to Archived Meditations
26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect (shalom) peace (shalom), whose mind
is stayed on thee (whose confidence is in Thee): because he trusteth in
is not generally a condition of our world. We fight with the neighbors
because they don’t respect our rights. We fight with our loved ones
because they irritate us. We fight with people we don’t know and who
have different cultures and skin colors because we don’t trust them
(and they don’t trust us). We fight (or at least argue) with
politicians because we don’t agree with them.
is only one person who was a true peacemaker and He was nailed to a
cross. Probably we are at war with each other because we are at war with
God. The God Who Is is not the God that we want Him to be. Instead of us
serving Him, we want Him to serve us. The natural man wants His mercy to
be without judgment, His love to be without jealousy, His Word to be
elastic and His way of salvation to be optional. We want His heaven to
be real but not His Hell. We want to do what He says only when we agree
with what He says. We want Him to like our music. We want Him to delight
in worship that does not bore us and that we find exhilarating. We want
Him to respect our mode and manner of baptism. We want Him to feel
honored when we put our money into buildings and not into people. We don’t
want to get too occupied with Bible “doctrine” because that has
divided Christians over the years.
a result of wanting things our way, the world seems to be out of
control. Murder is rampant and violence is everywhere. Wars are fought
to obtain peace but there is no real peace. Instead of our resources
being used to sustain life, many of them are devoted to taking life. We
say that our wars will provide future generations with peace, but
history has not been kind to that theory.
am convinced that we will never have peace in this world until the Lord
Himself changes things during His actual coming Kingdom when He will
reign on earth. So should we go through life afraid and fighting with
everyone and everything? No! Real peace is internal and comes when we
are at peace with God. I believe that peace with God leads to having
peace with ourselves. In order for this to happen, we will have to
accept the fact that we are sinners. We will have to confess our sin and
know that we have been cleansed from our sin by the blood of Christ (1
John 1:7-9). Our consciences will no longer condemn us (1 John 3:21-22).
When we are at peace with God and ourselves, no one can take that peace
from us. This should lead to peace with one another (1 Thessalonians
have all seen people that seem satisfied and content and at peace even
when things around them seem to be falling to pieces. That kind of
person makes an impression on us. We can be like them if we truly have
confidence in the Lord. We don’t have to understand where the road is
going or why the wind is contrary. We don’t have to understand why we
feel rejected We don’t have to know how things are going to turn out
down here on this earth because that is not where our real home is. The
Lord has told us that if we trust Him, we will have peace peace. The
world cannot give us peace, it will only give us trials but the Lord has
overcome the world (John 16:33). The Lord wants to quiet our troubled
hearts (John 14:1). He wants us to not only believe Him but to believe
of October 2, 2005
Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world
(age), and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus
1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this
present evil world (age), according to the will of God and our Father:
Thomas and Peter are three men in the Bible with whom I identify. They
all seemed to have the same problems that I have, and so I am encouraged
to believe that if the Lord could use them, maybe He can use me.
had a desire to do right but at times he was weak. He denied the Lord
after He said He would die for Him (Matthew 26: 34-35). He wouldn’t
eat with Gentiles even after the Lord had shown Him that they were not
unclean in this dispensation (Galatians 2:12, Acts 10:28). We often
criticize his failures but fail to consider the fact that He really did
love the Lord.
often wondered what was happening. But Thomas was loyal. He was willing
to die with the Lord (John 11:16). We call him doubting Thomas because
he didn’t believe the Lord had been raised from the dead and wanted to
see proof (John 20:25). We don’t seem to criticize the other eleven
for not believing Mary Magdalene when she told them that the Lord had
been raised from the dead (Mark 16:10-11).
criticize Demas for loving this present world. This passage does not say
that he loved the evil world even though we sometimes misquote the
passage that way. Sometimes the world in the Bible has to do with an age
or a period of time. Sometimes world means the people in a society
ordered by Satan but opposed to God. Demas loved the present age, not
the present society. The reason I identify with Demas is that if I had
been with Paul when he was testifying to Nero (who seems to be the Roman
emperor when Paul wrote this last epistle), I might have thought that I
should be the prudent man who foresees evil and hides himself (Proverbs
22:3). I suspect Demas thought he could serve the Lord better as a
living saint than as a dead martyr and he got out of there. Paul was
willing to die to testify to the Roman court. Demas was not ready for
that. Paul was critical of his leaving him but I suspect I would have
done the same thing.
we were really honest, most of us who criticize Demas for loving this
present age, likely have a problem loving this present society. James,
the Lord’s brother, says that if we are a friend of the world or of
this society we are the enemy of God (James 4:4). John tells us that if
any man loves the world or this society, the love of the Father is not
in him (1 John 2:15). These are sobering thoughts since most of us are
trying to enjoy life in the clean part of the society in which we live.
