leave comments go to http://bdcministries.com/
to Archived Meditations
Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who
according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
is trying to encourage Christians whose faith is being tried. To do that
he reminds them of their living hope. Their hope was obtained by being
begotten again or born anew as some translations say. The resurrection
of the Lord Jesus is what provides that hope.
morning I was looking at the postings of some of my friends on the
social networking site called Facebook. This is what one of them said to
a friend with regard to his jail ministry, "Giving hope to those
who believe they are hopeless must be very rewarding." This is what
another said to a friend whose Christian mother has been
"gone" for twelve years, "Isn't it great to have hope and
know you will see her again?" The Christian has something that
cannot be taken away from them. They have hope.
people hope to be saved. They aren't really sure whether they are saved
or not. The reason for that is many people think that they are saved
based on how good they are. Of course if that was true, those going to
heaven wouldn't need to be saved. But those of us who have hope are
basing that on the fact that Christ died, was buried and was raised
again the third day in order that we could have our sins forgiven. We
don't hope to be saved but because we are saved we have hope. Our hope
consists of a bright future and we are looking forward to enjoying
eternity with the Lord. For us hope is a confident assurance that we are
going to be home with the Lord after we die or that we are going to go
home when the Lord comes for the church without dying.
needs something to look forward to when they get up in the morning. That
something is what motivates them. I have people for whom I am praying
that have children that are sick with cancer, some wives have cancer,
and I have a father that has had a stroke. When their relatives write
their updates on the hospital blogs that are available, it is obvious
that they all have hope that their loved one is going to survive, at
least for a while, with a good quality of life. They want and need hope.
for the Christian, our real hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ who was
raised from the dead. His resurrection has proven that God is satisfied
with His sacrifice for us on the cross. He didn't die for His own sins,
he died for ours. If He had been a sinner like us, the grave would have
held Him. But it didn't!
He lives, we know we will live as well (See John 14:19). Our blessed
hope is the expectation that the Lord Himself could return at any moment
(Titus 2:13). Those of us who have confidence in the Bible and have
confidence in the Lord, have a reason to get up in the morning. The Lord
says He is coming again and that we who are saved will be with Him where
He is when He comes. (See John 14:3).
for the week of August 2, 2009
Thing That We All Want!
I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor
principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor
height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate
us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
number of popular songs have lyrics with variations on the theme that
love makes the world go 'round. Love is perhaps the most important
emotional element in early childhood development and it is certainly
something that everyone wants. The Lord tells us that our main purpose
is to love Him and to love our neighbors, but most of us cannot do that
unless we are secure in the fact that we are loved. Most of us are
looking for love and, until we find it, we have difficulty showing love.
Our relationship with God is that way. John says, "We love because
He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
to the Bible, God is love (1 John 4:8) and God loves us (John 3:16). He
tells us that He loves us. He has proven that He loves us. Romans 5:8
says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while
we were still sinners, Christ died for us." His love is the
greatest love that can be shown to us according to John15:13
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for
his friends." Yet, if you are like me, there are some days when you
don't feel loved.
must have wondered about God's love when he was smitten with boils and
when he lost his family and wealth. At times the writers of the Psalms
thought God had forgotten them. Of course, even when God is showing His
love, we sometimes think He has joined the enemy and is against us.
Hebrews 12:6 reminds us, "For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And
scourges every son whom He receives."
take courage in the FACT that nothing can separate those of us who are
saved from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. He died
for us and has expressed God's love to us. I have to believe that when
things are going well and when things aren't. I have to believe that
when others are expressing the love of God to me and when they aren't.
God says it so it must be true. When I start appreciating the FACT of
God's love, then I can start appreciating the practical experience of
being loved. When God's love for me is being enjoyed and experienced,
loving others should be the normal result.
promise is made to the elect or to the saved. I do not believe the
unsaved have the same promise or the same security. They go through life
looking for love and when the end comes, they will have found that they
rejected the only one who would truly love them as they are
unconditionally. To miss out on that is one of the great losses
associated with rejecting the claims of Christ. The unsaved have the
"wrath of God abiding on them" (John 3:36). They are
"condemned already" (John 3:18).
are those who think we can be saved and lost again. I understand why
they believe that since there are people who once loved the Lord and who
now reject His claims. Only I don't think this verse allows for that
conclusion. There are many things I don't understand. But I do
understand what God means when He says through Paul that nothing can
separate us from the love of God.
don't have to earn God's love. I don't have to wonder if God is going to
change His mind and not love me any more when I do something wrong. All
I have to do is accept and enjoy His love. And that I am determined to
do. Hopefully, then I will be able to show that love to someone who
needs it so that they too can enjoy the unconditional love of God.
has enough love to go around.
for the week of August 9, 2009
Alarm Clock is Ringing!
