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Crown of Rejoicing
28:18-20 NKJV And Jesus came
and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in
heaven and on earth. Go
therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them
to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
is a whole lot nicer to have the Lord with us than against us.
He is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11).
The unbeliever is condemned already (John 3:18) and I don't know
anyway that can be “sugar-coated.”
But thank goodness, a believer can make mistakes and still know
that the Lord is “with them.” David
said that goodness and mercy would follow him all the days of his life
in Psalm 23, but he surely made a gross mistake by taking another man's
wife and then by murdering her husband to cover up his sin.
Abraham was the friend of God but surely producing Ishmael by
Hagar was not an act of faith. Neither
was letting both Pharaoh in Egypt and Abimelech in Gerar think that she
was his sister and not his wife. This
was so that they would not kill him in order to have her as a wife since
she was beautiful. Both took
her in their innocence but the Lord preserved Sara in both cases.
One could wonder if Abraham really loved her.
But the Lord was with both of these men.
was He with them? Apparently
it was because of their faithful worship of the Lord.
David was a man after (or dear to) God's own heart (Acts 13:22).
David loved the LORD and never loved “other gods.”
He didn't turn aside to idols like others did.
Abraham was called out of Idolatry when he was in Ur of the
Chaldees and never went back to that worship.
He built altars to the Lord.
He walked by faith and not by sight.
When he got the call to leave Haran, he left not knowing where he
was going (Hebrews 11:8).
today are sealed with the Holy Spirit upon believing (Ephesians 1:13).
They have the Lord in them so He obviously is with them.
But sometimes we hinder fellowship with Him by grieving the Holy
Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). When
the Holy Spirit is grieved or sad or distressed, it probably seems like
the Lord is not with us even though He is.
He just can't control or fill us like He want to fill us
(Ephesians 5:18). We have
the angels of God serving us according to Hebrews 1:14.
The Lord promises us that with regard to His practical care He
will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
Believers are indeed blessed since we are promised the Lord's
presence and protecting care.
the Lord is with us and not against us once we are saved or truly
worshiping Him and only Him, there is another practical promise that He
has made us. If we make
disciples, if we baptize them, if we teach them then the Lord is with us
even to the end of the age. The
apostles are not with us now at the end of the age so that promise must
be ours. I think it means
that if we do what the Lord has asked us to do, He will use us to
effectively spread the Gospel. The
work will be fruitful. We
may not always see the results immediately, but there will be results.
He says in Galatians
6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we
shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
Sometimes it seems like the road is hard and the results are few
for those trying to faithfully make disciples.
But the Lord has made us a promise and I believe that what the
Lord promises, He will fulfill. So
let us take heart and continue with the business of making disciples.
will be great joy when we meet people in heaven that tell us that they
heard the Gospel and trusted the Lord through something that we did.
That will be our “crown of rejoicing” (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
for the week of January 7, 2018
10:12-13 "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of
you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love
Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your
soul, and to keep the
commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for
12:15 "FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING,
SITTING ON A DONKEY'S COLT."
3:18 "THERE IS NO FEAR
OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES."
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,
because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made
perfect in love.
A sense of fear is
associated with the worship of the Living God.
Most commentators try to translate the fear of God as reverence
for God. But while the word
involves reverence, it really involves much more than that.
That is why we read in 1 John 4:18 that perfect love (Christ)
casts out fear which involves torment.
I am sure that we
have all been tormented by fear at times.
Fear can keep us from making bad decisions.
For example, if we fear getting involved in a car accident, we
will not drink and drive nor will we text and drive.
Many of us fear things that are beyond our control.
We fear cancer and heart attacks and stroke.
We may fear being alone.
One fear we should
all have is the fear of God. Our
world is out of control because society or the world naturally speaking
has no fear of God. Romans
3:18 says that there is no fear of God before their eyes.
People do not want to be accountable to a holy God.
They want to be able to define good and bad just as Eve wanted to
do in the garden. People do
not see eternal consequences with regard to the decisions that they
make. However, the fear of
God in the sense of dread and accountability seems to be a very
important part of our relationship with God.
