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to Archived Meditations
Did Boorish Behavior in Public Become Acceptable?
4:29 Let no corrupt word
proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification
(building up the hearer), that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Nature of Mankind
tend to only watch the last quarter of the important football games that
I need to know something about in order to interact with people in my
circle of acquaintances. Since
everyone seems to be taken with football it behooves me to know whether
Iowa, Iowa State or UNI has won or lost their last few games.
Since last week's Rose Bowl game was so big, I actually watched
most of the last half. But I
missed the half-time show, fortunately.
So I missed the way the Stanford band, being the class act that
they are, made fun of Iowa and Iowans.
I missed the fact that after winning the game,
the Stanford players, being the class act that they are, used
very profane language in addressing the Iowa team.
But what I haven't missed is the way many people are justifying
this kind of behavior. Apparently
anyone (like me) who would be critical of the behavior of the Stanford
band and players is just too sensitive.
I am a person who just doesn't understand the nature of the game
and that this is all in good fun. I
will give you that I don't understand the nature of the game if this
kind of behavior is what the game is all about.
I thought football taught teamwork.
I thought the players and the fans and bands were to be
enthusiastic, but they were to remain role models.
That is what I thought. I
remember seeing the movie, “On Any Given Sunday.”
The coach told his team, “On any given Sunday you're gonna win
or you're gonna lose. The
point is, can you win or lose like a man?”
The Hawkeyes seemed to lose like men, the Cardinals seemed to win
like boorish bullies.
the band was “trolling.” That
is the current way of describing their desire to get a rise or reaction
from those that they were trying to humiliate.
The powerful are intent on making sure that people know that they
are boss. I think of the way
that the “strong bulls of Bashan (Psalm 22:12)” bullied the Lord.
They were the religious Pharisees and the Romans who were “in
charge.” They told Him to
save Himself if He was the Christ. Then
they crowned Him with thorns, mocked Him, beat Him and crucified Him.
Nature of Christ
realize that many people judge the Lord I serve by His relationship with
the people of the land in the Old Testament.
These people turned their backs on Jehovah and suffered for it.
I would rather judge the Lord by His New Testament dealings with
those He came to save. Unbelievers
will not be “trolled” by the Lord in a coming day but they will
experience the vengeance of the Lord for rejecting His willingness to
take the punishment that we deserve on Himself.
And their punishment will be deserved just like the punishment of
Israel for turning aside to idols was deserved.
After all the Lord had saved them miraculously out of Egypt.
my Lord is gracious. My Lord
is merciful. My Lord is
forgiving. My Lord is meek.
My Lord is humble. My
Lord IS NOT A BULLY or a TROLL nor is He BOORISH (that is, uncouth, rude
and crude). However, because
He allowed men to crucify Him, some think He is weak.
But His weakness was His strength.
Paul found out that his weakness was His strength as well.
He says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “And He said to me, 'My grace
is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the
power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore
I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in
persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then
I am strong.”
Nature of a Christian
Christian has been “born again”.
He has been given a “new life” and a new way of thinking when
he trusts the Lord and His worth, word, and work.
That kind of thinking puts others ahead of Himself.
That person lets no corrupt language proceed from his lips
(Ephesians 4:29). He is
gracious and compassionate and understanding.
That kind of person would not only not justify the kind of
behavior that the Stanford band and team demonstrated, but they would
never themselves intentionally be involved in such behavior.
Years ago I read these standards for what we let pass through our
lips in an advice column. Apparently,
they weren't original with the author I read.
But they are timeless truth:
you speak, let your words pass through three gates:
the first gate, ask yourself “Is is true?”
the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?”
the third gate ask, “Is it kind?”
should be the behavior of a Christian. It is my desire this year to make
sure that it is my behavior. As
far as I know, I have never intentionally intimidated others to make
them look weak or small and I don't intend to start even though I have
personally experienced such behavior on many occasions..
Such behavior is boorish. I
want to be Christ-like. Stanford
is definitely not my role model. Christ
for the week of January 3, 2016
to the Ears!
8:2-3 And behold, a leper
came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can
make me clean." Then
Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be
cleansed." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
True Story of What Happened
leper needed to be healed. A
leper in the days of the Lord was to be socially segregated so that
others would not get the disease. We
would call that being quarantined except a quarantined person is usually
restricted to their house while a leper was generally put outside the
city. If someone approached
them, they were to cry “unclean, unclean.”
They were to dwell alone “outside the camp.”
So when this leper approached the Lord, he probably shouldn't
have. But he knew his need
and he was confident the Lord could meet it.
And the Lord did meet his need.
Those words, “I am willing” had to be music to his ears.
Application to us Today!
has always been considered to be a picture of sin.
But since we are all sinners, it must represent the kinds of sins
that we can share with others. These
would be social sins of our society.
