Originally publshed May 8th, 2010.
This has been in my thoughts very much lately. God’s love is so great, so immeasurable, yet it seems elusive in many Bible believing churches today.
First, let me clearly state that I am unequivocally a Bible believer who stands firm on separation & holiness. The love I’m talking about is not the unscriptural, modern, wishy washy eceumenical – join with everyone regarless of doctrine, love everyone & their sin type love.
I’m talking about the kind of love that will graciously – with the compassionate, understanding heart of someone who sees their own sin- show the sinner their sin, and then lovingly show them the Saviour!
These verses clearly demonstrate the key:
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Jude 1:21-23
We cannot show God’s love if we do not keep ourselves in His love! Notice verse 23 says we are to hate “the garment spotted by the flesh.” not the person themselves!
Here’s some points to ponder:
A. Examples of Christ dealing with the lost:
1. When Christ confronted the woman at the well, yes, he showed her her sin, but spent far more time directing her to himself. John 4:7-42
What portion of time do we spend on “badgering” people about sin, instead of directing them to Jesus? When they see their sin, it’s time to show them the Saviour!
2. When the woman “caught in adultery” was brought to Him, she had obviously already dealt with her sin, so He showed her Himself. John 8:3-12
Are we walking close enough to Jesus that we can tell when a sinner is already convicted of their sin and can simply be shown the Saviour?
3. Jesus didn’t even tell the tax collector Zachaeus his sin. Christ’s very presence brought him to repentance and He took him in. Luke 19:2-10
4. The woman who washed Jesus’ feet with tears had already dealt with her sin and given Him her heart so He didn’t humiliate her, but for the sake of others hard-heartedness, He publicly acknowledged her sins were forgiven. Luke 7:36-50
Is Christ visible enough through us that others can be convicted of their sin without a word and be drawn to our precious Saviour?
Let me make it clear that I am not teaching people should not repent. There is no salvation without repentance:
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3&5
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21
B. God’s love hasn’t gone anywhere or changed:
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8.
Too often it is the vessels the Lord wants to use – us – that have become unusable. We cannot spread His love because we have become corrupted with a pride that exalts us so high we can no longer see where we have come from.
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 2 Peter 1:1-10
Sadly, we are the ones that God says have become hard-hearted and He has to be longsuffering with.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
C. Questions to ask ourselves to help measure our degree of love:
What is my first thought when I see:
– the drunk or druggie on the street
– the prostitute on the street corner
– the single mom on wellfare with a car load of kids
– the teen/young man with his pants hanging so far down you can see his underwear
– the illegal alien you or your spouse just lost your job to
– the new immigrant who is struggling to learn how it all works in this foreign land
– the homosexual/lesbian, etc.
– the prisoner or the ex-con
– the gang member
Does my heart break for their condition, or is my heart elevated in pride? Do I think I’m too good to bring myself low enough to show them the love of God? Okay… maybe I’ll show thew how to get saved, but I really don’t wan’t them in “my church”…. Really? Is that Jesus? No. Not by any means and it cannot be me!
We cannot hope to reach a lost world for Christ if we no longer remember the state in which Christ saved us, nor where we would be were it not for the grace of God.
The great apostle Paul said: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10
He knew he was nothing without Christ, as we are.
D. Christ as our example of humbleness:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8
E. God’s commands to the believer:
Notice that Colossians 3:12-13 are in the imperative (or commanding) form.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:12-13
Being merciful, kind, humble in mind, meek, longsuffering, forbearing & forgiving are not requests. They are commands!
F. What our message must be::
If we go to the lost world with this genuine humbleness of heart and a genuine love for the Saviour and the sinner, only then will they see & believe the greatest love of all:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
But God commendeth (proved) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
I’d like to finish this devotional with a song from the Marshall Family that really expresses this whole idea so well:
How Can We Reach a World we Never Touch?
I started working on this devotional over a year ago, but found myself unable to complete it. I really didn't know how to proceed as our family has been through so much betrayal over the last few years, and I was still grappling with dealing with it. I knew the Lord wanted me to get the victory over it, so I was hoping that by studying the issue, the healing that only the Lord can bring would finally bring peace. Yet, as it often is with the Lord, the answer was very simple. Most of the peace I so desperately needed was found in a wrestling match as described in a recently finished devotional: Wresting With God.
To summarize and word a bit different, I had to face the question: Who am I serving and why?
If I'm serving myself, then there is no way to conquer the issue because it's all about me, our family, what was done to "us", "me". There's no way out and no way to let go.
- It is my choice to allow the enemy – this betrayal – to be exalted (to have control) over me or not.
