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JANUARY 2015

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Let’s Make Someone truly Happy this Year!

 

Genesis 6:5-9

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

 

The Bad News

Airplane accidents, war, the Ebola virus, deaths by flu, deaths by cancer, death by automobile accidents, shootings, demonstrations against police brutality, divorce, domestic violence, suicide, economic collapse—these are the headlines that we see on any given day.  And oh yes, since this is January we can expect 20 below zero weather with wind and snow.  The news is not good.  How can anyone really be happy in this world?

 

Things may be bad but they probably aren’t as bad as they were in Noah’s day.  People were living in many cases to be over 900 years old.  Can you imagine the knowledge that they had stored in that computer we call a brain?  Had experience been a good teacher for them?  Apparently not because the world had become violent and corrupt.  We manage to make a mess of things in a life span of about 80 years. Can you imagine what a corrupt depraved mind could do in over 900 years?

 

The Godly lineage Must have been Lonely

In Genesis 6 we are given a genealogy of the godly line of humanity that ultimately produced the Lord Jesus.  But even in that genealogy only two people “walked with God.”  One was Enoch who apparently went to heaven without dying and was spared from coming judgment just as the church will be in our day.  Then there was Noah who pictures the believing remnant of the nation of Israel who will be truly saved and preserved during the judgments of the tribulation period.  By the time the flood came, there were only eight righteous people on an earth that had to be heavily populated since lifespans were so long and families were so large.  Some translations would give us the impression that only Noah was righteous and that his children came along because of his authority over them.  Even so, only eight were saved.  All the others in that royal lineage had died or had been raptured by the time the flood came.  Even Methuselah, the longest living person recorded in the genealogy, had apparently died before the flood came even though he died in the year of the flood.  If he had died in the flood that would seem to indicate that he was judged along with the unbelieving world and that he wasn’t a true worshipper of the LORD.  I don’t believe that to be true.

 

Noah must have had a lonely existence while building that ark.  He and probably his family were the only ones who really believed God.  But he remained faithful.  He didn’t see many saved but he did see his family saved. 

 

While Noah and his family were righteous in his day, in our day, there is none righteous (Romans 3:10).  No one seeks after God even though He seeks after us.  But there is one man who pleased the Lord.  His name is Jesus and we who are saved call Him Lord.  Only faith in Him can make us truly happy. My hope and goal is that this year I can smile more, help others more, and be a better person than I was last year.  I want to quit the grumbling and complaining and I want to make “Just one someone happy!”  I think that is the title of a Jimmy Durante song.  The only way to really make this world a better place and to smile more and to help solve the sin and crime problem is to introduce people to the Lord Jesus who really cares about them and who really loves them.

 

If We Really love Our Neighbors, Let’s Make a Difference!

Some of you may want to become experts on theology this year, some of you may have grandiose plans about bringing about world peace.  Others may want to lead or start a large church.   Me, I just want to make a difference in someone’s life, and if the Lord allows me to make a difference in a bunch of people’s lives that will be great.  We can’t reach everyone with the good news but we can all reach someone.  It would be great if we who are really saved, we who are true believers, could truly love those we know are not saved.  We need to love them enough to be burdened about their eternal destiny and to pray that the Lord will help us be used in making them truly happy.

 

Meditation for the week of January 4, 2015

Whom not What!

 

2 Timothy 1:12  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.

 

The Making of Many Books is only Wearisome

Solomon, the preacher, admonished his son many years ago that of making many books there is no end and that much study is wearisome to the flesh (Ecclesiastes 12:12).  If that was true then, think of how the making of books has increased in our day.  Then add to that all the material available on the internet and it is a wonder that anyone can keep up with the new ideas and translations and philosophies and “discoveries” that affect our relationship with God.  Today, people don’t ask me whether I have read a particular passage in the Bible, they ask me if I have read a current book.  And if I haven’t, and normally I haven’t, I am made to feel that I am just not spending time “keeping up.”

 

Knowing the Author is more important than Having Knowledge about the Author

Gaining knowledge about the Bible and gaining understanding about the major themes and doctrines of the Bible is important, but knowing the author of the Bible is far better.  Many people know about Him, and many people know what He teaches; but many people have never walked with Him like Enoch and Noah did.  Many people have never known the Lord in the same way that they know friends on this earth.  Many would say that is impossible to know the Lord intimately because the Lord is not physically here.  While that is true, we who are saved are told that we are the temple of God.  1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  We know God in the person of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit teaches us the things concerning Him, so we really should know the Lord in a practical and intimate way.  We should be able to say like Paul, “I know whom I have believed (or trusted).”

