CHRISTIAN MEDITATION – PART 2 – THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you

Last time I wrote about three of many attributes of God, and they were; Omniscience, Holiness, and Wisdom. Now before we continue with part two, I wanted to point out that one of the greatest attributes of God that many people go to first, is love. However, no matter how great we think love is, it would not be possible for God to have a impartial, justified, fair, and true love for His creation without His Holiness, His Righteousness, His Justice, Hi Mercy, His Grace. Dare I say that God’s greatest attribute summed up throughout all of the Bible is His Holiness, yet equally intertwined throughout all of His other attributes, being the foundation for all others if you will. And without that foundation, that perfect standard above and apart from all others, well, that would not be much of a God at all now, would it.

4. Meditate on the POWER of God – This power is visible in the creation, and yet, many want to deny this. You know, the whole “Big Bang Theory (and no, not the T.V. show)”! Ask a stranger or a person you hardly know sometime, in all seriousness, where a tree came from. Some may head right for the evolution argument, others never really thought much about it, and I bet many of us have never even pondered it. Or how about our best friend Fido, or other 4 legged furry friend(s)? You cannot tell me that without a creator, a designer, a master planner who not only put forth everything from nothing and hangs it on the earth (Job 26:7), is not Sovereignly controlling His creation for His glory. If not, there is no powerful God. Yet there is!

Nothing can stand before a creating power; he needs no pre-existent matter to work upon; he needs no instruments to work with; he can work without tools; he is the one before whom the angels veil their faces, and the kings of the earth cast their crowns. He is the one that “shakes the earth out of its place,” Job 9.6. An earthquake makes the earth tremble upon her pillars; but God can shake it out of its place. God can with a word unpin the wheels, and break the axletree1 of the creation. He can suspend natural agents, stop the lion’s mouth, cause the sun to stand still, make the fire not burn. Xerxes, the Persian monarch, threw fetters into the sea, as if he would have chained up the unruly waters; but when God commands, “the winds and sea obey him,” Mat. 8.27. If he speaks the word, an army of stars appears, Jdg. 5.20. If he stamps with his foot, a host of angels are quickly in battle array; if he lifts up an ensign and but whistles, his very enemies shall be up in arms to revenge his quarrel, Isa. 5.26. Who would provoke this God?! “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” Heb. 10.31. Like a lion “he tears in pieces the adversaries,” Psa. 50.22. O meditate on this power of God! t would be a great buttress to faith. A Christian’s faith may anchor safely upon the rock of God’s power. Maybe a more indepth look and commentary on this subject sometime, but I do believe many have a lack of faith or falter in what little they have, because they do not see God as God Almighty, all powerful, basically not only do not believe what little they know, but do not deeply know His attributes. Faith triumphs in the power of God: out of this strong comes forth sweetness. Abraham, meditating on God’s power, did not stagger through unbelief, Rom. 4.20. He knew God could perform his promise, even contrary to the usual course of nature.

5. Meditate on the MERCY of God. Mercy is an innate disposition in God to do good, just as the sun has an innate property to shine: “You Lord are good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to all those who call upon you,” Psa. 86.5. God’s mercy is so sweet, that it makes all his other attributes sweet. Holiness without mercy, and justice without mercy, would be dreadful. Though the children of God are under some clouds of affliction, yet the sun of mercy is never completely out of sight. God’s justice reaches to the clouds; his mercy reaches above the clouds. How slow is God to anger! Justice goes by foot, Gen. 18.21, but mercy has wings, Psa. 57.1. The sword of justice often lies a long time in the scabbard and rusts, till sin draws it out and whets it against a nation. Often meditate upon the mercy of God.

The effect of meditating on the mercy of God, we understand it would be the powerful loadstone to draw sinners to God by repentance. God is the Father of mercies,” 2Cor. 1.3. Mercy as naturally issues from him, as the child issues from the parent. God “delights in mercy,” Micah 7.18. Mercy finds out the worst sinner; mercy comes not only with salvation in its hand, but with healing under its wings. Mercy melts a sinner into tears. A prisoner reading a pardon sent to him from the king, fell weeping, and burst out into these words: “A pardon has done that which death could not do; it has made my heart relent.”

6. Meditate on the TRUTH of God.

Truth is one of the easiest, yet at the same time most difficult and complex words to understand these days. Why? Well, because there are two man camps (groups of people) who do not view truth in the same way. You have those who believe in absolute truth, and those who believe in relative (relativism) truth. An absolute truth is something that is true at all times and places, and is always true no matter the circumstances. For example, water is wet. Now it does not matter the kind of water, fresh water, spring water, river water, ocean water, etc. water is wet. That statement is an absolute truth. Now say you froze that water, is it still water? When you go to the drive through, do you say please put some frozen water in my drink? No, it is now ice, yet still water, just in a different state. Now the waters of truth just became kind of muddied (pun intended) didn’t they. A person who believes in relative truth does not always see truth in the same way, and when it comes to Christianity, is very dangerous in their thinking and philosophy much of the time.

Now let’s use some scripture for text proofs and these ways of thinking.

Numbers 23:19 – God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Titus 1:2 – In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.

