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to Archived Meditations
when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name
of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. (1 Kings 10:1)
had wisdom and power and riches. Did I mention that he had wisdom? He
seemed to have answers for questions that many of us have never even
thought to ask. Obviously, his wisdom is surpassed only by the
wisdom of the Lord. When the Queen of Sheba came to test Solomon with
hard questions, she got her answers and was greatly impressed with the
happiness of his subjects and with the majesty of his kingdom. She also
was impressed with him.
of us have 'hard questions" that we would like to have answered.
Even though we have the divinely inspired Scriptures that are sufficient
to answer all of the questions that God wants us to have answered, there
are some things that some of us will never be able to explain or
understand. For example:
do not know how the Lord spoke the worlds into existence, but I believe
that He did (Hebrews 11:3).
do not understand how God could seem to be so angry in the old
testament, and so merciful in the new. War is major them of the old
testament. A respected man was usually a man of war. Peace however is a
major theme of the new testament. Even the wars of the tribulation
period will be leading up to the peace of the righteous thousand year
reign of Christ. I don't understand this, but I thank God daily for the
fact that I was born in new testament times.
do not understand how something without beginning can exist. God is
eternal and has no beginning nor ending, yet I believe He does exist.
His name Jehovah seems to imply that He is the ever existing One. He is
the one who is and who was and who is to come (Revelation 1:8). The
coming of the Lord into the wold proved that God does exist. Creation
also proves that. The fact that we have consciences proves that as well.
I don't have to understand it to know that it is true.
don't understand how the early new testament Christians could understand
an epistle or letter that was read to them while we have to send people
to seminaries and Bible schools to study these letters. The more we
study them in an intellectual way the more interpretations seem to arise
from some of the passages. We aren't wise enough (or maybe simple
enough) to agree on the meanings of the words that Paul and others
don't understand how one man could bear away the sins of every person in
the world. Now even if you assume that He only bears away the sins of
believers (which I don't believe), I still would have trouble explaining
that. But one thing I know even though I don't understand it, Christ
bore my sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).
don't understand how God could love the whole world. I have never met
anyone with this kind of love in spite of what they say. The Lord had no
prejudices unless it was that he hated hypocrisy. He spent his time with
ethnic groups and sinners that most Jewish people avoided without being
tainted by their sin and prejudices. Because of His love, He touched
lepers and cast out demons. He allowed a woman who "was a
sinner" (Luke 7:37) to anoint him with perfume. Because of His
love, he forgave an adulteress who was caught in the act while
convicting her accusers of hypocrisy (John 8:1-11).
I don't understand a lot of things. I don't understand why I have been
blessed to live in a land where I have been given privileges and
blessings that people down through the ages have not been able to enjoy.
I don't understand why I am a believer in the Lord when others are not.
I don't understand why the Lord would care enough and love me enough to
die for me, but I am glad He did.
don't have to have the wisdom of a Solomon in order to believe that God
is who He claimed to be, does what He wants to do, and loves each of us
unconditionally. Most of all I don't have to understand the theology
associated with the death of Christ to believe that He died for me
because He said that He did. Sometimes not having all the answers is
alright. Walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) allows us
to have confidence and peace even when we don't have all the answers.
for the week of June 3, 2012
a way to die!
was thirty-two years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem
eight years and, to no one's sorrow, departed. However they buried him
in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. (2 Chronicles
a young missionary family lost their lives in an airplane accident in
Zambia. The pilot's wife happened to be with him on the trip where he
had the accident. They hadn't been in that country very long, but the
hospital where they served has been there a long time. When this young
couple died the President of Zambia declared a national day of mourning
with flags flown at half staff. All programs designed to entertain were
canceled or postponed. About 2000 people attended the simple funeral and
burial. The funeral was a testimony to the love and respect that the
people of Zambia had for this couple.
contrast, Jehoram, an old testament king of Judah, died to no one's
regret or sorrow. I am sure there were people at his funeral, but
apparently he was one person that this earth was better off without. He
had been king of Judah and he had been "boss" but He had
turned his back on His God. God as well as his subjects had turned their
backs on him when he died. No one was really grieved at his passing.