Because of our confidence that the Lord judges sin, many of us
have been convicted of our sinnership and have turned to the Lord for
salvation. Now we no longer
have to fear judgment. There
may be practical consequences associated with sin and bad decisions now,
but our sins have been forgiven as far as the Lord is concerned.
We may fear the process of death, but we don't need to fear the
after-life. We no longer
need to fear meeting God.
John 12:15 tells the
children of Israel to fear not. As
I go through the old testament and the new, I am encouraged by the
number of places where we are told not to fear.
I have to admit, that the older I get, the more I find to fear.
Yet, I take courage in the fact that when the children of Israel
were boxed in at the Red Sea, Moses told them not to be afraid but to
stand still and see the salvation of the Lord (Exodus 14:13).
In the New Testament we are told to not be anxious, we are told
to cast our care on the Lord, we are told over and over again not to
worry. I suppose worrying is
somewhat different than fear but for me they are related.
I tend to worry about things I can't control.
I worry that the things I fear are going to happen. I can even
worry about the fact that I worry.
I realize that if I
really trusted the Lord as I should, I would never worry about the
necessities of life. I would
live like sparrows or like the lilly of field that God feeds and
clothes. I would only need
to worry about pleasing the Lord.
Thank God I don't
have to fear eternity. That
worry has been taken resolved because I have taken God at His word when
He says in John 5:24, "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.” Now
we all need to have the same confidence in the Lord's provision and care
right now that we who are saved do in His promise of eternal life for
for the week of January 14, 2018
Seeing the Lord!
46:30 And Israel said
to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because
you are still alive."
2:29-30 "Lord, now You
are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
9:35-38 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found
him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?"
He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe
in Him?" And Jesus said
to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with
you." Then he said,
"Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him.
20:20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then
the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
John 20:29 Jesus said to
him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed
are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
We know that Joseph
is a type or picture of the Lord Jesus.
He was cruelly treated by his natural family, he was imprisoned,
he was charged with sin that he did not commit;
but yet through all of that the Lord orchestrated the events that
would lead him to be the savior of his family and ultimately of the
nation of Israel. His father
thought he had died, but when he saw him alive in Egypt, it caused him
to say that now He was ready to die.
A similar thing
happened when Simeon saw the Lord at his birth.
He had been waiting to see the salvation of the Lord and when he
saw the Lord Jesus, it gave him confidence in God's promise to send a
savior. It also gave him
peace with regard to his own death.
We all need a vision
of the Lord Jesus. We don't
get it by seeing him physically at the present time, but we do “see
Jesus” by faith (Hebrews 2:9). The
song writer has put it this way:
joyous hour! when God to me
A vision gave of Calvary;
My bonds were loosed—my soul unbound;
I sang upon redemption ground.
order to see the Lord, our spiritual eyes need to be opened.
It takes the Holy Spirit using the word of God to do that today.
But when our eyes are opened, we may find that the religious
people that we know ostracize us. They
may kick us out of the synagogue (or in today's circumstances, the
church). A person who has
“seen the Lord Jesus” by faith is changed.
They no longer want to occupy themselves with the world that they
once found so important (Egypt in the case of Israel).
They will want to live in Goshen where there is blessing but
where there is separation from the corrupt world.
Instead of trying to be like the world, they will realize that
their strength is in being different from the world.
the Lord should make us Glad!
the disciples saw the Lord in that room where the doors were closed for
fear of the Jews after the Lord's resurrection, they were glad.
Their leader, their friend, their savior was alive and talking to
them. Prophesy had been
fulfilled. Now for the first
time they understood the full plan of God.
They left that place witnessing to the resurrection of the Lord.
Their lives for the most part ended in martyrdom, but seeing the
Lord made all the difference. Now
they had strength, a message and a commission.
will not see the resurrected Lord until He comes.
We can believe in Him, we can worship Him, we can preach Him; but
we do so without the physical sight of the Lord that Thomas had.
But those of us who have taken God at His Word and have believed
in the record that God has given us of His Son are blessed.
The Lord prays for us in John 17 and he blesses us in John 20.
we are saved, we can say, “I once was blind but now I see.”
