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to Archived Meditations
know Whom I have Believed!
Timothy 1:12) For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I
am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He
is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
does not say that he knows WHAT he has believed or trusted. He says He
knows WHOM he has trusted. He had turned his back on his professional
career and had committed Himself to serving the Lord whom he had
persecuted before meeting Him on the Damascus road. In Galatians 2:20,
he likens the change to a crucifixion. He says that he has been
crucified with Christ. Now as he comes to the end of the road knowing
that the time of his departure is at hand (2 Timothy 4:6), he still has
complete confidence in the Lord. What has he committed to Him and what
day is he anticipating?
had committed his life, his ministry, and his well-being to the Lord. He
had written inspired letters to Christians that he loved and wanted to
see encouraged and preserved, and those letters had been committed to
the Lord. However, here I think he might be thinking about his
well-being. He knows that he is about to be executed and does not shrink
back from that. But I think he wants a quick merciful execution, not
only for himself but
for whom he pleads
for mercy in "that day". Some think "that day" in
this book refers to the judgment seat of Christ and it might. But if you
were about to be executed, what day would be on your mind? I think it
would be the day of your execution. I believe Paul was not only thinking
about his own execution but about the execution of Onesiphorus who had
sought Paul out in prison and was likely now himself about to be
martyred for his faith. We don't need mercy at the judgment seat of
Christ, particularly for the selfless act of befriending one who is
about to be martyred for his faith since that means you yourself may be
martyred. But we all want a merciful quick triumphal entry into the
presence of the Lord. Beyond death it is "far better," but
death itself is the last great enemy. Paul had been shown mercy, he had
been delivered from the lion. But he was still going to be
"depart" and I suspect Onesiphorus was paying with his life
for befriending Paul.
I really like about this statement is that he knew Whom and not what he
had believed. People often wonder if they have really believed in the
Lord and some wonder how to really believe in Hm. The Bible says that
faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). When we believe
what a person says, we are believing the person who says it. So to be
saved, we must be convinced that the Bible is the Word of God and that
God has the right and the authority to make promises to us that He,
because of His character, will keep. As we become convinced that the
Bible is actually the Word of God, when we understand that God through
His Word promises us that Christ died for us, then our faith in Christ
results because we have believed His Word. We who have believed in the
Lord have believed what He says. However, sometimes we get sidetracked
after we are saved. We get so taken up with "knowing the Word"
that we become proud about WHAT we know and forget that we really need
to be occupied with WHOM we know. When we are occupied with Him, we are
not occupied with ourselves. We do not become proud of what we know.
of us probably wouldn’t really know the Lord if life were always a
calm sea with with a breeze behind us and a blue sky with a few fluffy
clouds above us. But life isn't like that, and it is in the storms of
life that the sufferings of Christ become real to us; and it is then
that we really seem to understand something of the sufferings of the
Lord. As we enter into His suffering, we begin to appreciate what it
cost the Lord to love us and give Himself for us.
we study the Bible, it really isn't to get to know our Bibles better,
but it is to get to know the Lord better so that when the storms come,
we can say like Paul, "I know Whom I have believed!"
for the week of October 1, 2011
Miracles of God's Grace!
left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through
Samaria. (John 4:3-4)
did the Lord have to go through Samaria on His way to Galilee? Normally,
a Jew avoided going through Samaria because while the Samaritans were
people with some Jewish blood, they were really a mixed breed of people.
They worshiped much like the Jews but in Samaria which was the wrong
place to worship according to the old testament. So why did the Lord go
where Jews didn't go to talk to a woman when a Jewish man didn't
normally do that?