13:11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake
out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first
is a good thing unless you are sleeping when you should be awake. When
you get older, sometimes it is hard to fall asleep at night, and it is
easy to fall asleep during the day. Sleeping at the wrong time can be
embarrassing so some of us have had sleep tests to see if we have sleep
apnea. I was told that I did not have it, but at times I am still
embarrassed by falling asleep when I should be alert.
and I would have had a lot in common. He often slept when he should have
been awake. In his case, he was probably really tired because of the
schedule he was keeping, but nevertheless, he slept while the Lord was
being transfigured on the Mount. In Luke 9:32 we read, "But Peter
and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully
awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him." Can
you imagine almost missing out on an event that is that momentous by
also slept while the Lord was agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane
before His betrayal by Judas. In Mark 14:37 we read, "Then He came
and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, 'Simon, are you sleeping?
Could you not watch one hour?'"
of us may find that we are sleeping when the Lord returns. We may be
like the five wise virgins who slept beside the five foolish virgins and
failed to warn the foolish ones to get prepared for the bridegroom's
return. When He came, the opportunity to be a a part of the wedding was
lost by the unprepared virgins. (See Matthew 25:1-13). The chance to
help the foolish virgins prepare was also lost by the wise virgins. This
allegory teaches us the truth of Romans 13:11. Our verse was written in
the first century after the Lord's visit to this planet. If there were
those who were sleeping nineteen hundred years ago, would it not seem
safe to assume that many who should be waiting and watching for the
Lord's return are sleeping and slumbering today?
verse speaks of salvation. Obviously, the same word does not always mean
the same thing. This verse is not speaking of salvation from the penalty
of our sins but it is speaking of salvation from the presence of sin.
Salvation here is the salvation that we are going to enjoy at the coming
of the Lord, not the salvation that we obtain when we first trust in the
Lord. I notice that those who are going to be saved didn't always
believe. Believers may not remember the calendar day or the clock's hour
when they first believed, but they should remember what it was like to
find out that they didn't believe. They should also remember the story
and circumstances associated with coming to a settled confidence that
Christ has indeed died to save them. We need to remind people that it
isn't Biblical to say that we have "always" believed. We need
to warn them that they aren't believers because their parents are
believers. We need to warn them that others can't believe for them and
that ceremonies and good works do not constitute faith in Christ.
I think that those of us who are saved have become so earthly minded
that we are no heavenly good. Some people think that we can be so
heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. I personally do not think
that is possible. However, I do think that while we are waiting for the
Lord to return, we could be so tired out by our earthly endeavors that
we fall asleep on our heavenly responsibilities. As a result those that
we contact day by day see us as not really expecting the return of the
Lord that we preach.
know the Lord can get His work done without us, but most of us would
rather He would get it done through us. If He is going to use us in
these last days before He returns, we need to be waiting and watching
instead of sleeping and slumbering.
for the week of August 16, 2009
3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
to be like Christ and grow in an intimate understanding of Who Christ
is." That would be a possible rendering of this last verse that
Peter wrote. Peter who cut off the high priest's servant ear in the
garden (John 18:10) now wants us to grow in grace and in
had denied the Lord, and yet he he was commissioned to feed the Lord's
sheep (Luke 22:50-51). He had seen the grace of the Lord in restoring
him to fellowship and service after his denial of the Lord. Peter had
seen the grace of the Lord as the Lord healed the high priest's
servant's ear that Peter had cut off. Peter had learned to graciously
accept a rebuke from a man who was once an enemy of the Gospel and later
Peter counted this man as a beloved brother (see Galatians 2:11 and 2
Peter 3:15). He had received grace and had learned to show that grace to
others and now his final words are to encourage us to grow in grace.
people have told me that the reason that they are attracted to
Christianity is because of its kindness. They say they do not see that
in any other of the major religions of the world. The Jew was to exact
an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This kept the punishment
equal to the crime and did not allow excessive punishment, but it didn't
show grace. The Jews took vengeance on their enemies. In the new
testament, the Lord says that we are to suffer wrong (1 Corinthians
6:7), that when we are hit on one cheek, we are to turn the other one
(Matthew 5:39). When asked to go one mile, we are to go two (Matthew
5:41). Vengeance is not ours but something we are to commit to the Lord
(Romans 12:19). The Lord didn't ask us to do what He would not do. He
ultimately showed the grace of God by allowing Himself to be nailed to a
cross by those he had created and whom He wanted to save.
takes people by surprise because we tend to show so little of it. Many
of us believe that we do not have to forgive those who do not ask to be
forgiven. Many of us show real hatred and ridicule toward officials that
have been elected by majority vote of this country because we disagree
with them. Some of us kill the doctors that abort babies. Some of us
believe people of other races are suspect and inferior. We believe in
the right to carry guns so that we can defend ourselves from those who
might harm us. We believe in "just wars". Do we really believe
is what breaks the cycle of sin. Grace is obtaining favor or a gift that
is free and is undeserved. If instead of carrying guns, we carried a
soft answer which the Bible says turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1), I
wonder what would happen? If instead of hating those who have harmed us,
we prayed for them and went out of our way to show them kindness, I
wonder what would happen? If instead of trying to drive a hard bargain
in business, we paid more than we thought something was worth, I wonder
what would happen? I am afraid people would be so surprised and shocked
that they wouldn't know what to make of us. Wouldn't that be nice? They
would know that we were different, but different in a good way.
