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Has the Manna become Stale?
And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was
like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made
11:6-8 But now our soul is
dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.
And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as
the colour of bdellium. And the people went about, and gathered it, and
ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and
made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.
21:5 And the people spoke
against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of
Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our
soul loathes this worthless bread."
Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may
eat thereof, and not die. I
am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this
bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my
flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Manna was a
miraculous food provided to sustain the children of Israel on their
journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.
Likely they ate some meat and had some milk from the flocks that
were with them as well, particularly on the feast days.
But their staple every day was manna.
It started out tasting good, but by the end of their journey,
they were tired of it. You
will notice that at first it tasted like honey, then like oil, and then
it was light bread that had grown distasteful to them.
Manna speaks of
Christ. He is the living
bread which came down from heaven. Eating
the living bread (which in the context of John chapter 6 speaks of
appropriating by faith the work and person of Christ) gives eternal
life. One would think that
we as Christians would never tire of hearing about Christ and His love
and sacrifice. But we are
living in a day when the basic truths of the Gospel have become stale.
We are more interested in telling people how to live than we are
in telling them about the Savior that we say we love.
We are more interested in “fun” than we are in the solemn
preaching about “sin” and salvation through the “Son.”
We are told that the preaching of the Gospel is “boring,"
and yet you can't preach the Gospel without preaching about the Lord
Jesus Christ. (See Ephesians
3:8 and 1 Corinthians 1:23).
The Ephesian Church
This congregation was
likely established in the late 50's.
They were doing well when Paul wrote to them in the early 60's
but by the end of the first century they had “left their first love”
(Revelation 2:4). Their
first love had to have been Christ.
Preaching Him, worshiping Him and serving Him had to have been
their early motivation. But
within 30 to 40 years, the manna had become stale.
They had good works, but they had lost their way.
They were warned that unless that got re-centered on their first
love, the Lord would remove them as a testimony in their locality.
We Need Balance
I realize that we
need good teaching. We who
are saved need to know what pleases the Lord.
But a good presentation of the Gospel provides good teaching
about the manna from heaven. And that is teaching that we all need.
It reminds Christians of their great sin and of God's great love.
It challenges the unsaved to think about their eternal destinies.
We can get all theological about what an assembly meeting is and
what it should contain and who should be benefited.
But if, in a meeting that is primarily for Christians, we have
those who are not saved shouldn’t we take that opportunity to preach
the sweet strains of the saving Gospel to them?
If we don’t do that how can we say that we love the unsaved?
How can we say that we love the Lord?
How can we say that we are still thrilled with the Lord who died
to save us? How can we say
that we really believe that the unsaved die and go to a place of eternal
Let's not Let the
Gospel become Stale
The Gospel never became stale to Paul.
In his last epistle to his friend Timothy he says, “For this
reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I
know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what
I have committed to Him until that Day (2 Timothy 1:12).”
Paul was about to be martyred.
He says that the time of his departure was at hand.
The light that Paul saw on the Damascus Road had gotten brighter
every time he told how he was reached and saved and that light was
giving him courage at the end of his earthly journey.
He loved to tell the story of his conversion.
It never got old and boring.
May Christ and the Gospel and the story of our conversion never
grow stale in our lives.
for the week of August 6, 2017
Are we really Happy or Blessed?
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For
they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say
all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in
heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
am a people watcher. I like
to go to places where people congregate and observe the people
I really believe that God wants people to be happy or blessed.
So I like it when it seems that people I am observing are happy.
But sometimes what we see is deceiving and while people seem
happy on the outside, they may be hurting on the inside.
Likely many of the people I see are looking for happiness, but
they are looking for it in ways that are destructive
I believe that God wants to give us true and lasting
blessing or happiness.
is happiness and where is it found?
the Bible the words happy and blessed seem to be linked.
In the beatitudes above, each word blessed has been changed to
happy in some of the more modern translations of the Bible.
As I read these beatitudes, they seem completely opposed to what
most of us believe brings happiness today.
Just reread the beatitudes and substitute happy for the word
blessed and then see if that is the thing that brings happiness in your
life. Aren't all of these
things completely contrary to what we are taught will make us happy?
I realize that the beatitudes are looking at eternal rewards, but
I believe they indicate that it is possible to be happy right now.
But we must meet the conditions of each promised blessing.
is sometimes associated with success.
When I was in school, I was always happy when I got A's on exams.
I was happy when I passed
the CPA exam. Many of us
think that happiness involves “getting ahead.”
Many of us want honor and authority.
Achievements in this world do make us happy for a while.
But does that happiness last?
Do those achievements really bring lasting satisfaction?
happiness a feeling or a condition or both?
Dictionaries use various terms to define happiness.