Lord purposely made this trip so He could meet this woman who was
seeking the truth. Oh yes, she was a sinner as far as her own people
were concerned, and she was born on the wrong side of the tracks as far
as the Jews were concerned. However, the Lord knew that she wanted to
know what was right. Perhaps her sinful life had caused her to think
about her eternal destiny. But whatever the case, the Lord had his eye
on her from a far. He knew she was open to the Gospel and wanted
"living water." She had heard that the Messiah was coming and
no doubt wanted to meet Him. She was seeking the truth so the Lord
sought her. She got her "living water" that day and she went
into the city and became an immediate effective evangelist. She told the
people in the city, "Come see a man!"
don't think we understand how special to the Lord people are who want to
know the truth. I don't think we realize how far He will go to reach
them and make them "true worshipers." He sent Philip from a
fruitful work in Samaria to a man from "darkest" Africa who
was out in a desert in Acts chapter 8. He personally appeared to Paul
who was called Saul on the Damascus road. Stephen had been martyred
which caused Paul to think about what he had been doing. Later, the Lord
wouldn't allow Paul to minister in Asia in Acts 16 because he wanted him
to end up in prison so he could minister to the jailor in Phillipi. Are
these isolated incidents and special cases? I don't think so. I believe
that where there is a person who is seeking there is a loving God who is
going out of His way to make sure that person hears the Gospel.
to faith in the Lord is not a casual experience. It is a crisis
experience. Those of us who are trusting in the Lord for salvation can
go back over our lives and see how we were preserved from harm so we
could be saved. Many of us had the privilege of hearing the Gospel that
others did not have. But did the others want to know the God of
creation, the God who has stirred the conscience of every person born
into this world? I believe that some people say, "I want to know
God and His salvation." Those people are treated differently than
those who do not care about their relationship with God.
knowing our hearts before we are ever born, laid out plans for us in an
eternity past. But we still had to personally want to be saved. Thank
God, the offer of salvation is universal even though not everyone is
interested like this woman was. We are not chosen to be saved but the
saved are chosen to be God's people and to serve Him In special ways.
Before we were saved, the Lord intervened in our lives. In a sense, for
each of us, the Lord had to go through Samaria. It is encouraging to
look back over our lives and recount how far the Lord went for us.
Because if we are saved, the Holy Spirit arranged events so that we
would be able to hear and believe the Gospel.
of us who are saved are living miracles of God's grace. We certainly
didn't do anything to deserve this salvation and yet the Lord put great
effort into making sure we are saved. He not only sent His Son to the
cross, He sent the Holy Spirit out into the highways and hedges (the
other side of the tracks) to find us and reach us with the Gospel.
we can be thankful that the Lord had his eye on those of us who hungered
and thirsted after righteousness.
for the week of October 9, 2011
is Faithful and Dependable Today?
is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy
men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful
righteous person keeps his promises to the extent that he can. In Psalm
15, the one that God commends is the one who speaks the truth in his
heart. He makes promises and keeps them even when keeping the promises
turns out to be costly.
was a day when a man's word was binding. A handshake would seal a
contract. Today, not so much. People break promises without realizing
that their own character is at stake. Some of us have different
Scriptural views on divorce and remarriage, but most of us who are
married made a promise to stay married and to love our spouses for life.
When people get divorced, at least one of the partners breaks that
promise, and that is a reflection on their character. However, the
marriage vows are taken very casually today and breaking them seems to
be almost as common as keeping them.
people are hired for a job, normally there is an implied assumption that
unless that person cannot do the job for which they were hired or unless
the company falls on financial hardship, that the job is something the
worker can depend upon to feed his family. However, today some companies
hire people, move them across the country, and let them go before they
have even taken advantage of their skills. This may not be the norm, but
I know it does happen. Workers often cannot depend on the promises of
businesses. Businesses often complain that they cannot depend upon the
industry and promises of workers. We who are elderly cannot depend on
the promises that our own government made to us with regard to our
social security and medical benefits that we have paid for over the
years. Some would argue that the promises should never have been made.
