Thursday, December 31, 2009
May it be said that we proclaimed that God is our salvation; We trusted in Him and were not afraid: For the LORD Jehovah is our strength and our song. He has become our salvation. Therefore, with joy we will draw water out of the wells of salvation. We have been saved from circumstances and failures over the past year that we do not realize. Only in eternity will we begin to comprehend how much He loved, protected, gave and forgave us over this last year.
On this last day of 2009, a year we will never to be relived by us, and on each day of the coming year may we done and continue to proclaim ~
I will praise the LORD and call upon His Name. I will declare His doings among the people, whether they are saved or unsaved, whether believers or agnostics. May we make mention that His Name is exalted in all of the earth.
Sing unto the LORD for He has done great things for us! Make this known in all of the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for Great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee! ( Isaiah 12:1-6)
HAPPY NEW YEAR, ONE AND ALL!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
When Adam and Eve sinned and fell under the dominion of Satan, God promised to redeem the earth through one He called "the seed of the woman" (Genesis 3:15). Eve had two sons. Satan obviously thought that the promised seed was Abel. Thus he influenced Cain to kill him (Genesis 4). As long as Satan could seduce sinners and kill the righteous, he could maintain control over the earth.
Then God gave to Eve another son/seed to replace Abel. His name was Seth (Genesis 4:25). The battle to get the promised seed into the world had begun.
From among Seth's children came Abraham. God made a covenant with him that the promised seed would come through his descendants. This seed of Abraham would be given ownership over planet earth (Genesis 12:7, 13:15, 15:18, 17:8); and through him all the nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:3; 22:18).
This seed promise was passed on to Isaac and then Jacob - both for possessing the earth (Genesis 24:7; 26:3; 28:4; 28:14; 35:12) and for blessing the nations (Genesis 26:4; 28:14).
The redemption of the earth and of the human race were passed on to this seed by covenant. Thus Abraham and his descendants had to protect both the seed and the covenant. If not, planet earth and the human race would perish.
Abraham had to separate Ishmael from Isaac; not because Isaac was better than Ishmael, but because of the marriage covenant between Abraham and Sarah. God could bless Ishmael, but the covenant had to be maintained through Isaac.
Abraham and Isaac both made tragic mistakes in giving their wives to other men, which endangered both the seed and the covenant. God had to intervene miraculously to rescue the seed, even at the risk of killing an innocent tribe (Genesis 12:10-20; 20:1-9; 26:7-11).
Esau made the mistake of selling his birthright – including the right to bear the seed of promise (Genesis 25). From that moment on, God had to respect the covenant right of Jacob, even though Esau was the older brother.
When Jacob married Leah, the covenant passed to her sons, even though Jacob loved Rachel more, and even though Jacob was married to Leah through deceit. Leah's first son, Reuben, lost his right because of sexual immorality. Shimon and Levy, the second and third sons, lost their right because of violence. Thus the covenant passed to Judah, the fourth son, who confirmed it the moment he offered his life to save Benjamin (Genesis 44:33).
The covenant seed was threatened by Dinah's involvement with Hamor. This resulted in the tragic murder of the Shechem tribe, which was a great sin on the one hand, yet preserved the seed lineage on the other hand (Genesis 34).
Judah almost ruined the covenant seed by his marriage to Bat Shuah, the Canaanite. The plan of redemption was rescued by Tamar, even though she had to "play the harlot" to do so (Genesis 38:26). The seed then passed to Peretz, who broke through (paratz) over his twin brother Zerah to gain the position of first born.
By the time of Moses, the descendants of Abraham had become so large in number that Satan couldn't figure out whom to try to kill. So he came up with the strategy to throw all the Hebrew male children into the river (Exodus 1).