"How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?" Psalm 13:2
- It is my choice to have a merry heart or a broken spirit:
"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." Proverbs 15:13
Serving the Lord?
If the answer is God, then I have different, healing choices that must be made:
- I must choose to let it all go and let God take care of the situation and of me because:
"… we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
- I must choose to stop trying to figure it all out by leaning on my own limited knowledge base, but rather let my all-knowing God take care of it!
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Pro 3:5-6
- It must choose to live my life verses and focus on my Jesus:
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2
- This day, I chose the good part: to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His words:
"And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:39, 41-42
I’ve heard and often said that the greatest battles we will face are against our own selves. As I was driving, I was having my own wrestling match with God. It only lasted about 2 minutes, but it really was the final conflict of an issue I’d been wrestling with myself for just over 2 years on one issue, and it seems all my life in others. It amazed me how draining these two minutes turned out to be, especially when the added element of wrestling with myself was added in.
To be blunt, I was being foolish. I was fretting over a situation that I had no control over. My thoughts were along these lines:
“I wonder if this would work? Maybe not…. Oh this would be better… No, not that either…”
On and on it went. I was on a merry-go-round!
Then words from a recent sermon struck me: I was being prideful! I thought I could handle the situation better than God! I lacked faith. I felt that my life could not be fulfilling as a Christian until a situation was dealt with, or rather, that I had a part in resolving it.
Someone who claimed to be a Christian had hurt many families, including ours, and I was convinced that this person had to be stopped. God’s name was being brought down among believers and blasphemed by the lost after all!
As I began to surrender this over to the Lord, I knew I had to let God be God. This was not easy to accept. Not being able to take care of something on our own is a struggle for many, including me. It seemed like God was telling me: What if God's will could be accomplished better with this person continuing their hurtful behavior? What if more souls ended up being reached because of it? I couldn’t see how, but I finally accepted that God knows best and that He would deal with this person in His timing and His way. He does not let sin go unpunished, so what about me? It was way past time for me to deal with me or God would have to.
When I realized that my lack of faith was rooted in self-pride, I was truly hearetbroken and repentent. I was prideful – an abomination before God.
"Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished." Pro 16:5
No, I could not take care of this better than God, so I needed to give it over to Him, stop fretting about it, and let God be God. I was mentally exhausted at that point. This wrestling match might have only last two minutes or so, but it broke a thought process of sin that had grpipped me for over two years.
“What a wrestling match!” I thought.
Then the paralells with the Biblical account of Jacob’s wrestling match began to dawn on me. In Genesis 32:24-32, Jacob is wrestling with whom he first thinks is an angel, but realizes at the end that it is God in the form of man, or the theological term – a ‘pre-incarnate Christ’. Think on this! The passage says that “when He (God) saw that He prevailed not against him…” (vs.25) In order for God’s physical form to not be able to prevail against a human being, God chose to lower himself, or drop his physical abilities in order to accomplish what was necessary in Jacob’s life.
What a picture of our Jesus! It’s as described in Hebrews 2:7a,9b:
“Thou madest him a little lower than the angels…” (vs 7) and “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels….” (vs 9)
In order for God not to be able to prevail against Jacob, He had to have the identical physical abilities – like a physical clone or Jacob himself, as Jacob had to be weakened for the Lord to prevail. Isn’t that how God works with our will and sin nature? The sin nature is so strong because of our pride and stubborness that God has to weaken it, so the Lord can finally have impact to change us.
The Bible doesn’t say, but I can’t help think Jacob was happy at times about this new weakness. It meant so much! A tremendous battle against Jacob’s sin nature had been won, and God was on his side!
Through this, I also realized that the two forms of a wrestling match are very different. One holds little to no profit, yet the other great profit. My wresting match with myself, apart from God and His Word, had very little profit since it exalted myself and left God out of the solution. Bringing the matter to God, and searching out the Scriptures produced a peace in my soul that could only be achieved through allowing myself to give a matter over to the Lord.
Fretting and worrying are sins of pride and lack of faith. At least sometimes now, when I start to fret about anything, my wrestling match with God comes back to mind, and I repent. I cannot take care of situations better than God, and He knows best.
First Part of a Series on
Victory in the Christian Home
Here is my favorite illustration on Discouragement.
TOOLS FOR SALE
It was advertised that the devil was going to put his tools up for sale. On the date of the sale, the tools were placed for public inspection; each tool being marked with its sale price. They were a treacherous lot of implements…..Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Deceit, Lying, Pride, and so on.
Laid apart from the rest was a harmless looking tool, well worn and priced very high.