Hebrews 6:18 – So that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

Now what is the one word that these three verses share? I will give you a hint; it starts with an l and ends with an e. God CANNOT lie! As Christians we either believe that to be 100% true or we don’t, and sadly many times in my life and walk with God I did not believe that way, and that is sin! It is not that I thought God to be a liar, but I had major trust issues because many times we think God to be like us, and if that were the case, we prepare ourselves the best we can to be let down, disappointed, rejected, shunned, etc.

Let us look at one more scripture before we close to get our thinking as a Christian who knows and believes absolute truth. Isaiah 57:7-9:

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Now I am not going to break this down, but rather have you, the reader, to use the points of these devotionals to learn how to meditate. But before we close, I also want to use these words from Thomas Watson’s book The Saints Spiritual Delight, as that is where these ideas of truth are coming from.

“Mercy makes the promise, and truth performs it: “I will not allow my faithfulness to fail,” Psa. 89.33. God might as well deny himself as to deny his word. He is “abundant in truth,” Exo. 34.6. What is that? If God has made a promise of mercy to his people, he will be so far from coming short of his word, that he will be better than his word. God often does more than he has said, never less; he often shoots beyond the mark of the promise he has set, never short of it. He is abundant in truth. God may sometimes delay a promise, but he will not deny it. The promise may lie a long time, like seed hidden underground; but all the while it is ripening. The promise of Israel’s deliverance lay four hundred and thirty years hidden underground; but when the time had come, the promise did not go a day beyond its reckoning, Exo. 12.41. “The strength of Israel will not lie,” 1Sam. 15.29. Meditate on the truth of God.

The effects of meditating on the truth of God:

1. It would be a pillar of support for faith. The world hangs upon God’s power, and faith hangs upon his truth.

2. It would make us ambitious to imitate Him. We should be true in our words, true in our dealings. Pythagoras was asked, “What makes men like God?” He answered, “When they speak truth.”

Reader, if you do not fully and completely trust God, repent. I know it’s hard, because we want control, and when we do that, we want to be our own god, and that is sin.

Proverbs 3:5-6 –
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION – PART 1 – THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither 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

One of the greatest disservices we as Christians do when studying God’s Word is actually take very little time of studying who God is in depth. Why is this such a great disservice? Well for one, it puts us in danger of a grievous sin in the making of a God of our own choosing, thereby making us no better than the children of Israel when they made the golden calf and worshiped it. Some reading this might be thinking in their pride “How dare he say such a thing!” Granted, we may have not melted down our jewelry and physically made an idol, but we have ignored God and His commandments and made Him not so big and mighty, that we might control him as our genie in a bottle to do our bidding whenever we so choose to call upon Him. But look at out opening quote / scripture this morning. His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are our ways His ways, and right before that verse, God tells us to repent, although He does not use that very word here and is implied.

In the image of this mornings devotional, it comes from the wonderful book (which I recommend to ALL Christians) called Visual Theology and does a good job (yet humbly admits even they could not do the task of breaking down God’s attributes and justice) of God’s attributes and how they interact with His creation. Before we get down this deep theological journey, I want you to understand two very important pieces of information about God and His attributes, what are referred to as His Communicable and Incommunicable attributes. In the basic sense and form, God’s communicable attributes mean that He shares these attributes with His creation, whereas the incommunicable attributes are for Him and Him alone. For example, we cannot be Omnipresent, only God can, that is an incommunicable attribute of God. In this devotional we are going to focus on six attributes about God and hopefully bring a deeper fear (reverential and holy respect) for God, His Word, and the importance of daily applying it to our lives as His redeemed Children.

  1. Meditate on God’s OMNISCIENCE

    His eye is continually upon us; he has a window open into the conscience; our thoughts are unveiled before him. He numbers our steps, meaning He knows the number of days appointed to each and every person ever born. He know our thoughts long before we ever think them. He know the number of hairs on our head, yes, even the grey ones we may try to cover up 😉

    So why is it important to meditate on this attribute? Well, I believe if we knew and took serious the God of the Bible, it would help us be less sinful and take sin more serious. For example, if you needed to steal something, you would look around to see if anyone is watching or could positively identify you at the scene of the crime, and if you knew you would not be caught, you would commit the crime, right? Yet God knew that you would commit the crime long before you even thought about it. Knowing He is the greatest judge and jury we will all one day stand before, that should either scare us or bring us comfort knowing His justice will one day rid evil for ever!

  2. Meditate on the HOLINESS of God – Back to our opening scripture, God tells the prophet Isaiah to write my ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts. God gives us all things to know who His is through His Word, and God is Holy. 1 Peter 1:13-19 (emphasis on verse 16) – since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

    What benefit does it do the Christian to meditate on the Holiness of God? It would be a means to transform us into the similitude and likeness of God. God ever loves us, till we are like him. By meditation we are looking at the beams of holiness which are gloriously transparent in God. As we do, we grow like him, and become holy as he is holy. Holiness is a beautiful thing, Psa. 110.3. It puts a kind of angelic brightness upon us; it is the only coin that will pass current in heaven, The second half of Hebrews 12:14 “and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” By frequent meditation on this attribute, we are changed into God’s image.

  3. Meditate on the WISDOM of God – He is called “the only wise God,” 1Tim. 1.17. His wisdom shines forth in the works of providence; he sits at the helm, guiding all things regularly and harmoniously; he brings light out of darkness; he can strike a straight stroke with a crooked stick; he can make use of the injustice of men to do what is just; he is infinitely wise; he breaks us by afflictions — and upon these broken pieces of the ship, he brings us safely to shore.

