Feb 11, 2009
Anil Kant and Shreya Kant
Feb 11, 2009
Anil Kant and Shreya Kant
The Japanese name is kuzu; the Americanized name is kudzu. And if you live in America’s Deep South, you know it well. It is a fast-growing, invasive vine introduced to America in 1876. Farmers were originally paid by the government to plant the vine to prevent soil erosion. It also adds nitrogen to the soil and is palatable to grazing animals. So what’s not to like about kudzu? It takes over and chokes out or shades out everything else. Millions of acres of the South today are shrouded in kudzu.
Jesus used an image of thorn bushes (think America’s blackberry and raspberry bushes) that can choke out a seedling that is fighting for sunlight and moisture. All too often the thorn bushes win. It happens spiritually, too—thorns and riches can choke out a seed of faith that has sprouted in an unbeliever’s heart. They can even choke out a new spiritual insight in a mature believer’s heart. Seeds of faith are delicate; they must be protected and nurtured.
If God is stretching your faith with new kingdom insights, don’t let the cares of this world choke them out.
2 Timothy 1:6-12
The apostle Paul understood the awesome responsibility of being entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He considered this calling a stewardship for which he would one day give an account to the Lord, and he was willing to suffer for Christ’s sake to complete the task. As believers, we have this same obligation to share the gospel with whomever God places in our lives. But we must ask ourselves if we have a similar level of commitment.
Paul felt compelled to tell people about Christ. In fact, he said, “Woe is me if I do not” (1 Cor. 9:16). No matter how anyone treated him, he wasn’t ashamed of the message of Christ. The prophet Jeremiah had a similar experience. He became a laughingstock and was persecuted for delivering the Lord’s message of the coming judgment. Yet he discovered that not speaking created a far worse feeling in his heart—like fire shut up in his bones (Jer. 20:7-9).
We may not want to warn people about God’s judgment for fear of driving them away from Him. But in reality, the lost are already far from the Lord and need to hear about His offer of forgiveness. Paul was willing to die to get the message out, yet too often we’re not even willing to face a little discomfort to share our faith.
We are surrounded by people who are desperately hungry for something, and they don’t even know what. Yet we have the answer—and the responsibility to share it. Never be ashamed of the best news ever offered to mankind. It can change someone’s eternal destiny.
“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Perhaps the most deadly sin of the unbeliever is that of procrastination. Satisfied with his current life, he neglects his spiritual need. Even if he understands the gospel and realizes his need of salvation, he still puts off a decision.
But it is always dangerous to count too strongly on tomorrow. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). The sin of procrastination may easily become the sin of negligence, then of indifference, and finally the unforgivable sin of irrevocable rejection and unbelief. “My spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3). This warning was true in the antediluvian world and it is certainly as true today, when we have far more knowledge and evidence of God’s truth and His will than people did in the days of Noah.
“To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart” (Psalm 95:7-8). This warning of the psalmist was considered so important that the writer of Hebrews quoted it three times (Hebrews 3:7-8, 15; 4:7). Such an emphasis suggests there is indeed great danger in resisting God’s call to salvation. There may be another opportunity, but it is presumptuous and dangerous to impose too long on God’s patient mercy.
Today is the day of salvation. The accepted time is now! “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? . . . It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:29, 31). HMM
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. —Exodus 3:1
We should quickly review here the kinds of preparation Moses had gone through for his leadership role under God. Reared in Pharaoh’s palace, he had been educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He had the prerequisites for almost any kind of career. In our day a man with his qualifications would be sought for election as a bishop or the president of any of the great church denominations.
Then, too, Moses had a most unusual but highly effective postgraduate course. God took him out of the activity and the noise of Egypt and placed him in the silence of the open spaces. He kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law. Tending the sheep, he learned lessons of meditation and observation that he could only have learned in the silence.
Probably more important than anything else, Moses learned to know himself. That knowledge was a part of God’s preparation of the man for his future tasks. We, today, know everything but ourselves. We never really come to know ourselves because we cannot get quiet enough.
Lord, I pray for the hurting pastor who is languishing in “the silence of the open spaces.” Encourage him; instruct him; then show Him how You can use him mightily in Your way and in Your time. Amen.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence. Psalm 140:13
There should be a holy quality, a mysterious and holy Presence within the fellowship of Christian believers!
If we are what we ought to be in Christ and by His Spirit, if the whole sum of our lives beginning with the inner life is becoming more Godlike and Christlike, I believe something of God’s divine and mysterious quality and Presence will be upon us!
I have met a few of God’s saints who appeared to have this holy brightness upon them, but they did not know it because of their humility and gentleness of spirit. I do not hesitate to confess that my fellowship with them has meant more to me than all of the teaching I have ever received. I do stand deeply indebted to every Bible teacher I have had through the years, but they did little but instruct my head. The brethren I have known who had this strange and mysterious quality and awareness of God’s Person and Presence instructed my heart!
Do we understand what a gracious thing it is to be able to say of a man, a brother in the Lord, “He is truly a man of God”? He does not have to tell us that, but he lives quietly and confidently day by day with the sense of this awe-inspiring Presence that comes down on some people and means more than all the glib tongues in the world!
Oh, that we might yearn for the knowledge and Presence of God in our lives from moment to moment!
They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. REVELATION 4:8
It is surely an erroneous supposition for humans to think or to believe that death will transform our attitude and dispositions.
This is what I mean: If in this life we are not really comfortable talking and singing about heaven and its joy, I doubt that death will transform us into enthusiasts! If the worship and adoration of God are tedious now, they will be tedious also after the hour of death.
I do not know that God is going to force any of us into His heaven. I doubt that He will say to any of us, “You were never very interested in worshiping Me while you were on earth, but in heaven I am going to make that your greatest interest and your ceaseless occupation.”
Perhaps, but in the heavenly scene John describes, the living creatures crying “Holy, holy, holy!” rest neither day nor night. My fear is that too many of God’s professing people down here are resting far too often between their efforts to praise and glorify the living God!
Lord, may my entire life—including this very day—be a sacrifice of worship to You so that I am well practiced in worshiping You when I arrive in heaven.