 

I am reminded of the following story, a story I cannot prove it to be true even though I have heard variations of this story for many years.  You can read the story here:  http://www.inspiring-quotes-and-stories.com/psalm-23.html

 

There was once a Shakespearean actor who would read Psalm 23 at the end of his performance. He was known everywhere for his one-man shows of readings and recitations from the classics.

 

Each night, without exception, as the actor began his recitation --"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want"…

The crowd would listen attentively. And then, at the conclusion of the Psalm, they would rise in thunderous applause in appreciation of the actor's incredible ability to bring the verse to life.

 

But one night, just before the actor was to offer his customary recital of the Psalm, a young man from the audience spoke up. "Sir, do you mind if tonight I recite Psalm 23?" The actor was quite taken back by this unusual request, but he allowed the young man to come forward and stand front and center on the stage to recite the Psalm 23. He knew that the ability of this unskilled youth would be no match for his own talent.

 

With a soft voice, the young man began to recite the words of the Psalm. When he was finished, there was no applause. There was no standing ovation as on other nights. All that could be heard was the sound of weeping. The audience had been so moved by the young man's recitation that every eye was full of tears. Amazed by what he had heard, the actor said to the youth, "I don't understand. I have been performing Psalm 23 for years. I have a lifetime of experience and training - but I have never been able to move an audience as you have tonight. Tell me, what is your secret?"

 

The young man quietly replied, "Well sir, you know the Psalm...I know…the Shepherd."  Unknown

 

Conclusion

Paul had found his savior to be trustworthy and he had confidence that as he faced the executioner on THAT DAY, the Lord would never forsake him.  He would keep the promises that He had made to Paul.  Paul had committed His soul to the One he knew to be faithful.  He knew that by experience and not just because he had great knowledge and great revelations.   He knew the author of His salvation.  He knew the Savior that he had met on the Damascus Road.  He knew the Lord Jesus.  Do we really know Him?

 

It is so much better to know the WHO than the WHAT!

 

Meditation for the week of January 11, 2015

Wheat or Tares?  False or Genuine?

 

Matthew 13:24-25  Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; “but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.

 

The Enemy is at Work

The Bible addresses the truth.  One of the important truths of Scripture is that the Lord has an enemy called by various names.  He is the Devil, the Serpent, and the Destroyer.  He is the adversary or Satan.  But most of all He is the Liar and a Deceiver.  As a result of His enmity and hatred for anything that is right and good and that glorifies the Lord Jesus, there is a real attack against the church, the body of Christ.  The church is one aspect of the Kingdom of Heaven; and Satan, the enemy, has made sure that there are tares among the wheat.  Tares apparently look like wheat but are a noxious weed that takes up space and nutrients needed by the wheat.  They hinder the growth of the wheat which represents those who are the real servants and worshippers of the Lord in the Kingdom. 

 

False Things

The Bible warns us about false prophets, false teachers, false brethren, false witnesses, false christs, and false apostles.  Something that is false is not genuine, it is counterfeit.  It may look like the real thing but there are “giveaways”, that should alert a believer to that which is false. 

 

I am told that in order to find counterfeit money, you have to study the real thing.  You don’t spend time looking at all the counterfeits.  If a person knows the real thing, when the counterfeit comes along, the trained eye will detect it.  It is the same with that which is false in the kingdom.  When we study that which is real, we find ourselves discerning that which is false.  That is why in 3rd John v 11, Gaius is told to imitate that which is good.  There were three men involved in this letter.  Gaius who needed discernment.  Diotrephes who had his own agenda and wasn’t even a believer.  Then there is Demetrius who has a good report of all men.  Gaius is encouraged to imitate Demetrius. 

 

The false is not always detected because a Christian is supposed to “believe all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).”  That probably means he is not to be suspicious of everyone’s motives.  But sometimes the motives are clear.  Paul dealt with Jews who called themselves Christians but who wanted the Christians to live like Jews.  Paul called these people false brethren.  But in the upper room when the Lord said that one of the apostles would betray Him, they all began to question themselves since we who are true disciples all know that we have weaknesses.   A false believer (or in Judas’ case, a false apostle), knows he is false.  In Matthew 26:25 Judas also said, “Is it I?”  However, while the others wondered if they could possibly betray the Lord, Judas asked the question to see if the Lord knew that he was a betrayer.  And the Lord did know.

 

So What do We Do?

