Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What Kind of People Does God Use?

In Matthew 10:2-4 we are given the names of the twelve Apostles. They are: "first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him." We are told by Matthew that it was "these Jesus sent out and commanded" (v.5) But before they could be sent out as Apostles, they had to learn as disciples. Matthew 10:1 says, "And when He had called His twelve disciples." Verse 2 says, "Now the names of the twelve apostles." Notice first they were disciples and later became apostles. They were first learners in the personal instruction of our Lord, then they became sent ones (apostles) that were ready to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is how it is with us. We receive the Lord Jesus into our life and become disciples and are trained and then sent out to reach others for Christ. Are you following that pattern in your life or are you idle at reaching others for Christ? The kind of people God uses are those who are willing to go from disciples to sent ones. Realize your calling today. Obey Jesus' command to make disciples (Mat.28:18-20).

Monday, October 30, 2006

What is Your View of God?

"On January 7, 1855, the minister of New Park Street Chapel, Southwark , England , opened his morning sermon as follows:

‘It has been said by someone that "the proper study of mankind is man." I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God's elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.

There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, "Behold I am wise." But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumb line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass's colt; and with solemn exclamation, "I am but of yesterday, and know nothing." No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. . .

But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. . . . The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.

And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead's deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning.

These words, spoken over a century ago by C. H. Spurgeon (at that time, incredibly, only twenty years old) were true then, and they are true now. Many people have various views of God. Erwin Lutzer, in his book, "Ten Lies About God," writes: "‘I believe in God' is perhaps one of the most meaningless statements we can make today. The word God has become a canvas on which each is free to paint his own portrait of the divine; like the boy scribbling at his desk, we can draw God according to whatever specifications we please. For some He is ‘psychic energy"; for others He is ‘whatever is stronger than I am' or ‘an inner power to lead us to deeper consciousness.' To say, ‘I believe in God' might simply mean that we are seeing ourselves in a full-length mirror" (pp.2-3). Donald McCullough adds: "When the true story gets told, whether in the partial light of historical perspective or in the perfect light of eternity, it may well be revealed that the worst sin of the church at the end of the twentieth century has been the trivialization of God...We prefer the illusion of a safer deity, and so we have pared God down to more manageable proportions" (Quoted in Ten Lies About God by Erwin Lutzer).

How do you see God? Do you see Him as "a safer deity" or a "God of more manageable proportions?" The best place to get a safe view of God is from the Bible. For it is there where God is revealed. Begin reading His Word today as Jesus taught the disciples to pray. He said, "Hallowed by Your Name" (Mat.6:9).

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What is Joy?

Do you know what joy is? You certainly do when you experience it. We sing about it. You remember the song. "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where?" Joy is a response of the heart, soul, and mind of a person to his relationship to Jesus Christ. It is outward exuberance. It is a deep knowledge in our souls that all is well and that, ultimately, everything will be glorious. Galatians 5:22-23 reveals that it is the fruit the Holy Spirit produces in our lives when we are obedient to Jesus. It says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Luke notes this truth when he writes in Acts 13:52, "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." Paul says it as well in Romans 14:17: "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

Is joy being manifested in your life today? Do you have that deep knowledge in your soul that all is well and that, ultimately, everything will be glorious because of your relationship to Jesus Christ?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Understanding Christ's Church