However, they were made and because of that we should be able to depend
on those promises. Our soldiers who have faithfully defended our country
often cannot get the medical benefits that they deserve and were
promised. By and large today we live in a culture where promises are
made to be broken or at least modified. We see this in personal
relationships, in business relationships and in our government.
father used to say that it takes 20 years to build a reputation and
twenty minutes to destroy it. I think he was wrong about how long it
takes to destroy it. I think our reputations are destroyed the moment we
break a promise that it was in our power to perform. Everyone knows that
as humans we make promises that we fully intend to keep and then, for
one reason or another, it is not in our power to keep the promise. This
can be particularly true in our volatile business environment. But when
we don't keep a promise that we could keep because it is going to cost
us money, that destroys trust. Trust is the basis of any relationship.
Trust that is destroyed can never be fully regained.
the apostle, had a problem in that sometimes people wrote letters and
attributed them to him. That is why in 1 Timothy 1:15, he says that this
is a faithful or dependable saying that all should accept. He not only
wrote the message, but the message has a promise in that he did not make
but which he knew to be dependable. The Lord promised salvation in the
old testament. Even though that salvation was costly, the Lord did not
shrink back from fulfilling the old testament promises. God not only
makes promises, He always has the power to perform them. And he always
does perform them. We don't always know when He will fulfill His
promise, but we do know that He will fulfill them. It has been over 2000
years since he left us with the promise that he would come again and
some think He never will fulfill that promise. But He will. And He will
fulfill the promise that whoever believes or trusts Him will be saved.
can't always depend on human beings even when they are well-meaning. And
we certainly cannot depend on people who are evil and not well-meaning
with a desire to "get ahead" at any cost. But we can depend
upon God and the promises He has made.
for the week of October 16, 2011
had a V8!
My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain
of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns--broken cisterns that can
hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13)
time back V8, a tomato based drink, had an ad where the punch line was,
"I should've had a V8." The person saying that had drunk
something much less healthy and satisfying. So by drinking the drink
that appeared better, they missed out on the health benefits and the
satisfying taste of the drink that would have been good for them. I have
kidded my wife after an expensive meal in a good restaurant with a
similar thought. I tell her I could have had a McDonalds. I would have
enjoyed it more and it would have cost a great deal less.
as a nation had made similar choices. They saw the worship of the gods
of the land as being more "fun" and "liberating"
than the worship of Jehovah. Even though they had been greatly blessed
by the only true and living God, they still found the "grass on the
other side of the street" to be greener and more attractive. As a
result they entered into the pagan worship of gods who are not gods at
all, and in doing that they offended the One who loved them and had the
power to bless them. They could have had a rich satisfying life with the
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; but instead they opted for a lifestyle
that ultimately was self-destructive. Pagan lifestyles are sensual and
attractive to the flesh; but people involved in them can be cruel if
Jezebel, king Ahab's wife, is any indication. Jezebel cruelly murdered a
man so Ahab could have his vineyard. She massacred the prophets of the
Lord in order to promote her Baal worship. The Lord called her an
as a nation gave up that which would have been a blessing for something
that was not satisfying, did not prepare them for an eternity with their
God, and which ultimately cost them their place in the land God had
given them. I wonder when they were in captivity in Assyria and then in
Bablyon if they realized that they "shoul've had a V8". That
is, they should have drunk at the fountain of living waters like the
woman of Samaria did in John 4, rather than drinking from broken
often do the same thing. Young people and older ones as well look down
the path of righteousness which they think is required of Christians who
trust in the Lord and find themselves wondering if they really want that
lifestyle. Of course, some of those lifestyles are still self-centered
self-willed lifestyles where the Christians are not modeling true
Christian character at all. However, even when Christians are acting
like Christians should, the young people often feel that they just don't
want anyone telling them what to do. They don't want to be bored with
life and they want to "get ahead" and "have fun."
What they don't realize is that most of us who are trying to please the
Lord are "getting ahead" and we are "having fun."
