Saturday, June 2, 2012

Obey God First

"But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt 
had commanded them, but let the boys live."
Exodus 1:17

Pharaoh wanted to destroy the Israelites, and so he tried to intimidate the Hebrew midwives into killing the newborn male babies that they helped deliver. However, the midwives revered God. Their faith in Him outweighed their fear of Pharaoh and they let the baby boys live. The Hebrew population continued to grow mightily, despite Pharaoh's attempts to annihilate it. God decides who lives and who dies, and He will use faithful followers like the midwives to accomplish His purpose and bring Him glory. The midwives obeyed God instead of the civil government, and out of their obedience the Messianic line was preserved. "Though generally we are called to obey the government and honor rulers (Romans 13:1-5), we are never called to put government in the place of God, and if the government tells us to do something against God's will, we are to obey God first." (David Guzik)

Friday, June 1, 2012

When Comfort is Delayed

My eyes fail with longing for Your word,
While I say, “When will You comfort me?”
Psalm 119:82

When we are in the midst of a great trial, God brings the comfort that nothing nor no one else can bring. The psalmist knew this. He cried out with impatience. "When will You comfort me?" His is not a shallow request, but a hungry plea that comes from a deep need. He looks to God and waits for an answer. And his eyes dim with longing while he waits. If you're a kindred spirit of the psalmist you understand this verse. You've lived it and you identify with his words. You identify also with the psalmist's faith. For even though his eyes may become weak, his faith stays strong. Sometimes God delays an answer. This is not punisrhment. It is love. "When wilt thou comfort me? It is a customable manner of God's working with his children, to delay the answer to their prayers, and to suspend the performance of His promises: not because He is unwilling to give, but because He will have them better prepared to receive. Tardins dando qued pettimus instantia nobis orationis indicit: He is slow to give that which we seek, that we should not seek slowly, but may be awakened to instancy and fervency in prayer, which He knows to be the service most acceptable unto Him, and most profitable unto ourselves." (William Cowper)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Love = Obedience

"And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments."
2 John 1:6

The evidence of our love for God is our obedience. If we truly love Him, then we will want to please Him and honor Him by walking according to what He commands us in the Bible. Love should be our motivation. "The difficulty that you feel is that you do not love enough. You would like to love with a strong, undying flame, burning steadily towards Jesus Christ, cleansing you with its heat, constraining you with its love. But perhaps you fail to distinguish between love and the emotion of love. They are not the same. We may love without being directly conscious of love, or being able to estimate its strength and passion. Here is the solution to many of our questionings: They love who obey." (F.B.Meyer)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Be Not Ashamed

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels"
Mark 8:38

God is full of grace and mercy, and it's good to know that His love for us is not based on what we do or don't do. However, God is also righteous and when Christ returns each person will give an account for who he or she served while here on earth. Did we follow God? Or did we follow the world? "Most people think of following Jesus as conforming to the 'establishment.' Actually, Jesus calls us to rebel against the established order of this world. We are called to rebel against the tyranny of the flesh, against the fear and conformity of the world, against the traditions of man. Jesus encourages a 'slave rebellion,' where the slaves of sin, Satan, and the world rebel against their masters." (David Guzik) When Christ returns I trust you will be able to say with Paul, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Gentile). For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'But the righteous man shall live by faith.'” (Romans 1:16-17)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Greatest Foundation for Ministry

"For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, 
that one died for all, therefore all died;"
2 Corinthians 5:14

Paul was compelled to do all he did because of Christ's love for him. He was willing to endure hardship and press on to share the gospel because he loved His Savior. And He loved those for whom His Savior had died. For all are dead spiritually until they come to Christ and receive His gift of salvation. "This is the greatest foundation for ministry, wanting to give something to others because Jesus has given us everything. When we really receive the love of Christ, it touches us and makes us want to serve others." (Dave Guzik)

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Freedom to Choose

"The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, 
for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
Genesis 2:16-17

John Calvin comments on Genesis 2:16: “Therefore, abstinence from the fruit of one tree was a kind of first lesson in obedience, that man might know he had a Director and Lord of his life, on whose will he ought to depend, and in whose commands he ought to acquiesce. And this, truly, is the only rule of living well and rationally, that men should exercise themselves in obeying God.” God gave man free will to choose whether to live in obedience to Him or choose his own way. When Adam and Eve chose to eat from the tree God forbade, they exercised their free will and brought disastrous results for themselves and all of mankind. If God were not full of infinite mercy and grace all of mankind since that first act of disobedience would be doomed to eternal punishment without hope. But God provided a way to restore sinners to a right relationship with Him through Christ. Man still has free will to choose. Therefore we can never say "God sends people to hell." People choose that for themselves when they reject Christ, the only salvation God has provided. "Why did God make a tree (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) just to tempt Adam? Why was this tree ever necessary? Because for Adam to be a creature of free will, there had to be a choice, some opportunity to rebel against God. If there is never a command, never something forbidden, then there can never be choice; and God wants our love and obedience to Him to be the love and obedience of choice." (Dave Guzik)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saved through Christ

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, 
but that the world might be saved through Him.” 
John 3:17

Jesus Christ could have come to the world to judge it. But He didn't. He came to bring salvation. And not just for Israel, but for the whole world. Jesus didn't need to come in condemnation, for we all are already under condemnation if we haven't placed our trust in Him. In other words, the world is condemned. It's been condemned since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. But God out of His marvelous grace sent His Son to save the world. It's not universal. Salvation only comes to those who receive the Savior. We are saved through Him. "It is true that we are sinners--but Christ has suffered for us. It is true that we deserve death--but Christ has died for us. It is true that we are guilty debtors--but Christ has paid our debts with His own blood. This is the real Gospel! This is the good news! On this let us lean while we live. To this let us cling when we die. Christ has been 'lifted up' on the cross, and has thrown open the gates of heaven to all believers." (J.C. Ryle).
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