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40:17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art
my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.
are two kinds of people that we can’t quit thinking about. If someone
angers us, we have a tendency to remember what they have done. We may
fret about it and in some cases, we may even try to get even. But it is
for sure that we simply cannot get them out of our minds. We think upon
them. But our thoughts are not usually good thoughts.
we love someone, they too have a place in our minds and thoughts. We
call them. We write them and we try to spend time with them. We usually
pray for them. These may be people in our families or they may be our
friends, but either way we think upon them. But our thoughts for these
people are usually good thoughts.
believe that the Psalmist was a believer and that He knew that the Lord
loved him. He knew that the Lord spent time thinking about him. In verse
5 of this Psalm, the Lord’s thoughts are more than can be numbered and
seem to be linked with the wonderful works that God has done for those
who worship Him instead of lies or false gods. The Psalmist had been
tried and was now rejoicing since had been brought up out of an horrible
pit. He had been delivered from his trials and now he realizes that the
Lord had been thinking about him all the time. This Psalm is a Messianic
Psalm since verse 6 seems to refer prophetically to the Lord according
to Hebrews 10:5. So this gives us some idea as to how much the Lord was
loved by His Father, even during the three hours of darkness and
separation on the cross. And if we trust in Him and are going though a
time of darkness and loneliness, I am confident that God as our Father
is thinking on us as well.
of the saddest things in life is that unbelievers will not be in the
thoughts of the Lord even though God’s wrath abides on them (John
3:36). We fret because of evil doers (Psalm 37:1). But the Lord simply
blots their names out of the book of Life (Revelation 3:5, Psalm
109:13). I personally believe that the name of every person that will
ever be born was written in the Lamb’s book of Life at the foundation
of the world since God knew that the death of Christ would be sufficient
to save every person. However, as people reject the Lord as their Savior
(John 3:18), they are blotted out. Unbelievers in the Bible are
nameless, believers are often named or personally identified in some
way. Notice that in Luke 16, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus,
the rich man is never named but Lazarus is. In 2nd Timothy 2:19 we read,
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal,
The Lord knoweth them that are his.” I believe the word “know”
implies the intimate relationship that the Lord has with His friends. He
thinks about them, and His thoughts are good.
Psalmist has been delivered, has a new song, has been a willing
volunteer for the service of the Lord, has preached about the Lord’s
faithfulness to others and now he tells us that the Lord thinks upon
him. As the poor and needy one, he realizes that his sins are many and
that his enemies are mighty. But He also knows that the Lord is able to
deliver him from his enemies since He has done it before. And he hopes
that the Lord will do it again soon. He says, “Make no tarrying, o my
God.” Our final deliverance from all of the things that are against us
will be at the Lord’s coming and we too can say, “Make no tarrying,
O my God.” “Even so come Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).” The Lord
has us in His thoughts. Amen.
for the week of September 3, 2006
2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
Lord says, “Ye must be born again. (John 3:7).” Now must is a four
letter word, but it is not a bad word. And I think must means “must.”
Many people tell me that they are born again, but they don’t know when
or how or where. While I can‘t say who is born again for sure and who
is not, I fail to understand how we can know we have been born again if
we can’t remember being born again. I remember some things in my life
clearly and some things are not so clear. I don’t remember many dates.
I need to check the calendar to make sure that I know when our
anniversary is, but I do remember the hot night when I said “I do.”
So it may be like that with the new birth, particularly for those who
were born again young. But God says that we must be born again so I
personally want to know that I am.
we are born again, our minds should have been changed on issues where we
disagreed with God. This is called repentance. In some cases, those
issues may have involved a lifestyle that God condemns, but more often
those issues simply involve finding out that God has a right to tell us
how to be saved and that we don’t have a right to tell Him how to save
us. We have to find out that God’s way is better than our way and His
thinking is better than our thinking (Isaiah 55:8-9). We have to find
out that our God and His Word can be trusted and we have to trust Him.
Trusting someone is not easy since it is contrary to what we are taught
from our youth. People fail us and we have to have confidence that God
will not. And we have to have confidence that even when things don’t
make sense, God is still being faithful. That is why this is called a
new birth because this is all contrary to the human nature that we got
with our first births.
addition, if we have been born again, we should desire a mind like
Christ’s. Apparently, we don’t automatically have the mind of Christ
since Paul tells the Philippians who are already Christians that they
need to let the mind of Christ dwell in them. What is the mind of
we look at the passage, it appears that if we all thought like Christ,
we would be like-minded and unified. We would be cooperative and not
competitive. We would not be self-centered but we would be
self-sacrificing. And we would be willing to give up our rights in order
to meet the needs of others. The Lord Jesus was God but instead of
acting like God, He acted like a servant. He humbled Himself and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Think of it! The Lord
Jesus who is our creator and our Sovereign Lord was obedient. He was
obedient to the Father and to the plan of salvation that was part of the
thinking of God in an eternity past. So it would seem that obedience is
not a dirty word but something that God should expect from us if we are
born again. Today most of us only want to obey Biblical injunctions that
make sense to us, but my father taught me to do what he asked, whether
it made sense or not. Now if I did that for my earthly father out of
fear, can I not do that for my Heavenly Father out of love?
realize that we are all “works in progress.” There is a popular
bumper sticker that says, “Be patient, God is not finished with me
yet.” But the new birth should at least make us want to exhibit the
attributes of the “mind of Christ.“ If we have not made any progress
in this area since the day we say we were born again, maybe we need to
revisit the issue of this must!
