BDCMINISTRIES                  HOME

 

NOVEMBER 2003

 

Back to Archived Meditations

 

  • Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee.

  • Isaiah 57:20 But the wicked [are] like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

  • Isaiah 57:21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

Truly trusting someone because you know they will do right is an act of worship. Only a person that we believe is worthy will get our “worthship”. The LORD God wants our trust. He has given us His Son, His Word and His Holy Spirit so that we might have Someone to trust, His promise to trust and the ability to trust in the Living and True God. In Exodus 20, He gives the people He has redeemed an introduction to Himself and a command:

 

Exodus 20:2-3 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

He wanted the trust of the children of Israel. He had redeemed them and thus they had every reason to trust Him. The result of that trust was salvation but a further result was “peace”. When we fully trust in the Lord, we can quit worrying. I suppose that worry is the real test of our trust. But when we worry, isn’t it true that we either do not have a promise to depend on or we don’t fully depend on the promise we have. Either way God is not being given the honor and worship that He wants because we are not trusting Him.

Those of us who are going to heaven have peace about that issue. God has done the work that saves, the Word of God promises us salvation when we trust in that work. We don’t have to worry about our eternal destinies because our destinies do not depend upon something we have to do or not do. We can have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. God has introduced Himself to us through the Lord Jesus who became a man and then died for our sins. Surely, this One deserves our undivided worship and trust. Yes, we have trouble sometimes trusting Him for the things of this life but when we quit looking at ourselves and at our circumstances and get occupied with Him and with His promises, then we can have peace about the circumstances of this life as well.

The wicked person according to the Bible is the one who has willfully turned away from God. He will not trust Him nor will He worship Him and He tries to destroy those who do. The beast (ruler) who arises out of the sea and demands worship for himself in Revelation 13 is a truly wicked person. Satan is a truly wicked person who is a murderer and a liar (John 8:44). Both David and Asaph were confused as to why it seemed that the wicked prospered when the righteous often suffered (See Psalms 37 and 73). But one thing these people do not have that we can have who have confidence in the Living and True God is peace. We have peace now and peace for eternity. We have given God the thing He desires most. We have given Him our trust and we can have the peace of Paul who said shortly before his execution, “for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2Timothy 1:12).”

Week of November 2, 2003

Psalm 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Being invited into the temple of the Lord and enjoying His presence is far better than being invited into the dwelling places of the wicked. Obviously, the wicked should not have access to holy places of God, yet they are often found there. Sometimes they are there to “to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage (Galatians 2:4).” Sometimes they are there presenting themselves as ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15) when in reality they are resisting those who are actually serving the Lord. Paul calls them “enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18),” who resist the self denial required by the cross and who practice self indulgence. For whatever reason, they have chosen to reject the Lord and they only enter the courts of the Lord in order to defile and destroy that which is of God.

Gatekeepers keep the wicked out and allow the righteous in. When I was young, I always thought that the gatekeeper in Psalm 84 had a humble, anonymous, unimportant position. I now realize that the humble and anonymous part might be right but the unimportant part is dead wrong. A gatekeeper in the temple or in a city had a dangerous, discerning and important job. We see that truth in Nehemiah as he rebuilt the wall to the city. The gates in that wall had to be rebuilt as well and gatekeepers were established (Nehemiah 11:19). The wall protected the city. A wall without gates would have isolated the inhabitants but a gate without a gatekeeper would have left the city unprotected. The gatekeeper made the difference between unscriptural isolation and scriptural separation.

In the church today we have been so occupied with building doors and not walls that we have left ourselves at the mercy of those who present themselves as Christians when in fact they are destroying the faith of many. They present themselves as authorities when their lives indicate that they are serving human reason and not the Lord. We live in a day when we are bombarded with an “if it works, it must be right“ kind of philosophy. Our teaching is that there are major issues and minor issues and the minor issues don’t matter. While we might be longsuffering and patient on the minor issues (if there really is such a thing), issues that matter to the Lord matter to me.

