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to Archived Meditations
Corinthians 4:1-2 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and
stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards
that one be found faithful.
we come to the end of another year, I am asking myself, "What did I
accomplish for the Lord this last year?" The answer is not very
satisfying. I would have to say that I haven't accomplished very much.
of us who are truly saved and worshiping the Lord realize that what we
do did not save us. Salvation is fully and completely a gift from God.
But now that we are the Lord's, He has placed in our hearts a desire to
serve Him. That is one of the things that I look for when people tell me
that they are saved. When I listen to people who claim to be Christians,
do I hear them talk about One that they love, or do they talk about
themselves? Are they self-serving or are they serving others and Christ?
Are they displaying their own righteousness or are they displaying the
righteousness of Christ? How would I measure up if these questions were
used to rate my life for the Lord over this past year? I am afraid that
most of my life was concerned with self and not with God. Even when we
think we are serving the Lord, we often are doing it for self-serving
give to the Lord in order to get from the Lord. They are not giving
sacrificially, they are investing. While the Lord is clear that blessing
often results from giving, my experience is that when I give I have less
and not more in a material way. My blessings are spiritual. I don't
think the Lord wants us to give him a portion and keep the rest for
ourselves. I think He wants us to give Him ALL and to use some of it as
good stewards to meet the needs of our life and service for Him. I am
not sure that I can honestly say that I have done that.
preach the Gospel and minister the Word for material gain today. The
Lord says that they are merchandising the Gospel. He despises that since
the Gospel is free. But since we do need money in this life, who can
honestly say that the need for money has not entered into decisions we
have made about how we serve the Lord? Would we have made the same
decisions if money were really not an issue? I suspect that most of us
who serve the Lord would have to admit that in some measure, we have
failed on this issue.
the real issue as I look back over the last year is, "How faithful
have I been to the mysteries of God that have been entrusted to
me?" Have I changed my view of God and His truth to conform to the
popular movements of the day? Have I been faithful to proclaim that
everyone who is saved was once lost? Do I emphasize the need for a
"new birth?" Do I still tell the unsaved about God's wrath
which includes eternal conscious punishment if we die without trusting
in Christ for salvation? Do I love the unsaved enough to be honest with
them or do I make God the kind of God that popular religion makes Him
out to be? Am I faithful to the unsaved and to the Lord who was willing
to despise the shame of rejection and of the cross in order to save us?
I believe and preach that the church is not ours? It is God's and His
dwelling place. Do I believe that the early new testament church and the
apostle's teaching concerning it are still the guide for the church
today? Or have I been willing to build an organization that pleases men
rather than letting the Lord build a living organism (body) that pleases
Him. The latter the gates of hell shall not overcome (Matthew 16:18).
When we build our way, not only do we leave the Lord on the outside
(Revelation 3:20), but we are building on a sandy foundation that will
would like to hear the Lord say when I meet Him, "Well done, good
and faithful servant. (Matthew 25:21)." So would you, of that I am
sure. But I suspect there are a few improvements that I could make over
last year. Maybe you have some improvements to consider as well. We can
be thankful that the Lord is gracious to us where we have failed, but He
still tells us that there is a standard for stewards. The standard is
for the week of January 1, 2011
this really work?
6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all
these things shall be added to you.
is one of the great afflictions of the human race. Of course, worry is
like riding a stationary bike. It takes lots of energy but it doesn't
get you anywhere. But according to this passage if we really put the
interests of the Lord FIRST we wouldn't worry about having life's needs
met. That would be the Lord's responsibility. Our responsibility would
be to do whatever we can do to serve the Lord and to promote the
spiritual kingdom that He has brought us into the moment we trust Him
for salvation. John 3:3 says, "unless
one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The Lord was
rejected as the King of the Jews at the cross, but those of us who trust
Him, recognize that right now He is our King. In a coming day, He will
present Himself to this world as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS
does it really mean to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God? During my
university studies (year's ago), there was a man by the name of Maslow
that thought he had figured out what motivated people. According to him,
people had five levels of needs. When the basic needs were met such as
the need for food, water and shelter then they were motivated by
"higher" needs such as security, and then love, and then
recognition. When these needs have been met, people are only motivated
by something he calls self-actualization which really means that they
are occupied with feeling that they have fulfilled their potential to
make a mark in this life. You will notice that all of the things that
Maslow mentions shows that we are normally motivated by things that
affect us. We are motivated by the trinity, "ME, MYSELF, AND
Christian who is born again and is truly walking in the spirit has a
higher motivation than what Maslow describes. He will love God and love
His neighbor as Himself. Notice the command to love our neighbors is
measured by our love to self. Loving ourselves is always assumed in
Scripture but it is not commanded—at least I have never found the
command. Just as we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves,
husbands are to love their wives as they love themselves according to
Ephesians 5. But our motivation should not be to please self but to
please God and that would require us to be acutely concerned with
meeting the needs of others. Now I know some are going to say, but
"Who is my neighbor?" A lawyer in the parable of the Good
Samaritan tried to avoid his responsibilities by asking that question
(Luke 10:29). It appears that our neighbor is the one that we would like
to avoid. He may be of the wrong race, or he may have gotten himself
into trouble and now needs someone to come along side of Him. Our
neighbor is probably the one that we really don't like and don't want to
help because we might be "enabling" him to continue in a
self-destructive lifestyle. These people don't need a sermon, they need
compassion and help with no strings attached. That of course will be the
most powerful sermon that they will ever hear.