The same satanic tactic to murder the Jewish people can be seen in Haman's attempt to kill the Jews in the book of Esther, in the murder of the innocents by Herod (Matthew 2:16-17), in Hitler's genocide by the Nazis, and in the modern efforts of Islamic Jihad. There is a spiritual connection between Haman and Ahmadinejad, who both served as head of government in Iran (Persia).
The laws of marital purity in the book of Leviticus served to protect the seed of the coming Messiah. Circumcision was a sign of the covenant destiny to preserve the seed of promise.
The seed was almost destroyed by the adultery of the Moabite women through the instruction of Balaam (Numbers 25:1), yet was later saved by Ruth, a righteous Moabite woman. Ruth became the bearer of the seed through Boaz. From Boaz came Obed, Jesse, and David (Ruth 4:21-22).
David received the seed promise from God through covenant (II Samuel 7:14), yet almost ruined the promise by his adultery with Bat Sheva. The son of that adultery died (II Samuel 12). Yet David's repentance restored the covenant. Solomon, David's next son through Bat Sheva, became the heir of the seed promise.
The evil Athaliah killed almost all of the royal seed, but the godly Yehosheva managed to rescue the last remaining son, Joash, from her hands (II Kings 11:1-2).
Ezra fought to preserve the promised seed from immorality and intermarriage (Ezra 9:2; 9:8; Nehemiah 9:2).
Throughout biblical history, there were attacks of murder on one side and sexual immorality on the other. If the seed had been destroyed, then God's plan of redemption would have been foiled. At the heart of the new covenant is found the promise that the Jewish people must be preserved, lest the creation itself be destroyed (Jeremiah 31:31-36; 33:20-22).
The first chapter of the New Testament traces the preservation of the seed of promise from Abraham through David unto Yeshua (Jesus). Orthodox Jewish women today, still waiting for the coming of Messiah, desire to have as many male children as possible, in the hopes that one of them might be the Messiah.
In many ways, the hopes of all Jewish women were fulfilled two thousand years ago, when Miriam (Mary), a young virgin of the house of David, gave birth in a manger outside Bethlehem. While we don't know the exact date, and while the commercialization of Christmas has become an anathema, the birth of the Messiah should be one of the greatest of all Jewish holidays. On that day our people fulfilled our covenant destiny to preserve the seed of redemption on behalf of the human race.
Back to Articles 2009Please PRAY for our ongoing ministry in Israel of indigenous evangelism, planting Messianic congregations, the discipleship training center, prophetic praise and prayer watches in Hebrew, and financial aid for the needy.
Consider the angel's proclamation in this context. Shortly thereafter, when the wise men were warned of God in a dream to not return to king Herod to report the child's birthplace, Herod had all male children murdered in an effort to kill the promised King of Israel.
Not a very peaceful prospect? What of the angel's words - peace on earth, goodwill to men? Quite a statement considering the events of the wicked king Herod! The Christ and both of His parents also had to flee to Egypt until king Herod had eventually died.
Is this not unlike our walk with Christ many times? Events contrary to the promises seem to happen. There are seasons when all seems to spin out of control in complete opposition to our prayers. This happens so that evil can be exposed. The exercise strengthens our faith and exposes all unbelief deeply hidden in our hearts. God gives His enemies ample time for repentance. All through this process our faith grows deeper. Just as a tree that has never been through a storm has shallow roots those that have been repeatedly buffeted through the years are the ones that were used for hundreds of years for ships built to cross over the oceans to settle the New World.
Our storms prepare us for the passage to our New World! We are citizens of another nation; an heavenly one. Regarding the words of this angel 2000 years ago, there is peace available for those who are in Jesus. It is our duty to appropriate this peace. We have to pursue it, desire it, seek after it.
The Word tells us to buy of Him gold purified in the fires. It is ours for the taking. This peace is not the stupor or the numb peace of the world but an inner knowing that God truly has everything under control. He is our Father. One day soon He will also accomplish His desire of the ages; the tabernacle of God will once and for all be with mankind in the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven to rest on planet earth for the ages of eternity.