“What is the name of this tool?” asked one of the purchasers, pointing to it.
“That is Discouragement”, replied the devil.
“Why have you priced it so high?”
“Because it is more useful to me than the others. I can pry open and get inside a man’s heart with that when I cannot get near him with my other tools. Once I get inside, I can make him do what I choose. It is badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since very few people know that it belongs to me.”
My friend, don’t let Satan discourage you in anyway. You are God’s child and have the victory already won. All you have to do is keep your faith on the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. The devil will not have a chance to discourage you, even with his best tools.
Who wants to be a loser? ……..
What No takers Didn’t think so. We all want to win, to be victorious.
This idea has been weighing on my heart for the last week or so, and the last few days, I could sense the Lord leading me to do a series on it.
Victory in the Christian Home can seem such an illusive thing. One defeated day seems to flow into the next, and we begin to lose any hope of even a small victory. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I know, it’s a lot easier said than done, but God has promised us the victory, and since He does not lie, it is acheivable.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13
I’m sure I’ll touch more on that point, but right now, I’m not 100% sure where the Lord is going to lead in these lessons, or how long the series will last. I will try to keep each post short to make it easier to absorb and apply. I am simply hoping they will be a blessing to others, and am looking forward to what I will glean also.
Part I of Wake up and Smell Godâs Flowers! – 3 Part Series
From my daily devotions for April 5th, 2007
Life can get so busy sometimes that we donât take time to âstop and smell the flowers.â? As energetic, excited, and busy our children get, they always seem to have the time. How often have we walked with our child/children and they âhaveâ? to stop to pick up some âtreasureâ? of Godâs creation they have spotted while we were too wrapped up in our all too important thoughts to see what was around us.
Or have you ever taken a nature walk with your children? You think you are just leisurely walking along, taking in the beauty that God has for you. Then you hear the excited voice of your child, âMommy, Mommy! Look what I found!â? as they proceed to show you this âwonderful treasureâ? that was in plain sight but you missed!
We do the same with our Heavenly Father. He wants to show us so much, but we are too wrapped up with this world, or even serving Him, that we are missing the display of His power working in our lives and the lives of others. Iâm not talking about signs and wonders. God is always working around us, but too often sin and unbelief prevent us from seeing it.
I love the story of Elisha and his servant, in 2 Kings 6:14-17
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
What an incredible display of Godâs power and protection, and it was there all the time, but the servant couldnât see it! Obviously Elisha was seeing with a heart of faith rather than a heart of disbelief.
Part II of Wake up and Smell Godâs Flowers!
In 1 Samuel 4, the children of Israel were presumptuous in believing God would be with them simply because of who they were (children of Israel) and the presence of the are of the covenant (which is a symbol of Godâs presence and power.) They thought they could use it as a âgood luck charm,â? even though the nation as a whole was in gross sin, idolatry and immorality. God will not be used. The battle ended as a tragic loss for Israel.
1 Samuel 4:6-10
6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp.
7 And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.
8 Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.
9 Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.
10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.
Are we guilty of that? Do we assumed just because of our status as children of God that He will bless us despite our disobedience to clear commands and holding on to our pet sin?
Did you also notice the intent of the Philistines? They realized that if the Israelites could no longer âseeâ? the presence of the Lord, they would lose courage.
The Lord said it well in Luke 16:8Â
And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
Not too long ago, the Lord brought home to Him a dear Christian lady and precious friend. This was a close to middle aged lady who loved the Lord and her whole family had been serving Him faithfully forÂ several years. At that time,Â I was fighting sin in my life and God used her physical death as a means to get my attention. I got to thinking, lets say this lady was being rebellious (and I am NOT saying that she was!!!!) and God cut her life short because of her rebellion, then who am I that God should not snuff out my physical life nowâ¦ Â
Â We need to take heed! Satan only has a few tricks, but he uses them well.
First, he will try to stop the lost from getting saved.
Having failed that, he will try to stop Godâs children from being effective for the Lord. Satan knows if he can prevent us from seeing the power of the Lord in others lives and seeing and having it in our lives, we will lose courage and not have strength for the battle. Itâs hard to be effective in our service to the Saviour if we canât see Him working in our lives.
Part III of a 3 Part Series – Wake Up and Smell Godâs Flowers!
Here are some general points that I hope will help each one of us to keep our focus right and seeing what we should.
Keep your sin confessed– daily â more if you need to!
