God’s absolute moral law and those that followed their consciences would not be guilty. Sometimes that is true, and sometimes that is up for question. Here are two of Paul’s statements:

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace. (2 Cor. 1:12)

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. (1 Cor. 4:4)


In the first instance, Paul is innocent. However, in the second he says that a clear conscience does not guarantee innocence.

We also have another criterion for our actions. It…

Mercy for Persecutors

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:12-17).

Notice that Paul was a blasphemer, persecutor and a violent man. We are quite sure that he was not an adulterer, or thief or liar. He would have said so. He did say he was…