Lord tried using law in the old testament times to obtain good behavior
and it didn't work. The law causes us to figure out the loopholes so we
can think we are righteous when we aren't. The law should show us how
depraved we really are. The law even causes us to be tempted to sin
since the minute we find out we shouldn't do something, we tend to want
to do it so we can see why it so important that we not do it. But now in
the new testament, the Lord is using grace to make us more like Christ.
However even though the Lord was gracious, that doesn't mean His
followers always are. And if we who are saved by grace, do not show
grace, how is the Gospel going to prosper?
gracious is difficult. We are told that you catch more flies with honey
than with vinegar. So then why are Christians so often
"ungracious?" Why do we act like the world instead of like
Christ? I think people are looking to see if the Gospel really changes
things—does it really make a difference? If they really saw Christians
showing grace to each other and to the unsaved, maybe we would start
"catching some flies."
doubt that Peter would have written this if we were all as gracious as
we should be, so let us grow in grace!
for the week of August 23, 2009
Death, then What and Where?
it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's
bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in
Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in
I was watching the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy. It took me back to
November 1963 when I was watching the funeral of President JF Kennedy
who had been assassinated. Because of his assassination, I realized that
I needed to be saved and I needed to be saved now. I struggled that
weekend with what it meant to be saved. His death brought me to where I
found out I could not save myself; and if I died just as I was I would
die as an unforgiven, unsaved sinner. I would have been in hell in
torments. But when I came to the conclusion that I couldn't save myself,
the Lord showed me through a tract that I was reading that Christ had
already died to save me. I trusted the Lord that day and now according
to the Bible, based on my faith in the Lord Jesus and based on nothing
else, if I die I will go to heaven. One moment, I was on my way to hell.
The next moment I was on my way to heaven. I remember getting on my
knees and telling the Lord at that time, "Lord, if I were to go to
hell now, you would have to be a liar." God is not a liar and while
there are a lot of things that I have changed my mind on over the years,
I have never changed my mind about the fact that Christ died for me, and
that when I die I will be with the Lord in heaven.
Ted Kennedy died there were postings on some of the social networking
internet sites that said, "in hell he lift up his eyes". Did
Ted Kennedy go to heaven or did he go to hell? Did President JF Kennedy
go to heaven or hell? There are many people who do not like the Kennedy
politics and they are convinced that the Kennedy's could not be
Christians because of their politics. Others are convinced they could
not be Christians because of their religion. Some think Ted Kennedy
sealed his destiny at Chappaquiddick when a young lady died after he
drove his car into the bay. But what is interesting is that we all want
to make these judgments about others while not facing squarely our own
sin and shortcomings. We think we are all right and it is everyone else
who needs to be saved. The weekend that President Kennedy was shot, I
realized that it really didn't matter whether President Kennedy was in
heaven or hell, what mattered was that if I had died suddenly, I was not
prepared and I would be in hell.
Catholics go to heaven? Sure they can. But they can only go to heaven if
they believe what Paul preached in Acts 13: 38-39: "Therefore let
it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you
the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified
from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of
Moses." Everyone would include the Kennedy's. That's the same way
Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Baptists and everyone else goes to
heaven as well. If the Kennedy's were depending on their church and
their church rituals or their good works to get them to heaven, then
according to my Bible they were lost. If they were depending wholly on
the blood of Christ to get them to heaven, then they were saved. Many
people are quick to make these determinations after people die. I think
these questions should be asked before we die. After we die there is
nothing that can be done to change our destinies in spite of what many
churches teach. Before we die, we can repent (that is change our mind
where we disagree with God) and we can believe (that is trust in the
truth that Christ really did suffer in our place to put away our sins).
I watched the funeral this morning, it was painful to think that Ted
Kennedy might have lifted up his eyes in hell. But we didn't know his
heart. Hopefully, as an undeserving sinner, he trusted the Lord at some
point in his life. Maybe he will be in heaven while those who are sure
he did not go there will self-righteously miss out on the salvation God
is offering them.
this point, Ted Kennedy is either enjoying heaven or is being tormented
in hell. His destiny was settled while he was alive. I hope with all my
heart that he heard the Gospel and believed it.
John 5:24, the Lord Himself says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he
who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life,
and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into
life." I believe that. I hope Ted Kennedy believed that. I hope you
for the week of August 30,2009