1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the
sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not
of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of
for the week of September 10, 2006
3:20-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly
wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly
body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the
working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (NKJV)
sometimes hear people say, “We can be so heavenly minded that we are
no earthly good.” But I think this passage says, “We can be so
earthly minded that we are no heavenly good.” The Lord seems to want
us to remember that here on earth a Christian is a square peg in a round
hole. We just don’t fit.
in the Bible that God used had their eyes on eternal rewards rather than
on the ones that this earth provides. Abraham looked for a city whose
builder and maker was God (Hebrews 11:10). He lived in tents and never
drove his tent pegs too deep. The heroes of the faith in the early part
of Hebrews 11 were strangers and pilgrims on this earth. These people
were Hebrews who had been given earthly promises and an earthly land.
Yet the faithful among them had their eye on a heavenly city.
are “in the world” but not “of the world (John 17:11-4).” We are
to be confident that the Lord is coming back for us (John 14:3). This is
our “blessed hope (Titus 2:13) and it is the hope that purifies (1
John 3:3). We are to live as though our bags are packed and our desire
is to make the trip to our real home.
I realize that we also have a citizenship on this earth and we do have
responsibilities because we live in the here and now. But those
responsibilities are to be carried out with our eye on that which is
eternal, spiritual, and heavenly. When we preach the Gospel, we need to
mention “eternal life” as well as “eternal condemnation or
destruction.” We need to preach that the Man who is in Heaven is the
Son of God who came from heaven to die for our sins on this earth. We
need to tell people that this life is but the stage rehearsal for
that is those who have rejected the claims of Christ, are generally
earthly-minded. In the passage we have mentioned, they are enemies of
the cross of Christ, they are motivated by gluttony, and they glory in
things that should find shameful. In the book of the Revelation, they
are often called those that dwell upon the earth or earth dwellers.
have often wondered, as people watch us, do they see people who are
occupied with eternity or do they see people who are occupied with the
hear and now? Do our congregations deal with eternity or are all the
programs associated with the here and now? I realize that immediate
needs must be met in order to preach the Gospel to the needy. So we feed
the hungry and clothe the naked and send the sick to doctors and we
ought to. And we ought to do these things whether we can speak to them
about eternity or not. But if we are to have any credibility with those
to whom we minister, wouldn’t it seem that we should be motivated by
heavenly blessings and not earthly ones? Shouldn’t people see that we
really are a people whose citizenship is in heaven?
is so easy to get so involved in the few years God has given us here
that we forget about the reality of eternity. We are not ready to live
until we are ready to die. And we are not ready to die until we have
prepared for eternity.
3:14-15 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so
must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should
not perish, but have eternal life.
for the week of September 17, 2006
7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.
is better to finish something than to just start it. Many start a
spiritual journey with the Lord but they don‘t finish it. As a young
ruler, Solomon asked God for wisdom and God gave it to him. When Solomon
dedicated the temple that he built for the Lord, he was faithfully
serving the One True God. At the end of his life, he turned away from
the Lord and built places of worship in Israel for other gods (See 1
Kings 11). No wonder Solomon, the discouraged depressed preacher in
Ecclesiastes, says that the end of a thing is better than the beginning.
our ultimate destinies are eternally secure after we trust in Christ for
salvation, our practical day to day lives may not be so victorious. We
are saved by grace and we are kept by grace. Grace does not mean that we
cannot do anything to be saved because we are commanded to strive to
enter in (Luke 13:24) and to believe Gospel (Mark 1:15). Believing in
the Lord is likened unto receiving a gift (John 1:12). Grace means that
we cannot do anything TO DESERVE the gift. God’s gift of salvation is
a gift of grace (Romans 6:23) and God does not ask for His gifts back
(Romans 11:29). I know some say that we can give them back, but I would
be hard pressed to find a Scriptural example of that. I am eternally
secure because I am depending on what Christ has done for me at the
cross and not because of something I have done for Him. And I am glad
that I can have that assurance today through the promises of Scripture.
feel that the only way we can know we are eternally secure is if we “continue
to the end.” There are some Scriptures that seem to indicate that.
Christians should continue or endure to the end, that is, they should be
faithful to God throughout their whole lives after they are saved and
should never doubt his promises. However, Peter was saved by Mathew 16
when he confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
But he didn’t look saved when he denied that he knew the Lord after
Judas had betrayed Him. But he was. David didn’t look like he was
enduring when he violated Bathsheba and murdered her husband. But he
was. Solomon didn’t look saved at the end of his life. But he was. So
I am going to let the simple Scriptures explain the difficult ones and
not the other way around. I am going to take comfort in John 5:24 that
says that when I trust the Lord, I have eternal life as a present
possession. This verse also says that I will not be condemned and that I
have already passed from death unto life.
since even Paul was concerned about being a castaway or one who did not
have God’s approval at the end of his life, I too realize how easy it
would be to end our lives badly. While we cannot lose our salvation, we
can certainly lose our joy and the approval of the Lord who loved us and
gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20). Solomon likely made his mistakes
when he was old and he was vibrant in his faith when he was young. I don’t
want to end up like Solomon.
while we are eternally secure in so far as our ultimate destiny is
concerned after we have come to know the Lord, it is possible for us to
deny the Lord like Peter did. It is possible for us to accept the lies
of the religious world around us like Solomon did. It is possible for us
to let sin destroy our relationship with God like David did. We can lose
our reputations and our joy and our reward. While we may turn away from
the Lord, He will be waiting for us with open arms, when we come to our
senses. It is my conviction that those who are truly saved do come to
their senses at some point in their lives unless they die an untimely
death where they have no chance of making things right with God. We need
to not only start this journey with the Lord, we need to finish it. And
we will not be able to do that in our own strength. We will need the
grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the fellowship of the
Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14).
for the week of September 24, 2006