to Archived Meditations
4:6 . . .lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
old testament begins by God making a man called Adam who sins against
God and who passes that sin nature on to his descendents. Adam’s race
constantly frustrates God by desiring heathen gods and heathen woman.
When they are in a bad spot they have trouble believing that God can
save them. They constantly grumble and complain about their lot in life.
They take advantage of the poor and forget the widows and orphans. It is
only appropriate that the old testament ends with a curse.
new testament begins by God sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who
is sinless and who always pleases the Father. However this Son, the One
who shouldn’t die, is born to die. His name was called Jesus because
that name means Savior and He died to be the Savior of the world. In the
old testament, we are reminded of what we deserve. In the new testament
we are reminded that God has found a way to spare us from the curse that
we deserve. Thus, the new testament appropriately ends with grace. I
personally like the message of the new testament better than the message
of the old.
is much grace shown in the old testament and there is much judgment
coming during the tribulation period of the new testament that occurs
before Christ comes to set up His earthly thousand year reign of peace
and justice. In both testaments there is failure on the part of man and
there is perfection in the person of the Messiah. In the old testament
He is prophesied to be coming and in the Gospels He came and now He has
told us He is coming again. I am sure that during those 4000 years that
the descendents of Adam waited for the Messiah to come many decided that
the promise would never be fulfilled. We have now waited for 2000 years
for the promise of His second coming to be fulfilled. While many in the
world are questioning the reality of that promise, God says, “For yet
a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry”
(Hebrews 10:37). The Lord says, “Behold I come quickly (suddenly)”
(Revelation 22:, 20).
am glad that I am waiting for the second coming of Christ rather than
for the first and that I am living in new testament days rather than in
the old. The Lord is coming again both to rapture the Saints and to
reveal Himself as King to the earth. For those of us who are saved we
can have confidence that no matter what this year brings, the grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ is with us. Our curse is gone since “Christ hath
redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it
is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians
3:13). We would say like John the beloved apostle, “The grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
of January 4, 2004
19:46 It is written, My house is the house of prayer.
have been meditating on the fact that we who are saved are not doing
much praying together. We may be praying on an individual basis but that
is not leading to a desire to pray together in a congregational setting.
It is interesting that most people tell those who are unsaved to pray to
receive Christ. I don’t do that. I tell them to believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ to be saved (Acts 16:31-32) but I anticipate that the
automatic reaction to trusting in the Lord and His promise to give
eternal life to those who do trust Him will be to pray and thank Him for
saving them. If prayer is the automatic response of a new believer (Acts
9:11), why do we find it so hard to emphasize public prayer in our
we can take the liberty of applying the idea of the house of God or
temple of God to our local churches, then would our houses be called
houses of prayer? What has concerned me about this title “the house of
prayer” is that as I travel around the country, I notice that the one
of the meetings that seems to fail because of a lack of attendance is
the corporate prayer meeting. Many meetings called prayer meetings are
mostly fellowship and teaching or Bible study meetings with just a
little time devoted to prayer. In the early church, “they continued
stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of
bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:42).” Notice that the word prayers is
plural. While an invocation or a benediction may be a part of our
meetings, I do not think they would cause someone who didn’t
understand Christianity and who was observing us to call our
congregations, houses of prayer. They might call our congregations,
houses of music. They might call them houses of bread (Bethlehem’s)
because of our fellowship meals. They might call them houses of
preaching where the apostle’s doctrine is proclaimed but would they
really call them houses of prayer? I like music and I like to preach and
to hear good preaching. I like food and I think food is an effective
evangelistic tool since many people will enjoy a congregational meal
with us where we can present the Gospel, particularly on special
occasions. But should those things be the focal point of the church or
should prayer be the focal point? Have we started to use the church to
talk to each other rather than coming together to talk to God.? Does
that mean that we are worshipping a God whose presence does not seem
real to us any more?
no relationship can be healthy without communication, I think we need to
consider the need to reinstate the emphasis on public congregational
prayer when the whole church gathers for unified public prayer. This
doesn’t always have to be “asking” prayer, some of it and perhaps
most of it should be “thanking” prayer. This doesn’t have to be a
distinct meeting (although in Acts 3:1 there was an hour for prayer in
the temple), but it should be a preeminent part of our corporate
gatherings. I believe that our survival and our revival as effective
witness for Christ depend on it.
of January 11, 2004
12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for
the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers (various)
temptations (trials or adversities).
is apparently the thought of cheerfulness, calm delight or gladness. We
who are believer’s in Christ are supposed to be Christ-like, but I
think someone left this lesson about joy in trials out of the play book
that was presented to me before I trusted in Christ. I had been brought
up to believe that we are rewarded with good things (praise, honor,
maybe money) when we do things right and we are rewarded with corrective
(otherwise known as bad ) things when we do things wrong. Isn’t that
the basic idea behind the discipline of a parent? Now I am being told
that my reward for doing right is trials or adversity and that I am
supposed to be happy about it. This is certainly one place where God
doesn’t think like we think (Isaiah 55:8).
did the Lord have joy in the trials associated with the cross? Likely,
it was because He was saving those that He would have for a bride.