    The effects of meditating on the wisdom of God: a. It would sweetly calm our hearts: When we see things go awry in public, the wise God holds the reins of government in his hand; and whoever would rule, God over-rules; he knows how to turn all to good; his work will be beautiful in its season.

    b. When things go ill with us in our private concerns, the meditation of God’s wisdom would rock our hearts quiet. The wise God has set me in this condition, and whether health or sickness, wisdom will order it for the best. God will make a medicine of poison; all things shall be useful to me; either the Lord will expel some sin, or he will exercise some grace.

    Right now in life is some of the hardest times many of us have seen. Yet, if we take the focus off of ourselves for a moment and look at others lives we might see things differently. Think for a moment of those who may be much older than us, might still be alive from the days of the depression era in the 1920’s and ’30’s. Or what about children who are too young to understand, yet see us living in panic or fear. Yes, things are bad to some right now, but to those who know God and trust Him, there is peace. We must trust in His Wisdom, His providence, and His Sovereignty to have peace and comfort during these trying times. These are other reasons why we must meditate on God.

    Be sure to come back tomorrow for our conclusion of meditating on the attributes of God. As a bonus, here is another article you can read that has a lot of really good points as well!

15 Amazing Attributes of God: What They Mean and Why They Matter

The Saints Spiritual Delight by Thomas Watson

Until then….

#ToGodBeTheGlory

IT’S NOT JUST THAT EASY

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. - Matthew 7:13-14

The image above (minus my handy dandy “not” art work) was on a t-shirt by a famous Christian t-shirt company years ago, and sadly I used to own that shirt back when I was the “hip” Christian. Now I am all for using t-shirts or other means for the Gospel and get people to ask questions, but make sure it 100% focuses on making God the main thing, and not you. I also remember churches that put on their marquee signs “Christianity, so easy a caveman can do it (puke!)” These things greatly diminish who God is and makes His grace cheap. And if being saved is so easy, then why kill your only Son with such a horrible death!

Sadly this has been going on week in and week out for years in many of our churches!

Man (gender neutral) by nature, have the innate tendency to fully depend on and trust themselves once they get to a certain age. Out ability is to grow in self-confidence, self-reliance, self-sufficiency so that we can have self-worth. MAN, that sure is a lot of self pride!

One of the biggest, most silent, devious, diabolical, wicked, evil and very little contested things in the church as a whole today, is Easy Believism. Easy believism means up have the ability to decide to become saved, that God’s grace is made cheap by you bypassing His will and whom He has elected (chose) to reveal His will to, all because you heard about how bad hell is, or how great He will make your life more meaningful, or some other reason. Easy believism is also man manipulating man, to get him / her to do something in response. If you have been in church for some time or many years, you may have experienced the whole show of “With heads bowed and eyes closed, if there is any one here who does not know Christ, raise your hand. Walk the isle, say a prayer, sign a card.” You know the routine, right? Just because your name is on a card and some membership roll of a church DOES NOT make you a Christian in any way, shape, fashion, or form; Christianity is NOT that easy!

I have been listening to a wonderful series by my previous Pastor when I lived in TN, Pastor Jim McClarty of Grace Christian Assembly on the Christian life, and this message here, “Be the Christian” (nice shameless plug, huh 😉 which EVERY Christian needs to hear! One of the heavy hitting parts of the sermon is when Pastor Jim reminds the hearer that Jesus Himself says to His disciples in Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He wants me to do what! Yup, give up your life! Get over yourself, your pride, your self-sufficiency, your self-glory, your self-righteous, and follow me (Christ). Can you even begin to imagine what this nation would be like if Christians actually…. well, lived like Christians.

There are many other heavy words in the Bible for the Christian to do, for example; strive, struggle, sacrifice, be salt, be light, be a witness and a testimony for Him, walk in the Spirit, take up your cross and follow Him. Those certainly are not words of easy! God wants up to give up the things of this world, and trust Him in all things and give our lives (His really) back to Him in adoration, love, prayer, trust, faith, communion, service, and relationship.

I am one of the blessed ones that God revealed Himself over time. For in my earlier formation years, I too went through churches that their main theology was man centered, grace cheapening, theology lacking, and the like. Even though I was a member, I do not know how many times I went to the “alter calls” to be prayed over, but was not discipled for many years (and honestly still really have not), but by His true grace, removed me from such false gospel teachings!

Christianity is anything but easy and is very very narrow minded to the world! Remember in the opening, Jesus Himself said that the gate is narrow and the way to life (that is eternal) is hard. We in the western culture have had it far too easy (well most of us) for far too long and have come to expect much gain with little to no effort, and that is the same we expect from God. And times right now are beginning to get more difficult and fearful, and could possibly get much worse, and worry is setting in for many. If we who are professing Christians would read our Bibles, we would know that life has never been easy, and that trusting God in faith is key to dying to self and believing Him. In doing so, we become less fearful of this world and look more to the promised eternity to come. But the question you need to ask yourself and be completely honest, as your eternity does depend on it!

Has God called you, rasied you up from the dead sinful flesh, crucified on the cross of Calvary, and given you a heart to follow, honor, and glorify Him in ALL things? Or are you doing it all on your own? Again…

Hebrews 9:27 – And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands
As darkness pulls the strings

From the song Slow Fade by Casting Crowns

I am going to warn you ahead of time, there is going to be an attempt at A LOT of terminology this morning to hopefully giving us a greater insight as well as learning about one of the greatest gifts, yet least used gifts, giving to His children. Probably too early for this, and not enough coffee, but here we go!