Psalms 66:18Â If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
Keep on your Spiritual knees – âPray without ceasing.â?1 Thessalonians 5:17
Keep studying and meditating on the Word of God â Simply reading it is not sufficient! We are commandedÂ to study, memorized, hide in our heart, meditate upon the Word of God. Our Pastor uses the illustration of a cow chewing their cud all day long. This seems apt as we should not only ingest the Word of God, but continue to allow it to work on us and in us throughout the day.Â
Joshua 1:8Â This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
2 Timothy 3:15Â And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
This is a side note, but did you know that kings of Israel were supposed to write out their own copy of the Books of Moses and to read therein daily? (Deut. 17:18-19)
Have a good read in Deut. chapter 11 for some wonderful instruction on dealing with Godâs Word.
Keep a journal of what you gleaned. -Â I suggest that you make a journal of what you gleaned in your Bible reading that day. That is how many of my devotionals and lessons started. Even if you donât make something more out of it, reading it again now and then will be a great blessing and help and it may open your eyes to more wondrous things in the Scriptures.
Keep avoiding the evil and seeking the good:
James 4:17Â Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:22Â Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1 Peter 3:11Â Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
Proverbs 4:14-15Â Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
Psalms 34:10Â The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want (lack) any good thing.
Psalms 34:14Â Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Amos 5:14Â Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
Keep dying daily and putting on the âarmour of God:
1 Corinthians 15:31Â â¦ I die daily.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Let us not only âseek wisdom and pursue itâ? but rather seek and keep our eyes and hearts fixed on the only one who can win our battles! Not so He will fight our battles, but because He owns us and we owe Him everything!
Psalms 119:18Â Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Psalm 57:7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
Psalm 108:1 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
Psalm 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
1 Corinthians 6:20Â For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Godâs.
What do you do when a problem crops up? Run to the telephone to call your Mom, your Pastor, talk to your husband, or maybe go online to tell your cyber friends?
In simpler times, when believers found themselves isolated on the frontier (or even now, missionaries may be in the bush on the foreign field,) they would have no other recourse but to go directly to the Lord.
The advent of the telephone, vehicles, the Internet with e-mail and godly message boards, has provided wonderful resources for the Christian, yet I greatly fear that they have become the “cursed thing” (ie. and idol) as mentioned in Deut. 7:22-26. That may seem harsh, but remember an idol is ANYTHING that takes the place of the Lord, whether a thing or other people.
Of course other Christians are a blessing and a source of encouragement! I am not saying we should never go to other Christians, but our first thought should be to go to the Lord, not another sister in the Lord. There are many examples of this in the Scriptures, but our main source must….MUST come from The Only One truly capable of doing so.
Like many, I tend to be very tight-lipped about my problems. Too often; however, rather than taking my concerns, hurts and problems to the Lord, I internalize them and end up frustrated and even mad or bitter at the person that âmightâ? have done something wrong.
In my own life, more often than not, God himself has sent the encouragement I have needed, without my having to utter a word to another human being. A note. A call. A cyber hug. All done by surprise by someone whom the Lord laid me on their heart. God is soooo good!
Let’s dig in the Lord’s precious Word and see some examples He has left for us.
The Bible tells us that he was a man after God’s own heart who “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6
Here is David, serving the Lord, refusing to harm God’s anointed king yet having to run for his life from the very king he refuses to harm. Now, another enemy has wiped out the town where the families of David and his soldiers had been staying. Not only that, but the enemy had taken the wives and children captive! Now David’s own men wanted to stone him!
Yet, â…David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.â?
How could he do this? As I stated in a personal testimony and study on Depression – It is all in the focus.
A) David focused on the Word of God â David did not have the completed Scriptures, but he was writing them! By reading the psalms, it is abundantly clear that God’s Word was precious to him. I’ve heard over and over how it is better to meditate upon small portions of Scripture rather than read chapter upon chapter, yet never considering what God has said or trying to apply it in our lives. Here are SOME verses in Psalms dealing with the Word of God: 18:30, 33:4 , 33:6, 56:4, 56:10, 105:8, 119:9, 16, 17, 25, 28, 41, 42, 43, 49,50, 58, 65, 67, 74, 76, 81, 82, 89, 101, 105, 107, 114, 116, 123, 133, 140, 147, 148, 154, 158, 160, 161, 162, 169, 170, 172, 130:5, 147:18, 148:8
In Psalms 119 alone, there are 36 verses that of His âwordâ?. This does not take into account any verses dealing with judgments, commandment, or other variants.
These verses in particular caught my attention:
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Psalm 68:11
Are we publishing God’s Word????
Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: Do I believe His Word Psalm 106:24
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Am I hiding God’s Word in your heart??? 119:11
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
– Notice how important God considers His Word â He has exalted it above His own name! Psalms 138:2
B)David focused on the Rock of his salvation â In Psalm 18 alone, David mentions the Lord as his rock (foundation, stabilizing force). Psalms 18:2, 31, 46
C)David focused on his Deliverer from earthly troubles â Psalm 7:2, 18:2, 40:17, 70:5, 144:2
D)David focused on the Lord his shield – Psalm 3:3, 5:12, 18:35, 28:7, 33:20, 35:2, 59:11, 76:3, 84:9, 84:11, 89:18, 91:4, 115:9, 115:10, 115:11, 119:114, 144:2
E)David focused on his Redeemer
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. Psalm 78:35
Do we really focus on Who our Lord really is?
There is so much more that could be written on how David could encourage himself in the Lord, but I’d like to move to a few others in the Scriptures who had the right focus.
2. Hannah: What grief she must have endured in her barrenness and then to have her adversary distress her, yet she went to the Lord. Not even when approached by the man of God did she express any of the details of what she was going through. 1 Samuel 1-2
And Hannah answered and said, … I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I … have poured out my soul before the LORD … out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. 1 Samuel 1:15-16
3. âConsider Job.â? (Job chapters 1 and 2)
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Job 19:25-26
4. Personal Testimony: I am mere flesh and bone. I have my good days and bad days; however, I can truly say that the right focus plays the biggest part in whether I have the joy of the Lord despite the difficulties, or a miserable attitude unless everything goes right.
When needing encouragement, here are a few simple things that I try to remind myself of:
1.Who I am and what I deserve: a sinner deserving of Hell
2.Who I am and what I get: a sinner saved by grace on my way to Heaven
Let’s face it, as long as we live in this flesh, we will go through trials and tribulations, but the question remains: Where do you get your encouragement? What is distracting you from seeking encouragement and support from The Lord God, our Counsellor, our Saviour, our Redeemer, our Comforter, The Prince of Peace….
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Our main source of encouragment must….MUST come from the only one truly capable of doing so.
For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king. Psalms 89:18
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
So the next time you need encouragement, I hope you will first and foremost take it The Counsellor, Comforter, Prince of Peace.
March 15th, 2007
The Heirloom of Salvation
By faith Noah,
being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear,
prepared an ark to the saving of his house;
by the which he condemned the world
and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Do you have a treasured possession/heirloom that was given you by someone dear to your heart? Maybe it was passed down through several generations, or maybe itâs a recent gift, or perhaps you have a sentimental object you hope to pass on to your own children, grandchildren, treasured friendâ¦
A necklace? A photo? A ring? â¦.
Doesnât the mere thought of it invoke precious memories, and by passing it on to someone else, is it not the same goal? There is nothing wrong with keeping mementoes around as reminders. We are forgetful people and those simple objects are an easy way to jog our memories and to help maintain special bonds.
My husband has a beautiful, large, cobalt blue cup that his mother gave him. It is trimmed in gold and emblazoned with the official insignia of his favorite car manufacturer. When she died August 2004, he took it out of common use and placed it on a shelf as a reminder of the precious woman who gave him physical life. The cup isnât really valuable, but the memories it triggers are priceless. I am sure he hopes to pass it on as an heirloom to one of our children some day, and I am sure it will be precious to them too as they love their grandmother.
The Bible has many references to heirs in the physical and spiritual sense, but for the purpose of this lesson, letâs focus on the spiritual applications. As you read, keep the following in mind:
What kind of spiritual heirlooms
do you want to leave behind for your family?
Heirs to the Promise:
And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oathâ¦ Hebrews 6:17
Heirs According to the Hope of Eternal Life:
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:7
Heirs to the Grace of Life:
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1Peter 3:7
Heir of Righteousness:
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Hebrews 11:7
Here is the text that really struck me as I prepared this lesson:
â¦.prepared an ark to the saving of his houseâ¦
Noah spent 120 years focused on one task: Building the ark to save his family from the flood. He endured ridicule from all around him, yet he pressed on, and to quote a familiar saying, we know âthe rest of the storyâ?. Not only did he save his family, but the Bible also says he âheir of the righteousness which is by faith.â?
The Heirloom of Proper Training
It is important to spend some play time with our children, keep a clean house, make sure the schooling is in order, but it is so easy to get so side-tracked on these other things that we sometimes forget the main goal we should be focusing on: that each of our children be âan heir of the righteousness which is by faith.â?