Our treasure is not down here, but rather it is in heaven. So we don't
spend money like some can, and we don't have fun that gives us a
headache when we wake up the next morning; but we do have rich
satisfying lives. Even those who were and are being martyred for their
faith in Christ, seem to be more than satisfied with the path the Lord
has laid out for them. The reason we find our lives satisfying is
because we no longer live for the pleasures of sin that last for season,
but we live for the pleasure of displaying the glory of the Lord's grace
thoughout the endless ages of eternity.
I am saying may not make sense to those who believe that this life is
all there is. Nor will it make sense to those who think that they can
turn this earth into a heavenly kingdom during our present age. Of
course that will not happen until the Lord sets up his actual physical
kingdom on earth. But it makes sense for those of us who have found that
life is short and that eternity is long. Those of us who have tasted the
living water that satisfies forever would never trade that for a life of
partying and fun down here. Nor would we trade it for the self-centered
religious worship of people who have a legal religion where they tell
others how to live rather than telling others Whom to love. These know
nothing of a liberating relationship with the Lord that makes us want to
live a life that is pleasing to Him.
who miss out on the blessings that the Lord offers and who wake up in
eternity in torment because they made a bad trade in this life will
surely wish that in a figurative sense they had drunk a V8.
for the week of October 23, 2011
3:4-5 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man
appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration
and renewing (or renovation) of the Holy Spirit.
world is looked at in two ways in our Bibles. It is seen as an age that
is evil (Galatians 1:4). Christ gave Himself to deliver us from this
evil age. The world is also seen as a society that is organized by
Satan. This society is the political, economic, social and religious
system that Satan has organized through people who do not believe in
Him. Ephesians 2 describes the world in both ways. Ephesians
2:1-3 says, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and
sins, in which you once walked according to the course (age) of this
world (society) , according to the prince of the power of the air, the
spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all
once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the
desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of
wrath, just as the others."
Christian lives and serves in this society but is not of this society
according to the Lord in John 17:15-18. Christians need to be kept from
the evil one. They do not love this ungodly society and its enticements.
Since the world is an enemy of the Christian, they are to flee from its
enticements and separate from its evil. I personally do not believe we
are here to reform society. We are here to preach the Gospel so that
individuals can be regenerated and renovated by the Holy Spirit. Society
itself will not be regenerated until the Lord comes and sets up His
physical kingdom on earth.
some view the Gospel as a social Gospel. They teach that Christians are
those who are Christ-like and who help take care of their fellow man
without emphasizing the need for a true Christian to be regenerated
through the new birth. Others view the Gospel as a means of confronting
and changing society. Again, they are trying to reform people when in
fact people need a new life in Christ. This new life starts with
repenting and believing that Christ died for sinners. It then results in
showing our love to the Lord by showing our love to our neighbors both
by meeting their physical needs and by meeting their spiritual need to
have their sins forgiven.
can clean up and repaint a dead car battery. I can make it look like
new, but it is still a dead battery that will not start the car.
However, if I put a charger on the battery and give it new life by
"regenerating" it, then it will be useful in starting my car.
Today we are taking the society of our age which is figuratively a dead
battery and we are trying to clean it up and make it look good. However,
that society is still the same dead society when we get it reformed.
However, if we preach the Gospel to people in that society and they come
to understand that Christ died for their sins, then the power of the
Gospel is such that they will be renovated. We all like to see a house
that is run down renovated to look like new. The Gospel can do that for
individuals. We cannot reform society, but we can see individuals
regenerated by the preaching of the Gospel who will then be renovated by
the Holy Spirit. They will be a part of a changed society in their
corner of the world as they live in the world even though they are not
of the world.
of the world, even if it could be accomplished, would still leave the
world lost and separated from God. The new birth saves, regenerates and
restores (or renovates lives). Has God asked us who are His disciples to
reform the world or to regenerate individuals through the preaching of
the Gospel? The answer is obvious. Our commission as Christians is not
to change and reform society. Our commission is to preach the Gospel. It
is still the power or dynamite of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).
for the week of October 30, 2011