to Archived Meditations
for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to
can tell a lot about a person’s character by the way that person
handles money. Sometimes Christians act as though money doesn’t
matter, but it does matter. The Lord is concerned about money (not about
obtaining it since He owns the cattle on a thousand hills). But He is
concerned about whether we as Christians use it and earn it honestly.
month ago I bought a package from my local phone company that was
supposed to provide me more services than I had for less money than I
was currently paying. The bill that I got today was $10.00 higher than I
was quoted. I called the company, and after going through menu after
menu of options, I finally got to a real person who finally admitted he
did not understand the bill nor was a supervisor available to help him.
Do you suppose that the company knows that most people are going to “give
up” if their overcharges are not very high?
month ago I got a credit card bill with a late charge of $20.00. Knowing
the date when I sent the payment and knowing that it should have gotten
there at least one day before it was due, I assumed that when I called
the company they would tell me that the payment was delayed in the mail.
But no, instead the due date given on the bill fell on Saturday but mail
received on Saturday (and probably on Friday) didn’t get posted until
Monday, after the due date. So they intentionally set a due date many
people were going to miss. When I called, the representative immediately
dropped the charge. How many people do you suppose paid the $20.00
am glad I work for an honest boss (the Lord Jesus Christ). Because He is
honest we KNOW we have His Word for the fact that believers (those who
trust in Him) will be in heaven. He doesn’t mislead us. I feel sorry
for people who go to work every day for a corporation that considers
business to be business and does whatever it can to make a little extra
off of a lot of people. How many times are Christians forced to do
things that they would not do if they were running their own businesses?
We need to remember that our honesty reflects our character and our
character reflects on the Lord who died for us. There may not be much
that the world can depend on but they should be able to depend on
Christians. If we are working for companies that require us to “cut
corners” or mislead people, maybe it is time to look for another
opportunity. Thank God for every honest Christian who has a good
conscience regardless of whether they work for others or for themselves.
of December 1, 2002
we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are
not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal (temporary); but
the things which are not seen are eternal (forever).
I studied economics, we studied long-run decisions and short-run
decisions. Decisions that were best for the short-run were not always
best for the long-run. If a business charges an exorbitant price today
and makes the sale, it has maximized short-run profits. Long-run profits
may not be maximized since the business will likely lose customers in
the long-run. Likewise, in spiritual matters, we can live life for
short-term gratification rather than living for long-term blessing
in these economics classes, a student wanting to be humorous would say,
“Yes, but in the long-run we are all dead!” Of course, that is the
point. I have asked myself, how long am I going to live and how long am
I going to be dead? The answer is clear even to those who do not believe
in God. We are dead a lot longer that we live! In view of that obvious
fact, wouldn’t it be wiser to be concerned with the future after death
than the future of this short life? I think that is why Paul says in our
verse that the things we see now in this life are temporary and the
things that we don’t see and accept by faith in God’s Word are
permanent or forever.
churches today deal with social programs and make Christianity a way of
living for today (the short-term approach). Of course, Christianity
should help us live our daily lives, but as a society we have gotten
away from thinking about eternity. When a person dies, we fix them up to
look as though they are sleeping and the reality of death is carefully
disguised. Death is unpleasant and it is the last enemy (1Corinthians
15:26.) It introduces us into a never ending future. My Bible says that
our future is either going to be paradise with our Savior or eternal
judgment with the Devil. Since eternity is so long, I would hate to find
out five seconds after dying that I prepared for this short life and
neglected preparing for eternity. Having eternal life (the long-term
approach) is what encourages believers in the Lord Jesus who are going
through trials. The trial is just for a short time but afterwards they
can enjoy blessing for eternity. Neglecting to prepare for eternity will
surely be a greater mistake than not buying life insurance or car
insurance or medical insurance or nursing home insurance, etc. If we
need to prepare for time, how much more important is it to prepare for
eternity (John 3:36)?
am getting to an age where a lot of my classmates are dying. My friends
have relatives who are dying. Many nights the newspaper has the obituary
of someone I knew. One night last week, about half of the obituaries
were for people younger than me. When I read the obituaries I wonder if
those who died had made long-run decisions and were prepared for
of December 8, 2002
Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our
Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy
are important. Mothers are important. Families are important. We couldn’t
have had the Son of God born as the Son of Man without Mary. The Lord
was part of a family whose father was Joseph and whose mother was Mary.
That family included other brothers and sisters (Matthew 13:55).
there is an attack by Satan against the family. Fathers in particular
are considered unimportant. They can’t live in the same house as the
mother in many states and get welfare, even if the family needs it. The
mother decides on whether to carry a baby to term and the father is
involved in the decision only in as much as the mother allows him to be.