the old testament, the emphasis is on this life. Eternity is not the
main theme of the old testament even though resurrection and eternal
values are found there. The way Jehoram was buried reflected God's
rejection of this king. What must eternity be like for him? We have what
happens after death unfolded for us in the new testament. While Jehoram
lived for time, he exists for eternity; and he is no doubt now wishing
he had worshiped the "God of his fathers" rather than
rebelling against Him.
to die and not have any one care, that would seem to be such a futile
wasted life. We certainly are put here for some reason, and even those
who do not believe in a god of any kind still usually believe in
community. They realize that the command to "love our neighbor as
ourselves" is a necessary part of any society that is going to
endure. Jehoram loved himself and his idols, and he violated this most
important principle. He was a wicked man, killing his own brothers as
well as some of the princes of Israel.
people want to celebrate the lives they have lived at their deaths
rather than have their family and friends face the grim reality that
death is the result of sin. Our bodies are embalmed and
"fixed" so that we look happy and even alive. We do not
witness the actual burial. We do everything we can to pretend that death
is not real. But death is real and so is eternity.
the believer in Christ can rejoice that death is not the end but just
the beginning of a glorious future with Christ. But death is a time for
mourning and if no one feels an emptiness or a big hole in their life
when their close family members and friends die, something is wrong. Or
worse, a person may be so evil that people may be glad when he dies.
Expressing grief in some way only shows honor and love for the person
who has died.
hope that the Lord returns before I die. But if there should be a
funeral in my future, I hope that some who come to my funeral shed a few
tears. Then after the tears are shed, I hope that they will rejoice in
the fact that because of the promise that Christ died for my sins and
because I believe God when He said that, my future too will be glorious.
would be terrible to die "to no one's sorrow."
for the week of June 10, 2012
we Grieve or do we Gloat at the Violence in our World?
hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath
eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15)
I was in a Starbucks coffee shop. They were playing Johnny Cash's
"25 minutes to Go." It is gruesome song about a man about to
be hanged. The lyrics say something about the whole town waiting to hear
the man yell. The sheriff also wanted to see him die. I suppose the song
was designed as a protest against capital punishment; but even if we
believe in capital punishment, how can any person be happy when another
person loses his life at the hand of another human being? I write as one
who has never been in war and has never had to defend his family during
a home invasion or who has never seen his family suffer violence. I know
what the normal reaction of a father and husband would be in those
cases, but somehow it still seems to me that if retribution is demanded
by the state, people should be grieving and not gloating. Life is
precious because it is God given. Taking life should never be something
that would make a person happy. Taking life with with malice and
premeditation is so evil that John says that a person who can do this
does not have eternal life dwelling in him. In other words, that person
is not a Biblical Christian. That person is a murderer. A murderer in
this case is one who commits murder and is never sorry for it because we
know murderers can be forgiven and saved. Paul breathed out slaughter or
murder against Christians, and yet he was saved and changed on the
Damascus road in Acts 9. But after he met the Lord and trusted Him as
His Savior, he would never again have been considered a murderer.
is the first recorded sin after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in
the Garden of Eden. Cain, an unbeliever, murdered Abel who was a
believer. John says hating or detesting your brother is the equivalent
of murder although I don't think anyone would be judged for murder in a
court of law until they had actually carried out the act. Hatred is
something that has to be dealt with by God alone since only He knows the
heart of a person. Unfortunately, hate in the heart often causes those
who do hate others to commit violence and murder.
who do commit murder as defined by the Bible actually take life in an
intentional premeditated way because of hatred. Provision was made for
manslaughter in the old testament which was killing that was accidental
and not premeditated. Murder required stoning in the old testament while
a person who was guilty of manslaughter could be spared by going to a
city of refuge.
song that I listened to bothered me because people were happy that they
were going to watch the criminal die. The hatred for the criminal in a
case like that might be considered just by the world, but it is wrong.