We cannot see our childrenâs heartâs for the certainty of their salvation, but we can put a full effort into making sure they have been taught and trained in the Word of God.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1:8
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: Deuteronomy 11:20
I would love have verses displayed all over the house, but have never been able to invest in frames. Iâm beginning to think that even a piece of paper would do fine, especially since thatâs all they had in OT times anyway. Better some than none! The more we can have Godâs Word before our children, the better.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
The Heirloom of Time
I did not grow up in a Christian home, but my parents did teach me some important truths about families needing to spend time together. We went camping and played lots of games growing up, and when I look back, those special times smooth over some of the very difficult and hurtful times.
As I watch our children grow into their teens now, I know I have not spent as much personal time with them as I should have. I cannot change the past, but I can strive now to do all I can to build precious memories that will become a storehouse of heirlooms to smooth over any of the mistakes I have made along the way. So as I write this, do not let Satan convince you that I have not been through this. I am going through it now, and I struggle daily to get the right balance. It is my hope that I can be a help and encouragement to others struggling with this.
Time in Godâs Service:
As children of God, we are commanded to be witnesses and help draw others to the Saviour. Satan would deceive you into believing that being a stay at home Mom (SAHM) and a soulwinner do not go hand in hand.
Tell me, why not?
Soulwinning time can be the greatest family time you have ever had! Imagine working together to see that bus kid (and family) get saved, or your husbandâs boss, the neighbor, the sweet little old lady or man down the street!
What a glorious spiritual heirloom to leave to our children!
I understand, it is hard to get everyone gathered up for church soulwinning and it doesnât often seem to work, but how about bringing your children grocery shopping instead of leaving them home with Dad? 12 years ago, I would have Sarah (2 yr old) in the cart and would pull the twins stroller. For a few years, I used that to Godâs advantage as I realized something very important: Twins attract attention! So I used that as a witnessing tool too. But then I got tired, lazy, backslidden really, and for several years, did everything I could to go shopping alone to have some âquietâ? time. I hated taking them out as I had had âmy fillâ? of âdraggingâ? wee ones around trying to get groceries done by myself. I realize now how wrong I was and now I love having my girls with me. They are thrilled to be able to hand out Gospel tracts and will now witness as well, even to those whom adults would sometimes cringe at. Iâm saddened by the memories of my eldest, Sarah, begging me as a small child to go hand out tracts, but felt we did not have the time. I had lots of time, but I was being selfish with it. When my precious children are gone, I will have more âquiet timeâ? than I will ever want.
The lesson, in particular the last part, has been a big eye opener to me of some of the areas I was lacking in and, with the Lordâs help, I hope to rectify many errors. I hope it has been a challenge to you as well.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22
I re-itterate the question given:
What kind of spiritual heirlooms do you want to leave behind for your family?
This last thought does not fall into my outline, but I know I canât leave it out.
Are we preparing an ark to the saving of our homes, or are we leaving them out to be swept away by the flood of corruption and ungodliness that this world has to offer?
Angela B. Trenholm
Being confident of this very thing,
that he which hath begun a good work in you
will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
* * * * * * * *
We serve such a gracious and merciful God. So often I am reminded of Lamentations 3:21-23:
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
What would or could I do if it were not for His renewed compassions and mercies! It totally befuddles me as to why God would want to spend time with me. I fail Him, yet He lifts me up from the miry clay and sets my feet upon a rock, and that Rock is Christ!
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalms 40:2
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.1Corinthians 10:4
The following text is one of the greatest I have ever read on God and His attributes as it does an incredible job of summing up so much about Him. It is humbling, yet encouraging. Mind boggling, yet so simple.
Try to top this!
He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End!
He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be…
Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!
He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can’t understand him,
The armies can’t defeat Him,
The schools can’t explain Him, and
The leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him,
The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him, and
The people couldn’t hold Him!
Nero couldn’t crush Him, Hitler couldn’t silence Him,
The New Age can’t replace Him,
and Donahue can’t explain Him away!
He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
His ways are right, His word is eternal,
His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me!
He is my Redeemer, He is my Savior,
He is my Guide, and He is my Peace!
He is my Joy, He is my Comfort,
He is my Lord, and He rules my life!
I serve Him because
His bond is love, His burden is light,
and His goal for me is abundant life.
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise,
the power of the powerful, the ancient of days,
the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders,
the overseer of the overcomers,
and the sovereign Lord of all that was and is and is to come.
And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size:
His goal is a relationship with ME!
He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me,
never forget me, never overlook me,
and never cancel my appointment in His appointment book!
When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home!
He is everything for everybody,
Everywhere, every time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine!
My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world.
So, if you’re wondering why I feel so secure, understand this…
He said it and that settles it.
God is in control, I am on His side, and
that means all is well with my soul.