Our churches are often designed to please us and not God. We have forgotten that a true Christian has had a regenerating experience where he has found out that He is wrong and God is right. A person who has realized and trusted in the love that God demonstrated in sending His Son to put away his sins, will want to find out what pleases Lord and do things the Lord’s way even if that way leads to a cross before it leads to a throne as it did with the Lord. A gatekeeper needs to be able to spiritually discern those who are born of the Spirit (John 3:6). If a man is not “born again,” a gatekeeper needs to discern whether the person is there as an honest inquirer or whether he has come with the desire to destroy and devour.

Gatekeepers protect us and keep the holy places holy. Gatekeepers don’t operate at their own discretion, but they let in all that God would let in and they keep out all that would destroy the people, the testimony and the work of God. Gatekeepers need discernment and they need courage. We need gatekeepers for our homes, our churches and we should have them for our nation. We certainly don’t want to build walls in our relationships with others that have no gates. But we certainly don’t want our gates to leave us unprotected from the enemy.

Week of November 9, 2003

Ezekiel 3:26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house.

Ezekiel 3:27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.

 

Words are powerful and they need to be used wisely and often sparingly. I find myself perplexed when a politician gives a speech and the TV commentators then begin to interpret for us what he did or did not say. Most of us would be interested in the commentators’ reaction to the speech if they were to tell us how the speech impacted them but most of us do not want the speech repeated or reinterpreted. Sometimes those of us who preach are like that with the Word of God. Instead of assuming our audience can understand the Bible, we reinterpret the Bible for them when perhaps we would be more helpful if we told them how the Bible has spoken to us. Sometimes I wonder if my color commentary has really been led by the Holy Spirit. Have I added to the message or have I subtracted from it by making my comments? Adding to or subtracting from the message is condemned by God (Deuteronomy 4:2).

For a time in Ezekiel’s life his hearers had no trouble knowing when God was speaking through Ezekiel and when Ezekiel was speaking through Ezekiel. This was because God “tied Ezekiel’s tongue” and would not let him speak unless God was speaking through him. He could not give his interpretation of what God said, He could only give the message that God gave to him. The rest of the time he was “dumb”. What a blessing that must have been for Ezekiel since his tongue was completely under the control of God.

Since words are so powerful, Paul admonished Timothy to “Preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:12).” We who speak to others about spiritual things have the power of eternal life or eternal death in our hands. Many people won’t read the Word of God but they need it and they need to know that God wants his Word to save but it can also condemn. John 3:17 and 18 says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” That message does not need a lot of color commentary and when we present it, we are presenting the Word of God.

My prayer is that I might spend more of my time presenting the Word of God and less time interpreting it. I would like to spend more time telling people how the Word of God has impacted me and less time defending it to them. I think everyone who is saved has one good sermon in them, and that sermon is the story of how the Word of God convicted them of their sin and how it gave them confidence that the death of Christ could be depended upon to take them to heaven. That’s not color commentary explaining and interpreting the Word of God but that is the story of how God used His word to bring us to saving faith in Christ. May the Lord open our tongue tied mouths to faithfully present the message that He has given us and may we refrain from speaking when the Holy Spirit has not “loosed our tongues.”

Week of November 16, 2003

Hebrews 13:15

By him (the Lord Jesus) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

 

Why does the writer of Hebrews call thanksgiving and praise to God a sacrifice? Thanksgiving is not just an offering but it is something that costs us. God knows how hard it is for us to be truly thankful. In the old testament, the children of Israel had been redeemed. They had witnessed the strong arm of God’s deliverance in Egypt through the Passover lamb and at the Red Sea when it parted to let them through and yet destroyed the Egyptians who were pursuing them. Yet, the children of Israel were known for their grumbling and complaining. Are we any different than they?