And since hatred and murder are the same in John's eyes, how many of us
as Christians find ourselves detesting other people and falling under
John's classification of a murderer? People we detest may be people who
have hurt us, they may be people with whom we strongly disagree or they
may be people that are "not like us" and that we are
Christians we need to ask ourselves, " Do we really love others or
would our actions and conversations indicate bitterness and
hatred?" It is love to stand against and rebuke sin in a believer's
life. It is love to point out to the unbeliever in Christ the need for
repentance and forgiveness of ALL sins (not just certain sins) through
faith in the death of the Lord Jesus. It is hate to bear grudges and to
want to "get even". Racial slurs have no place in a
Christian's vocabulary since normally we don't use hate slang with
regard to people we love.
for the week of June 17, 2012
do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me
through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me,
and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may
believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given
them, that they may be one just as We are one:
Lord desires believers to be unified with one another and to be
separated from the world. Believers serve in the world (or this society
that has been organized by Satan); however, believers are not OF the
world just as the Lord was not of the world. While unity of believers is
the Lord's desire, Satan's desire is to have division among believers
and to have them become one with the world.
ago I had a conversation about the Gospel with a man who was a church
goer. I don't know if he really understood the new birth or not. But he
did understand some things. As we were talking about the Gospel, he told
me that in his church, they understood that the cross had a vertical
dimension and an horizontal dimension. He said that if the vertical was
not right (if our relationship with God was not right), then the
horizontal would not be right (our relationship with one another would
not be right). I liked his illustration because this truth is taught in
1 John 1:3. If we are in fellowship with the Father. believers will be
in fellowship with one another. If we are not in fellowship with one
another as believers, somebody is not in fellowship with the Father.
Actually, we can maintain conformity with the world and a professed
unity with believers when none of us are in fellowship with the Father.
But to have true unity, the vertical has to be right.
reason for division in the church is that many believer's don't accept
all that the Lord has revealed to us. Often we hear that certain
passages of New Testament Scripture were for the culture of that day and
not for the culture of our day. This attitude has allowed the church to
pretty much revise the teaching of Scripture at will depending on what
people are willing to accept. Many people today avoid the Lord's
teaching on the "new birth" because they personally don't
understand it. However, it is not a teaching that was necessary for
Nicodemus but that is not necessary for us. The new birth changes our
minds and our attitudes so that the things that we believe and practice
don't have to "make sense". God says a person naturally does
not think like He thinks (Isaiah 55:8-9). Salvation by grace does not
"make sense", salvation by works or by praying or by paying or
by being good, that all "makes sense." Just as we had to have
our minds changed about the work of Christ in salvation, we have to have
our minds changed when it comes to worshiping Him after we are saved.
But because we have a tendency to want to tell the Lord what should
please Him rather than letting Him tell us what pleases Him, it is easy
to obtain conformity and not true unity among believers. Maybe this is
because many people who claim to be Christians were never born again.
maintaining conformity rather than striving for true unity, some
believers develop a concept of essential truth and nonessential truth. I
am still waiting for someone to show me where the Lord lays out what is
essential and what is nonessential. I understand that all of us need to
grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth (2 Peter 3:18), and so
we need humility, gentleness, patience, and love in the way we teach and
hold the truth (Ephesians 4:2-3), but in my mind all truth is worth
seeking, and when found all truth is essential. I am reminded of an old
testament warrior who "foolishly" defended a patch of lentils.
He was a "mighty man" in David's army (2 Samuel 23:11-12).
Food for the Israelites was worth defending, and I consider the
doctrines of Scripture to be the believer's spiritual food. Did they
really NEED that patch of lentils? Could they not have replaced the food
with a trip to Walmart after the battle was over? Shammah was not
willing to give up any ground that would properly feed his people.
Ephesians 4:3, we are beseeched to keep the unity of the Spirit. In
Ephesians 4:13, we are considered mature when we have come to the unity
of the faith or of the things that we believe. The only way to achieve
Godly unity is for us all to be in fellowship with the Lord. Where there
is not unity, we can have conformity and pretend everything is all
right, but I believe that true unity comes from accepting all that God
has revealed to us.
for the week of June 24, 2012