Christian who is seeking FIRST the kingdom of God will esteem others
better than himself (Philippians 2:3). He will be swift to hear and slow
to speak (James 1:19). He will humble himself rather than exalting
himself (Luke 14:11). He shares what he has with others (1 John 3:17).
These are just a few of the characteristics of Christians that run
counter to the things that normally motivate us according to Maslow.
Lord makes us a promise. If we put Him first we will have our needs (not
our greeds) met. I wonder if it works? Has anyone really been able to do
this? I am convinced that the Lord is gracious when we fail but that we
miss out on great blessings as Christians when we stay occupied with
what we want rather than with what the Lord wants.
for the week of January 8, 2012
He or Isn't He?
28:16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is
in this place, and I did not know it."
2:44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's
journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.
was fleeing from his brother Esau who had every reason to be mad at
Jacob. Jacob had deceived his father into blessing him instead of Esau.
Esau had lost the position associated with the firstborn because of his
own foolishness and now he had lost the blessing that went with it. Esau
was hot and Jacob was a deceiver. But out alone at night when Jacob
least expected it, the Lord appeared to Him and spoke to him. Jacob was
awestruck because he realized He had been in the presence of the Lord.
Luke, the Lord had gone with his parents to Jerusalem to celebrate the
feast of the Passover. On the way home, the Lord stayed behind and it
took about a day for his parents to realize that he was not with them
even though they SUPPOSED that He was.
have a tendency to think that the Lord is only present and communing
with us at set times in set places. Sometimes we fail to realize that
the Lord is present even when He is. My friends seem to experience His
presence when hunting or fishing. Many of us have experienced his
presence in times of great stress. It may have been in sickness or at a
funeral. Normally we do not experience the presence of the Lord at a
boisterous party. We are more likely to hear Him speak and experience
His presence when things are quiet. Often it is when our hearts are
breaking. That seems to be why the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 7:2 says
that it is better to go to the house of mourning than the house of
Jacob says that the place where he met the Lord was the House of God
(Bethel). Thus, it was a place where God was dwelling. The church that
meets in a particular place to worship and serve the Lord is one of the
places where God dwells in our day. We often quote Matthew 18:20 and
assume that if two or three Christians are together that the Lord is in
their presence in some sense. However, what the verse is really saying
is, "When two or three of you are doing what I ask you to do the
way I ask you to do it, I will honor the decisions you make and the
actions you take." That is what doing something "in the Lord's
name" really means. Just having Christians together is not enough
to know that we have the Lord with us. We must be letting Him direct the
meeting. Scripture tells us that there are times when that isn't true.
The Lord was outside of the door to the church in Laodicea (Revelation
wonder how many times we meet together in church meetings when the Lord
is really not there? Just having an emotional experience does not mean
that He is there. But we know that He always desires to be there and
that he will be there if we do what He wants us to do HIS WAY. I am
concerned because most people that I talk to today, go to the church
that pleases them. But we need to ask if the church is pleasing the
Lord. Elders are going to be held accountable in a special way for this,
but all of us need to find out how the Lord designed HIS dwelling place
so that we can experience the joy of having Him present. It would be a
shame to find out that we SUPPOSED Him to be present when He was really
someplace else and not with us at all.
would hope that we wouldn't always have to meet the Lord unexpectedly
like Jacob did. That seemed to be an experience that scared him to some
degree. However, we won't be meeting the Lord in meetings of the church
like we should unless we make sure we are doing things His way and not
for the week of January 15, 2012
do we Really Think of the Lord?
4:22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words
which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, "Is this not
Lord spoke with authority, that is, He knew what He was talking about.
He wasn't like the Pharisees who knew what the books said about God but
who didn't know God. In this passage, the people marveled at the
gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth. Grace seemed to be
attractive to the Jews because the religion of law as taught by the
Pharisees was not very gracious. But while everything the Lord did and
everything He said, attracted people to Him and convinced them that He
was different, He just didn't measure up to their concept of what the
Messiah should be like. After all he was raised in Nazareth, a town that
was not very "regal". He was a carpenter and the son of a
carpenter. He didn't have a lot of financial or political clout. I am
sure that most people thought his mother had been immoral since she was
pregnant with Him before she was married. Even though that society
didn't have cell phones or TV's or the internet, I have no doubt that it
still had gossips who made sure that his friends and neighbors would be
aware of His mother's so-called indiscretion. Joseph's Son just didn't
seem like the kind of man Who would be the Jewish Messiah and our
in this passage the Lord mentions that no prophet is accepted in His own
country. Some people have said that an expert is anyone who travels 50
miles away from home and there may be some truth to that. The people we
grow up with are not usually the people that we idolize. The preachers
we grew up with are often not the ones who get our attention when we are
older. The people we do support normally have to be from
"away" but they still have to be "like" us. People
who are not "like us" may not talk right, they may have the
wrong color of skin, they may have the wrong friends, they may not be
able to help us advance socially or politically or in business. As a
result we often by-pass the talent God would choose for the talent that
men think is better. We miss out on great blessing because we disdain
the people God has chosen and we honor the ones He has not
David was not the son of Jesse that Samuel would have chosen to be King.
