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MAY 2007

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1Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

 

Some translators think that bodily exercise profits for a little time. When I got on the treadmill the other day, the truth of this verse was very obvious to me. It takes a long time to get into shape and it seems to take very little time get out of shape. So while I was huffing and puffing, I thought about the things in life that are of little value, those that are of no value, and those that are of eternal value.

Some have thought that bodily exercise is of no value, but I don't think Paul was teaching that. He made too many references to 0lympic-style games for me to believe that he didn't read the sports news in the coliseum news paper from time to time. But he realized that a Spartan-type of obsession with physical conditioning was only going to last for a little while. However, he knew that the same kind of attitude toward developing godly characteristics would be profitable for ever.

Some of us spend most of our time on things that are no value. I think the "profane and old wives's fables" that Paul mentions in this passage fall into this category. These were obviously godless traditions that were not true. Many people listen to the profane teachings of godless men and women today without realizing that man does not have final answers. If God has not given us the final answers in the Bible then we just aren't going to get final answers because man is simply not God. Man is creative but he is not the Creator. Man is on the inside looking out, not on the outside looking in. We find it easy to be spoiled through "philosophy and vain deceit" (Colossians 2:8). Philosophy is the reasonings of man while vain deceit is simply empty lies. Philosophy starts out by saying "I think" or "so and so thinks". Empty lies are what the Christians were trying to defend when the book "The Di Vinci Code" was published. I never could figure out why we were defending the truth against a book that said on the cover that if was fiction. Of course, I couldn't figure out why Christians read it either. I for one did not. Spending time with such things might be entertaining, but it has no lasting value.

Paul says that godliness has great value. Later on in the chapter, he says that the exercise that profits for eternity is the study of, the mediation on, and the teaching of the Word of God. Some weeks, I have to admit that most of my time is spent on things that keep me from doing that which I should be doing. Even doing the Lord's work can sometimes get in the way of sitting at the Lord's feet and listening, which is really the Lord's work (Luke 10:42).

We need to become children of God by faith in the Lord Jesus (John 1:12). Then as children we need to get the right exercise so that we begin to take on the features of our heavenly Father, and so that we can begin losing the features of "our father the devil" (John 8:44). Instead of spreading lies, we should be telling the truth. Instead of destroying, we should be building. Instead of dividing, we should be uniting. Instead of hating others, we should be loving others. Instead of questioning God, we should be trusting Him.

I think I need more of the right kind of exercise.

 

Meditation for the week of May 6, 2007

Psalm 39:5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

 

Mother's certainly are important. They bring life into this world and they nurture their children in the hope that they will "become responsible human beings" and perhaps "make a difference". But what is a responsible human being and what difference can any of us make?

The first mother, Eve, made a difference by disobeying God and bringing sin into the world. Because of her lack of obedience, she brought up a child who murdered his brother. Murder and killing has been a part of the fallen nature of man ever since. I think that before Eve left the Garden of Eden, she had already turned away from her sin of doing what she thought was right, to doing what God told her was right. She was forgiven by a husband that loved her so much that he was willing to leave paradise to be with her. According to 1 Timothy 2:14, Adam was not deceived so when Eve offered him the forbidden fruit, I believe that he knew what the consequences would be if he took it. And she was forgiven by her Creator who provided for her nakedness by shedding the blood of animals and clothing her with their skins. Nevertheless, the consequences of her sin have endured through generations. Eve was important.

Mary was the mother of the Lord Jesus. She had the privilege of bringing the "Word that was made flesh" (John 1:14) into the world. She was a sinner just like the rest of the human race, but she was a worshiper of the one true God. He Baby grew up to provide for the mistake of Eve. Her Baby was born to die on an old rugged cross. Mary experienced sorrow because she had been chosen to give birth and to raise the One who was to be the Savior of the world. Mary was important.

But just what do mother's really accomplish? They bring children into the world, and make great sacrifices for them and for what? Some of the children continue fighting the wars of Cain and Able. Others will have all that this life can offer, houses and wives and families and friends and jobs with authority. They will also bring more children into the world and make great sacrifices for them and for what? So that each generation can bring more children into the world and make great sacrifices for them. David who was looking at things from a natural point of view felt that man at his best was vanity or empty or a breath. Solomon who had everything said that all was vanity or empty or futile in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Many people are concerned that the human race could be destroyed through global warming and weapons of mass destruction. I do not think that man can do this until after the Lord reigns on this earth for a thousand years. However, if mankind were to be destroyed, what difference would it make in the grand scheme of the universe? Will the fact that the cycle of life has ceased and that mothers are no longer producing and raising offspring, change the universe in any way? Will the sun quit shining, will the stars lose their brilliance, will the universe be damaged if this old earth were to cease being the universe's Garden of Eden? Probably in the grand scheme of things, we don't make much difference except to the God who created us. Yes, if we destroy ourselves, He would be the One who would be cheated out of the love and affection of those that He has put on this earth. The fact that there is a God who made us and wants to have fellowship with us, is the only thing that makes what Mother's do have meaning in my mind.

Therefore, Mother's need to teach their children about Eve and sin. They need to teach their children about Mary and salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus. Children who live life for self may have a number of enjoyable years on this planet, but ultimately their lives are meaningless. Children who glorify God are fulfilling the purpose for which God made them and gave them life. Their lives have meaning.

Mothers are important.