I cannot imagine such a thought! It is amazing enough to think of seeing Christ in our new glorified body like His, but to live in a city where the Father resides! What a Christmas thought for 2009. We are even now a new creation because of the God child taking to form of mankind; bearing our sin and iniquity on His holy body so that we could partake of His glory!
Jesus endured the pain of the cross for the joy that was set before Him. We must continue to do the same! It will be worth it all when we finally see Jesus!
Merry Christmas, may His peace reside in our hearts and minds right now, and for the entire new year of 2010! Look up, our redemption draws near!
Monday, December 14, 2009
" O LORD, how great are Thy works! and Thy thoughts are very deep.
A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this."
I am realizing how important it is to pay attention to the way God does things. He does not change; He is the same from the beginning to the end. Yes, His mercies are renewed with the dawn of each day; much to our survival and benefit!
This Psalm speaks of those who do not know or pay attention as being brutish. The Hebrew interpretation of this word means to consume, to waste or burn, or to eat up. I have been guilty of this quite a few times in my life. The blessings of God to me are eaten up and consumed without my acknowledgement of where they came from. I must become much more sensitive to the works and ways of God. King David noticed, he paid attention to God's ways.
The verse also speaks of fools that do not recognize the works of God. This word means stupid silly people do not pay attention. Like the brutish, they consume and eat up what God gives and does, then they just wait for more and more. What a way to spend one's life; to be totally occupied with just eating up the works of the LORD, without acknowledging His ways; and then just waiting for more to consume!
Man is truly born in sin and selfishness! My prayer after examining these two verses is "LORD, make me sensitive to Thy works and Thy ways." God said that He would be found by those who search for Him with all of their heart. This absolutely excludes those who are brutish and foolish. There is no understanding of God in their actions or heart.
For example, this past week I did something I knew I should not have done. It was not gross sin but something not becoming of a Believer in Christ. Shortly thereafter, I lost the Presence that is with me most of the time. I knew that I grieved the LORD and He removed Himself for several days. I am not saying that I was lost for those days; I am saying that the close communion, the constant Presence that is available was distant and not so readily available. There was a sense in my spirit that I had done something that was not pleasing.
Although I repented with prayer, tears and crying, He stayed away for a season. For me, this is one of His ways. I must understand this and apply this fact the next time I feel a check in my spirit not to do something, ask for strength to resist the enemy, and battle through the circumstance. The season of feeling like I was "on my own" was brief. He was with me but we were not in close communion. I still praised Him in prayer and song, but I knew He was displeased. In His great, unmeasurable mercies He finally accepted my petitions, forgave, and returned in the measure of my repentance.
When we err, as we will, repent immediately. Do not get discouraged if He stays aloft for a season, a very short season, but it is very noticeable and very troublesome. Keep praying, praising and He will return in His fullness as only He can.
As the Psalmist says, " How great are Thy works (and His ways), Thy thoughts are very deep. " Do not be brutish and foolish concerning His works and His ways. Pay attention to what brings Him closer to our spirit and the things that cause a distance.
There is nothing more fearful and troublesome than for the Presence of God to be removed from one whose very life depends upon Him for their very survival; and we fall into that catagory. The battles will intensify as He prepares to return and set up His Kingdom. The enemy knows the time is short and he is pulling out all of the stops to try to make us fail and lose faith in our Saviour.
Do not lose heart! If we draw near to Him, He promised that He would draw near to us. Stay in His presence through song, prayer, repentance and praise.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I base my thoughts today on Galatians 3:29 which were written by a man who called himself a Pharisee of the Pharisee's; the Apostle Paul. He said, " And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
While reading over the list of promises and applying them to my life of 55 years, I am amazed at how they have come to fruition throughout my life. Each Believer can read down this list and apply the fulfilled promises to your life also.