Some of them say it is a state of contentment or satisfaction.
Some compare happiness to joy.
Often the word pleasure is used.
Some relate happiness to good fortune.
Happiness is likely different things to different people.
Happiness is not obtained by Natural Means
the Queen of Sheba observed Solomon's kingdom and reign she realized
that his servants and subjects were indeed blessed because they had a
righteous, wise king. I
think she thought they were in a state of good fortune and that living
in Israel at that time was pleasurable.
While conditions that make us happy change, the attitudes that
make us happy don't have to change.
The beatitudes deal with those attitudes. I don't think those
attitudes are the attitudes that we are born with naturally.
But they can be cultivated by one who has been born again.
The new birth gives us a new eternal destiny and that has to make
us happy. It gives us a new
leader who like Solomon is wise and righteous.
Before we were saved or born again we served Sin or Satan even
though we may have thought we were serving God.
After we are saved we serve Righteousness or the Lord.
Paul explains this in Romans 6.
However, if in serving the Lord, we had to take the humble place
in society, if we had to put others interests ahead of our own, would
that make us truly happy? And
yet, just as I like to see people happy, the Lord likes that as well.
But to obtain His happiness, which is not just a fleeting
emotion, we have to unlearn the principles of our society which put self
first. We have to practice
the principle of putting others first.
Happiness be our Goal in Life?
I write this, I realize that happiness was never a stated objective in
our family. We respected
hard work and success in achievements, but I don't ever remember being
asked if I was happy. But
in later years, I have found that happiness should be one of our goals.
But we should strive for the happiness found in the beatitudes.
I suspect that many Christians would have to admit that they
don't think the principles of the Sermon on the Mount really work.
They think they if they lived by the principles of the Sermon on
the Mount that people would walk all over them.
They are right. They
might even nail you to a cross. And
how could that make you happy? God
says it will and the early disciples who were martyred said it did.
Of course that is not the kind of happiness most of us want.
want to be happy and I am sure you do too.
We certainly ought to believe God when He says Christ died for
our sins. And maybe we
should believe God when He tells us how to be happy now that we are
saved. I am personally
praying for the attitude adjustments in my own life that will lead to
for the week of August 13, 2017
Rom 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling
to what is good.
Rules to live By
Here we have a threefold statement that should be the guiding
principles of all of our lives. The
natural (unsaved) person is not likely to do this, the carnal or
immature Christian may have some trouble with this, but the spiritual
Christian should be exhibiting the desire to love without play acting,
to abhor what is evil, and to cling to what is good. (See 1 Corinthians
What is Love?
The Bible tells us that God is love.
We can only understand love when we understand the Lord Jesus
Christ who has revealed God to us in a very practical way.
The best example of love is found in John 3:16: For
God SO LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Notice the emphasis on that word love.
God SO LOVED. This is
something that you or I could not or would not normally do naturally.
We love our families, and we love those who are culturally like
us. But most of us do not really love those that we perceive as being
God loved sinners of all colors and kinds and backgrounds.
He accepted Non-Jews (Gentiles) and the hated Samaritans.
Sometimes we sing: "Jesus
loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow
black and white, they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the children of the world."
And as near as I can tell and read, He loves these children when
they grow up as well. As
Christians, do we love them?
What is the Evil that we are to Abhor?
Evil comes from the evil one who is our adversary.
The Lord tells us that the Devil was a murderer from the
beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in
him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a
liar and the father of it (John 8:44).
So while there are many moral evils, hopefully we can agree that
lying and murder are right at the top because they are involved in so
many other aspects of immoral behavior.
John tells us that hate and murder are the same.
In 1John 3:15, John says, "Whoever hates his brother is a
murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in
him." John goes on to
say in 1John 4:20, "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his
brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has
seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?"
In other words, one who hates his brother is simply not a
Now I know that some theologians with a desire to justify their attitudes
toward certain segments of our society are going to ask, "Who is my
brother? Is that another
Christian? Or is that a
blood brother? Or is that
talking generically about everyone who has been born into this
world?" I think that
John was thinking that brother went beyond Jewish brother and Christian
brother and blood brother since He was the one who recorded the words
that God SO LOVED the WORLD that He gave HIs only begotten Son.
Yes we need to abhor or hate evil but we shouldn't abhor or hate other
people that God created in his own image.
And we should tell the truth.
When we say we love someone and our actions speak otherwise, we
are lying. And that hurts.
What is Good in this World
Mark 10:18 we have the record of a young ruler who thought he was pretty
good coming to the Lord and calling Him good. “So
Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call Me good?
No one is good but One, that is, God.'" This
young ruler called the Lord good but He didn't think He was God.