Everyday is a blessing, for
By – Mike Hilson for Vista Magazine
In the beginning God…
* * * * * * *
After reading this, the main thing that stuck out to me was: His goal is a relationship with ME!
Me? Why me? Why would the Creator of all want to have a relationship with me? As the Bible clearly teaches, itâs not because Iâm anything special or sinless, far from that, but itâs just because of who God is! God chooses to work in my life.
The lessonâs verse:
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6
has been one of my greatest comforts. God is still working on me! God doesnât do a slip shod job! He that began a good work in my life WILL PERFORM IT, will fulfill it, will finish it!!
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:21
This childâs song that many are familiar with really gives a smile.
* * * * * * * *
Heâs Still Working on Me!
He’s still workin’ on me,
To make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be,
He’s still workin’ on me!
There really ought to be a sign upon my heart,
“Don’t judge me yet, there’s an unfinished part.”
But I’ll be perfect, just ac-cording to His plan,
Fashioned by the Master’s loving hand.
In the mirror of His Word, reflections that I see
Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.
He loves me as I am, and helps me when I pray,
Remember He’s the Potter, I’m the clay.
Â© 1980 by Hemphill Music Company/BMI. All rights reserved.
WORDS & MUSIC: Joel Hemphill
* * * * * * * * * *
Have you stumbled in your Christian life and let Satan get you discouraged, thinking God cannot, does not want to use you? Yet…
ââ¦ a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: Proverbs 24:16
If you are Godâ child, He has a special plan and purpose for your life. If you seek Him, He WILL be found and He will reveal His plan to you. Just like the potter molding the clay, God will take you and mold you to make a vessel fit for The Masterâs use.
We may falter, stumble, and even fall flat on our faces, but what a blessing to know that our loving, Heavenly Father is waiting for us to…
â â¦lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.â? Psalms 121:1
…so that He can lift us up again.
Iâll close this lesson off with a song our daughtersâ and I sang a few months back. What a blessing to see Godâs working in our familyâs life. I certainly wasnât singing this kind of song at their age! Praise His Holy Name! We are a work in progress!
Vessels Unto Honour
In a great house, there are vessels
Some of wood and some of clay
There are great ones and small ones
You can choose the ones you may.
Some for service, some for beauty,
Others bear refreshing wine.
Lord I care not how you use me,
Please just hear this prayer of mine.
Make me a vessel unto honour
The fame of this world, I refuse
Sanctify me, cleanse me and fill me
Meet for the Masterâs own use.
Lord, my vessel is empty
It is purged from dross and sin
By your precious blood on Calvary,
It has cleansed me now within.
Thoâ unworthy for Your service,
Yet Your grace is mine today.
So I offer You my vessel
For your use and this I pray.
Make me a vessel unto honour
The fame of this world, I refuse
Sanctify me, cleanse me and fill me
Yes Iâll me meet, for the Masterâs own use.
Words and Music by Julia Montoro
Arr. By Rachel Walker
Available through The Marshall Family
May 1st, 2006
This is based on what the Lord gave me in my personal devotion time on April 11th, 2007. If you are not familiar with this story, please readÂ II Samuel 13-14 before proceeding.
What kind of friend do I want to be? Let’s look at some examples in the Word of God:
1. The Wrong Kind of Friend:
The story of Amnon, Absalom, their sister Tamar, Jonadab, and King David is a very sad one. Jonadab is not the kind of friend that will help anyone draw nigh to the Lord.
A. Let’s look at what Jonadab did:
1. He saw Amnon, someone who considered him to be a friend, vexed â basically beside himself so he asked what the problem was.
2. When he found out Amnon was lusting for Amnon’s own sister Tamar, Jonadab encouraged him to follow a sinful path that would lead him to deceive his own father, King David, and to either commit fornication with Tamar or to rape her.
B. Let’s look at what Jonadab should he have done:
1. Upon Seeing Amnon’ state, ask him what was wrong.
2. When he found out, he should have caringly yet sternly rebuked him for his sin.
Open rebuke is better than secret love. Proverbs 27:5
C. What Kind of Friend Should we be Avoiding?
If you have anyone, regardless if they are brethren, encouraging you to do any of the following, stay clear from them! This is a perfect case of the old adage âWith a friend like that, who needs enemies!â?