First of all we need to make sure that we are true and not false.  It is one thing to say we are believers and it is another thing to be convinced by the Holy Spirit of the Truth of Scripture.  We need to be sure that we really believe that Christ is Who He claimed to be and that He is the sacrifice for our sins.

 

Second, we need to pray for discernment that we might be “wise as serpents but harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).  A false prophet, a false believer, a false teacher will demonstrate pride (he will want the preeminent place), and he will have his own agenda.   A Christian is no match for them. Only the Lord can really protect the believer from the deceitfulness of our cunning enemy.  However, the more we study the truth, the more likely it is that we will discern the false. Then the Lord will be able to use us to tell a Gaius to imitate a Demetrius and not a Diotrephes. 

 

Third, we need to believe the Lord when He says to Peter in Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”  The Lord is building His church on the Truth that Peter confessed.  That truth is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.   We can rejoice in the fact that no matter how weak we are and no matter how cunning and strong the enemy is, the gates of Hell will not prevail against the church.

 

Conclusion

I am convinced that we are either doing the Lord’s will and work or we are doing Satan’s will and work.  While believers may not be able to discern the motives of others, we certainly know our own motives.  If anyone is doing Satan’s work as a false believer, their end is to be destroyed.  The Lord always wins in the end.

Meditation for the week of January 18, 2015

My Two Cents Worth!

 

Romans 2:11-12 For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law.

 

Recently the Patriots played the Colts for a chance to go to the 2015 Superbowl, the game of all games.  The final outcome was lopsided with the Patriots winning by a landslide.  However, it has been established that of the 24 balls used in the game, eleven were underinflated by two pounds and those were the balls used by the Patriots to win the game in wet rainy weather.  Now the question is, “Did the Patriots, cheat?”  The answer seems to be quite clearly, “Yes.”   That eleven balls used by the Patriots were underinflated is not being questioned.  That all the balls used by the Colts were properly inflated is not being questioned.  Other quarter backs have stated that underinflated balls are easier to control in bad weather.  If weather alone caused this problem it would seem that all the balls would have been affected.  A player from the losing team made an interception and recognized that the ball was soft.   It is fairly obvious that someone cheated.

 

Dealing with Sin

Generally people are dealing with this issue in the following ways: 1.  Nothing really happened or the referees would have picked up on it.  2. Nothing happened that makes any difference.  3.  These kind of things happen all the time.  It is called “competitive edge.”  4. If something did happen, why should one man’s “sin” affect the whole team?  4. Why investigate the whole thing since the Patriots would have won anyway.

 

My observation is that since the twelve balls used by the Colts were ok, something happened to the evenly underinflated balls.  I haven’t got a good answer for the fact that one ball was “legal.”  Since the referees should have noticed the soft balls, they must have been a part of whatever happened.  Now many of you are going to say that I haven’t a clue and that is all right because really I don’t.  I am just observing and noticing that people are handling this sin (and to me it is obvious that there was intentional sin here), the same way they handle sin that offends God.

 

They deny it or they deny its importance in the following ways.  Some will say that society has changed so God’s standards have changed.  Others say, "lt doesn’t really matter because everyone does it.”   Others will say that the rule that they have broken makes no sense.

 

Man shows Partiality

To me this last week has been a lesson in dealing with “sin”.  Big money is involved so everybody wants to look the other direction.  We know right now that the Patriots should be asked to forfeit the game BECAUSE THE TEAM DIDN’T FOLLOW THE RULES.  However, nobody is likely to suggest that because of all the money that is involved, including the money being bet on the game.  So we are being taught an important lesson:  if you are going to cheat, make sure that you are rich and good looking.

 

Fortunately, God does not think like man thinks.  He holds us accountable for big sins and small sins.  He holds us accountable for sins of commission and sins of omission.  He holds us accountable for intentional and unintentional sins.  THERE IS NO PARTIALITY WITH GOD.

 

God provides Forgiveness

But while God does not let anyone off the hook, the good news is that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  We are so unlike God that if the Patriots and those involved in Deflategate actually confessed that they had sinned, I am sure that those who would lose money because of it would never forgive them.  In addition, no one that I know of is willing to step forward and say that they are willing to pay any and all penalties if the transgressors will just fess up.  But that is what Christ has done for us.

 

There is just too much at Stake for a True Confession

Man has no real solution for sin.  God does.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the Patriots would just step forward and say, “We cheated, we are going to forfeit the game since we didn’t win fair and square.”  I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I am sure that is not going to happen.

Meditation for the week of January 25, 2015