It isn't the sins that we commit unintentionally; leprosy must
represent the intentional sins that we learn from others.
But at some point, many people involved in sins such as selling
drugs, murder, lying, cheating, and immorality come to hate themselves.
Some end up in prison and when they realize how damaged they are
both before men and before God, some of them truly repent and realize
that their rebellion is not just against man but their rebellion is
really against God. When
they do, Satan often tries to convince these people that they are beyond
hope and that God would never want them or forgive them.
And yet that is just what God wants to do.
He sent His Son so that we who are sinners of any kind can be
forgiven. But often it is
the gross sinner that society rejects that comes to the Lord and gets
the blessing of spiritual healing. The
people who think that they are “good enough” on their own to get to
heaven, miss out on the beauty of those words, “I am willing: be
cleansing of this leper had to be proven to be real so he had to go to
the priest and offer a sacrifice and be pronounced clean.
The priests were often like doctors in the Old Testament and were
taught how to discern leprosy and how to determine if it had run its
course. They determined if
the person was no longer able to give it to others.
those Words Today!
wish that when we were sick with any disease, we could approach the Lord
and hear those words, “I am willing be cleansed.”
But while there are a lot of differences of opinion with regard
to current “faith healing” and “faith healers”, I am convinced
that whenever we are healed physically it is because of the healing
power of the Lord. We may
get healed from the flu, from colds, from gall bladder attacks, from
heart disease and from other maladies.
In each case the healing process may be different.
In some cases, the apparent healer is a doctor but in each case,
the real healer is the Lord. However,
we must admit that many times we pray for healing and the sick person is
not healed. So we don't
always get to hear those words in this dispensation.
That is a practical reality even for those who try to practice
spiritually we can all hear those words, “I am willing!”
Sin is a disease that kills.
It destroys relationships. It
destroys mental health. Ultimately,
it leads to death. But what
about eternity? What happens
after death? The Bible says
that we can all be prepared for this “afterwards.”
If we realize our need, if we come in simple trusting faith to
the Lord, He says He will cleanse us and make us fit for heaven.
And He wants to do that. The
repentant thief that died beside the Lord was cleansed and saved in the
eleventh hour of his life. Did
He deserve his salvation? NO!
Did the Lord want to save Him?
YES! I am convinced
the Lord also wanted to save the other thief, but the other thief said
NO to the Lord.
is a straight forward verse in the New Testament that has always
encouraged me. It is found
in Paul's writings to Timothy. Paul
says that the Lord “will
have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1
Timothy 2:4).” I love
those words “all men” and of course that includes all women.
“I am willing, be cleansed.”
Those are beautiful words and words that are music to the ears of
any who have spiritual leprosy.
for the week of January 10, 2016
3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO
UNDERSTANDS; THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD.
19:10 for the Son of Man has
come to seek and to save that which was lost."
12:32 And I, if I am lifted
up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."
14:23 Then the master said
to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to
come in, that my house may be filled.
have a daughter whose family has finally decided that their children
needed a dog. They bought a
little dog that has gotten big. The
dog is friendly. Now when I
say friendly, I mean all-over-you type of friendly.
If a person didn't like dogs, that would just be too bad because
this dog will not leave a person alone once she decides to be your
friend. Ultimately, you will have to be licked and she will have to be
petted. This dog will not
take no for an answer and she doesn't do rejection.
wonder how many friendships never develop in our lives because we often
write people off that we think have offended us or who have neglected
us. I will have to admit, I
don't have the endurance of this dog, Peaches.
Many times I have told that dog to get lost and she only got more
energetic in her attempt to be my friend.
You would think that it would know that while I like dogs, I
don't really love them. But
no matter how much I try to avoid, Peaches, Peaches will not allow me to
avoid her. And usually I end
up playing with her and petting her.
And I have even gotten somewhat attached to her.
But the effort in this relationship was all Peaches.
I did nothing to encourage her early on.
times as I look back over life, I think of friendships that I should
have pursued but didn't. Either
I didn't have time or I didn't really like the person, or I thought that
in some way they had avoided or mistreated me.
So I withdrew when I probably should have pursued.
I should have had a Peaches as my role model.
think the Lord is a lot Like Peaches—even though He certainly is not a
Bible says that there is NONE that seeks after God.
But if we look at the message of the Bible in context, the Lord
keeps seeking us. He seeks
the lost and we are all lost by nature.
That means that we can't find our way and that we are perishing.
God uses the crucifixion to try to win the lost.
Is there any one in our country has not heard of that dark day
when men crucified a man who had been found innocent in their courts.
But of course men believed in capital punishment and as a result
they took the physical life of the Son of God.
That event has caused people to stop and think over the years.
We have to ask, was this a miscarriage of justice?