Let us first define clearly some of the words we are going to use as their definition can at times be wide, but this time will be narrow and fine pointed.

Hate – To express or feel extreme enmity or active hostility; to hate someone with great intensity.

Sin – An offense against religious or moral law. An often serious shortcoming; transgression of the law of God; to commit an offense or fault.

Practical – Of, relating to, or manifested in practice or action : not theoretical or ideal; being such in practice or effect. Capable of being put to use or account.

Discern – To detect with the eyes; to detect with senses other than vision. To recognize or identify as separate and distinct. To come to know or recognize mentally. To see or understand the difference.

So why these words for our foundation? Well, today, we want to learn (or learn more deeply) to see things as God sees them, and we can begin to do so if we use the greatest gift outside of salvation in Christ, and yet so few Christians do or pray for, and that is the gift of discernment. Now all people, in general (unless there is some major mental capacity of not being able to understand) were created to know the basics of right from wrong, and more importantly (hopefully) reinforced those values. For example, studies have been done in villages and tribes who did not know God or His Word, yet knew it was wrong to kill or steal, and their laws were much more strict and immediately enforced compared to western culture!

So today, we want to not only see with our eyes, but feel within our Spirit, what sin is against a Holy and Righteous God, and why it should matter. This is also one of the proof positives of the true Christian, and the fruits that are shown to others that they are God’s (You shall know them by their fruit).

Now in the Book of Proverbs, chapter 6, my heading says in about the middle, “Practical Warnings”. Remember from our definitions above, practical, and warnings should be pretty self explanatory. What we are about to get into is some of the harshest language in all of the Bible, must of which is clear to understand to the eye, but we want to discern with a heart like God’s!

Proverbs 6:12-19 –

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

The emphasis will be on verses 16-19, but I included 12-15 because it shows us who does such things and to stay away from them. You know ” Do not be deceived, Bad company corrupts good morals” 1 Corinthians 15:33

So it starts 6 things God hates, and all seven are an abomination to Him! Now if God hates, that cannot be good, and is a hatred that many of us cannot even begin to fathom because we do not have a proper view of His attributes of Holiness, Righteousness, Justice, and Judgment. Many think of God as love first, that He just sweeps sin away like some mystical maid cleaning up something like spilled milk. A true Christian could not possibly see sin in such an arrogant an dim manner! We should hate sin, our sin as He does! Yet, we hate others sins more than our own and pass judgment on them more than ourselves, and this should NOT be!

So what does this abomination mean? Something regarded with extreme disgust and hatred; loathing. Basically beyond just mere hatred.

So God inspires the writer of this proverb to go right for the jugular (metaphorically of course) to show us the reader one of the top things God hates; haughtiness – pride. The definition of haughty is – Blatantly and disdainfully proud : having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior. Yet the author uses eyes right behind haughty, telling us when we not only look down in disdain, pride, and arrogance, we are judging others. Don’t we Christians do a lot of that? People might not be as spiritually superior as us so we do not associate with them? 

The others are pretty self-explanatory, but still deeply think and meditate on them, praying that God will give us deeper discernment on these matters of our hearts, for they hinder us greatly from loving and ministering to others!

The last one says “One who sows discord among brothers”. What does discord mean?

Discord – A lack of agreement or harmony; active quarreling or conflict resulting from discord among persons or factions. Some synonyms include; disharmony, division, schism, strife, disunity.

Now this is where discernment (great wisdom from above) is greatly needed in the church. Why? Because people assume when others come into the church, that automatically qualifies them to be called brethren (a brother or sister in Christ). The Apostle Paul even gives warning in Galatians 5:14-15 – For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

May this give us ALL something to think about and pray about, that God would again give us wisdom from above, to use the discernment He wants His children to use, and let us honor Him by using this great gift in our lives to see ALL sins, not just these 7 (although they are very serious) to be honest with ourselves and ask for the Holy Spirits help to rid ourselves of anything that is impure and give them up for God’s glory. And in return, may He gives us a happier life in Him and less of this world!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

LIVING WITHOUT GOD

LIVING WITHOUT GOD

Wicked people will not seek after God, that is, will not call upon him. They live without prayer, and that is living without God. They have many thoughts, many objects and devices, but think not of the Lord in any of them; they have no submission to his will, nor aim for his glory.

Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on Psalm 10:1-10

Psalm 10:4 – In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.

Have you ever imagine what your life would not be like had you not ever known God, that there was such a person, creator, sustainer of all life? Well, many do daily without even realizing it, and not just people who do not believe their is a God, but so called Christians! Look at the opening quote by Matthew Henry and think of how many times it can be proven true that we live a life without God! We have thoughts, objects and devices that have none of the Lord in them! Does this truth hurt you? I am crushed and gives me much to reflect upon and cry out to be changed from my sinful ways!

