to Archived Meditations
2:20 I am crucified with Christ.
4:7 I have fought a good fight.
10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through
God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Republicans have just “won” a hard-fought “battle” for control
of the governing offices of the United States. Attorneys have to “win”
their cases in court regardless of obvious guilt or innocence. Small
businesses hope to “win” the battle against the mega-corporations.
Much of life today is likened to a battle that must be won. Since
battles must have sides, we start naming them and generally one side is
liberal and the other conservative. Those of us who don’t like to be
labeled are often enemies of both liberals and conservatives because
neither side trusts us to help them “win.” This kind of thinking
allows predetermined decisions to be made without ever really thinking
through the circumstances of specific situations. Battles are normally
win-lose situations, but Satan has so organized us that many of our
battles are lose-lose situations. What we need is a battle that leaves
all of us winning.
we begin to look at life as a win-lose battle, Christians can begin to
think like the world. Of course, we want to win. We forget that for
Christ to win, He had to lose. Paul looked at His life in this same way.
He died to all that this world had offered Him in order to gain the
approval of the Lord who had died for Him (Philippians 3:8). We forget
that Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:4, that the weapons of our warfare
are not carnal (or weapons of the flesh that the world uses). It is
possible for us to fight the wrong battle in the wrong way and at the
battle is a battle between light and darkness, good and evil. The spoils
of this war involves the souls of men and women. Our battle requires
spiritual discernment and an ability to use prayer and the Word of God.
Our battle is not fought in the political arena so much as it is fought
in the closet on our knees. Our battle requires an understanding of the
sides, but the sides are not liberals and conservatives. Instead the
sides are Christ verses Satan, good verses evil. The battle ground is
certainly this world, the results will last for eternity, and the battle
must be fought now and not tomorrow. Winners are called believers and
they are eternally saved. Losers are called unbelievers and they are
had fought the good fight. He had fought with beasts at Ephesus in
fighting this fight. He had rights that he didn’t use in fighting this
fight.(1 Corinthians 9:15). He was wise in that he tried to fight
intelligently so that his audience would understand who and what was
involved in this battle. Thus, he became all things to all people (1
Corinthians 9:22). To the Jews he preached like a Jew from the Old
Testament. To the Gentiles he preached using their literature and logic
(Acts 17:23). Now at the end of his life, Paul is confident that he has
fought the right battle, with the sides having the right labels, with
the right weapons and he has fought for the right King. What a joy it
must have been to know that he didn’t get side-tracked by battles that
he was not asked to fight. Sometimes these battle are in the family and
sometimes they are in the church. Sometimes these battles are political.
Satan knows how to weaken us so that we give up on the “good fight”
and start fighting one another.
prayer is that the Lord will help me to stay focused on the “good
fight.” The one where He is the captain of our salvation, and where we
win by losing.
of November 7, 2004
11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen.
11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but
having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced
them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
women had sons in a war. Both were told that their boys were missing in
action and ultimately one of the women was told their her son would be
coming home and the other was told that her son was killed. When the war
was over, both women were overjoyed to receive their sons back safe and
sound and both women said that they had faith that their sons would
return. But did they both have faith? It is obvious from Hebrews 11 that
faith is depending on promises and if they had faith they had to have a
promise on which to depend.
woman had a promise from the government and one woman did not. The woman
with the promise could wait expectantly for her son to return, and that
is the Biblical concept of hope. The other woman did not have a promise
and therefore she could not have had faith in the government. She may
have thought she had faith in God, but to have confidence or faith in
Him she needed a promise on which to depend and she never indicated that
Hebrews 11, faith is described and then illustrated by the old testament
Saints who depended on God’s promises and who enjoyed a promised land.
In some cases, they trusted God and His promises when the promises were
not fulfilled in their life times even though the promises were
fulfilled later or will yet be fulfilled. In some cases, depending on
the promises brought them victory over difficulties. In some cases,
their trials ended in death but their confidence in God‘s promises
gave them strength because they knew death was the beginning and not the
people today tell us that they are believers but they can’t tell us
what promises of God give them confidence about their future. I
personally am depending on the truth that Christ died for the ungodly
and that He died for us (Romans 5: 6-8). I am depending on the fact that
He was wounded for my sins (Isaiah 53:5). I am absolutely certain of the
promise that by believing what God has said about His Son, I have passed
from death unto life (John 5:24). I am confident that the Lord will
return for the church and it gives me hope or a confidence in the
future, but I only hope (in the sense that the term is used today) that
the Lord will return in my lifetime. I am not given a promise that He
will. A general notion that God will take care of us may be the kind of
faith that satisfies others, but I want something more “substantive”
and I need the “evidence” of God’s promises in order to have
of us have depended on God’s promises about salvation but we struggle
with God’s promises about this life. We often wonder if God really
meant what He said in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor
forsake thee.” While that promise applies to material needs, I think
the application goes to every area of our lives. What peace we have when
we just depend on God’s promises! I had a friend tell me that when we
read our Bibles, we should put TTP (Try To Prove) beside every promise
that we read. Biblical faith is more than a good feeling or a general
belief in the existence of God. It is absolute confidence in the
specific promises of God as found in the Bible. Those promises take us
beyond life into eternity and the promises are promises of great
blessing (eternal life) for the believer.