If it was, have the hearts and minds of men and women become any
more civilized over the years? If
this kind of prejudice and envy is still the way we are today, is there
anything that can change that? And
the answer comes back, YES! There
is something that can change that. Christ
died for our sins so that when we trust Him our whole life and attitudes
can be changed into Christ-like lives and attitudes.
The cross is one way that the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to
woo us so that we can be different from those who crucified the Lord.
The Lord wants us to partake of a feast, not of a famine. As a
result when people turn away from Him, He finds others and COMPELS them
to come to the feast. My
Lord is a peach of a Peaches.
the Lord be Rejected?
course the Lord can be rejected. I
am confident that if I started beating and yelling at Peaches that
ultimately she would slink away with her tail between her legs.
She might even turn and bark and bite.
But that is not her nature or her desire.
The same is true of the Lord.
He wants to be our friend. He
woos us. He compels us.
But ultimately, if we keep rejecting Him, He will reject us.
And then the picture gets really ugly.
A mad dog will bite. An
angry God will obtain vengeance on those who reject His Son.
And that vengeance will be justified.
God has proven His love for His Son, and has proven His love for
the world by allowing His Son to take the punishment that we deserve
because of our sin, He will
be righteously angry when that love is rejected.
Eternity is involved in that anger.
John 3:18 says, "He who believes in Him is not condemned;
but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not
believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 3:36 says, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting
life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the
wrath of God abides on him." John
5:24 says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and
believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come
into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
am going to try to be more careful when it comes to “writing people
off” that could be my friends. We
all need all the friends we can get.
But I am glad I do have a friend in the Lord.
He didn't “write me off” and ultimately I did not dismiss
Him. He could have dismissed
me or written me off on many occasions, but He didn't and for that I am
thankful today. I hope
nobody reading this has dismissed Him.
If you have, I suspect that He like Peaches is even today trying
to get your attention.
for the week of January 17, 2016
The Church will Survive!
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
one has to tell us that there is a constant battle going on between good
and evil in this world. Some
of us have different definitions of what is good and what is evil but
all of us know that there are times that we want to do things that we
should not do. We also fail
to do things that we should do. Sin
is not a theory, sin is a fact. Individuals
sin and nations are used in evil pursuits.
The question is, who is the author of sin and who is the author
of that which is good? I am
going to go out on a limb here and tell you what I believe.
I believe Satan is real and is evil and wants to destroy all that
is good. That which is
really good is of God and from God and is seen in the Lord Jesus Christ.
know that the church is the “called-out” people who worship the Lord
Jesus in this dispensation—the period of time between the Lord's
resurrection and His second coming. The church is built on the rock that
Peter confessed, that is, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the
Living God. It was not built
on Peter himself. The Lord
had an earthly people in the Old Testament and he has a spiritual people
in the New Testament. The
church is not an organization of man, it is not a corporate entity, it
is not a building. It is a
group of people that are different from all others because they have
undivided loyalty and faith in the Lord.
Their faith rests in Him and in His Word, the Bible.
While others question the value of the Word of God and while
others question which God (if there is one at all) is the real God, the
church has settled all that by faith.
I am one of those people.
intellectuals think I am simple (or foolish).
However, my faith is based on inductive reasoning.
That is the things I can prove and find reliable in the Bible let
me have confidence in the promises that I cannot prove.
Thus, I have satisfying answers to the “big” questions having
to do with where we came from, as well as with where God came from.
I find it easier to accept by faith that God, an intelligent
designer, always existed than to accept (again by faith in man's
assumptions) that the matter that makes up this universe just happened.
Man's faith also assumes that the matter that couldn't have
always existed brought forth life and that life just happened.
It is quite evident that creationists cannot explain the
beginning of our universe because they cannot explain God's beginnings.
However evolutionists cannot explain where matter came from and
therefore they are also at a loss to really explain the universe and
where it came from. If we
accept the hypothesis that man can from alien intervention, we still
have to explain where the aliens came from originally.
It seems to me that those who believe in Godless change or
evolution would be like mechanics who learn how cars work and learn how
to soup them up and improve them while at the same time denying that the
original model was designed by an engineer somewhere.
has plenty of ammunition to use in his attacks against the true church.
Sometimes he works as a lion or a wild wolf, attacking and
ravaging. So we see people
who are forced to die for a system of belief that Satan tries to
convince us isn't even true. Sometimes
he works as a bear, pretending to be friendly; but in reality waiting to
destroy. He can appear as an
angel of light according to Paul. He
is sometimes a false prophet or a false teacher.
But however he works, he uses what is referred to as the gates
(or authority) of hades (or the place of departed souls) to attack the
church. Paul says the church
is constantly wrestling against his deceitfulness and his dominion and
power as well as against his wicked spirits in Ephesian 6:12.
What is the Point?