I suspect that John and James are both talking about hiding our faith so
that we won’t be condemned by unbelievers. This might involve using
the name God in public prayer but not the name of Jesus. This might
involve avoiding being immersed (which is what the word baptism means)
since our unsaved friends or families might find a true identification
with the Lord as a result of being saved offensive. This might involve
finding entertainment and sports more important than a good Bible
conference and fellowship with Christians. It obviously involves putting
a higher priority on the approval of an unsaved society than on loyalty
to the Lord who died for us.
Demas, Thomas and Peter were all flawed men. The Lord has written the
book on their lives. I wonder what He is writing about ours.
of October 9, 2005
4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to
preach the gospel (to announce good news) to the poor; he hath sent me
to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and
recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are
4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
hesitates to pick up a newspaper in the morning or to turn on the TV for
fear that another calamity will have happened during the night. We have
had terrorists destroy the world trade center and since then we have had
constant bad news about people dying in Iraq. We have had a tsunami in
the Indian Ocean, hurricanes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and
Florida. We have had fires in Los Angeles and floods in the northeast
part of the U.S. We have had an earthquake in Pakistan and the
surrounding area. We have the BTK killer in Missouri. We may have a flu
pandemic. In addition, we keep hearing about the suffering of friends
who have dreaded health problems. Is there any good news?
there is, but it doesn’t sell papers and it isn’t believed by many
when it is announced. The good news is not allowed in our public schools
even though it might give the children a reason for living and make them
realize that there is a good life without drugs and alcohol. It isn’t
allowed in our public forums even though it is protected by the U.S.
constitution. The good news made the U.S. one of the most productive and
powerful nations on the earth, but now it is considered dangerous in the
society that has benefited the most from it. The good news has been
replaced in our homes by the TV, the computer, and by music that is so
invasive that it keeps us from thinking or meditating or even talking.
people say that the good news makes no sense. To me life makes no sense
without it. Sin came into this world through the crafty deceitfulness of
a lie in the Garden of Eden. The big lie today is that there is no good
news. Some tell us that the Bible is a myth. We are told that Christ was
a good man but not God. Of course that means that He was a lunatic
because He seemed to think that He was God. So in my mind, either He was
God and He was good or He was mentally challenged and not good. Today,
people want to believe that there is nothing to believe (except science
which keeps changing its mind about what the truth is). We are having
our hope in the Bible and in Christ taken away and we are being given
nothing better to replace it. That is depressing.
bad news doesn’t always happen to other people, we need some good news
to get us through the day. I am going to continue to believe in the good
news that Christ died according to the Scriptures, was buried and was
raised again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians
15:1-4) until someone can prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that
what I believe is not true. I am not going to let some created being who
thinks he is smarter than the creator take my joy away from me.
we believe what we want to believe. Some of us believe the Republicans
and some of us believe the Democrats and some of us believe neither.
Some of us believe in post high school education and some of us don‘t.
But we have all decided what and whom we are going to believe. I want to
believe that the Bible is true and that heaven is real and that Christ
died for my sins. I want to believe that death is not an end but a
beautiful beginning for one trusting in the good news of the Bible. And
that good news is going to get me through when I am faced with bad news.
of October 16, 2005
6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of
unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for
mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
true vision of the Lord will always greatly affect us. It brought Paul
to down to the ground in Acts 9:4. John, the beloved disciple, fell at
His feet as dead in Revelation 1:17. It made Isaiah see how unclean He
was, and it helps us understand how valuable Isaiah was.
the beginning of this book, Isaiah preaches about the problems of others
and how they are going to bring misery and sorrow upon themselves
because of the way they have turned against God. In chapters 3 and 5,
there are eight woes called down upon others. He condemns the rich, the
drunken, the proud, the wise and all that is evil. But in Chapter 6,
after He sees the Lord, He sees his own sin and uncleanness. His sin
becomes personal. But that does not mean that he had no value.
