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We Really Free?
8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your
father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does
not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks
a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the
father of it."
Lord says that the Truth sets us free (John 8:32). Of course He is the
Truth (John 14:6). The Lord cannot lie to us (Titus 1:2) and He would
not lie to us if He could (John 14:2). But Satan is a different story.
He is clever in the way he gets us to lie.
have recently been at a Bible camp for young children. One of the songs
that they loved singing was, "I'm going to heaven, can't
wait!" Now I liked the song and I am not criticizing anyone for
singing it, but I realized that I personally am quite content to wait. I
quit singing that song because it was making a liar out of me. A year
and one-half ago I found out through a routine physical exam that my
heart was on the verge of quitting. I had a stent put in before any
damage was done and I thanked the Lord for watching out for me. But If I
really couldn't wait, I suppose the doctor did me a disservice. However,
I am really happy that I get to stay here for a little while longer. I
we Christians sing, "I surrender all!" I quit singing that
song some time ago because I realize that no matter how much I want to
surrender "ALL", I have only surrendered "SOME".
Again, to be honest, the song was making a liar out of me.
has made me realize how subtle Satan is. As Christians we have been set
free from sin according to Romans 6. But no matter how devoted we are to
the Lord, Satan who is the Father of lies (the originator or source),
knows how to deceive us into lying. But thank God we were the slaves of
sin, but we who are saved are now the slaves of righteousness (or of
Christ) according to Romans 6:18. Sometimes we don't act like we are
free, but God says we are, so we are. And that means that we should act
like we are.
it takes a battle or a war to set people free from tyranny. That battle
was fought for us at Calvary. Christ died to save us from the penalty,
the power and ultimately from the presence of sin. Christians may get
tripped up once in a while, but Satan is no longer calling the shots. We
have been set free! And of course lying isn't the only thing that Satan
uses to attack us. We all have places where we are vulnerable and where
we are deceived by Satan into acting like he is still the boss. But he
is not our boss any more.
we are trusting in the Lord for salvation, we have a new master and we
are now free to serve Him. We could not serve him as unbelievers. But as
believers we can serve the Lord, not because we HAVE TO as was the case
with our old master, sin. But we can serve Him because we WANT TO!
serve a far better master than we had before. And when we get tripped
up, the fact that it bothers us is proof that we now serve the Lord.
for the week of July 4, 2010
Let God be God!
9:20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing
formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like
first commandment in Exodus 20 is "You shall have no other gods
before Me." The other nine of the commands would only be true of
those who are worshiping the living God who created them and no other.
They are the ways we please God when we have no other God but Him. This
is the command that we are honoring when we "believe on the the
Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31)." This is the command that the Jews
dishonored when they nailed the Lord to a cross.
of us would not believe in idols or in pagan mythical gods today. But
most of us do believe in ourselves and I am convinced that the god that
we put before the living God of the Bible is ourselves. It is the
trinity called, "me, myself, and I." We think that we know how
God should act and what He should do and therefore we question God when
things don't go the way we think they should go. After all, in our minds
we are the final authority, are we not?
9 deals with how God chooses His people. It is clear in the passage that
God chooses without any help from us and that is why He could say that
he loved Jacob and hated Esau. The Jews thought they were the chosen
people, but in the new testament believers in Christ are the chosen
people. This is what Ephesians 1:4 teaches us. Mos tof us fail to
understand Romans 9 in the context of the whole book of Romans which
says that even Abraham believed God and it was credited to him for
righteousness (Romans 4:3). So while God could choose His people any way
He wanted to, he tells us that in this dispensation He chooses believers
in Christ to be His people. Romans 9:15 says, "I will have mercy on
whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I
will have compassion." Believers are the ones on whom He has chosen
to have compassion and really that has always been true. So if Jews
don't like God's plan, Paul says to them, "Who are you to reply
we all tend to argue with God when we don't like or understand His plan.
Job even did that. Everyone in the book of Job including Job thought
that God should bless those who did good and destroy those who were
wicked (see chapters 21 and 27). The only problem was that Job was
seemingly being destroyed and even God said He was good. But Job had to
learn the lesson that none of us learn very well. He had to learn to let
God be God. God said to Job, "Would you indeed annul My judgment?
Would you condemn Me that you may be justified (Job 40:8)?" Job
didn't know what was going on behind the scenes. He didn't know that He
was being trusted with a trial to prove to Satan that there was at least
one loyal worshiper of God on earth.
marvel that many people who do not know where they came from or where
they are going are so certain that God did not make them. I marvel that
we who are convinced that there is a God in heaven who made us are still
so prone to second guess Him and to think we know how He should operate.
God's ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). When it comes to salvation,
He saves lost sinners, not the righteous. As Christians, He wants us to
trust Him, not second guess Him.
wants us to let Him be God!
for the week of July 11, 2010
do we get Faith?
10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
are powerful. They inform us, educate us and motivate us. Our emotions
are greatly affected by words. Sometimes a word is the vehicle that
conveys a message. Other times a word is the message itself. The Lord is
both the vehicle that explains the message and He is the message that is
being explained. He is the way we know Who God is. He reveals God to us
because He is God.
are greatly influenced by the words that they hear. I have a friend who
has been diligently studying His Bible now for nearly ten years with me.
He finally asked if there was a book that would help him with some of
the things we have talked about. I found him the Believer's Bible
Commentary by William McDonald. I got him the commentary because I
believed it would be a help to him, but I cautioned him that it wasn't
the Bible. It is one man's understanding of what the Bible says. The
last time we were together he told me that he was wondering whether he
should read the commentary before reading the passage he was studying.