 

Meditation for the week of May 13, 2007

1 Chronicles 27:33 And Ahithophel was the king's counsellor: and Hushai the Archite was the king's companion. (See also 2 Samuel 15:37 and 2 Samuel 16:16)

 

Matthew 26:49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

Matthew 26:50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

 

Some say that if you have one good friend in a lifetime, that you are a fortunate person. Friends are people that you can trust. The Bible says that if we are going to have friends we must be a friend (Proverbs 18:24). David had at least two friends. One was Jonathan, Saul's son. One was Hushai who helped him during Absalom's rebellion.

The Lord had several people who were his friends. Mary, Martha and Lazarus mentioned in John 11 were the Lord's friends. When the Lord was told that the one he loved was sick, the word used is the word for the love of a friend. No doubt Mary Magdalene was considered a friend, and I am sure that the rest of his disciples would have said that they were friends. But Judas who should have been a loyal friend was not. He was using the Lord to advance his own cause. He was the group's treasurer and he was a thief (see John 12:6). Yet, in the garden as Judas was giving Him the kiss of betrayal, the Lord called him a friend.

Judas only pretended to be a friend. In the upper room when the Lord said one would betray him, the disciples all seemed to be asking if the Lord was speaking of them. Judas also asked if he was the one (see Matthew 26:22 and 25). The other disciples, who were true friends, no doubt realized that they had the potential to betray the Lord and, in Mark 14, they all appear to have doubts about themselves. In John 13, they may have had doubts about the other disciples. Judas acted just like the Lord's true friends, but when he asked if he was the one, he wasn't concerned about his possible weakness. Instead, he was checking to see if the Lord knew that he was the one who was going to betray Him. And even though the Lord knew and told Judas that He knew, that didn't stop Judas. I do not believe that he expected the Lord to be hurt by his betrayal since he likely thought that the Lord would deliver Himself from the religious rulers. But, nevertheless, he didn't love the Lord as a friend. He loved himself. When he found out that the Lord wasn't going to deliver Himself out of the hands of those who wanted to crucify Him, he was sorry for what he had done (Matthew 27:3). But he was never the Lord's friend.

I know that the Lord was a friend of publicans and sinners; but, usually when the Lord talks about his friends, he is talking about those who truly trust Him and those He can trust. When Simon Peter denied Him, he obviously was not trustworthy. But this was not his usual relationship with the Lord, and his failure apparently made him realize what a friend he had in the Lord. After Peter's denial, he had a meeting with the Lord on the banks of the sea of Tiberias. He was able to say to the Lord, "Thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee." The word Peter uses is the word for the love of a friend (John 21:17) The Lord then trusted him to take the Gospel first to the Jews in Acts 2 and then to the Gentiles in Acts 10. The Lord also used him as a trusted leader in the early church (Galatians 2:9).

How many of us who act like we are the Lord's friends have really had our hearts touched by Him? Are we people who pretend to be His friend only when it benefits us? Are we spending time alone with Lord communing with Him as people do with their friends? Do we read the Book that He has sent to us in the same way that we would read a letter from a friend? Do we really love Him as a friend, or are we just using him like Judas did?

 

Meditation for the week of May 20, 2007

Ex 17:14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

Ex 17:15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:

Ex 17:16 For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

 

In Galatians 5, Paul says that the flesh and the Spirit are constantly in conflict. The flesh represents the appetites and desires of the natural man (Ephesians 2:3). However, according to Paul, if we are led by the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Obviously, we cannot be led by the Spirit until we are born of the Spirit (see John 3:6). But once we are saved or born again, this conflict begins.

Some people think that we can achieve a sinless state after we are saved. My personal experience convinces me that no matter how hard I try, there are going to some things in my life that I wish weren't there. There are some things that I should do that I do not do. Sometimes it is because I don't know that I am supposed to do them. Other times it is because I don't want to do them. Other times there are things that I should not do that I do. Paul tells us that he had this problem in Romans 7. He makes it clear that there is a sin principle in each of us that causes us grief.

We have a picture of this conflict in the old testament. Amalek represents the flesh. Israel represents the Spirit. We find that Amalek attacks the stragglers and the weak and doesn't fear God (Deuteronomy 25:18). Israel was to have constant war with Amalek. When Amalek attacks what should we do? Exodus 17 gives us some guidance:

Moses represents Christ as our intercessor. Joshua represents Christ as the Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10). The stone that Moses sat on represents Christ as our foundation and as our resting place. However, there was a work to be done by Aaron and Hur. They had to hold up the arms of Moses in order for Joshua to prevail in the battle with Amalek. Their work is the important work of prayer. Notice two people were praying while only one was leading the fight. Prayer is important if we are going to be victorious. And sometimes we need to involve others in that praying. Amalek is never totally destroyed. Saul meets Agag, King of the Amalekites, in 1 Samuel 15:9. Saul disobeys God by sparing Agag from destruction. He spared the man who represents "me, myself and I" in each one of our lives. Agag has a descendant named Haman in the book of Esther. He is the enemy of the Jews. When he is destroyed we find that he had ten sons that needed to be destroyed. Amalek is never completely destroyed in this life. About the time that we think we have won this battle, the enemy attacks us once again. It will usually happen when we are discouraged, perhaps when we are not reading our Bibles and praying. It may be when we are sick or when we have been bereaved or when we can't pay the bills or when we are lonely.

A book that reminded Israel of their battle with Amalek was to be written by Moses. That book would remind them of the victory that they had achieved and would have given them confidence when the next battle in this war was engaged. So if we do have conflict between what we want to do to please self versus what we want to do to please the Lord, we need to take courage. The fact that we have conflict is evidence that we are saved. We need to remember the times when the Lord has given us victory. This will strengthen us to believe that we can be victorious when the next battle comes.

Meditation for the week of May 27, 2007