Here are just a few:
* I will show you the land (Genesis 12:1)
I have seen the land. I went to Israel years ago and walked throughout the land from the border of Lebanon to Jerusalem and beyond. We each have seen the "land" wherever we may be. It is a land that had to be conquered with the help of the Almighty. Each of us have faced giants and enemies in our lives; the land has proven to be a fruitful land as we have each yielded and depended upon God to help us fight our battles. Some battles He has declared that the battle is His; He brought us through to victory.
* I will make of you a great nation (Genesis 12:2) - and in you all of the nations of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3 - 22:18)
These promises apply to all who have given to missions either here or abroad. There are many nations that have been blessed through our support by hearing of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and our God!)
* I will make you fruitful Genesis 17:20
How much more fruitful can we be than to exhibit grace, forgiveness, mercy, salvation and the other attributes of the Spirit of God that lives in us? This is not only fruit to those we meet on a daily basis; it is eternal fruit that we will see only when we get to Heaven. God keeps track; He has good record keepers!
* Your seed ( us ) will be victors over their enemies (Genesis 22:17)
We all know who our ultimate enemy is; we fight with his forces daily. What the enemy means for harm throughout these struggles work out the graces of God and strengthen our spiritual muscle which follow us into eternity. There will be no spiritual midgets in heaven. We have victory over lust, debt, anger, faithlessness, and other issues through the price that Christ paid for us on the cross. Our victories are through Him.
* I will bring your seed out of bondage (Genesis 15: 14-16)
The bondage of sin and shame, guilt and unbelief have been conquered through our salvation and faith in Christ Jesus. We have been set free through the blood of the Lamb!
* I AM your shield (Genesis 15:1 - I AM your great reward (Genesis 15:1)
He who watches over Israel (both physical and spiritual) never slumbers or sleeps! (Psalm 121)
* I will make your name great ( Genesis Genesis 12:2)
What could possibly be greater than being a child of the living God!
* He will punish our oppressor's (Genesis 15:14) - He will curse those who curse us (Genesis 12:3)
This is where the teachings of Christ are applied in our lives. His graces working out in our everyday life. Do we intercede for those who oppress us? Do we love and pray "Father forgive them" as Christ did? This is true maturity in Christ. A daily battle; one of our enemies to fight and gain the victory over as we live on this planet growing darker in sin. As the days progress to His glorious coming, this will be a daily battle. The victory only come as we stay in Him.
* I will not destroy Sodom if I find 50,40,30,20 or 10 righteous ( Genesis 18:26-32)
We will not know until the day of judgment just how many have come into the Kingdom of God as a result of our prayers and intercession. Abraham was a man of intercession and so are we when we lift up the lost and dying. We have boldness to enter into the throne of grace to lift up our friends, relatives, coworkers and neighbors. Our prayers carry great weight as we pray through Christ for the lost. The effectual fervent prayers of a righteous person carries much weight with God, just as Abraham did.
* I will bless your seed with great material substance (Genesis 15:14)
Compared with most of the world, Believers in our nation are truly blessed. What do we do with this blessing? This is where the test comes; do we give to the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in jail. A jail can be an addiction, a broken home, a widow or child in distress. The nations are blessed by our giving of our blessings from God.
* I will make you exceedingly fruitful (Genesis 17:6 ) - I will be a God to you and your seed (Genesis 17:7) - I will multiply you exceedingly (Genesis 17:2 and Genesis 22:17)
Abraham's seed has truly been multiplied. God has been faithful to His promises for 4000 years. His fruitfulness has multiplied until the number has truly become as the stars of the heavens (Genesis 15:5 and Genesis 22:7) and the sand of the sea (Genesis 22:17)
God has truly made a covenant with each of us, Abraham's seed, for eternity! (Genesis 17:7)
We can truly cry ~
" Now unto the King eternal,
the only wise God,
be honor and glory
forever and ever.
