to Archived Meditations
(or in conclusion), brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever
things are honest (or honorable), whatsoever things are just, whatsoever
things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of
good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think
on these things.
mind is a wonderful thing. It has almost infinite storage capabilities.
It’s ability to process data far exceeds any chip Intel has made. It
can organize and file and recall without effort--except for the name of
that acquaintance that we are trying to impress (even though the name is
right on the “tip of our tongue“.) However, to be “all that it can
be”, the mind needs to be disciplined (or trained).
discipline the body by exercise and proper eating. We discipline the
mind by proper thinking. This involves diligent study, and careful
meditation. However, with the information overload that assaults us
every day, it is hard to discipline our minds to think right. Yet our
minds control our behavior. That is why our mothers (and fathers)
trained us to “mind” or obey them.
can we discipline our minds properly? Paul says to “think on these
things”. The things he wants us to think on will not sell newspapers
but they will promote spiritual (and possibly physical) health. We can’t
think on these things and be gossips or be critical or be suspicious.
The best way to think on these things is to think on the Lord Jesus
Christ since He is the only one who has all of these attributes. He is
honorable, just, pure and lovely. The Gospel or good news that He is the
Savior of sinners is a good report which the resurrection confirms. He
was intrinsically excellent and worthy of commendation. He is the one we
worship and the one with whom we should occupy our minds if we have
really come to believe in Him.
13:15, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.
have been doing some personal musing. I was at a conference where one of
the speakers spoke of the faith of George Mueller and his miraculous
answers to prayer. At first I was thrilled to think that if I cleansed
my heart and my life and had faith in God asking according to His will,
that I too could move mountains. But then I began to wonder how Job
would have felt about that message. He knew of no sin in his life that
should have caused him to lose his family, his business, and his health
and which had placed great stress on his married life (Job 2:9). He
believed that he had walked faithfully before God and yet here he was,
bankrupt and in physical and mental pain, with friends who were accusing
him of sin that they could not prove and that he knew did not exist. At
that time, even though he didn’t know the reasons for his
circumstances, he proved his loyalty to the living God of heaven by
he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”
it really true that we prove the reality of our faith in God in the
valley of trial rather than in the mountain top of success? Paul wanted
to go into Asia in Acts 16 but the Lord wanted him to go to Greece. When
he prayed, the boat didn’t leave the dock nor did the plane leave the
airport. We don’t know how the Lord resisted his movements but I am
sure that it could have seemed that the Lord was not answering his
prayers. However, after the frustration of not being able to do what
seemed to be the will of God, he got his “Macedonian call” and went
to Greece and the Gospel went west rather than east. We are likely saved
because of that crossroad in Paul’s life.
the cross, the Lord said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”
(Luke 23:46). He was willing to trust His God in a fatherly way, even
though he had just been forsaken by God during the darkest three hours
this earth has ever known.
God is easy when the wind is at our backs, the road is downhill, the sun
is shining and we have just had a miraculous answer to prayer. But the
real proof of our faith comes in the adverse circumstances; when the
baby dies and everybody around you has a healthy family; when the
business goes south or you lose your job and everybody else is
prospering; when the assembly that you worked so hard to build up is
destroyed and others seem to have successful ministries; when those you
thought were friends accuse you of sin that you know you did not commit;
when you pray and pray and pray for some heartfelt burden and the sky
seems like brass. Those times are the times when we need to understand
the preciousness of having our faith tried (1 Peter 1:7). Those are the
times when the heart of God must be touched as our faith triumphs over
logical reasoning and we are able to say, “Though
he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”
of October 13, 2002
5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus
Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the
word of reconciliation.
5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you
by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
you ever reconciled your bank account when it seemed that the bank must
have made an error because you couldn’t get your check book balance to
agree with the bank balance? How many times has the bank been in error? I
have done many bank reconciliations over the years and I can only remember
finding bank errors twice. If the balances cannot be brought into
agreement the problem is usually with us and not with the bank. If we have
not been reconciled to God, again the problem is with us and not with God.
are commanded to be reconciled (brought into agreement) with God. If we
are saved we are reconciled to God and we now have the ministry or service
or responsibility of helping others to be reconciled. When two parties are
“out of balance or disagreeing”, they need to be reconciled “or
brought into agreement”. In our relationship with God, there is no
adjustment needed on His part. The adjustments are needed on our part.
Recognizing that we are wrong and that God is right is the first step in
agreeing with God. These adjustments are called “repentance” or a
change of mind that is reflected in a changed life. When we are truly
repentant, we are truly agreeing with God. We must agree with Him about
our sin and we must agree with Him that salvation is through the work of
His Son and not through our own efforts to “live right”. When we truly
agree with God, we are in a frame of mind where we can trust In the Lord
Jesus Christ. When we trust Him, we have the problem of sin solved because
then our sins are forgiven ( Acts 13:38). When our sins are forgiven, we
are reconciled to God.
always give a sigh of relief, when I get my check book balance to agree
with the bank’s. I have greater sense of relief knowing that I am in
agreement with God because His Son was willing to die that my sins might
be forgiven and I might be reconciled to God.
of October 20, 2002
3:1, 1 Peter 5:8
the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD
God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye
shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
the twin towers fell in New York City on September 11, 2001, I had a
conversation with a man who asked how anyone could do such a thing. My
answer was that this event proved the reality of Satan’s existence.
This week, I had a Bible study where we were discussing the temptation
of the Lord by Satan in Luke 4. I was asked, “Do you think Satan is
insane?” My answer was, “Yes, I think Satan is insane, but I think
he is very responsible and accountable for what he does.” Whether you
agree or not, one thing is certain, Satan has proved himself to be real
and to be a great destroyer by the things that are happening in this
world. He destroys both through the subtle deceit of the serpent and
through ferocious attack of the lion.
reason I think Satan is insane is that he never gives up even when He
has lost the battle. He was defeated at the cross and the resurrection
of the Lord Jesus proves that. Another reason that I think he is insane
is that he is determined to destroy (devour) and murder for no good
reason even if he is destroyed in the process. That is not good
thinking. Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and he is
in the business of hate and murder (1 John 3:11-15, John 8:44).
presents himself in many ways. But one of the most dangerous is when in
he says in a subtle and coy way, “Yea, hath God said?” If we are
made to question the Word of God, Satan takes away the certainty of God’s
promises and the foundation of our faith. He thus destroys the unsaved
by causing them to reject the promises of God and he destroys the
well-being of many Christians by causing them to doubt their beliefs and
to believe their doubts. Paul calls these doubts in Ephesians 6:16, “the
fiery darts of the wicked (one).”
God I worship is in the saving business and not in the hating business.
His word is dependable and His promises are “yea and amen”! Since
our Lord is one who loves and does not hate, His people should be the
same. Paul the apostle was a roaring lion that destroyed even though he
thought was pleasing God in the early part of Acts. He seems to have
seen his error when he witnessed Stephen say, “ Lord, lay not this sin
to their charge” as the Jews stoned him to death in Acts 7. Stephen
was in the saving business and not the hating business. Up until then,
Paul had been in the hating business and not the saving business. After
his conversion, Paul changed the business he was in. Which business are
of October 27, 2002