We have gotten a vision of the Lord.
We are truly blessed. Seeing
the Lord by faith prepares us for death, gives us a reason for living
and keeps us looking for the sudden return of the Lord.
That will be day!
for the week of January 21, 2018
I do not Know the
50:20 But as for you, you
meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it
about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
Exodus 5:2 And Pharaoh said,
"Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I
do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go."
Joseph vs. Pharaoh
Joseph was a Savior.
Pharaoh was a destroyer. Joseph
feared and worshiped God. Pharaoh
thought he was a god. Joseph
suffered himself. Pharaoh
caused everyone he ruled to suffer.
The Pharaoh who was the destroyer was not the same Pharaoh that
Joseph had served during the famine that occurred in the land of Egypt
(and the rest of the Middle East). The
Pharaoh who destroyed his own people not only did not know the Lord, he
didn't know or remember Joseph who had been a great blessing to Egypt.
Years had passed and apparently, the Pharaoh who was the
destroyer did not know the history of Egypt.
He apparently did not know that the Lord had blessed Egypt
because of a man named Joseph who came out of a prison to serve as an
appointed second in command to Pharaoh.
Egypt had been a
sanctuary for the Israelite's as long as Joseph was ruling.
But ultimately Egypt became a place where the Israelite's were
enslaved. They were forced
into hard labor building structures for Pharaoh.
While pyramids are not specifically mentioned as the structures
that were built, it does appear that the Israelite's worked on some of
the pyramids. Thus, this
place that was a safe haven under Joseph became a hostile environment
under a Pharaoh that did not know Joseph nor did he know the Lord.
Lessons to be Learned
First, Egypt in many
ways is a picture of the world society that is organized by Satan in
opposition to the Living and True God.
Christians today live in the world but they are not of the world
(John 17:11-14). When
Israelite's were being sheltered in Egypt they maintained their distinct
character. The lived in
Goshen and pastured flocks. The
Egyptians found shepherds to be an abomination.
So by being shepherds they maintained their distinct culture and
character. When Christians
lose their distinctive character, they end up being enslaved.
Instead of being salt which makes food (Christianity) tasty and
light that illuminates (shows people the way to heaven) they become
enslaved by the culture that rebels against God and that serves a
Pharaoh that doesn't know the Lord. A
Christian's strength lies in being different from the world while
living in the world. I suspect this is what had happened to many of the
Israelites because when they were delivered from Egypt a mixed multitude
went out with them. Likely
these were Egyptians who had married Jews.
Second, we find that
while Pharaoh's heart was hardened, it was after he had publicly said
that he didn't know the Lord. There is no doubt that God raises up some
unbelievers to display His power and glory.
But in spite of what many people believe, he never creates some
people to be unbelievers. The
worship of the living and true God involves a personal decision on the
part of each person who comes into this world.
God, who knows the end from the beginning, does predestinate
believers to be conformed to the image of His Son and He does
predestinate unbelievers to eternal damnation.
But He does not predestinate some to believe and some not to
believe. When we consider
the matter of predestination, we must distinguish between predestination
for service and predestination for salvation.
We must also recognize that God does predestinate nations for his
purposes. But every person
who like Pharaoh says, “I do not know the Lord” will only have
themselves to blame when they end up separated from God eternally.
Third, we need to ask
ourselves, “Are we acting like little gods?”
Do we want to be the ones who determine what is good and what is
evil like Eve wanted to do in the garden?
Do we want to be like Pharaoh who thought that in this contest
between him and the LORD, he could ultimately win?
Apparently, Pharaoh had really bought into the idea that He was a
god. Most emperors and
monarchs down through the years have in some way claimed to be divinely
appointed if not divine themselves.
But in my mind they usually use that doctrine to control people.
But in this Pharaoh's case, I think he had really bought into the
fact that he was a god and that he was more powerful than Moses' God.
Surely, being a
Joseph should be more desirable than being a Pharaoh.
There may be trials along the way, but at the end of the road,
the Joseph's win. It is much
better to submit to the Lord than to reject Him by proudly saying,
"I do not know the Lord."
for the week of January 28, 2018