Changed By Grace Community Church began a little over four years ago. And during that time we have been involved in laying the foundation for our ministry. I shared two weeks ago those features that need to be at our foundation: a high view of God, the absolute authority of Scripture, sound doctrine, personal holiness, and spiritual authority. With the recent changes and additions to our ministry, I feel that it is important to share what the Bible teaches about "Christ's Church." I have been a believer for the past 22 years. And in those 22 years I have seen some drastic things occur in the church. I have seen the respect for leaders decline. I have seen the membership become complacent and apathetic. I have even seen the rise of the "seeker-sensitive church." Therefore my mediation this week has been on the church. Right now I am meeting with a group of men who are studying with me what the Bible teaches about the church, its leaders and its members. This is Christ's Church. It does not belong to any particular individual or denomination, it belongs to Christ. In Colossians 1:18 Paul said, "He (Christ) is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence." John MacArthur writes, "There are many metaphors used in Scripture to describe the church. It is called a family, a kingdom, a vineyard, a flock, a building, and a bride. But the most profound metaphor, one having no Old Testament equivalent, is that of a Body. The church is a Body, and Christ is the head of the Body. This concept is not used in the sense of the head of a company, but rather looks at the church as a living organism, inseparably tied together by the living Christ. He controls every part of it and gives it life and direction. His life lived out through all the members provides the unity of the Body (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12–20). He energizes and coordinates the diversity within the Body, a diversity of spiritual gifts and ministries (1 Cor. 12:4–13). He also directs the Body's mutuality, as the individual members serve and support each other (1 Cor. 12:15–27). Christ is not an angel who serves the church (cf. Heb. 1:14). He is the head of His church" ( The MacArthur NT Commentary: Colossians ). The Greek word for "church" is ekklesia which comes from kaleo┬Á "to call," and ek "out from." The compound verb means "to call out from." In classical Greek ekklesia referred to an assembly of the citizens summoned by the town crier. It is used in Acts 19:32–41 in its purely classical meaning. The town clerk dismissed the citizens who had been gathered together by the craftsmen of Ephesus . In its every other occurrence, it is translated "church," the church being looked upon as a called-out body of people, called out of the world of unsaved humanity to become the people of God" (Kenneth Wuest, Wuest's Word Studies in the Greek NT ). So the church is a called-out assembly of believers for the glory of Jesus Christ. When talking about the church then, I am referring to believers.

The Formation of the Church

The church was formed in eternity past by God. Ephesians 1:3-6 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved" (KJV). God decreed before the foundation of the world those whom He would save and He gave them to Jesus Christ. This is the church invisible. The church visible to the world is the local ekklesia. It was formed by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:1-4, 22-41).

The Purpose of the Church

There are three purposes given in the New Testament for the churches existence. The first is to glorify God. Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." The church must perceive itself as an institution for the glory of God. Everything we do whether we "speak...minister, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet.4:11). God is glorified when His children are equipped for ministry. Ephesians 4:11-15 tells us that God gave gifted men to the church "to equip the saints for the work of ministry" (v.12). That will happen as the Word is preached and taught faithfully and systematically. The third purpose of the church is to evangelize the lost. Mark 16:15 says, "And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'" This is what Matthew 28:19 refers to as making disciples.

God has birthed His church before eternity past to glorify His name by equipping His saints and evangelizing a lost world. Are you fulfilling this call on your life? My prayer for you today is that you will seek to glorify God by serving Him with the gifts He has given you to minister in the Body.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Trusting in the Midst of Adversity

Jerry Bridges writes:"God in His infinite wisdom knows exactly what adversity we need to grow more and more into the likeness of His Son. He not only knows what we need but when we need it and how best to bring it to pass in our lives. He is the perfect teacher or coach. His discipline is always exactly suited for our needs. He never over trains us by allowing too much adversity in our lives" (Trusting God, p.122). How many times have you viewed your trials in this manner? Many fail to see their purpose and therefore crumble in their midst. But as 1 Corinthians 10:13 states God will not "allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able." He is the "perfect teacher or coach. His discipline is always exactly suited for our needs." As you experience the troubles of this life, remember your heavenly Father "knows exactly what adversity we need to grow...into the likeness of His Son.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

True Sanctification

Charles Spurgeon said, " Christ will be master of the heart, and sin must be mortified. If your life is unholy, then your heart is unchanged, and you are an unsaved person. The Savior will sanctify His people, renew them, give them a hatred of sin, and a love of holiness. The grace that does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Christ saves His people, not IN their sins, but FROM their sins. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord."

The Apostle Paul said to the Thessalonians, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification : that you should abstain from sexual immorality" (4:3). Sanctification means "to be set apart." It is a setting apart from sin to Christ. The Thessalonians had already "turned to God from idols" (1:9) but now they needed to "know how to possess (their) own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (4:4-5). As Spurgeon has well noted "If your life is unholy, then your heart is unchanged, and you are an unsaved person." Are you living your life "set apart" to Christ? Are you abstaining from porneia (sexual immorality)? Are you pleasing God in your walk with Him? "For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness" (4:7).