Girls can get abortions without the father of the baby or her parents
knowing or being involved.
it any wonder that we have trouble telling young people about their “God
who is a Father?” Our concept of God is affected by our concept of our
fathers. Some have judgmental fathers, some have absentee fathers, and
some have permissive fathers. What kind of Father is our God? First of
all, He doesn’t like to punish but He will (He is gracious and
merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, Joel 2:13). Some Fathers
live to punish, our Father would rather be gracious and merciful. Some
have a hard time accepting a loving and gracious God because their
fathers were not loving and gracious. Some think God should never punish
rebellion because their fathers didn’t. We need to remember that an
earthly father is marred by sin and does not perfectly reflect the
personality of the Father who sent His Son into the world to save
sinners. He is a God of love and yet of righteousness. He is a Father of
mercy who condemns those who rebel against Him and reject Him. He is a
Father of truth but also of grace.
had a spiritual Father in Paul. I am sure that some of Timothy’s
attitude toward God was molded by his attitude toward Paul. Those of us
who are spiritual fathers need to project the right image of God to
those we are fathering.
of us have earthly fathers and some of us are fathers. We need to be
concerned with the image of God that we are projecting to our physical
children so that they will not be hindered in accepting the gift of His
Son which is the gift that saves eternally. That is the gift that our
heavenly Father needs to be thanked for this time of year.
of December 15, 2002
took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest
thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes
have seen thy salvation.
held the One in his arms that had created all things and Who holds all
things together (Colossians 1:15-16). Simeon was holding the One who had
given him breath. The Son of God had become the Son of man through the
immaculate conception (He was conceived by the Holy Spirit) and by His
virgin birth (Mary never “knew” a man until after the Lord Jesus was
born). The innocence and frailty of this new life that was committed to
the care of Mary and Joseph reminds us of Isaiah 53:2, “He shall grow
up before him as a tender plant”. Again in Isaiah 53:2, He is referred
to “as a root out of a dry ground.” The dry ground no doubt
represents Israel who had not born any fruit for God for at least 400
years. The root represents the Lord’s right to the throne of Israel by
being “the root and offspring of David” (Revelation 22:16). The Lord
descended from King David through both Mary and Joseph. Simeon was given
the privilege of being there when the Lord was born and of holding this
One who would be the Savior of the world in his arms. What a privilege
he had! And yet, he warned Mary, “Yea, a sword shall pierce through
thy own soul also” (Luke 2:35). He knew that the One he held would die
as a “Man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3).
is as the “Arm of the Lord” (Isaiah 53:1) that we know the Lord
Jesus. The ability of a man is seen in his arms. It is with the arms and
the hands that he does his work. The Lord is the part of the triune God
that carries out the plans of God. He created, He redeems, He rules, and
He speaks for God as the Word of God in John 1. He is the head of the
church, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He is the
obedient servant. As the arm of the Lord, He carried out God’s plan of
salvation by becoming the One who was “wounded for our transgression
and Who was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). Simeon could
say, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according
to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation” (Luke 2:29-30).
Simeon had held the baby who was to die as our Savior and he was able to
depart or “die” in peace. The only way we can die in peace is if we
too believe the report of Isaiah 53 and trust in the one that Simeon
held in His arms. His love held Him to a cross where our sins were laid
upon Him (Isaiah 53:6). Have you believed this report (Isaiah 53:1)?
of December 22, 2002
3:1-2, And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching
that I bid thee.
3:7, Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
11:4, Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those
things which ye do hear and see.
we take inventory of our lives over the past year and begin to plan for the new,
we should remember that our God provides second chances. You may be quite
satisfied with last year’s activities, but many of us would like to do some
things over. Thank God, no matter where we may have failed, our God is the God
of the second chance.
was a great prophet (Matthew 12:42). I wouldn’t call someone who was
disobedient to the Lord’s command and who was unhappy with the Lord’s
willingness to save, a great prophet. But the Lord did and when Jonah disobeyed,
the Lord gave him a second commission.
of us are rather proud of who we are by our first birth but the Lord says that
we are corrupt by nature. He told Nicodemus, who likely was a good man, that he
needed a new life. The first one wouldn’t do. We are all sinners by our first
birth, but the Lord didn’t condemn us, He came to provide us with a life that
would fit us for heaven. He provides a second or new birth.
the Baptist was a great prophet as well. And yet when he was in prison he began
to wonder if the One he had been preaching about was indeed the Messiah. He must
have had doubts and he sent his disciples to find out if this was the One. They
were told, “go show John again!” He needed reassurance and the Lord gave it
Lord provides encouragement where there is failure, salvation where there is
sin, reassurance where there is doubt. This is the Lord who may come again this
next year so “that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:3).” But if He
tarries, our Lord will still be with us as the one who encourages, saves and
reassures. He has promised us, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”
of December 29, 2002