He said it made the Bible seem so much clearer when he did it that way.
I cautioned him not to study that way but to read the passage and to try
to understand it before reading the commentary. Otherwise he would learn
what McDonald knew, but he might not learn what the Holy Spirit would be
trying to teach him. Because McDonald would make sense, he might not
realize that there were other ways to look at the Scripture he was
reading. I pointed out that we want our faith to be in the Word of God
and not in what man says about the Word of God. My friend realized and
agreed that he should continue reading the Bible before turning to helps
that were written to explain the Bible. Since faith comes by hearing, we
want to make sure that we are hearing the word of God.
I am at Christian camps, I sometimes help the counselors deal with those
in their cabins who tell them that they have trusted the Lord. I suggest
that they ask their campers how they know that trusting the Lord will
actually save them. I try to get them to have the camper find a verse of
scripture that assures them that they are truly trusting in what God has
said. Faith comes by hearing and in order to have the right faith we
have to listen to the right message. The message that saves is the
message that is found in the Bible. Romans 5:8 summarizes the word that
must be trusted this way, "But God demonstrates His own love toward
us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
come to faith in Christ through the hearing (actually through listening
and responding) to the message of the Bible. We learn to trust the Lord
after we are saved with our daily problems, our financial needs and our
daily service to the Lord by listening to what the Word of God says as
well. Faith has to have an object and whether we are wanting to be saved
or whether we are wanting to please the Lord after we are saved, our
faith has to be in the Word of God. All of us like being
"spoon-fed" and we like to have men simplify the Bible and its
teachings for us. While teachers are helpful when they intelligently and
accurately explain the Bible, we are ultimately going to have to answer
to God as to why we did what we did; and no person is going to be there
defending us. Only the Lord who loves us will be able to be the advocate
for us (1John 2:1). He may have to plead His blood before the throne of
God with regard to a lot of things that we thought pleased God that
didn't just because we read the books of men that "made sense"
before reading the Word of God.
are really powerful. We need faith in the Lord which means we have to
have faith in what He says. I often wonder why there are so many
conflicting opinions today about what the Lord has said when He says
that He is THE way, THE truth and THE life (John 14:6). We want to make
sure our faith is in the right message. If faith comes by what we hear,
then we need to be hearing the word of God.
for the week of July 18, 2010
6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all,
especially to those who are of the household of faith.
I was at our local library trying to record some radio programs. My
family was coming to visit and I wanted to be able to relax with them
and enjoy some family time. In addition, my grandson was going to be
baptized so my wife and I were trying to arrange the baptism. I was busy
with the Lord's work.
recording was not going well that day. In the middle of the afternoon I
left my equipment in the study room, notified the librarian in charge
that I was leaving for a few minutes and went out for a quick snack at a
close convenience store. The tracts that I normally carry were in that
I got back to the library, a well dressed man met me on the sidewalk and
said that he had fallen on hard times. He said he needed a place to stay
for the night. He seemed intelligent and articulate. He didn't appear to
be on drugs or on drink. He wasn't smoking. He asked if I knew Waterloo
well enough to tell him where to go. I suggested the Salvation Army
which was close and he said he had been there. Their beds were full.
They had directed him to another place and their beds were full. He
indicated that he had come to Waterloo for a job at a local industrial
business but because he and his wife had gotten into some kind of
squabble, he had spent a night in jail and had lost his job. He said he
was hungry and hadn't been able to eat at the Salvation Army because he
had gotten there too late. So I had to decide what to do. I generally
will not give cash to someone like that because I assume that they are
going to spend it on drugs, drink and cigarettes; but I do normally try
to feed them. But I was too busy to take time to take him to a
restaurant and pay for a meal for him. I did give him some money and
made some suggestions as to where he might be able to get help. I told
him where the city bus station was in the downtown area if he wanted to
get a bus pass.
I went back to my study room in the library, my conscience began to
bother me. I had a car and I could have driven him to a number of places
that might have helped him. I didn't want to put my family at risk by
taking him home since I didn't know him, but I did have the ability to
put him up in a motel for at least one night while he was trying to
figure out what to do. If I had done that, I might have made a friend.
He might listened if I had told Him about a man who died on a cross to
save me and who says He will never forsake me. He might have thought I
told him because I cared for him rather than because I wanted points in
heaven. I might have actually done the Lord's work the Lord's way. I had
taken the easy way. I surely didn't love my brother "as myself
have been concerned that our society and our churches have become very
self-centered. While there are faith based organizations that are making
a difference in our society, I had a hard time coming up with a church
other than the Salvation Army in our area that would have helped someone
like him. There may be some but I don't know which ones they are. Having
been concerned about the lack of true Christianity in Christian circles,
I should have personally stepped up and made a difference in this man's
live. I had a chance to help this individual. While I gave him some
help, I passed up the chance to be a true Good Samaritan to him. The
Good Samaritan in Luke 10 took the man who needed help to a motel and
told the owner to take care of the man and he would pay the bill.
have been thinking since that incident about how quickly a person could
end up in a position of need himself. We who have always had enough
assume that we will always have enough but that may not always be true.
We or our loved ones may need someone or a program somewhere to help us
when we are in deep need. Will there be an angel of mercy available that
will be willing to make the sacrifice of time and money for us should
the need arise?
got my radio programs done. We got the baptism arranged. But did I
really do the Lord's work that day? I don't think so. I think I missed a
for the week of July 25, 2010