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MAY 2006

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1Samuel 17:39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.

 

This Philistine that David was about to fight was a big boy, probably about 9 feet tall. Nobody from the armies of Israel was willing to take him on until David the shepherd boy came along. David was not a proven warrior at this time even though the previous chapter describes him as a warrior, but He knew and trusted in the Living God and he knew how to use a sling and a stone.

Once David said he would fight the Philistine, then Saul, who would not fight this man himself, seemed to know how David should do it. He armed David in the way that a man trained in Saul’s army would normally be armed. Saul’s armor didn’t work for David since he had not trained in it, but he had trained himself to use a sling and stone.

Have you ever noticed that if you want to know the will of God in your life, all you have to do is ask someone else? People often complain that they don’t know the will of God for their own lives, but they always seem to know the will of God for everyone else. How do we take advice and yet avoid falling into the trap of doing that which God has not fitted us to do? I know it is God’s will that all men should be saved. I know that those who are saved should be baptized. I know that those who are baptized should consecrate themselves to the Lord, but exactly how they should serve the Lord once they have consecrated themselves to Him is certainly not a decision I can make for them. David’s path to greatness was criticized by His brothers and was not the path that Saul understood. However, David had spent his life taking care of sheep and the Lord used what he had learned in that experience to slay Goliath. It was not the normal path to becoming a warrior.

If God has called us to be a personal worker, we probably shouldn’t try to be preachers. If God has called us to be shepherds, we probably shouldn’t try to be evangelists. If we are called to a work that cannot be done while carrying a normal job, we probably shouldn’t feel guilty when the Lord uses his people to support our work. They get the reward for being helpers so that those they support can get the reward for doing a work that would not otherwise be possible.

The Lord often takes people like David and you and me that others do not think can or should do a particular job and commissions them to do His work. He has them use means like prayer and faith and the Word of God that others do not think are sufficient by themselves for this work. And then He surprises us all by making it work. David won because he used what God had fitted him to use in a battle that the Lord had called him to fight, and because he didn’t allow himself to be turned aside by those who were unwilling to engage the enemy. May we be wise enough to know our limitations, to have confidence in the Lord whose power is unlimited, and to use the abilities God has given us to win His battles.

 

Meditation for the week of May 7, 2006

John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

John 19:27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Ephesians 6:2 Honor thy father and mother.

 

Mothers are important in the overall scheme of things. As far as I know, there have only been two people in the history of this world who did not have a mother--that was Adam and Eve. The Bible says that we are to honor them and that means to place a high value on them. All of us who are reading this can thank the Lord that our mother’s “chose life” rather than aborting us. One bill board says, “Your mother chose life, will you?”

Mothers are nurturers while fathers are usually disciplinarians. Now I know that I am over generalizing. But in most cases, we would have rather had our mothers correct us when we were children than our fathers. Mothers usually have the day to day responsibility of raising the family and then the fathers get to take the credit when it all works out.

We can see a mother’s love in Deborah’s song that she sang about Sisera, the general of the army of Jabin, king of Canaan. After he was destroyed, she sang in Judges 5:28, “The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?“ A child may leave home but they never leave a mother‘s heart.

Some mothers show partiality in raising their children. This causes confusion in the family. This was the case with Rebekah. She loved Jacob more than Esau. However, that just balanced out the fact that Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob. Mother’s may not be perfect but most of us are glad for the mothers who bore us and sacrificed their time and resources to raise us.

Role reversal occurs when parent’s grow old. This is a very difficult time in the life of a mother and a father. The children become the care takers and the parents become the dependents. I am sure that I am not going to take that stage in life graciously. However, since honoring father and mother involves placing a high value on them, one way we show that is by taking care of them when they are older.

While the Lord was on the cross, He made provision for his own mother so she would be cared for after He died, and thus fulfilled the law that required Him to honor His father and mother. We don’t know what had happened to Joseph at this point, but he doesn’t seem to be in the picture. While the Lord was providing a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, He was also providing a home for His own mother.

The Lord wants us to trust Him for time as well as for eternity. How can we help but love and trust someone who not only dies for us but then provides for us. Contrary to the teaching of some churches, Mary needed the Lord to die for her sins just like everyone else. She needed to trust in Him just like everyone else. But he showed her special consideration, because she was His mother.

 

Meditation for the week of May 14, 2006

John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

 

Is it possible to be sick for many years and NOT want to be made whole? I suppose that if a person wasn’t in pain; if he got used to the sympathy of others, and if he liked not having to work for a living, that person might get quite comfortable being infirm.