Imagine having a bride that not only loved you because she was supposed
to but because she wanted to! Imagine having a bride that realized how
much the Lord loved her because His love was demonstrated at the cross!
I think He also had joy in knowing that He was being obedient to the
Father’s will and that He was going to be victorious over sin and
Satan. So likely, His joy was because of the benefits that would result
when the trial would be over. All told His earthly ministry lasted about
3 years. The sorrows and griefs of the cross lasted less than 24 hours.
What is that in the light of eternity?
trials are supposed to develop endurance (maturity) and are going to be
rewarded with a crown of life according to James. In Hebrews 12, our
trials are supposed to be evidence of the love of God toward his true
children. Paul says that our trials are “light afflictions” and are
“but for a moment”. He says that they bring about an “eternal
weight (or possibly abundance) of glory or praise”. (See 2 Corinthians
4:17-18). Paul considered his afflictions light because he was looking
at the shortness of the time when the afflictions occur and the length
of the “time” associated with the glory brought about by the
or adversity are not pleasant. The unsaved have them and they have
nothing to look forward to after they are over. We who are saved have
them but we have eternity to look forward to after they are over.
then, we can rejoice in the fact that trials prove we are children and
that they develop patience in us since they won’t last all that long.
We can also rejoice in the fact that they make heaven and eternal life
seem more attractive since our trials starkly contrast with our
blessings which will be eternal.
of January 18, 2004
4:17-19 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye
henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God
through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness
(hardness) of their heart, who being past feeling (lacking compassion
and sympathy) have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work
all uncleanness with greediness.
4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
that we who are Christians are not to walk or live as the immoral
gentiles (unsaved) live. That means that it is possible for Christians
to live this way. However, if we do we will grieve the Holy Spirit or
make Him distressed or unhappy (see Ephesians 4:30). Grieving the Holy
Spirit is not going to give us joy or confidence in our salvation. The
problems of the unsaved start with the mind (they dwell on things that
do not profit). The mind then affects their heart or affections and
motives. Their motives affect their emotions which affects their sinful
lifestyles. So they think wrong which leads to feeling wrong which leads
to acting wrong. Now we are not saved by changing our lives but by
trusting in the sacrificial work of Christ who died to save us. But
being saved should change our lives. And the changed life of a Christian
with an ungrieved Holy Spirit sealing him (see Ephesians 1:13) allows
him to enjoy with confidence the truth that, “God for Christ’s sake
hath forgiven you.”
we are not enjoying that truth (that is if we are living in doubts),
maybe we need to act right (be kind and compassionate or tenderhearted)
so we can feel right which will lead to thinking right. When we think
right we will be able to appreciate the work of Christ in our lives.
Acting right does not save the unsaved but if we have walked as the
unsaved walk after we are saved, we need to change our walk in order to
regain an appreciation of our salvation. Many of us do not have
assurance of salvation because of things that we are doing in our lives
and Satan has convinced some of us that the truth that God has forgiven
us for Christ’s sake is not true. When we have dug a hole and are
living in it (that is when we living in the pit of depression because of
things we have done) we cannot get out of the pit by starting at the
top. We have to reverse the process that got us into the hole. This is
not a message to the unsaved as to how to be saved but to the saved for
restoration to the fellowship of God when they have grieved the Holy
Spirit. When we have done wrong, if we acknowledge our wrong which
involves making corrections, we should regain our confidence in the
truth that “God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
is a great release. When we forgive, it releases us from tension, high
blood pressure and from the desire to get even. When we are forgiven by
God or by man, it releases us from a bad conscience and from worry about
the penalty that we deserve because of our sin. God has eternal
penalties as well as earthly consequences, man usually has penalties as
well. They range from social avoidance to the legal penalties of the
courts. Forgiveness offered and received (reconciliation) restores
relationships, brings peace to former enemies and gives us mental
health. I am convinced that there can be no true mental health for a
Christian apart from a life that is unlike the immoral unsaved that
allows us to properly appreciate the truth that “God for Christ’s
sake hath forgiven you.”
of January 25, 2004