He had brothers who had much more regal bearing than David did. But the
youngest son of Jesse became the King that was a man after God's own
heart. The Lord used a lad's lunch to feed a multitude, He allowed a
woman who was a sinner to demonstrate true devotion by anointing the
Lord with fragrant ointment, He turned a woman who wasn't married to her
current "man" into an evangelist. The apostle Paul apparently
had trouble giving speeches and yet the Lord used Him and his preaching
carried weight. These are not the people that men would have chosen to
use, but they were the ones the Lord chose to use.
mentioned above, one of the reasons that the Lord was rejected was
because He didn't fit the Jewish concept of a King. Isaiah says in
Isaiah 53:2, "And when we see Him, there is no
beauty that we should desire Him." He didn't
have "regal" beauty. The Lord came from the wrong family, from
the wrong town and had the wrong occupation. Men look for physical
beauty, social status and power. The Lord looks for the humble faithful
servant. How many people have been hindered in their work for the Lord
because they didn't measure up to our expectations? Many people have
been chosen by men to be leaders and preachers in the church because of
attributes that were attractive to us, but some of these people have
divided God's people and perverted His Gospel.
it possible that just as the Lord was not honored because of what people
thought they knew about Him that we could also miss prophets, teachers,
evangelists and elders that the Lord has sent our way? Has our
self-centeredness and desire to be associated with the "right"
people caused us to miss out on great blessing?
Lord was rejected by the religious people and by those who were
influenced by their power. Thank God for those of us who have truly
accepted Him as well as the people that He chooses to serve Him.
for the week of January 22, 2012
Things that are Impossible with God!
it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted
the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and
have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if
they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify
again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
is a difficult verse for those of us who believe in eternal security,
that is, we believe that once we are saved through faith in the Lord
Jesus, we can never never be lost. I personally believe in eternal
security for a number of reasons. One is that eternal life is received
by faith in the Lord Jesus, and it begins at the new birth and not at
death. Eternal life is a life from eternity and a life for eternity. It
has eternal qualities and it has eternal quantity. It is everlasting.
reason that I believe in eternal security is that my faith is not in my
faith but in the Lord. What He has promised me will never change. I
believe that two plus two makes four and nobody will ever convince me
that two plus two makes five. I also believe that Christ died for my
sins, was buried and rose again the third day to save me. I believe that
because God tells me that and my God does not lie. That is something
that it is impossible for Him to do. Because of God's promise, no one
will ever convince me that Christ did not die for my sins. That promise
is an unchangeable fact.
reason that I believe in eternal security is that I do not believe in
salvation by works. I am saved by grace and I am kept eternally secure
by grace. I am not saved by grace and kept safe by my own efforts.
Depending on my own efforts or even in my own "believing" to
get to heaven would leave me unsure of my eternal destiny. Isaiah tells
us not to look to ourselves by to Christ to be saved (Isaiah 45:22).
When I look within myself or at myself, I will never be sure that I am
saved. When I get my eye off myself so that I can look to the Lord to be
saved, I can be sure that my eternal destiny is secure.
could give other reasons for my confidence that I will never perish
(John 10:28), but the problem is that Hebrews 6 seems to indicate that I
could fall away and be lost eternally. How do I answer that?
of all, the verse is written to Jews who may or may not be saved. When
the author uses the term brother, in many cases he is talking about a
Jewish brother who may or may not be a Christian brother. Hebrews
explains the excellencies of Christ to Jews who may have heard the
Gospel but who do not fully understand the Gospel message. I believe
that many of his readers were not saved. Now we know that the Jews as a
nation were once enlightened, they tasted the heavenly gift (manna),
they partook of the Holy Spirit who led them through the wilderness and
who dwelled in their wilderness tabernacle and in their kingdom temple.
They had experienced the good word of God through their prophets. They
had experienced some of the blessings of the ages to come in the reigns
of David and Solomon. But not all in the nation that had those blessings
were "believers" individually. Jude says, "But I want to
remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the
people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not
believe (Jude 1:5)." The Jews had all these blessings nationally
and if they individually fall away from what they could have in Christ
(not from what they did have), they can never be saved. The author
likens this falling away to a new crucifixion. It is rejection of the
only way of salvation. The Jews were like the child of Christian
parents. Because they have seen the blessings that their parents have
and have been taught the truth, they are without excuse if they reject
is impossible to be saved if we reject Christ, because He is God's only
way of salvation. There is no place for a change of mind that leads to
salvation if we refuse to accept Christ as our Savior. This verse then
is teaching that those who trust Christ are saved eternally, and that
those who reject Him are lost eternally. Since Christ is the only way of
salvation, it is impossible for a Christ rejecter to be delivered from
the eternal consequences of rejecting the Lord Jesus.
for the week of January 29, 2012