(I Timothy 1:17)
Sunday, December 6, 2009
The root meaning of Eliphaz is "god of gold". This implies this person worshipped the god of success, wealth and material things. These three told Job nothing bad would have happened unless there was some sin in his past. Eliphaz was also a descendant of Esau, whom God hated.
Bildad means to bow down; to sink into a pit or ditch. This fellow must have had a very negative outlook on life. The last of Job's comforters mentioned was Zophar. This name means to skip about, to depart early. It infers this type person stays until the going gets rough. They skip about to whatever new is happening.
What did God think of these three comforters? Job 38:1,2 God says "WHO IS THIS that darkens counsel by words without knowledge"? All three men, whose name means ones who worship the god of wealth, those who depress or have a negative outlook and those who stick around until the going gets difficult were guilty of speaking about God in an improper manner.
These three are blessed that they had a friend in Job. A man of integrity, mercy and forgiveness. Job willingly admitted his failure to God in understanding his trial. If not for Job, his three friends may not have survived their encounter with the Almighty. God told the three in Job 42: 7-9 that His wrath was kindled against them~ they spoke things and give opinions that were incorrect.
God demanded of the three to take bullocks and rams, go to Job and offer up for themselves a burnt offering. If Job prayed for them, He would forgive them. If Job would not in infers that God would deal with the three according to their folly.
Job's friends did as they were told. The grace of Job saved them. Verse 10 says " the LORD turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends." The LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before the calamities struck.
Do we have the spirit of Job? When friends bring comfort, advice, or opinion to our table that may not be correct do we intercede on their behalf, no matter what they say? Do we have the fruit of the Spirit, " The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance...? (Galatians 5:22)
If these gifts are absent do I still claim to have the Spirit of God operating freely in my life? How can this be? Am I quick to judge and condemn? If Job were of such a spirit his friends would have probably been removed from the earth for their error. His intercession on their behalf resulted in their being saved and it brought Job great blessing.
King David said the LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. (Psalm 103:8) Am I? If not I need to examine what spirit controls my actions. Perhaps, If God does not bring many to me it is because He knows what spirit I am of? God trusted Job. He had confidence of the end result of Job's great trial. Does He have confidence in me?
I could possibly excuse myself from these requirements of grace by saying I live in the last of days - the spirit of darkness is growing - I am surrounded by wickedness on every side - so I am excused. No, never excused!
No one was more beaten, persecuted, tormented or under more stress than the Apostle Paul. In his writings to the church at Corinth he says, "I, Paul, myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ...." (2 Corinthians 10).
Paul living in meekness and gentleness. Job going through trials the likes of which none of us will ever see, yet, interceding for his friends who were in error. Christ being perfect and without sin, yet, dying for the sins of the world. What Spirit am I of? I must examine myself daily.
Time is short. Multitudes are in the valley of decision. Their decision may be a direct result of how I live, witness, intercede and pray. Walk humbly before God. May the fruit of the Spirit of Christ, and no other spirit, rule and reign in our hearts and minds, daily.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
©November 29, 2009 Asher Intrater
Over the past couple of years the Holy Spirit has been impressing on my heart this mandate: "Prepare the Church for the Second Coming of Yeshua (Jesus)." This impression has come particularly in the context of using international media to teach on the issues of Israel, the Church, and the End Times.
[By the "Church" here I do not refer to any Christian religious institution; but to the grass roots, international community of true born again, Spirit-filled believers. This group is referred to as the "Body of Messiah" and as the "Bride of Messiah."]
Revelation 19:7-8 – The marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.
Luke 1:17 – …go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Because Yeshua will come back to Jerusalem, there will be ever increasing spiritual conflict in the end times concerning Israel. So this mandate could also be phrased, "Prepare the Church to stand with Israel in the end times." Just as with Queen Esther, the Church will be tested to stand with the Jewish people against Jihad and anti-Semitism. She will "come to the kingdom for such a time as this (Esther 4:14)."