But let’s go back to something simple for a moment. Let’s talk about true unbelievers in God. People who say He does not exist, or He did not create, or He does not sustain. Let’s think for a moment if God was not immutable (meaning He could change) and decided to say “You know, creation just isn’t worth it anymore. I am tired of trying, things aren’t working out they way I anticipated”, you know, negative stuff like we do all the time. So slowly God started to withdrawal His common grace. One day healthy people could no longer get out of bed, because God no longer sustained. Shortly after that, God turned out the sun, and all we had was our own fires burning to keep warm and give little light. Lastly, God turned off His air, that’s right, HIS! People would be dropping like flies in mere seconds! That’s just a small taste of what life would be like without God. Not only do we cheapen His saving grace, but we take for granted every day His common grace. We do not give thanks as we should that He does care about us, sustains, and especially loves us.

If you and I read 1 Timothy 6:8, can this be said of us? But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

What about Matthew 6:25 – Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Again, look back at the quote to show us again how more true these words are today than the day the were penned! “They have MANY thoughts, MANY objects and devices, but THINK NOT in the Lord in any of them; THEY HAVE NO SUBMISSION TO HIS WILL, NOR AIM FOR HIS GLORY!” 

Dear reader, if this does not speak to our flesh and show us even the minutest of our sins against God and prove we too are like the gentiles, the heathens, the God haters and deniers, are dare say one would be stone cold dead spiritually!

However, glory be to God! In that He IS IMMUTEABLE, He DOES NOT give up on His creation, He IS VERY gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and holds back the wrath we so deserve. Yet, there will come a day, and possibly sooner than we think or expect, and the God haters who lived like their was no God, they were their own gods, followed their own will, beat their own drum, and will no longer be anything more. Is that person you?

When you daily go our into the world, try perceiving in yourself what the world sees. Think before you speak or react, make sure you are being kind, patient, compassionate, loving, encouraging, or are you like one of the lights above in our picture? Unchanged, have not been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus, tired of doing things your way, juggling everything day to day, filled with fear, worry, doubt, etc. Then may I encourage you to go to Him in prayer, go confess your sins and shortcomings that your burdens may be lifted. Confess with your mouth that you have been on the wide road to destruction for far too long, been a prodigal, need to be cleaned up again. He already knows! Go back while their is still grace and mercy, and this time cling! Cling like there is nothing better this world has to offer. Cling as your life (your eternity does) depends on it. Ask God to teach you to love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and how to love your neighbor as yourself. These things bring glory to God, and please Him when we are utterly and fully dependent on Him in ALL things.

If you are still having doubts that you have not sinned in this manner, let me leave you with this one more dire warning in the scriptures.

Walking in the light
1 John 1:5-10

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Do you live with God, for the glory of God alone? Or do you live without God and for your own glory? Better fully determine that now while His grace still shines upon thee!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

THE MIRROR OF PERFECTION

THE MIRROR OF PERFECTION

It's hard to see your own face without a mirror.

Phil McGraw

Have you ever wondered what life would be like without mirrors? Me either… That is until recently. Take a think for a few moments, with deep intention and reflection (pun intended) on where we would be without mirrors and the importance of them. I mean after all, we probably think of more important objects in our lives, ones that have deep value, significance, meaning, purpose, value. Things like a car, a house, our cell phones, even the clothes we wear. Are you starting to see the bigger picture yet (okay okay, I’ll try to stop with the puns, but I won’t pinky swear 😉 All of the objects I mentioned might give a glimpse to others a reflection of who you are, but many times they do not show who you truly are. And that is where the importance of a mirror comes in.

I once read (but I do not remember where) that the laver mentioned in Exodus 38:8 where the basin and stand that were made from the bronze from the mirrors of the women who were ministering in the entrance of the tent of the meeting. Now glass mirrors had not yet been discovered or invented, and so they used pieces of metal to make mirrors back in their day, and have been discovered as far back as the Egyptian period. Which would make sense, and the Egyptians back then wore lots of makeup and jewelry, and spent much time preparing themselves for the day, even more so than women of today!

Now these mirrors were flawed in many ways. 1) they were just pieces of metal, so there were scratches and other flaws in the metal. 2) there was no curvature to them to give a good perfect reflection so they would only get a glimpse as to how they looked.

But let us go back to my opening question, have you ever thought about what life would be without mirrors. Well, for one, many of the photographs we have come to love and cherish might not exist. For inside the modern day camera were perfectly aligned mirrors that would capture the image through the lens and shoot it on to the film. There would be much of the universe in space that we would know nothing about, because of no telescopes. It would be hard to drive a car. I am sure you can think of many more. I even remember once of a little pocket mirror that gave out at school pictures in grade school to make ourselves look nice.

Ah, look nice. That sounds nice doesn’t it. We want to look out best, perfect, see what flaws we can hide from others. Enter the vanity mirror! Yup, like many other things in life, mirrors can be of use for good things and for bad, but the greatest mirror of all, people hardly ever use, and the mirror is the mirror of perfection, the Bible, God’s Word. Two of the most well know verses in the Bible when it comes to mirrors are:

1 Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

James 1:23-24 – For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

The Bible says very little about mirrors, but these two verses speak volumes! Me personally, I did not like to read God’s Word because I did not want to see myself the way I was. I already knew how much of a sinner I was and did not want to see or hear over and over how wicked, depraved, wretched, and sinful I was. However, the more I embraced that reality, it also allowed me to see the reflection of God more clearly in His mirror of perfection. His mirror daily removes my vanity, His mirror daily reminds me that I am made in His image, and one day will be perfected in glory like Him, sinless, perfect, because of His righteousness and not my own. Being in His mirror of perfection daily reminds me that I have many flaws and live in a not so perfect world, but being a representation of Him, I can (and should!) reflect His glory. Being in in His mirror of perfection daily gives me hope as I see each day passing by, I don’t have to be perfect in this world, that my physical looks keep changing, and learn to embrace those imperfections so I can embrace them in others as well, allowing me to love them, show them grace and mercy, walk with them in their trials and tribulations. Which is what James is saying, if we hear the Word of God only, and not Doers of the Word.