The Lord said that there is only one Who is good and that is God.
So if we want to cling to what is good, we have to cling to God
and the first step in doing that is to believe Him when He says,
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting
life." That will give
us a desire to be like Christ and to abhor what is evil and to cling to
what is good. Actually, most
of us know without asking whether something is good or evil.
God gave us consciences to help us with knowing good and evil.
So if we want to show to the world that the Lord has the answer to the
divisions and hate in our society. let us ask ourselves, “Are part of
the problem or part of the solution?”
If God SO LOVED the world, are we doing the same?
for the week of August 20, 2017
40:5 Many, O LORD my God,
are Your wonderful works Which You have done.
has done marvelous things. When
He created this world, He said that it was good.
When He got done creating a woman on the sixth day, He stepped
back and considered everything that He had done and He said it was VERY
good. There are a lot of beautiful things in this world that God
created, but even God saw women as that which perfected creation and its
beauty. Likely He was
thinking that He had gotten that clay formed just right when He handed
Eve to Adam.
of the beauties of God's creation was seen recently in the total eclipse
of the sun. For two and
one-half minutes those who were in the path of totality saw something
that was totally awesome. People
who have seen a total eclipse will travel the world (if they can afford
it) to see another one. My
wife and I have seen partial eclipses and we didn't get too excited
about chasing this total eclipse. But
after hearing the effect that it had on my family and others who did
chase it, I wish we had planned a trip to see that two and one half
minutes of awesomeness.
is interesting is that the sun is 400 times larger than the moon but the
moon is 400 times closer to the earth than the sun so it just perfectly
covers the sun. If the moon
were closer, the sun would not be covered.
If the moon were further away, the corona that everyone wants to
see, would be covered. God
knew just where to place the moon in relation to the sun for us to see
this exquisite beauty during a full eclipse.
that glorifies God, Satan attacks. He
attacked Eve in the Garden. He
allows humans to destroy this planet with their carelessness and with
their “progress.” Some
of the natural wonders of the world have become garbage dumps.
The ocean is being polluted by the nuclear accident in Japan and
by the plastic refuse that men throw in it.
We over fish the ocean so that some of God's creation is in
danger of extinction. Satan
loves it when he can mar and destroy that which God has made beautiful
and awesome. Even though all
people were God's creation and all are loved by God, Satan has put hate
and rage and anger and prejudice in the heart of man.
Instead of loving each other as we ought, we find it easy to kill
and destroy. We glorify war.
After all it is big business.
We take resources that could be used to feed people and use those
resources to kill people. Our
governments are corrupt. Many
of our leaders are more concerned about re-election than about doing
what is right. Health-care
which should be a right has become a privilege.
Instead of that service being provided sacrificially, it has
become the means of robbing the poor and giving to the rich. Satan
has turned that which was created good upside down.
Fortunately, Satan has not been able to destroy a good eclipse
that the Psalmist says does declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1).
effectiveness at convincing men to hate instead of to love, to love war
instead of peace, to compete instead of to cooperate, did not catch God
by surprise. He made
something else that is beautiful and awesome.
He sent a man into this world to show us what true love and
sacrifice and humility is. This
man did not look like a King and when the Jewish people saw Him.
They didn't see any regal beauty in Him.
He came from the wrong family.
He was born in the wrong way.
He came from the wrong town. Those who taught the people the law
and how to worship, rejected Him. They
conspired to kill Him because people who had needs were attracted to
Him. He healed, He calmed
storms, He raise the dead, and He fed multitudes.
He spent time with Gentiles (non-Jews) and Samaritans.
These were people that were unclean as far as the Jewish leaders
were concerned. He was
everything that a person born into this world should be.
But the Jewish leaders didn't care about the good He did, they
cared about their own position, their “respect and honor”.
They cared about their power and even Pilate knew that they
wanted to crucify the Lord because of their envy.
But this One was willing to die for the sins of the world.
He was willing to pay the penalty that we deserve because of our
sins so that all could go free. But
there is one condition. We
must trust Him.
leaders want to serve their own interests.
The Lord served our interests.
Our leaders want to do the crucifying.
The Lord was willing to be crucified.
When a person gets a sight of the cross and sees that it was
there that God was providing a means of making sinners into saints, then
the vision of the cross far exceeds the beauty of a two and one-half
minute full eclipse.
hymn write has penned these words:
the wonder of it all, the wonder of it all, just to think that God loves
the wonder of it all, the wonder of it all, just to think that God loves
do not let the ugliness of sinners who hate and destroy, keep you from
seeing the beauty of those three dark hours on the cross!
It is wonderful to think the Lord loved me that much (and He love
you that much too).
for the week of August 27, 2017