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Responsibility of Elders

We have completed our look at what elders are to be and now we're looking at what elders are to do. In doing that, I would like to define the term that is found in 1 Timothy 3:1. It is the term translated "bishop." The term "bishop" is not a good translation because "it carries modern ecclesiastical implications that are not consistent with its biblical meaning" (John MacArthur, Church Leadership, p.20). The word is episkopos and according to Greek culture was "a city administrator or finance manager. Some scholars believe that the New Testament usage of episkopos is based on that usage" (Ibid., MacArthur, p.20). But also existing during that time was the Qumran Community or the Essenes. The men who "preached, taught, and exercised care and authority were called episkopoi" (Ibid., MacArthur, p.20). Alexander Strauch says, "Episkopos denotes over-seer, inspector or protector. At the root of the word is the idea of one who supervises, protects, guards, and keeps watch" (Biblical Eldership, p.90). Applying this understanding to the episkopos in the church and you see that it referred to elders who had the responsibility of "leading, instructing, and shepherding the people." (Ibid., MacArthur, p.20). The episkopos also "heard and verified accusations against believers, and administered church discipline where appropriate" (Ibid., MacArthur, p.20). Each pastor and elder still has those responsibilities, and he is directly accountable to God for the quality of his leadership (Heb.13:17). James 3:1 says, "Let not many of you become teachers...knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment" (NASB). There are 6 areas elders are responsible for and the first is Leading the Church.

Elders Lead the Church (1 Timothy 5:17)

1 Timothy 5:17 says, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."

The word "Rule" is the Greek word proistemi which means "to be ranked first" or "to stand first" (MacArthur) or "to be at the head (of), rule, lead" (BAG). It means to "lead, direct, or guide" (Strauch), "superintend, to preside over" (Wuest). The word is translated "over you in the Lord" in 1 Thess.5:12. According to Romans 12:8 this is a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit. 1 Timothy 3:5 says elders or literally "overseers" "take care of the church of God ."

Elders Lead the Church in Humility

Alexander Strauch says, "Christ's teaching on humility and servanthood governs how we are to lead in God's household" (Ibid., p.239). They do not "lord over the people" (1 Pet.5:2-3). They lead by "example." (1 Pet.5:3). 1 Tim.4:12 says, Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Tim.4:16 adds, Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

"Christ gives elders the authority to rule on His behalf using His Word. The church is not to be ruled by its congregation, but by those whom God calls for that task" (Ibid., MacArthur, Church Leadership, p.21).

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Proper Foundation

In his book, Why One Way , John MacArthur asks the following question:

"Why do evangelicals try so desperately to court the world's favor? Churches plan their worship services to cater to the 'unchurched.' Christian performers ape every worldly fad in music and entertainment. Preachers are terrified that the offense of the gospel might turn someone against them; so they deliberately omit the parts of the message the world might not like" (p.1).

If Jesus is going to build His church, it will not happen by omitting the parts of His gospel that are offensive. Nor will it happen if His people cater to the unchurched. The gospel is not addition to one's life. It is, as Jesus said, to "deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Mat.16:24). It is losing your life for His sake and finding it (v.25). Or giving your life in exchange for His (v.26). The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that our message would be perceived as "foolishness." He said, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." If this is true, then how can we, as representatives of Jesus Christ, soften or omit parts of His message? Our efforts to reach the lost must never include catering to them. For the church to be salt and light it must submit to what the Bible says is God's building plan.

As you present the Gospel in your daily living, don't refuse to share the parts that might be uncomfortable. If you do, then you may be making a following of you instead of a follower of Christ. For a person to appreciate the good news he must first understand the bad. Share the full gospel today and leave the results to God.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Priority of God's Word

All of us order our days by priorities -- things that are of most importance. But do we include God's Word in those priorities. The average church goer spends little to no time in God's Word on a daily basis. What a task we parents have in raising the next generation. If they are going to be "doers of the Word" (Jas.1:22), then we must do it as well.

In Psalm 119:9-16 the psalmist gives us seven principles to help us keep God's Word our first priority.

We Are to Give Heed to It (vv.9-10)

In vv.2-8, 17, and 21 he says to "keep" the Word. In order for us to place God's Word at the top of our priority list we must set a determined course to "keep" or obey it.