Do yourself a big favor today. Set aside a good amount of time for prayer and for looking in God’s mirror of perfection. Ask Him to show your flaws and to see through them. Ask Him to show you your sins and embrace them so you can confess them and seek to be forgiven and cleansed from all your unrighteousness. Ask Him to reflect Himself in you, and that too would be the radiance of His glory to a darkening and dying world. And above all, ask Him to remind you daily of what you look like when you use the world as your mirror instead of His mirror of perfection, in that you would give up more of the world to spend more time with Him.

The words from the now famed hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus remind me much of the dark mirror of this world, and the light reflected therein by Christ.


O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the savior
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.

Helen Lemmel, the writer of this hymn, wrote over 500 hymns, taught music, and eventually succumbed to blindness, and yet, I have a great feeling she still praised the Savior all the day long. And so should we, for we have a God who is greater than all of our circumstances and problems, so look daily into the perfect mirror so you too can have this peace that surpasses all understanding!


#ToGodBeTheGlory

THE SWEETNESS OF THE WORD OF GOD

THE SWEETNESS OF THE WORD OF GOD

Meditates ~ hagah – to murmur or mumble “Meditation is to the soul what ‘digestion’ is to the body. It means understanding the Word, ‘chewing on it,’ and applying it to our lives, making it a part of the inner person.”

Have you ever heard the saying “Honesty is the best policy”? Probably been awhile since you have heard that, right? Take some time to research where that came from some time, some thing that we all need to work on. But you might be thinking, what does that have to do with today’s devotional. Well, that is a rabbit trail for another time perhaps, but for today’s lesson, we need to learn to be very honest with ourselves when it comes to taking care of us spiritually, and to do so, we are going to have to be honest with ourselves, REAL honest!

Like many of you reading, I do not do the best job of taking care of myself in the physical sense. I consume more sugar than I should, eat more bacon than I probably should, let’s not even talk about the coffee intake (oh yeah, be honest with ourselves, sorry), very little physical exercise, poor sleep, and the list goes on. Does that sound like someone you might know? Unfortunately, bad habits like these carry over into other areas of our lives as well, especially our spiritual ones, you know, the one that we are supposed to be spending time with God spiritual life. Strike a spiritual nerve, kind of like a cavity on a physical tooth? Yup, me too, and that is why we are going to talk about changing those spiritual habits today!

Let’s start by asking ourselves a simple honest question, again, truthful. By being truthful God will show us our sins and heal us as well as help be honest with others (okay, enough of that rabbit hole 😉

What was the main topic of the last sermon you heard? What were some of the sub-points of the main topic? Like many others, most of the time we do not remember or can recall, and if we do, it is not for a very long period of time. We might be more worried about where we are going to go eat after church, or rush home to catch up on the big game, or some other thing of the world that wants to distract us from God’s Word. This is why proper meditation is needed. You want me to do what? Bend into all sorts of crazy positions that will take a team of doctors to untie me from, no thanks! No silly, that is NOT Christian meditation, and sadly many Christian not only meditate in the wrong manner, but have brought the worldly type into the church!

Christian mediation is a verb, more specifically an action verb, and it means to contemplate, think deeply about, study, wrestle with, ponder. So why is this so important to our spiritual life? Well, if it is anything like our physical life, we are in deep trouble! You know when we eat a poor diet like lots of sugar or saturated fat, what do we feel like? Sluggish, sleepy, lethargic, lack of focus, etc. Yup, that is the same way we are going to feel when we take care of (or lack thereof) ourselves in the spiritual manner.

When we do not digest the Word of God, we might as well be eating dirt and gravel and try to get through sinful dark world! Look back in my life, I cannot tell you how many times I said things like “God why did you do this to me” or “why were you not there when I needed you” You know, blameshifted our problems on to God, just like our federal parents Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. In reality, it is all us (I know I know, honesty!), because we never give much thought, if any, to what we were spiritually fed.

Just as bad, we also have a problem on the other side of the same coin, and that may be we had a poor teacher. Oh sure, we have some preachers who have the latest tips on how to be a more hip, cooler Christian by getting fired up over the entertainment the service opened with, maybe a mention or two of God’s Word, and spoke with great passion and eloquence, but all it was was sugar. Like our physical selves, you are going to have a quick high, and then…. CRASH!

This is why it is important we have a solid diet of God’s Word, that we have some substance to chew on to get us through life, and those tough times, the trials we all go through, and God’s Word tells us about and how to get through them. When we have the solid Word of God in us, it stays there when we meditate on it, we we are praying it, when we are preserving in it. Sadly though, many churches do not give much meat of God’s Word, and worse, some barely give any milk, and what they give is not of much spiritual nutritional value and spoils quickly. But again, we can blameshift (which is a sin by the way) the situation to our church or someone else, or we can be accountable to God for the Word He Himself not only inspired to be written down, but allows this nation to be free to study and talk about Him, and we waste those opportunities too! Imagine how different this world would and could be if the over 200 million professing Christians in this nation were reading, meditating, praying over God’s Word!