Saying thanks is the only proper response to a gift that has infinite value. God knows that we can’t “pay” enough to compensate Him for the gift of His Son so He has just asked us to say thank you. We are saved by faith in Christ and the first act of faith of a newly born again person should be to give thanks. Then thankfulness to God should characterize the believer’s life. Paul is an example for us in 2 Corinthians 9:15 when he says, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable (indescribable) gift.” Some have said that God is too rich to sell and we are too poor to buy. But we can say thank you. It doesn't seem like that should be so hard but it certainly is hard for one who doesn’t want the gift or for one who doesn’t see the blessing associated with the gift or for one who doesn’t want what they consider to be the obligation of a gift. We who are saved found out that as sinners we needed the “gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).” We esteem the blessing of eternal life since it is so much better than the condemnation that we deserve. We found out that the gift only obligates us to be thankful both by our lip and by our life. The Lord wants our trust and our “thank you” as the worship that he desires (John 4:23).

It is hard to say thank you. When we are invited to friends for a meal we often say “Thank you,” but then we say, “Now it is our turn to have you.” So we are saying thank you but we are still trying to compensate the giver in some way. When we receive a birthday or Christmas gift, we make a mental note to include the giver on our gift list. We always seem to want to add something to our thank you. The Lord wants us to say thank you period. He says that is the sacrifice He wants, a sacrifice that costs us nothing but our pride because it acknowledges our inability to do anything worthy of the salvation that God is offering us through His Son. In the Psalms He says, “Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! (Ps 107:8, 15, 21, 31).” Maybe today we should try saying, “Thank you, Lord. Thanks for your love, for your death, for your forgiveness, for eternal life, for making me a child of God by faith. Thank you period!”

Week of November 23, 2003

Ezekiel 37:13 And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

 

Thirty-two times in the old testament, God tells his people that there is a time coming when they will know that the one who speaks to them through prophets and through circumstances is in fact the self-existent One (Jehovah or LORD) Who is their God. Most of these references have to do with judgment on the children of Israel because of their turning away from Jehovah and worshipping other gods. Twenty-five of these references are in Ezekiel, a prophet who was prophesying in Babylon to a people who had been taken captive because of their sin of rejecting Jehovah as their God. I have asked myself, what could the Lord have done that would have convinced the Israelites that He was the Only Almighty One who was the Creator and who had saved them out of the bondage of Egypt? Obviously, the Lord did everything He could to convince them to worship Him but the children of Israel did not want to be convinced. They wanted a god who would allow them to live immoral lives, who would make them acceptable to the nations around them, and who would “accommodate” their desires. They weren’t interested in the God who is holy and requires His people to worship Him His way rather than their way. But a day is coming when the children of Israel will be convinced and then “they shall know that I am the Lord.” There will be a day of national repentance, conversion and revival and likely that is what Ezekiel is referring to in the reference on which we are meditating.

What will it take to convince unbelievers today that the Lord Jesus Christ is this same Jehovah and that he wants us to know that He is the Lord? Will it take a baby born in a manger with shepherds, angels, wise men and prophets announcing His birth? Will it take a New Testament detailing the prophecies of the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ? Will it take a life lived before men that was impeccable and that manifested the love rather than the wrath of God through His miracles? Will it take the infallible proofs of the resurrection of One who was crucified after He was proven innocent in both the civil and religious courts of His day?

Some people are like the foolish fellow who said, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up!” I am glad for every person who does not need to have the proofs mentioned above to simply believe the message of God as given through His Son. That message is eloquently, simply and concisely state in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Once you have believed the truth of the message, you should have no difficulty believing in or trusting the One who makes the promise. Those who do trust Him know the truth, they know that they are saved, they know that their sins are forgiven, they know that they have a home in heaven; but more than that, they know Who the Lord Jesus Christ is and they trust Him.

 

Only trust Him, Only trust Him,

Only trust Him, now!

He will save you, He will save you,

He will save you, now!

 

Week of November 30, 2003