Apr 21, 2009
Sept 19, 2011
Apr 21, 2009
Sept 19, 2011
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7
Has there ever been a more turbulent era in American history? The two political parties seem hopelessly divided, our role in the flammable Middle East seems indefinable, the value of the unborn and marriage drift further from God’s ideal, and our fiscal indebtedness grows by the hour. Yet God remains uninvited into our situation. A nation that proclaims “In God We Trust” seems to put trust in everything but Him.
The Old Testament prophets warned about trusting in man and man’s methods instead of in God. When Israel was tempted to appeal to Egypt for help against her enemies, the prophet Isaiah warned the leaders, “Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are flesh, and not spirit” (Isaiah 31:3). Could there be any plainer distinction? When man finds himself in desperate situations, why would he call on others who are no greater than himself? Should we not call on the One who is God rather than relying on the abilities of man?
But is the same not true of individuals? When you find yourself in a quandary, don’t rely on your own devices. Remember the name of the Lord our God—and trust in Him!
As long as we continue to trust in our own abilities and activities we shall avail nothing. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
How Could Someone Be So Ignorant!
Who are You, Lord? —Acts 26:15
Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand…” (Isaiah 8:11). There is no escape when our Lord speaks. He always comes using His authority and taking hold of our understanding. Has the voice of God come to you directly? If it has, you cannot mistake the intimate insistence with which it has spoken to you. God speaks in the language you know best— not through your ears, but through your circumstances.
God has to destroy our determined confidence in our own convictions. We say, “I know that this is what I should do” — and suddenly the voice of God speaks in a way that overwhelms us by revealing the depths of our ignorance. We show our ignorance of Him in the very way we decide to serve Him. We serve Jesus in a spirit that is not His, and hurt Him by our defense of Him. We push His claims in the spirit of the devil; our words sound all right, but the spirit is that of an enemy. “He…rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of’ ” (Luke 9:55). The spirit of our Lord in His followers is described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Have I been persecuting Jesus by an eager determination to serve Him in my own way? If I feel I have done my duty, yet have hurt Him in the process, I can be sure that this was not my duty. My way will not be to foster a meek and quiet spirit, only the spirit of self-satisfaction. We presume that whatever is unpleasant is our duty! Is that anything like the spirit of our Lord— “I delight to do Your will, O my God…” (Psalm 40:8).
Wherever the providence of God may dump us down, in a slum, in a shop, in the desert, we have to labour along the line of His direction. Never allow this thought—“I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly can be of no use where you are not! Wherever He has engineered your circumstances, pray. So Send I You, 1325 L
2 Peter 3:14-18
Spiritual discernment protects us from deception. Sin is always dressed up to look tempting and appealing; if we think what looks good and feels right must be OK, then we’re in danger of being misled by the enemy. When Satan tempts us, he never mentions consequences or negative impact.
Spiritual discernment is our God-given capacity to judge what’s right and wrong. It protects us from the suffering that accompanies disobedience. Ignoring an agitation in our spirit—which I call “spiritual static”—is a step onto sin’s pathway. When looking for a radio station, we want clear reception. The same is true in our lives. We need a clear connection to the Holy Spirit to have peace and assurance that we’re doing the right thing and aligned with God’s will.
Sometimes an opportunity appears harmless or, more likely, very appealing. But if the Holy Spirit within us sends a signal not to pursue it, then we dare not—for some reason, God doesn’t want us in that situation. And though we can speculate, we may never know what danger we avoided by being obedient.
Sin doesn’t initially appear as the ugly, deceitful disobedience it is. Instead, it comes wrapped in a pretty package, one hard to resist. God’s children can see past the glitter and false beauty if they choose to look. This spiritual wisdom comes only from a clean heart and discerning spirit. An astute believer is one who makes prayer, repentance, and biblical training a regular part of his or her routine.
“And [David] said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22-23)
The death of a loved one is always a time of great sorrow, but the death of a beloved child is perhaps the keenest sorrow of all. Nevertheless, for the Christian believer, we “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Our text verse makes it clear that, when a child dies (even one born of a sinful relationship such as this child of David and Bathsheba), that child goes to be with the Lord in heaven. Jesus said: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
Heaven is thus a place where there are many “little children.” Their inherited sin-nature never yet had generated acts of willful sin, and their Maker is Himself “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), so they are safe in Him. Although there are few specific Scriptures on this subject, what we do know, both from the love of God and the Word of God, suggests that the souls of all deceased little children are with the Lord in heaven, but also those who died in early childhood (and even before birth) from every time and place since the world began. There they, along with all those who were saved by personal faith in Christ and are now awaiting the resurrection, will receive new bodies when Christ returns to Earth. The old and lame will be young and strong again, and the children will grow to perfect maturity, for all will become “like him” (1 John 3:2). “God shall wipe away all tears” (Revelation 21:4), and all will say: “As for God, his way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). HMM
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. —Psalm 8:1
Christianity at any given time is strong or weak depending upon her concept of God. And I insist upon this and I have said it many times, that the basic trouble with the Church today is her unworthy conception of God. I talk with learned and godly people all over the country, and they’re all saying the same thing.
Unbelievers say, “Take your cowboy god and go home,” and we get angry and say, “They’re vile heathen.” No, they’re not vile heathen—or at least that’s not why they say that. They can’t respect our “cowboy god.” And since evangelicalism has gone overboard to “cowboy religion,” its conception of God is unworthy of Him. Our religion is little because our god is little. Our religion is weak because our god is weak. Our religion is ignoble because the god we serve is ignoble. We do not see God as He is….
A local church will only be as great as its conception of God. An individual Christian will be a success or a failure depending upon what he or she thinks of God. It is critically important that we have a knowledge of the Holy One, that we know what God is like.
Lord, help me to know You in all Your majesty and in all Your excellence. Help me then to portray to the world a God worth worshiping! Amen.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5)
What is God trying to do with His believing people?—the Bible calls us a remnant according to grace, believers taken out of the great, teeming swarm of so-called religious people in today’s world.
I am inclined to join others in wondering if the Lord is postponing His coming because He is trying to get His Bride ready?
For years it has been the popular idea in evangelical Christianity that the whole body of believers in Christ would rise like a flock of frightened birds when the Lord comes. But A.B. Simpson and William MacArthur and others in the past generation said, “Oh no! The Lord will take with Him those who are prepared and ready for His coming!”
I do not presume to give an answer satisfying to everyone in our churches. But I know that many Christians are too smug about this, saying in effect: “I am converted to Christ through grace, so I can live as I please!”
Of some things we cannot be dogmatic; but we know this for sure—God has no halfway house between heaven and hell where He takes us to fumigate us!
The hour is coming, and it may be even now is, when the Holy Ghost shall be poured out again in such a wonderful manner, that many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased—the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the surface of the great deep; when His kingdom shall come, and His will shall be done on earth even as it is in heaven; when every one will see that verily the Spirit is poured out like water, and the rains are descending from above. For that let us pray; let us continually labor for it, and seek it of God.