We Are to Treasure It in Our Hearts( v.11)

We all have quoted this verse but are we doing what it says? When you truly treasure it in your hearts you will give heed to it. Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Proverbs 2:1 adds, "My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you" (emphasis added). Allowing God's Word to dwell in you and treasuring His commands are necessary to keeping His Word at the top of your priority list. A third principle is found in verses 12-13:

We Are to Declare It (vv.12-13)

It has been actually reported when we declare what we have read or learned we retain it better. Try that the next time to read a passage of Scripture. See if you retain it better by declaring it. Giving heed and treasuring God's Word will cause you to declare it . But once you do this you will want to rejoice in it.

We Are to Rejoice in It (v.14)

There are so many things we have joy in but do we rejoice in God's Word? The psalmist says in verse162, "I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure." Do you do that? What about mediation? That's what he mentions in verse 15.

We Are to Meditate on It (v.15)

This too is an activity we're not familiar with. Psalm 1:2 says that this is the activity of a righteous man. "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he mediates day and night."

We Are to Delight in It (v.16)

This would be the inward element of verse 14. While rejoicing may be seen by others God sees where our delight is. He wants us to delight in Him and find all our sufficiency in His Word. When we have given heed to His Word, treasured it in our hearts, declared it, rejoiced in it, mediated on it and delighted in it, then we will not forget it.

We Are Not to Forget It (v.16)

This is the reason why we don't treat God's Word as the first of our priorities. We forget it! The psalmist says that there is an active role in not forgetting God's Word. It's obeying it, treasuring it, declaring it, rejoicing in it, meditating on it and delighting in it. I mentioned that again so we would not forget it.

If you want to let God's Word have first place in your life you must consider what Psalm 119:9-16 says and put it into action. Ask God to help you to put His Word at the top of your priorities. Begin today. Don't put off to tomorrow what you can do today or as Chuck Swindoll says, "It's never too late to start doing what is right!" Go do that today!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Power of God's Word

There is power in God's Word. In Psalm 119:9-10 it says, "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!"

In these two verses are the answers to whether a person can experience God's cleansing. Also here is the process by which cleansing is possible. He asks the question, "How can a young man cleanse His way?" The only possible answer is "By taking heed according to Your Word."

Do you heed the Word of God? If you don't, you are far from having your way cleansed. Instead you are walking in the filth of disobedience. Obey God's Word today and have your way cleansed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Passion to Produce

As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is my passion to invest in the lives of "faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim.2:2). In spite of disappointments, the passion always remains the same. Maybe that is because my passion is to see God grow and mature His people in the deeps truths of Scripture. Is this passion just of the preacher or is every child of God to have this perspective? If Matthew 28:19-20 was given to the first disciples of our Lord who in turn were to invest into others, the call is no different today. John Piper gives us this perspective of the pastor-preacher. As you read this don't limit it to your pastor, but apply it to your life as you help "people" to lose "everything this would can give."

"Preachers must have a passion to produce people whose satisfaction in God is so solid, so deep, and so unshakable that suffering and death - losing everything this world can give - will not make people murmur or curse God, but rest in the promise, "In His presence is fullness of joy, at His right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11). But how shall men preach like that? The answer is that the preacher must suffer and the preacher must rejoice. The preacher himself must be hurt in the ministry, and the preacher must be happy in God" (John Piper, "Preaching to Suffering People," in Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching, edited by Don Kistler [Soli Deo Gloria, 2002], p. 247-248).

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Love of God

All of us are at a crossroads with The Love of God . A.W. Tozer said, "The gravest question any of us face is whether we do or do not love the Lord" (That Incredible Christian, p.132). Spurgeon assesses our situation by saying, "We cannot love whom we do not know or esteem" (Sermons, Vol.60, p.134). "Oh cold hearts! Oh slabs of marble! Oh blocks of granite! Oh icebergs! If we melt not now, when will we melt?" (Charles Spurgeon, Vol.60, p.141). The greatest tragedy in the church today is there are people who say they love God but don't know Him! How do we address such enmity? James addressed it head on. He said: "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (Jas.4:4). You cannot love the world and love God at the same time. You must repent of your love to the world and come to Christ!