Hopefully I have given you much to think (meditate) upon and that you will work on changing your spiritual diet! We ALL have room for improving upon and growing in maturity in the Word of God. He is not going to force us to do it, but we also need to take accountability for ourselves and what we eat, just like we do physically. The question is, will you?

#ToGodBeTheGlory

ARE YOU PLANTED PART 2

ARE YOU PLANTED PART 2

Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. - Matthew 3:10

John the Baptist

One of the greatest ways that the Bible teaches us, the students who study the Bible, the way to absolute truth and wisdom is by comparing and contrasting.

We may have at some point in our lives heard the idiom of “Comparing apples to apples or Apples to oranges”, which means comparing things that are alike to each other or indifferent.

So it is with the Bible. Imagine if God the Holy Spirit inspired man to write everything in the viewpoint of nothing to compare the Word to. Granted, the purpose of the Word of God IS to lead and guide into ALL absolute truth, for God cannot lie. Yet, since the fall into sin was so great, and man so easily deceived, many times God teaches by comparing and contrasting to lead us to the truth. Vivid imagery like light and darkness, good and evil, hope and despair, love and hate.

Yesterday we started out with such a description in Psalm 1, and it starts out on a positive note, Blessed!

However, we are not automatically blessed, for the scriptures say “Blessed is the man who walks NOT in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers”. Man is doing an action verb, walk(ing) and either in the ways of righteousness or in the ways of evil, and if walking in the way of righteousness, He is spending much time with God. If we too use our time wisely in study, prayer, meditation on the Word that we read, we will find we have less time for sin and are more at peace with God.

This psalm also has one of the most clear, most vivid descriptions of what takes place to evil wicked people, and this warning should get the attention of many, yet sadly does not.

Yesterday we read that the Blessed man, grows strong, bears fruit for the Kingdom of God, he does not wither, and continues to prosper in all that he does. BUT… The wicked are not so, but are like the chaff the wind drives away. Have you ever studied what chaff is? Chaff is the loose, outer covering on wheat and other grains that must be separated in the threshing and winnowing process of harvesting grain. Chaff is pretty much worthless and was either used in adding it to the feed of the livestock, for they were able to process it whereas humans cannot, or it was used for burning fuel, which would not last long for it was so lightweight and a quick burn time. God created ALL things with a purpose and of value, and like the chaff is to protect the grain within from damage and retain its purpose and value, so it is with the Word of God, the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer, in that they (believers) will not be burned with the judgment of fire.

When we study intently the Word of God, we find out how chaff was cleared from the threshing floor. Sometimes the grain lightly tossed in baskets into the air to blow the chaff away, but many times it has beaten and threshed or tossed about by the winnowing fork, or as we know it today as a pitchfork.

If we look again at our opening quoted scripture, shortly after John the Baptist says this in Matthew 3:12 “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

This speaks of the final judgment to come which is also referred to at the end of psalm 1:5-6 ” Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

This psalm and these words are both words of comfort and of concern. They comfort those that are truly saved, and should be of great concern of the judgment to come! They should also be of concerned to those who are saved in that we have work to do to a dying world! We were not saved just for us to have a good life, to lay back in comfort until we die. Oh dear child of God, may it not be so that are hearts or so calloused, so cold, to those that will one day be threshed and beaten into damnation and judgment. We have good works, Gospel works, that we are called and commissioned to! I dare say if we are not about the Father’s business as Christ was, we too might want to not only read this psalm, but pray through it that God would gives us eyes to see, and spiritual hearts to compare and contrast our own lives to that of His Word. We are to be daily self-examining ourselves, judging ourselves to His Word, not others.

Dear reader, I hope you see not only the seriousness in these few words in psalm 1, but will continue to make the Word of God a daily part of your life. By doing so, He will bless you when you seek Him with all your heart, all your soul, all you might, and all your strength. He will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding, especially in these times of uncertainty, and one day will come for His bride.

So again, are you firmly planted, or are you easily blown away like worthless chaff? Only you and God can determine that.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

ARE YOU PLANTED PART 1

ARE YOU PLANTED PART 1

Spiritual growth depends on two things: first a willingness to live according to the Word of God; second, a willingness to take whatever consequences emerge as a result.

Sinclair B. Ferguson

This is beautiful imagery using an analogy of what a true Christian is like. First we have that the Christian is like a tree planted by streams of water. Trees when properly planted serve purpose, and are not haphazardly planted. Trees that are also planted with purpose means that there was a planter. God, the creator of all things, created us, planted us in our mothers womb, bore us, daily sustains us by giving us life. We were the greatest of all His creation on earth that we would reflect the glory of His image to the world, which brings us to the next point in the analogy.

It signifies there was a specific place to be planted, in this case by streams of water. There are many verses in the Old and New Testaments on living waters, but the main one that comes to mind is when Jesus is speaking to the woman at the well in John 4:10-11. Even more importantly Jesus Himself says later in John 7:37-38

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as  the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

Now we know how important physical water is to survival of all creatures and humanity, more importantly is the spiritual waters, and in the case of John 7, Jesus is referring to the Holy Spirit who had not yet, but who is yet to come after Jesus ascends into heaven.

