Saturday, March 24, 2012

Care and Share

"And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered."
Acts 28:30-31

A leading newspaper executive was visited by a local pastor. The man of God came right to the point as they shook hands. "My friend," he said, "I'm here to ask you to become a Christian." The editor walked over to a window and for several minutes stood looking down into the street. The minister thought he had offended him. Finally the man turned, his face wet with tears. Taking his visitor's hand again, he said, "Thank you for your concern. Since I was a young boy at my mother's knee, not a single relative or business associate has ever taken an interest in my soul. I thought no one cared!"

Paul the Apostle cared about all who came to him. He shared the gospel of Christ boldly. Some received it and some didn't, but Paul never worried about the results of his witness. He left that to the Holy Spirit. Opportunities arise all the time for us to share the good news of salvation with the lost. We don't need to be concerned with how they react to our testimony. We only need to care enough to share what we know and leave the outcome to God. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

God Is In the Battle

"Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, 
And my fingers for battle; 
Psalm 144:1

David's life was often threatened. First by wild animals in the field when he was a shepherd, then by Goliath, then by Saul, and finally even his own son set out to kill him. In each battle David did not rely on his own strength to save him, but trusted the Lord to deliver him from his enemies. God was faithful to do it. However, God saved David in the battle, not from the battle. In our own lives we may face challenges that threaten to undue us. We may ask God to remove the trial and He may oblige. But if He doesn't we can be assured that He will not abandon us. He is the rock who will be in the trial with us. His grace is sufficient. "there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Judge Not?

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned."
Luke 6:37

When Jesus says we should not judge others, He doesn't mean we shouldn't evaluate another person's actions, their beliefs or the things that they teach. If this were the case, then we would accept whatever is presented to us, whether it is right or wrong. The judgment Christ is talking about is the judgement that condemns; that is self-righteous. This judgment looks down on another person and assumes we know the motives of their heart. In our extreme attempt as a culture to be tolerant we miss the necessity to be discerning. And discernment is something we're called to be. "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them,  tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." Matthew 18:15-17 
("Gentile" and "tax collector" in this case would describe an unbeliever. Someone who is unrepentant.)  The Apostle Paul instructed the church to discern also. "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves." (1 Corinthians 5:9-13) Clearly Christ's words in Luke 6:37 do not mean we should disregard the sin in other people's lives.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Living Stone

"And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, 
but is choice and precious in the sight of God,"
1 Peter 2:4

Jesus is the "living stone". Living in that He died for our sins but was raised again to life, and a stone in that He is the solid foundation on which we build our lives. Those who accept Him as the Messiah, Savior, the One who is precious in the sight of God, find they can continually come to Him for all of their needs. We build our lives on the rock solid foundation of Jesus Christ. "Christ is our sufficiency. As we commune continually with Him by faith, we learn that our primary need in life is to 'know Him' (Phil. 3:10)." (Pastor Steven Cole)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

God's Gentleness

"You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, 
And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great."
Psalm 18:35

Psalm 18 is David's song of deliverance from his enemies. He begins it with declaring his love for the Lord. He recounts his salvation by God's hand. He recognizes that God is his protection; like a shield against the enemy. That it is God who helps him stand. And it is God's gentleness -- His humility to condescend to David -- that makes him great.  "David ascribes all his own greatness to the condescending goodness and graciousness of his Father in heaven. Let us all feel this sentiment in our own hearts, and confess that whatever of goodness or greatness God may have put upon us, we must cast our crowns at his feet and cry, 'thy gentleness hath made me great.'" (Charles Spurgeon).  

Monday, March 19, 2012

For the Glory of the Lord

"Then Moses said to the LORD, 'Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.' The LORD said to him, 'Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?'"
Exodus 4:10-11

Instead of putting his focus on God and His abilities, Moses here is fixing his eyes on himself and his inabilities. He forgot that it is was God who called him to serve Him and it is  God who works in the called to accomplish His purpose. Paul understood this when he wrote to the Philippians, "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Phil 2:13) God's response to Moses may be hard for us to accept. God makes people mute, deaf or blind? How could a loving God do that? We must turn to scripture for the answer. John 9:1-3: "As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?' Jesus answered, 'It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'" Jesus went on to heal the blind man for the glory of the Lord. It is for God's glory that weaknesses exist in us, not for our punishment. "God has made you seeing or blind. He has made you hearing or deaf. Why did He do that? For punishment? Generational sin that your parents or grandparents committed? No, but because He loves you. Because He wants your life to glorify Him. He wants His works to be displayed in you." (Pastor Ron Daniel)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rest a While

"And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place
 and rest a while.” 
Mark 6:31

Jesus regularly made time to get away to be alone with His Father and rest, and He taught His disciples to do the same. We can fill our lives with busyness and miss that one thing that is most important: to "come away" with Jesus and rest. "Now listen: this rest was not just an absence of work - for some of you that is Saturday or even Sunday, or a Friday afternoon or some other day in the week where you cease employment and therefore rest ensues. This was more than just an absence of work, this was a decision to suspend work. They decided to stop what they were doing and draw aside. Now some people think: 'I'm going to wait for a day when it will be convenient for me to take a rest', or spiritually, 'I'm going to wait for a day when it will be convenient for me to draw close to the Lord'. What happens? It never happens! Waiting for something that is within our own power to do is ridiculous! We ourselves have the choice to, as James said, draw near to God and He will draw near to us.'" (Pastor David Legge)
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