The Bible says God loved us first! Spurgeon said, "If this is not a good reason for loving Him, where could such a reason be found" (Vol.60, p.141). The answer is no where! God sent Jesus to you because He loves you! Meditate on that for a moment. God, the Creator of the universe, sent His only Son, to demonstrate His love for you.

Listen to what He said to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 7:7-8: "The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt." God chose His people on the basis of His love for them. What reason do you choose Jesus today?

When we talk about The Love of God , we see that the Scriptures describe it as being part of God's character. He is called "the God of love" in 2 Cor.13:11. The Apostle John tells us: "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 Jn.4:8). The expression "God is love" "is not meant to depersonalize God or portray Him as a force, a sensation, a principle, or some sort of cosmic energy. He is a personal Being, with all the attributes of personality — volition, feeling, and intellect. In fact, what the apostle is saying is that God's love is the highest expression of His person" (John MacArthur, The God Who Loves, p.27). We could further say that "...this verse by no means identifies God with everything our society labels love. Gordon Clark wrote, ‘John is not saying that all sorts of emotions called love are from God. The romanticism of Goethe, and much more the present sexual debauchery, are not from God.' In fact, those who cite this verse to attempt to legitimize illicit forms of ‘love' are about as far from the apostle's intent as it is possible to get. The love of which he speaks is a pure and holy love, consistent with all the divine attributes" (Ibid., MacArthur, p.28). Obviously, this "does not convey everything that can be known about God. We know from Scripture that He is also holy and righteous and true to His Word. God's love does not contradict His holiness; instead, it complements and magnifies it and gives it its deepest meaning. So we cannot isolate this one phrase from the rest of Scripture and attempt to make love represent the sum of what we know about God" (Ibid., MacArthur, p.28). So we have to take Scripture as a whole to understand the character of God.

As you mediate on The Love of God today, thank Him for His sovereign love for you. Thank Him for pouring out that love on you "before the foundation of the world" (See Eph.1:4-5).

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Highest Worth

One night a group of thieves broke into a jewelry store. But rather than stealing anything, they simply switched all the price tags. The next day no one could tell what was valuable and what was cheap. The expensive jewels had suddenly become cheap, and the costume jewelry, which had been virtually worthless before, was suddenly of great value. Customers who thought they were purchasing valuable gems were getting fakes. Those who couldn't afford the higher priced items were leaving the store with treasures.

Many treat the Bible and the world the same. What is of greatest worth is really seen as a fake and the fake is held up with great value. Ask yourself today, how do I look at God's Word? Begin today to treat it with it's true value.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Faithfulness of God

We live in a day of unfaithfulness. Man cannot be trusted--he doesn't keep his promises. That's true of both individuals and nations. Only God is always faithful and keeps every promise in full. That fact is vital because everything we believe stands on the faithfulness of God. Our eternal destiny is at stake. In contrast to the unfaithfulness around us, it is refreshing to lift our eyes to our beloved God, who is always faithful. Scripture is filled with verses that declare God's faithfulness.

Deut.7:9 - "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.

Isa.11:5 - Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist.

Psalm 36:5 - Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Lamentations 3:23 - Great is Your faithfulness.

Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

As you go through your day today, remember that you serve a God who is faithful . Praise Him for His faithfulness!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Face of Repentance

Recently a friend of mine sent me a quote from Oswald Smith which says, "When a man is convicted of his lost condition he will cry out in bitter anguish of his heart: 'What must I do to be saved?' He will need no urging, no coaxing; it is a matter of life or death to him, and he will do anything to be saved." Are those familiar words in your ears when speaking about your conversion? When the Spirit of God regenerates the heart, no other response will be but "What must I do to be saved?"

Think about that today as you live among the lost. They need to hear what Christ has done in your life. Share it with them today.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Entering God's Presence

A.W. Tozer states, "It is part of my belief that God wants to get us to a place where we would still be happy if we had only Him! We don't need God and something else. God does give us Himself and lets us have other things, too, but there is that inner loneliness until we reach the place where it is only God that we desire."