Being planted near a stream also allows the tree to drink in a healthy manner without being drowned. If too much water is consumed too fast, it can have an adverse affect on the tree. Streams also representing a flow, a constant source of water, one that does not dry up. So it is with the Christian that is firmly planted daily in God’s Word, spending time and communion with their creator, being filled with the living water to withstand the challenges of their day.

As I stated earlier, these specifically planted trees have purpose, and in this case, they are supposed to bear fruit in yield its fruit in season. Newly planted trees do not bear fruit, but need to be properly tended to so that one day they will. More mature trees should be bearing much fruit as to also provide more good seed to plant other trees as well.

It is quite interesting that the Holy Spirit hear led the writer of this psalm to use the word yield, which is used in verb form eluding to the fruit having a purpose. When God invests in us, the planted tree, when He cares for, nurtures it, tends to it, He expects the trees to yield fruit. And not just any fruit, but that of the Gospel to the world.

Charles Spurgeon, the famous preacher and theologian quotes fellow Englishman and theologian, Adam Clarke “Fruit is expected, fruit is borne, and it comes also in the time in which it should come. A godly education, under the influences of the divine Spirit, which can never be withheld where they are earnestly sought, is sure to produce the fruits of righteousness; and he who reads, prays, and meditates, will ever see the work which God has given him to do; the power by which he is to perform it; and the times, places, and opportunities for doing those things by which God can obtain most glory, his own soul most good, and his neighbour most edification.”

We also see that the leaves of the tree do not wither. Just as the roots of the tree bring water into the base of the tree to give it growth and make it strong and firmly planted in the ground, the leaves also have a purpose. Just as in a natural tree is to gather in the sunlight and oxygen to help grow the branches and help in the bearing process for growing the fruit, the spiritual trees leaves gather breath from the Holy Spirit, and Gospel light from God the Father and Christ the Son. Without out these things, the tree will wither, dry up, and die.

However, a tree planted by God cannot wither and die, rather it will prosper. It is a prosperity that is not rich by means of this world, but is rich from the heavens above. For the things of God in the Christians life are far greater than anything this world has to offer. As the psalm starts out, so it will one day end, Blessed is the man!

But the question is, have you been planted by God?

#ToGodBeTheGlory

THERE IS NO TRY, ONLY SUBMIT

THERE IS NO TRY, ONLY SUBMIT

This attitude of complete submission and complete trust is of course the key to working out our own salvation in fear and trembling and is the mark of a truly spiritual Christian.

John F. Walvoord

For many of us in the world, we live lives of modern convenience, and by this I mean, anything within (and sadly many times beyond) our means, in that we can have something whenever we want it. You want this style of clothes, you go to that particular store and try them on. You want this particular type of car, you go to that kind of dealership. You want to eat that particular style of food, you go to that restaurant.

Unfortunately that is how many treat the church, and worse, Christ today.

The majority of churches in the Western culture greatly vary in their teachings, worship, doctrines and beliefs from one another. One has this style and method, and another completely the opposite. Not that this is necessarily bad in and of itself, but we try church until we find something that fits our lifestyle rather than submitting to God for our lifestyle to change. After all, that is what Christianity is all about, us being changed from the fallen sin of the world in us, being made back whole again to the image we were created in, HIS!

Being a Christian is about being like Christ, and one of the greatest lessons He teaches is that of submission. That of laying our lives down for others, submitting to His will and not ours, dying to self, picking up our cross daily and follow Him. Yet, few of us actually do, and have you ever wondered why? My take is this, we love too much of the world and everything in it! I have said it in recent posts, but think it is well worth not only repeating, but memorizing these verses.

1 john 2:15-16 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.

Don’t believe me that is a large part of our problems as Christians, then here is a very simple test, but it is going to take complete honesty and transparency on your part. If you want to share your results with others and encourage them to take the challenge, then do so.

Here is the challenge. For three consecutive days (longer if you so choose, but three days) keep a journal of everything you do and account for as much time as possible. So if you know you slept 8 hours, then 6 the next, write it is such. How much time you spent in leisure (and break it down specifically); social media, watching tv, playing sports, working out, etc. Now here is the difficult one! Write down how much time you spent with God. How much time reading His Word, praying, worshiping, maybe listening to Christian music thinking of Him, praising Him. This will give you an idea of how much time we submit to the world and not to Him, and when we are yoked to the world, we are not in submission to Him.

In the John’s first epistle he writes to the church, he repeatedly uses a specific word 16 times to remind the church what they should do, and that word is abide, which is a verb, one that is to be acted upon. This is where the rubber meets the road, are we truly followers of Christ, or like the things of the world, are we just trying Him out. Taking Him for a test drive to see if He will fit into our lifestyle and when convenient. This is NOT Christianity, and sadly, this is how many churches treat God.

Christ did not die so we could have more of the world. Christ died that we may be saved from our sins in the world, that we would submit to His ways by following Him. The scripture quoted in 1 John chapter 2 should be a wake up call to many of us in our slumbering of the world, cause great alarm and repentance, and to seek first the Kingdom of God in our lives. Two things are sure, 1) Our days in this world are numbered, and one day judgment will come. 2) He will not tarry for every and come back quickly. This should give us enough cause and concern to be about the business of the Gospel and quit loving the world with out time, talents, and treasures.

#ToGodBeTheGlory