Back to Your Future ,Back to the Basics

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach…. 1 Timothy 3:2

Years ago, a ministerial student approached Dr. H. Edwin Young, and asked about the role of a pastor. “What does a pastor do?” asked the student. Dr. Young wisely answered, “It’s not what I do that counts. It’s who I am. Being always comes before doing.” Pastor Young then talked about the personal traits and character qualities necessary for those who walk with and work for the Lord.

That’s the way Paul approached the role of bishops and deacons in 1 Timothy 3. He had little to say about what they were to do. Instead he devoted his teaching to the personal qualities that should characterize their lives—morally blameless, faithful in family matters, temperate, mature, and well behaved.

Perhaps God hasn’t called you to be a deacon, bishop, or pastor; but the lesson applies to all of us. As we move into the fall, let’s get back to the basics. Remember: being comes before doing. Our authenticity trumps our activity. It’s great to be busy for the Lord, but our walk with the Lord is more important than our work for the Lord.

As children of the King, we are to walk worthy of our calling! H. Edwin Young

Your Commitment Is a Witness

Daniel 6:1-28

Daniel had been faithfully living out his commitment to the Lord from the time he was a teenager. His witness of integrity and godliness was earned over a lifetime, during which he’d been challenged frequently to compromise his faith.

Today’s passage shows him facing a desperately dangerous situation: the lions’ den. Although we usually focus on Daniel and the beasts, an unexpected aspect of this story is the reaction of the king.

Though he’d foolishly signed the law that created Daniel’s treacherous predicament, Darius was so impressed with him that he tried to rescue him. When the ruler’s efforts failed, he made a surprising statement of trust in the Lord: “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you” (Dan. 6:16). Now, that’s a witness!

Does your unwavering devotion to Christ lead others to trust your Savior? Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They’ll stay faithful as long as it’s safe and doesn’t involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going. What kind of witness is that? Who will want to follow our God if we ourselves won’t follow Him? Our response can draw others to Jesus or push them away.

If you desire to be like Daniel, practice your commitment to Christ both privately and publicly. The time you spend alone with God will transform your character and increase your devotion. Then your integrity and godly behavior in an unbelieving world will make others long to know the Lord.

For Thy Name’s Sake

“For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” (Psalm 31:3)

In this psalm of misery and mercy, we see David’s testimony. “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness” (Psalm 31:1). His faith was strong, but afflictions and opposition were on all sides. He appeals to God for relief (Psalm 31:2) and is confident of the reply, and that that reply will reflect God’s omnipotence and grace. His total trust was in this benevolent God. “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (v. 5), which, of course, was quoted by Christ at the moment of His death on the cross (Luke 23:46).

But note David’s grounds for appeal to God for action: “For thy name’s sake,” as recorded in our text. David’s heartfelt desire here is more than merely relief from his persecution, as desperate as was that need, but for the glory of God and the honor of His name.

God’s name and reputation are at stake when His children are being persecuted. Indeed, the national leaders of Israel had frequently prayed for God to act on the same grounds (for example, see Exodus 32:12). Even in the New Testament we are encouraged to pray in that name: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

Even though we are always warranted in using this plea in our praying, we must do so in recognition of and submission to the fact that there are limitations. God will never contradict His nature or His Word, and in His sovereignty He knows better solutions to each problem than we can ask for. His greater plans must always take precedence. But when these prerequisites are recognized and accepted, the prayer in His name and for His glory is the one which prevails. JDM

No More Doubts

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. —1 Corinthians 1:9

Are we going to trust God? Are we going to commit our entire future to Him? What more assurance do we need than the character of God Himself? It is God’s own eternal Person and His faithful character that tell us our salvation is secured through the blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior. It is because God is who He is that we can trust Him and be assured that His covenant will never change.

How rewarding it is to be able to make a proclamation like this! Our forgiveness, our hope for salvation, our confidence in the life to come rest upon God’s unchanging love and faithfulness…. Because holiness is God’s being, He cannot lie. Because He is God, He cannot violate the holy nature of His being. God does not will to lie. He does not will to cheat. He does not will to deceive. He does not will to be false to His own dear people.

Or to put it positively, in the very perfection of His character, God wills to be true to His children. Because He is perfect and because He is holy, His believing children are safe. Confidently knowing that the Lord God omnipotent reigns, and knowing that He is able to do all that He wills to do, I have no more doubts. I am safely held in the arms of the all-powerful God.

Thank You, Father, that You are faithful to Your promises. I’ll trust you and have no doubts today. Amen.

Have Daily Problems?

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Christian believers are wrongly taught if they believe that the Christian life is a guarantee against human trials and problems. If they believe that, they have mistaken earth for heaven and expect conditions here below which can never be realized until we reach the better world above.

There is a sense in which God makes no difference between the saint and the sinner. He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust. It is strange that we rarely notice the other side of this truth: that God also visits His children with the usual problems common to all the sons of men.

If we cannot remove our problems, then we must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. We will learn, too, that problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. Think of our Lord and Savior—He was surrounded by enemies from the moment of His birth. They constituted a real and lasting problem which He simply had to endure for the period of His earthly life. He escaped it only by dying!

Believer, do you remember that rapturous day

Believer, do you remember that rapturous day when you first realized pardon through Jesus the sin-bearer? Can you not make glad confession, and say, “My soul recalls her day of deliverance with delight. Laden with guilt and full of fears, I saw my Saviour as my Substitute, and I laid my hand upon him; oh! how timidly at first, but courage grew, and confidence was confirmed, until I leaned my soul entirely upon him; and now it is my unceasing joy to know that my sins are no longer imputed to me, but laid upon him, and like the debts of the wounded traveller, Jesus, like the good Samaritan, has said of all my future sinfulness, ‘Set that to my account.’ “