What spiritual qualities does the Church need to be ready for the Second Coming?
Purity – Since Yeshua is coming for a pure and spotless bride, the people of God must walk in holiness and hold uncompromisingly to the truth of the word of God.
Glory – As we experience intimacy with God through Yeshua the Messiah, His eternal glory and power will flow into us and through us more and more.
Spiritual Warfare – Since there will be great wars and tribulations leading up to the 2nd Coming, the body of Messiah must be ready to do our part in prayer and prophecy, as well as practical measures, and be sealed with the protection of the Holy Spirit (Revelation 7:3).
Covenant – Biblical faith is not academic or philosophical alone. It is covenantal. Covenant is a two-way eternal divine contract between God and man that demands us to walk in integrity and loyalty.
Taking the Land – Yeshua is coming back to reclaim the earth and to throw the devil off the planet. As the people of Israel conquered the land of Israel in the time of Joshua, so will the international Church take possession of planet earth at the 2nd Coming of Jesus.
Government – Those who rise in the first resurrection will rule and reign with Yeshua for a thousand years. Now is the time for us to be developing the character qualities of judgment, authority, discernment, and government so that we will be able to rule with Him.
Unified in love – As we love Him more, we will love all those whom He loves. Love leads us to reconciliation; reconciliation to relationship; relationship to cooperation; cooperation to world evangelism and revival.
In the 73rd Psalm, the psalmist Asaph expressed a struggle we all might feel at times. He questioned why the wicked seem to prosper while the righteous are chastened. The whole idea was troublesome until he entered the sanctuary of God. Once in the presence of God, Asaph realized his error. As he compared himself to the unbeliever, he saw that, apart from the influence of God, he had nothing in which to boast. He said, "When my heart was embittered and I was pierced with-in, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast be-fore You" (vv. 21-22).
Finally, his soul brightened as he considered that God alone was his salvation, and his relationship with God was his strength. He wrote, "Nevertheless I am continually with You … You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth … God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (vv. 23-26).
The summary thought of Asaph's revelation, and the point of this chapter, is in verse 28. He wrote, "But as for me, the nearness of God is my good."
Let's settle this truth once and for all: It is the nearness of God that produces our good. Christianity was never designed by God to be sustained by nice people trying to appear good. We're not that good. We're not that clever. And we're not that nice. The only thing that can sustain true Christianity is true union with Jesus Christ. It is nearness to Him in all things that produces our spiritual fruit.
If we are honest, we will admit that, apart from the influence and work of God, there is nothing morally superior or remarkably virtuous about our lives. Our flesh has the same carnal passions as do people in the world; our soul carries within it the same insecurities and fears. Thus, apart from the influence of Christ in us, there's no difference between Christians and non-Christians (except that Christians, when living separate from God's presence, can be more obnoxious). It's only our relationship with the Lord that keeps us from fulfilling the lusts and desires of the flesh, for apart from Him we can do nothing ( John 15:5).
Therefore, the strength of our walk does not originate from within ourselves; rather it comes from our relationship with Christ. Our virtue, if it can be defined as such, is that we have learned to prioritize seeking God; our character is the offspring of our oneness with Jesus. By this I mean, Jesus is not only first on our list of priorities; His influence rules over all our priorities. He inspires love in our relationships; His voice becomes the conviction in our integrity. God has made "Christ Jesus" to be to us "wisdom … and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30).
Thus, the God-seeker desires to find the Lord's pleasure drawn to every aspect of his soul. He also knows that, should an area of his heart exist in isolation from God, he will remain vulnerable to manipulation by the enemy in that area. So let me underscore the psalmist's truth, and let us say with our own voice of conviction: it is the nearness of our God that is our good.
Oh God, You are the lover of my soul. Faithfully, have You extended Your hands toward me. Yet, I have been, at times, a drifter and distant. Master, this day I acknowledge my most wonderful times are those spent close to You. When my heart is near to You, I am partaking of the nectar of life.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
As such, what are our attributes; how are we identified as being His representatives? Matthew 5 through 7 give an all encompassing picture.
