Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Lord is Coming

 “Therefore be on the alert, 
for you do not know which day your Lord is coming."
Matthew 24:42

No one knows the day and hour of the Lord's coming. Jesus Himself said that even He did not know the time; that the Father will tell Him when the time has arrived (Mark 13:32). Because we don't know the time we must be on constant watch for His return. The Bible says we will meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), and that He will come with the saints (Zechariah 14:5). Bible scholars see this as "two" second comings: one in the air for the church, which we call the "rapture". And the other is coming to the "world" with the church -- what we call the Second Coming of Jesus.

"To watch for Christ's coming, is to maintain that temper of mind which we would be willing that our Lord should find us in. We know we have but a little time to live, we cannot know that we have a long time to live; much less do we know the time fixed for the judgment. Our Lord's coming will be happy to those that shall be found ready, but very dreadful to those that are not. If a man, professing to be the servant of Christ, be an unbeliever, covetous, ambitious, or a lover of pleasure, he will be cut off. Those who choose the world for their portion in this life, will have hell for their portion in the other life. May our Lord, when he cometh, pronounce us blessed, and present us to the Father, washed in his blood, purified by his Spirit, and fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." (Matthew Henry)

Friday, July 6, 2012

He Will Accomplish It

"The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;"
Psalm 138:8

The Psalmist's dependence was upon the Lord, and Him alone. He didn't believe in his own strength or accomplishments. He simply put all of his trust in God. There is nothing that God has started that He will not finish. The Apostle Paul wrote, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6) The Psalmist and the Apostle had both seen this faithful continuance of God's grace. What He did then, He will do now. God doesn't change. Whatever concerns us, concerns God. Whatever we need to have done in our lives, God will see to it that it is done.   Take whatever concerns you today to the Lord. He will accomplish it for you. Count on it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Turn to Meet the Day

"The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want."
Psalm 23:1

We wake in the morning with no idea of what the day will bring. It may be a day filled with only good things, or it may be a day that brings heartache. Life is very fragile, but we have a Savior who will shepherd us through whatever we are enduring. We can find peace and satisfaction in His arms by practicing His presence. By focusing our attention on Jesus and allowing Him to speak to us through scripture, through prayer and through our worship. "Lean thine arms upon the windowsill of heaven, and gaze into the face of thy God. And then, with the vision full in your heart, turn to meet the day." (Author Unknown)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"A Good Man in Every Respect"

"The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; 
and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil."
Matthew 12:35

"I have sometimes compared the great men of the world, and the good men of the world to the consonants and vowels in the alphabet. The consonants are the most and the biggest letters; they take up most room, and carry the greatest bulk; but, believe it, the vowels though they are the fewest and least of all the letters, yet they are most useful; they give the greatest sound of all; there is no pronunciation without vowels. O beloved, though the great men of the world take up room, and make a show above others, yet they are but consonants, a company of mute and dumb consonants for the most part; the good men they are the vowels that are of the greatest use and most concernment at every turn: a good man to help with his prayers; a good man to advise with his counsels; a good man to interpose with his authority; this is the loss we lament, we have lost a good man; death has blotted out a vowel; and I fear me there will be much silence where he is lacking; silence in the bed, and silence in the house, and silence in the shop, and silence in the church, and silence in the parish, for he was everywhere a vowel, a good man in every respect." John Kitchin, M.A., in a Funeral Sermon, 1660.

There was a time in our country when a good man was recognized by his faith in God. His character was shaped by His relationship to the Almighty. We esteemed such a man's humility, and commitment to God's word. Such a man believed the Ten Commandments were the basis for all good law. And such a man treated the Ten Commandments as commandments, not suggestions.  I fear America may now have far too many great men and far too few good men. May God raise up everywhere "a vowel, a good man in every respect."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Law Fulfilled

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; 
I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."
Matthew 5:17

The Jews were looking for an easy way out of obeying God. In light of the Law they stood condemned and they hoped that Jesus would do away with the Mosaic Law and usher in a more liberal view of God's commandments. A view that would make it easier for them to come into God's presence. But Jesus didn't change or do away with the Law or the Prophesies. He fulfilled them all.  "He fulfilled every prophesy of the Messiah. He kept every law and commandment perfectly. He was the substance of all the shadows of Messiah in the sacriical system, the Tabernacle and its various parts and the Jewish feasts -- Col 2:17, Heb 10:1." ( "Jesus fulfils the Law in His doctrine, or teaching. He brings out the real significance of God's commands. The Pharisees accused Jesus of 'abolishing' the law. But, in fact, they were the ones who were abolishing it. Their traditional interpretations of the law weakened its power to search the motives of men's hearts. It was only in the exposition of Jesus (in Matthew 5:21-48, for example) that the real power of God's law could be felt. Jesus did not weaken the law. On the contrary, He let it out of the cage in which the Pharisees had imprisoned it, allowing it to pounce on our secret thoughts and motives, and tear to pieces our bland assumption that we are able to keep it in our own strength. Jesus fulfils the law in His deeds and lifestyle. He shows the real meaning of the law." (Ferguson, Sinclair: Sermon on the Mount :Banner of Truth) (Bolding added)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Faith from our Hearts

"Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, 
'We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.'”
Numbers 13:30

God tells Moses to send spies from the tribes of Israel into Canaan, the land that He has promised to give them. They survey the land for forty days and see the fruit of the land - including clusters of grapes so big they must be carried between two men on a pole (Numbers 13:13). They also see some of the strong inhabitants living there. And although the land is, indeed, good and God has promised to give it to Israel, they only focus on the size of the enemy.  Many of the spies would rather retreat then move forward in faith because they have seen some things that cause them to doubt (Numbers 13:28). In fact, they even exaggerate the negatives to the people in order to support their stance (Numbers 13:32). But then there's Caleb, the son of Jephunneh from the tribe of Judah, one of the twelve spies. Caleb, whose name means "faithful".  Caleb surely lives up to his name. Caleb stands up in faith and quiets the people. He encourages his people "by all means" to go into Canaan. "We will surely overcome it," he says. Oh, that we were more like Caleb. Taking God at His word, refusing to give into fear of what we see with our eyes and trusting Him with all our hearts. And then passing that faith onto those around us who are doubting. "Significantly, two men could see the exact same sights - the same grapes, the same men, the same land, the same cities - one can come away singing in faith, and the other is filled with a sense of certain doom. Ultimately, faith or unbelief do not spring from circumstances or environment, but from our hearts, which must be changed by God." (David Gruzik)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

God is Good -- All the Time

"God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?"
Numbers 23:19

God doesn't behave as man does, yet mankind often tries to apply human behavior to Him. If things don't go according to our plans, we question God's  goodness as if it is possible for Him to be anything but perfectly good. God has demonstrated only good to us in that He sent His Son to die for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). To atone for our sins and reconcile us to Him. If we doubt God's kindness it is because we ascribe to Him the thoughts we may ourselves entertain. For example, we might withhold something good from someone because they have wronged us. Not so with God. He continues to show kindness even when He is maligned and rejected. We know this is so "for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45). It is the wise person who determines to accept that God's ways are always perfect, and that it is the ways of man that need to change, not God's.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
         And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him,
         And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 
'For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
         Nor are your ways My ways,' declares the LORD.
     'For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
         So are My ways higher than your ways
         And My thoughts than your thoughts.'"
Isaiah 55:7-9

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