1. Leading you to do wrong: Matthew 18:6, Proverbs 1:10
2. Does that which God hates: Proverbs 6:12-19
Â Â Â Â a. Proud look
Â Â Â Â b. A lying tongue
Â Â Â Â c. Hands that shed innocent blood
Â Â Â Â d. A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations
Â Â Â Â Â e. Feet that be swift in runing to mischief
Â Â Â Â Â f. A false witness that speaketh lies
Â Â Â Â Â g. Sower of discord amonth the brethren
3. Does not follow the way of those who âdelight is in the law of the Lord.â? Psalm 1
4. The froward ( distorted false, crooked, perverse) person: Proverbs: 2:12, 15, 3:32, 4:24, 6:12, 8:8, 13, 10:31, 11:20, 16:28, 30, 17:20, 21:8, 22:5. Psalms 18:26, 101:4
Â This verse in particular stuck out to me:
A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. Proverbs 16:28Â Â
5. Is determined to be a carnal believer in following the lust of the flesh: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Galatians 5:19-21
This list could easily be added to, but there’s enough there for anyone to get the gist of whom it would be wise to avoid.
Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. Proverbs 4:14-15Â
2. The Right Kind of Friend
A. Let’s contrast this why the friendship between David and Jonathan, King Saul’s son, as described in I Samuel chapters 18-23.
After killing Goliath, David became a great man in Israel and became the best friend of Jonathan, King Saul’s son. However, Saul became jealous of David’s popularity and feared David would take the kingdom from him so he commanded to his servants and even to Jonathan that they should kill David. Jonathan remained faithful to David and secretly warned him of Saul’s plot and then proceeded toÂ intercede for him to his father. This worked for a time, but time and again, Saul sought David’s life, and time and again, Jonathan’s friendship remained firm as he determined to protect.
Their friendship was so strong they made aÂ covenant before the Lord in 1 Samuel 20:16-17 and re-affirmed it several other times. It also superseded earthly prestige. The Bible makes it clear that even though Jonathan was the King’s son, he knew David would be the next king of Israel and was willing to step aside and stand at David’s side as his servant.
Notice a very important sentence in I Samuel 23:16.Â It sums up everything about Jonathan and David’s friendship:
And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.Â I Samuel 23:16
The following verses all deal with their friendship in relation to the Lord:Â I Samuel 20:3, 12, 20, 16, 42,Â 23:16, 18. That is why their friendship was so strong. God first and everything else working in God’s plan.
B. What kind of friends should we be seeking?
1.Leads you to do that which is right. Hebrews 10:24
2.Does that which God loves: Proverbs 15:9, 22:11
3.â…his delight is in the law of the Lord.â? Psalm 1
4.Seeks after righteousness â there are so many verses in Psalms and Proverbs alone that I suggest doing a search, but this sums it up: The person who is striving to do learn and apply God’s Word.
5.Is determined to follow the fruit of the spirit:
“….love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.Â If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26Â
3. Here’s some questions I’ve been asking myself:
1. What kind of friends do I have and what does that say about me?
A. Whom I choose as my friends will affect my testimony. One of our Pastor’s favorite sayings isâ? If you’re going to play in the devil’s sandbox, you’re going to get some of his fleas.â?
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 1 Corinthians 15:33
B. Or an old adage: âBirds of a feather flock together.â? I was pretty sure there is a Scriptural reference to that effect, but I couldn’t find it at this time. Those who are likeminded will seek each other out.
2. What kind of friend am I?
A. The following verse is saying that in order to have friends, I must be friendly. Am I friendly? Do I really put an effort into being friendly to church folk (my family in Christ) and other visitors.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24Â
B. Then, there’s a very special kind of friend that âsticketh closer than a brother.â? There’s a verse in the New Testament that goes even further than this:
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13Â
Do I let my friends know in word and deed that I am there for them? Am willing to be a help wether in quiet reassurance, a shoulder to cry on, or hands ready for work?
C. What does my behavior provoke in others? Do I inspire others to do right or wrong?
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Hebrews 10:24Â
D. When someone comes to me with sorrows, do I like Job’s friends jump all over them, or do I give them a big hug and try to encourage them to focus on the Lord?
I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all. Job 16:2Â
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved… but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6Â
And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. 1 Samuel 23:16Â
E. When someone does an imitation of the children of Israel by murmuring and complaining, (something God hates and for which He sent judgment upon Israel â Exodus 16:7-9, 12, Numbers 14:27, 17:5, 17:10,Â Philipians 2:14-15,Â I Corinthians 10:10, Jude 1:16), do I join them in their wallowing in the mire or do I lovingly yet sharply rebuke them and help them clear their vision to see the one who controls all?
F. Or when a friend is headed into sin or is in the midst of it, do I do right by them?
Open rebuke is better than secret love. Proverbs 27:5Â
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. James 5:20
3.What kind of friend do I want to be?
Let each one of us answer that…..