We must be poor in spirit; not consumed with ourselves, arrogant, heady or head strong. Even though we mourn at times, we know we will be comforted. We are blessed when we are meek, not proud. Although we are poor in heart we are confident that we will see God in the near future.
As peacemakers we are called children of God. We do not seek confrontation, arguments, or turmoil; we live in a kingdom where He gives peace. Not the peace of the world which is temporal, but eternal peace that is available to us now. When reviled, persecuted and spoken evil of for Christ's sake, and we will be, we obtain the kingdom of heaven; even now.
We always hunger and thirst after righteousness (our desire is to do what is right). We tend to be merciful because we know that mercy has been shown to us by Him. As His ambassadors we are lights shining in great darkness; a city on a hill that cannot be overthrown. We are the salt of the earth; preserving what remains of righteousness. The enemy cannot ruin our savor as we stay continually in Him.
All of our good works bring glory to the Father. Regarding the Law, our Saviour met all of the requirements of the Law on our behalf. Therefore, no matter what the enemy says to our mind, there IS NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. That is the key-stay in Christ Jesus.
As we display His kingdom attributes others will follow; they see Christ in us. As we lead, instruct and pray for those drawn to Him through our witness we become great in the Kingdom of God. One lost soul won for God, in His eyes, is worth the weight of the entire world. Do not get discouraged if only one comes; in God's eyes this is of great, eternal value.
We strive to treat others with kindness and gentleness; for so did Christ when He was here among us. This can only happen as we yield to the Spirit of Christ working in us. Do not hold grudges. Have a clean pure heart. As the priests in the time of the Temple worship in the days of old, we must cleanse ourselves daily through the washing of the Word, prayer and praise. The LORD inhabits the praise of His people. Need more of Him? Praise Him more!
Psalm 50:23 " Who so offereth praise glorifieth Me; and to Him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God."
Psalm 100:4 " Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless his name."
Do I want to know God as well as King David did? Look at what David wrote ~
Psalm 119:164 " Seven times a day do I praise Thee because of Thy righteous judgments." And Psalm 35:28 " My tongue shall speak of Thy righteousness and of Thy praise all the day long!"
Sure signs of His ambassador's are their willingness to pray for their enemies. They give willingly expecting nothing in return. They do good to those who hate them. Thus, we truly belong to our Father in Heaven. Christ is our example. Even God sends His good rain on both the just and unjust.
Do not give to be seen by others; give where there is need without thought of repayment. Our reward is in the heavens. Have a place of prayer, a closet, a room, a place in park or wood; Jesus disappeared often to be alone with the Father. And Jesus was God!
Pray as Christ instructed; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done. Not only to come at some future date, but Thy Kingdom come now! The phrase in the Greek for Thy Kingdom come means to appear, to enter, NOW. Thy will be done, NOW, in my actions and in my situation.
We forgive freely, as we have been forgiven. We show mercy to others and will be shown mercy in the same degree by our Father. We lay up treasure in Heaven. Where our treasure is, so is our heart. We keep our eye single, clear, focused. Like a horse with blinders on, we are not distracted by our surroundings. We keep our eyes on Christ.
Do not fret over our life. We are in His hands. He holds our very breath in His hand. Do not fret over food, shelter or clothing. The One who feeds the little birds and clothes the grasses and flowers knows how to feed, shelter and cloth His children.
Seek the Kingdom of God first and foremost. The Father knows what we need today, tomorrow and ten years from now if Jesus tarries a little while longer. Tomorrow will take care of itself. He controls all things; stay in Him.