I am asked how to help people with low self-esteem. I usually tell them
that the answer to low self-esteem is to understand the value that God
has placed on each of us. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth (or
demonstrates) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.” God doesn‘t love us because we are good, He
just loves us. His love and acceptance is not based on our performance
as it often is with our families and friends. It was while we were YET
sinners that Christ died for us. God has placed a great value on those
that by nature should have no value. He has placed a great value on each
order to have proper self-esteem, we need to lose our pride and we need
to see ourselves as God sees us. Getting into the presence of God will
get this all in perspective. We know that God is holy. As sinners, we
have no right to His heaven and His blessings. That is humbling. But as
unclean sinners, God has provided for our cleansing and forgiveness
through the death of His son so that we can have a place in His Heaven
and can partake of His blessings. If God places such a high value on us,
we certainly do not need to feel inferior and worthless. However, the
fact that we are unholy should certainly humble us.
Isaiah saw the Lord, he was humbled and he confessed his sin and the sin
of his people. That led to his cleansing (verse 7) and to his commission
(verses 8- 9). A proper Biblical vision of Christ will humble us when we
see how unclean we are by contrast. But it will bless us when we realize
that we too have a God who has placed great value on us. He wants to
cleanse us so He can use us and so we can live with Him eternally.
personally believe that those of us who have truly trusted Christ have
had a “woe is me” experience before we experienced the joy of being
saved and cleansed by faith in the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7). But we
sometimes need that “woe is me experience” repeated in our life to
humble us and make us realize that God does not owe us anything but we
owe Him everything. We are just cleansed sinners who have been saved by
grace through faith in the Lord Jesus.
of October 23, 2005
2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.
doctrine is really healthy teaching. Some translations say that sound
doctrine is true or right instruction. Paul admonishes both Timothy and
Titus to teach sound doctrine in 1 Timothy 1:10, 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus
1:9, and Titus 2:1.
of us who teach the Bible are held to a high standard and we need to be
concerned that what we teach is sound (James 3:1, 2 Peter 2:1). If it is
sound, it is true, it is right and it is healthy. But how can we be sure
that what we are teaching is sound? Immorality that violates the command
to love your neighbor is not healthy doctrine according to 1 Timothy
1:10. Teachers that tell people what they want to hear rather than
telling them what they need to hear are not teaching sound doctrine
according to 2 Timothy 4:3. People whose motive is to make money through
their teaching are probably not teaching sound doctrine according to
doctrine involves a proper understanding of what we believe (we must be
sound in faith, Titus 2:2). According to Titus chapter 2, teaching sound
doctrine means teaching proper behavior for the old, and for the young.
This chapter says that if we are teaching sound doctrine, we will be
teaching people how to love, we will be teaching people how to act
right, we will be teaching people how to talk right and we will be
teaching people to respect authority.
some people tell us that doctrine divides and so they don’t teach
doctrine in their congregations. However, fellowship with one another is
limited when we do not agree on proper doctrine. In Acts 2:42, the first
church at Jerusalem continued steadfastly in the Apostle’s doctrine.
Doctrine is mentioned before fellowship and seems to be the basis of
their fellowship. I believe that agreement on doctrine is necessary to
have Biblical fellowship or partnership in the things of God. Some take
the position that our fellowship with each other is based on life (that
is the new birth) rather than on light (that is an understanding of
Biblical doctrine). However, those who believe this would have to agree
that life comes through the preaching of a doctrine (Romans 10:17). The
Gospel is a doctrine having to do with the death, burial and
resurrection of Christ. Personal trust in the truth or doctrine that
Christ did all this to put away our sins is the only means of being
prepared to meet God. Doctrine should unite us and not divide us but
doctrine has to be rightly divided or properly interpreted (2 Timothy
2:15). The only way it will be properly interpreted is if our minds have
been prepared to be submissive to what God says.
every doctrine of Scripture is either interpreted differently by
different groups of people or is applied differently by assuming some
doctrines are essential and some are not. I do not believe that the Holy
Spirit Who guides us into ALL truth (John 16:13) would lead us to
differing conclusions on doctrine, nor do I think He would guide us to
compromise on what some would say is nonessential doctrine. I personally
pray that God will help me teach the whole counsel of God in a healthy
or sound way. If the evangelist brings people to Christ, then the
teacher should keep the babes in Christ healthy and not stunt their
growth by what he teaches or refuses to teach. We have a great
responsibility. It takes courage and prayer to do this job properly in a
day of total religious confusion.
of October 30, 2005