In the Bible, sin is likened unto diseases like leprosy and paralysis. Sin causes us to be blind, lame and impotent or invalids. Some of us are like the impotent man of John 5, we have been a long time in that condition. The Lord can cure us of the disease of sin, and can make us fit for heaven, but He will not do that unless that is our desire.

When I preach the Gospel and people come to me personally for help, I often ask them three questions: The first is, “Do you need to be saved?” Some people don’t even know they have been afflicted with the disease of sin, and they cannot honestly answer in the affirmative. They think they are better than others. They say that they have tried to do the best that they can, and that somehow they are pretty good. Because they don’t see their need to be saved, there is nothing that I can do to help them.

If those I am helping say that they need to be saved, then I ask them, “Do you want to be saved?” Some people simply do not want to be saved. They may think God is unfair or that He will require them to live the kind of life that they do not want to live. Obviously, I cannot help them. When people want to be saved I ask them, “Do you want to be saved NOW?” I have had people tell me that they want to be saved, but just not right now. Some want to live without being accountable to God and then they seem to think that there will be a “convenient season” (Acts 24:25) when they will get this matter settled. Unfortunately, Satan makes sure there is never a convenient time to be saved from the eternal conscious punishment that has been prepared for unbelievers.

But if a person can answer all three questions with a resounding “yes”, I know that I can use the Word of God to bring them to the assurance that Christ died for their sins. They have said “yes” to the Lord’s question, “Wilt thou be made whole?” We think people have a hard time understanding the Gospel and believing in or trusting in the Truth when, in actuality, most people are arguing with God about their need to be saved now. Once they agree with God that they need to be saved, once they decide that they want to be saved and that they want to be saved now, it is not hard for them to accept the fact that salvation is obtained by depending on what Christ has done for us and it is not obtained by depending on what we are doing for Christ. The truth that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 2:15), is still Truth that is worthy of all acceptation today.

I wonder how many of us have actually said “yes” to the question “Wilt thou be made whole?” For us the question might be phrased, “Would you like to know for sure that you have been cleansed from your sin and that you are going to heaven?” I remember when I came to the conclusion that I needed to be saved, that I wanted to be saved and that I wanted to be saved now. It wasn’t long before I was able to rest in the Truth that I didn’t need to wait for God to save me because Christ had already died to do just that. I rested on that Truth and it still gives me peace with God today.

 

Meditation for the week of May 21, 2006

Matthew 9:30-31

And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

 

The Lord had done a great miracle, He had opened the eyes of two blind men. He had tested their faith by asking them if they believed He could do this. They had said, “Yes!” He had said that His miracle would be according to their confidence in Him; and, since they were healed, they obviously really did believe He could heal them. After opening their eyes, He gave them a test that they failed. He asked them not to tell anyone that they have been healed.

Can you imagine people not wondering about these two? They were blind, but now they could see. Wouldn’t it be obvious to those who knew them that something great had happened? Wouldn’t their friends, relatives, and acquaintances want to know how they were now able to see? And were they going to be able to fulfill the Lord’s command, “See that no man know it?” I don’t think so!

When we are saved, we have our spiritual eyes opened to the truth that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). We understand and trust in the Truth that God demonstrates His love to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). We find that as sinners we are saved simply by taking God at His Word, by believing Him without any reservations (Acts 8:37). We too should have a hard time keeping that to ourselves.

Nicodemus was likely saved in John 3 but He didn’t publicly proclaim His confidence in the Lord until He helped Joseph of Arimathea bury Him. So we can be saved and not confess that publicly. But Nicodemus did confess Him when the time was right and so will we. Romans 10 verse 9 says that if we confess the Lord Jesus and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. Many think it is the confession that saves, but it is faith in Christ that saves. Romans 10 verse 11 seems to make it clear that confession is unto the salvation that faith in Christ has provided. Even if that is not perfectly clear from these verses, it should be obvious that we cannot confess to that which we have not believed--to something that we do not have. So confession does not save, but how can the saved keep from confessing?

I personally believe that the Lord was trying to make a point by asking these two who had been healed to do something He knew that they could not do. If we are not confessing the Lord, perhaps our spiritual healing has not brought about any visible change that others wonder about. But if we are asked about why we are different or happy, it should be very difficult for us not to give the enthusiastic response that the Lord has loved us, has died for us, and that through faith in His name we are saved for time and for eternity.

Confession does not save, but it should be the normal response of those that are saved. We should find it hard not to tell others of the great work that Christ has done for us. On this memorial day weekend, the best way for the Lord to be memorialized is for us to confess Him before men. We can do that by being baptized if we are truly saved and we can do that by remembering the Lord when the church gathers together as in 1 Corinthians 11:33-34. But we can also do that by not hiding what the Lord has done for us when we are asked for a reason of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15).

 

Meditation for the week of May 28, 2006