In Psalm 42:1-2, the Psalmist says, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" Those words are the words of a child of God who is satisifed only with God. He finds all his joy in Him. Psalm 100:2 says we are to "Come before His presence," while verse 4 states that we are to "Enter into His gates." When was the last time you entered God's presence with that kind of purpose? As creatures of His creation we are never out of God's presence but if I could encourage you today, focus on how you are entering His presence. Are you coming to Him with unconfessed sin? Ponder that question today as you consider Him who has called you into His everlasting presence.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Christian Absolutes (Pt.2)

Yesterday we saw that believing God was a non-negotiable in the Christian life. Today we're going to see that fearing God is no different. Psalm 112:1 says, "Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who delights greatly in His commandments." When you trace the history of Israel, you quickly learn that Israel was to fear God. Israel was Told to Fear God

This means they were to "revere" (Heb.yare’) God in all their ways. Deuteronomy 6:1-2 says, "Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, "that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged." The key to Israel's success was with their fear of God. From King Solomon to those who lead the country today, Israel is to fear God. But Israel is not alone in this command. All of God's people are to fear God.

We are to Fear God

In Ecclesiates 12:13, Solomon wrote, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all."

Do you fear God? Do you trust God? The non-negotiables for your life is to believe and fear God. John Trapp concludes by saying: "It is the nature of faith to believe God upon His bare word. . . . It will not be, saith sense; it cannot be, saith reason; it both can and will be, saith faith, for I have a promise for it." Trust and fear Him today "in all your ways" (Prov.3:6).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Christian Absolutes (Pt.1)

John Wesley's Rule for Christian Living: Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever... you can! (Christian History, Vol II, No I). A great list that all of us can apply!!! In fact I wonder if any of us have ever made such a list. I have!! It is found right here in God’s Word. And in God’s Word there are absolutes that I like to call Christian Absolutes.

We Are to Believe God

The first absolute is we are to believe God. When you examine the lives of Noah and Abraham that is exactly what you see. A life that was committed to obeying God. Genesis 6:8-9 tells us that Noah "found grace in the eyes of the LORD" and that he was "a just man, perfect in his generation. Noah walked with God." The characteristic that marked Noah's life was his trust in God. This trust or belief was not some mental assent to some facts about God. It was a belief that was acted upon. He "found grace in the eyes of the LORD" because he was a "just" and "perfect" man. The direction of his life was that of obedience and holiness. While his generation perverted their ways and the God who created them, Noah loved God by obeying Him. Abraham was no different. He believed God "and He counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen.15:6). Do you truly believe God? If so, your life will manifest a heart of obedience. If someone were writing a story of your life, would it be similiar to Noah's or Abraham's? Think about it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Called to Suffer

When you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior you become a disciple. A disciple is a learner or follower of Jesus Christ. And in that life long aspiration to be like your Lord you adhere to whatever Jesus has designed for your life. If He chooses suffering for your life, then that is the course and pattern He has designed for you. Whatever the course, we know that it will, at times, include suffering or persecution. John MacArthur, in his book The Power of Suffering, says, "The key to preparedness in the Christian life is the foundation of truth upon which we build our lives - in other words, discipleship. If we are disobedient and refuse to walk loyally the narrow path of discipleship, sufferings, and trials will surprise and defeat us. So it is crucial for us to firmly grasp the role of the disciple. In that way we can guarantee our strength, endurance, and joy in suffering." Are you living a life built on the foundation of truth? Are you walking loyally the narrow path of discipleship? Remember the words of the Apostle Paul: "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me" (Phil.1:29-30). Don't let suffering surprise you for you were called to this.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Be Watchful

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (1 Peter 5:8-9). It is clear from Scripture that our enemy, the devil, seeks to "devour" all of God's children. One of the ways he does that is through "suffering" in this world. The example of Job is tremendous when seeing the extent the devil will go to in accusing us before our heavenly Father. But one thing we must remember in the fight -- God is victorious! There is NOTHING that can happen in our life that first hasn't passed through the hands of our Father. But even with that confidence we must "be sober" and "vigilant." Puritan George Downame wrote, "The Christian soldier must avoid two evils—he must not faint or yield in the time of fight, and after a victory he must not wax insolent and secure. When he has overcome, he is so to behave himself as though he were presently again to be assaulted. For Satan's temptations, like the waves of the sea, do follow one in the neck of the other." If for no other reason we need to "be sober, be vigilant." The devil does not sleep or slumber nor should we. Paul said "lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Cor.2:11). So resist the devil today, "be steadfast in the faith" and remember "Satan's temptations...do follow one in the neck of the other."