I wonder why I care and then I realize that even though Satan is strong
and is constantly attacking and corrupting the real church, yet there
are those who are faithful. When
Elijah thought he was the last faithful man on this earth, he wasn't.
However, the faithful were down to about 7,000 (1 Kings 19:7).
When Satan tried to destroy the Messianic line from whom Christ
would come, there was always at least one person he could not destroy.
The church will be victorious.
I want to be part of that faithful few.
I hope you do too.
matter how weak the church may be, no matter how bleak the future seems
for the true believer who has accepted by faith things that cannot be
proven or disproven scientifically, the gates of hell cannot and will
not destroy the church. I
believe that. Praise the Lord!
for the week of January 24, 2016
Preparing for that last Great Trip
John 5:39 You
search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and
these are they which testify of Me.
Eternity is defined as time that has no beginning and no end.
In most translations of the Bible, God is described as eternal
(see Deuteronomy 33:27). Our
home after we die is described as eternal in Ecclesiastes 12:5.
The life of a believer in Christ is called eternal life in the
New Testament. Eternal life
seems to have quality to it. It
is a life given to us by God that fits us for an eternity with God.
It also seems to have quantity.
That is it lasts forever. An
unbeliever is not spoken of as “living” after dying since an
unbeliever never obtained eternal life by trusting in the Lord Jesus.
However, the Bible is quite clear that an unbeliever exists
eternally after death.
Eternity boggles my mind. I
can't get my head around it. However,
I am not really concerned with eternity looking backward.
I am concerned with eternity looking forward.
The reason I am a believer in Christ today is that I wanted to be
sure I was ready for that last great trip—the one where the body goes
to the grave and the real person in that body meets his maker.
Eternity is so long and time is so short, I wanted an assurance
policy that I was prepared for that last great trip.
Preparing for a trip in this Life
When we plan a trip in this life, there are three things we want to
know. We want to know where
we are going. We need to
know where we are right now, then we need to find the best route between
where we now are and our destination.
Thank the Lord for maps and more currently for cell phones with
maps and GPS. My wife and I
are planning to make a trip to another country this week.
We have our passports, we have talked to people about what
clothes to pack, we have plane tickets, we have gotten immunizations,
and we have friends that are going to meet us on the other end.
We have taken pains to make sure that we are prepared to travel
so that we can enjoy the trip.
If preparing for a trip in this life is so important, doesn't it make
sense to prepare for that last great trip from this life to the next?
Can proper preparation be made?
I know that this is where this meditation will get sticky because
there are so many people with so many opinions about Who God is and how
to be sure of ending up in eternal bliss and not in eternal torment.
In preparing for my trip, I have read everything I can about our
destination. I have gotten
insurance against the possibility of a trip interruption.
But I have never been to the country I am going to, I am taking
other people's word for the fact that it even exists.
I am preparing to go to a place after I die that I have never been to
either. Since the Bible
speaks of heaven and hell, I want to make sure I am going to the right
place. But I am taking other
people's word for the fact that heaven and hell really does exist.
I am taking the word of Peter and James and John who saw the Lord
and Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration in Israel.
Moses and Elijah had been dead for quite a number of years.
But here they were. They
were recognizable and talking to the Lord.
I am taking the word of John who gives us a vision of the future
after being caught up to heaven in Revelation 4:1.
I am taking the word of a rich man in Luke 16:19-31.
Are All Christians Ready?
The Word Christian is used in many different ways today.
A Biblical Christian has trusted in the Lord's sacrificial death
and is ready for a trip to heaven. Their
sins are forgiven. Their
lives and thinking were changed when they came to faith in the Lord.
But many people call themselves Christians and they have no clue
as to what the Biblical Gospel message is.
That is why this verse has been my meditation today.
Search the Scriptures, for in them you THINK you have eternal
life. If you read this
passage in its context, the people the Lord was talking to did not
believe in Him, they had not received Him, and yet they thought they had
eternal life. The Lord says
that they did not believe the writings of Moses that they said would
give them eternal life.
So What Should we Do?
First of all we need to prepare. Only
a fool would take a trip where they want to end up in a certain place
without making any preparations. If
we would quit reading books about the Bible, if we would quit assuming
that it takes a seminary degree to understand the Bible and if we all
would sit down and really read the Bible with a desire to know if it
makes sense, I am convinced that something miraculous would take place.
You would in some way be convinced that the Lord really is the
way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).
I do not know how the Lord does this miraculous work in each of
our lives, but for those of us who really want to know we are prepared,
the Lord uses His Word to bring us to faith.
Then we don't have to THINK we have eternal life.
We will be able to say we KNOW we have it, because we will be
depending on God's promises as given to us in this old book.
We will not be depending on what men say.
We will be depending on what God says.
And as you read this book (in different versions if necessary), I
am convinced that you will be as convinced as I am, that eternal life is
available and obtainable.
for the week of January 31, 2016