of November 14, 2004
19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his
19:2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth
19:3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
while I was driving in the country in the early part of the night, I saw
a dazzling display of Northern Lights. I started calling family and
friends on my cell phone to let them know about the display, but most of
them were in the city and the city lights kept them from getting a good
view of this remarkable display. But I began to think about David when
as a shepherd he likely had a lot of time to observe the stars. As a
result, he wrote that anyone who studies the stars is going to hear the
voice of God. There are three things that I thought about when I was
looking at the beauty of the night sky.
the sky is beautiful. When we study the stars we get a little
understanding of why God said that everything was good after He created
it. What God does is always good and that includes His plan of
salvation. After He does His best, man tends to mar what God has done.
Man has done that with the earth and he has done that with God’s
salvation. Instead of worshipping the God who has created such beauty
and order, we want to worship things or objects or ourselves. We worship
the things created rather than the Creator. Men tend to think that God
is like them; and, therefore, man must do something to pay for His sin.
Men would require that. However, God in His love has sent His son to
make that payment for us, but we are often too proud to accept the free
gift of salvation that He has offered. We miss the beauty of what God
has done for us.
the number of the stars appear to be too vast to number. Every time we
get a better telescope and a clearer night we see more stars. While we
can’t understand eternity, the vastness of the universe helps us to
understand the idea of something without number or measure. We are
creatures of time which can be measured and only have at the most 70-80
years to prepare for eternity which cannot be measured. It is only now
that we can prepare for eternity and it is important that we do.
and perhaps most important, the stars are always orderly. You can depend
on a star to be where it is expected to be when it is expected to be
there. Man resists God’s order by “making his own decisions” and
by doing what he thinks is right. The first orderly thing any of us did
was to recognize our sin and to trust in the work and person of the Lord
Jesus to put away our sin. Now, as part of God’s new creation, do we
glorify God by being where God wants us when He wants us to be there?
The heavens do declare the glory of God and so should those of us who
have been saved from the sins of a finite world to live in the glory of
an infinite world with the Lord.
of November 21, 2004
14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Lord‘s ways are sometimes a mystery to me. Many people will say that
the Lord answered their prayer by sparing them in some calamity or other
and I always want to ask, “Why didn’t the Lord spare you from the
calamity all together?” I know that sometimes we need to learn
patience or endurance (James 1:3) and, sometimes the Lord trusts us with
a Job-like trial as a testimony of true faithfulness to those who do not
believe. But in our passage He says that if we ask any thing in His name
(or authority or will), He will do it. That sounds like a fairly
straight forward promise. Of course, we need to know His will in order
to ask for that which He has the authority to perform. He doesn’t have
the authority to keep us from physical death apart from the rapture when
He will return to take living believers to heaven. He doesn’t have the
authority to save those who want to go to heaven on some road of their
own choosing instead of entering by the narrow gate of “repenting and
believing the Gospel (Mark 1:15).” He doesn’t have the authority to
keep us from all the adversities of life, but He does have the authority
to be with us through them (1 Corinthians 10:13).
week we were privileged to have our family together for Thanksgiving. As
they began to leave, we joined hands and prayed for the Lord’s
protection and guidance. We thought we were asking in the Lord’s name,
and that He would do it according to John 14:14. However, the next call
came from our youngest daughter whose car had quit about 10 miles from
home. So the next two hours were spent taking a car to her so she could
get to work on time, and calling a company to tow her car to a garage. I
told my wife that my faith was wearing a bit thin. I know all the
cliches including that she was probably spared from something on the
road that would have been worse. But I had asked that the Lord would get
her safely home and He didn’t. Or did He?
back into town, I saw another car sitting in a lane of traffic with its
blinkers on. Then I realized that there was another car behind it that
had not stopped in time. I thanked the Lord right there that our problem
did not involve an accident. Our car stalled in a well marked exchange
on a road with a wide shoulder close enough to home so I could call a
towing company that has gotten to know me and my car problems. My
daughter did get to her destination and to her job safely, and that is
what we had requested when we prayed. Her car has had an intermittent
problem that has left us a little nervous about it stalling on the road
and maybe now we can identify and fix that problem. So our prayer was
answered and we will be thankful for that on this Thanksgiving day
weekend. I confess that I wasn’t thankful when I got her call.
I forget that a life of faith is an adventure with God. We don’t
always know where that adventure is taking us but the Lord knows, and He
also knows how to make the trip interesting. I am sure that the problems
and difficulties of life are what we will remember about the trip when
we reminisce about it in heaven.
of November 28, 2004