The Kingdom of Heaven is within you! (Luke 17:21) It is in the here an now! Christ's Kingdom is not of this world, yet, His spiritual Kingdom is here and now in us. There is great authority available to us, in the now. Mountains of deceit, unbelief and sickness have to be moved. Satan has to flee as we speak in the name and authority of the One we represent. The measure we have of Christ is in the measure which we yield to Him and His Spirit.
He promises, Ask, and it shall be given unto you. Everyone that asks, receives. Every one that seeks, finds. Obeying and living by these commands is a straight gate. It is not wide and broad. But ours is a gate of great reward and great effect to advancing His Kingdom. Bare good fruit. When He trims and prunes the unfruitful branches, and there will be some, yield to His pruning. It is for our own good. We are known by the fruit we bare.
In closing, when I was traveling with the government in a previous job, we stayed in constant contact with our points of contact in Washington DC. Every event, every stop, every question was communicated between the two parties. Although thousands of miles away, we were always in touch to receive instruction. Prayer works the same way. Our line of communication with the Kingdom of God is through prayer and His word.
Keep the lines of communication clear and open. Just as I was not a citizen of the nation's in which I was traveling, we are not citizens of this world but of a Kingdom above. Do not lose touch!
Keep the line of communication clear and open.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I feel that enough scripture has been given, revealed and opened to Believers that we can have great confidence that each and every promise is ours for the taking. How do we apply His promises? Do we only ask for answers to our prayers and claim what He has said is ours during times of trial and tribulation? Do we go the temple to offer daily sacrifices of praise, thanksgiving and to make our requests known before His throne?
Deep down in our spirit, do we just have a concept, or platitude when we repeat His promises back to Him in prayer, thought or words? A platitude is a trite or banal remark or statement. Have His promises of deliverance, peace and joy in tribulation really sunk down deep into our heart, no matter the present trial?
This morning I am still fighting a very stubborn chest cold and congestion. I fought through this thing for several weeks and it still lingers. In my morning routine, I walked with my retriever (more resembling a small horse!) and threw his stick for him; perhaps a dozen times! I did not have too much energy and I was praying that God would give me the energy to go to work and perform my duties in a proper manner. I knew that I did not have it in myself to gather the energy to go to a building with over 1,700 teenagers to clean up after the daily hurricane they cause.
As only the Holy Spirit can, He brought a song of the past into my spirit and it gave great strength; in the midst of feeling sluggish and tired. My spirit began to come alive inside of this tired body and great hope, strength and joy came to my soul. Only He can do this! I could not "work it up" on my own. The song was written in the 1800's and as I sang the chorus over and over again sweet memories of those who have gone before us to the heavens sitting in the pew in churches of years gone by entered my mind.
This is not a concept; nor a platitude. This is the Spirit of God giving strength in times of need. The words to this beautiful hymn of the church give a beautiful picture of what our mindset must be in both good times and difficulties.
JESUS I COME TO THEE
Out of my bondage, sorrow and night-
Jesus I come, Jesus I come,
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light-
Jesus I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health-
Out of my want and into Thy wealth;
Out of my sin and into Thyself-
Jesus I come to Thee.
Out of my shameful failures and loss;
Jesus I come, Jesus I come-
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus I come to Thee;
Out of earths sorrows, into Thy balm,
Out of life's storms and into Thy calm;
Out of distress to jubilant psalm;
Jesus I come to Thee.
Out of unrest and arrogant pride-
Jesus I come, Jesus I come;
Into Thy blessed will to abide
Jesus I come to Thee;
Out of myself, to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into rapture above,
upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus I come to Thee.
Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus I come, Jesus I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus I come to Thee;
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus I come to Thee.
May the God of all peace, joy and love rule and reign in our hearts and minds; through Christ Jesus - Not a Concept - Not a Platitude - But a REALITY for those that are His! We are drinking at the springs of living water, no matter the circumstance, trial or victory!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Metal is tested by engineers in proportion for what it is going to be used for. Metal used for paperclips will not pass the test of metal used for a building supports. or a suspension bridge. I feel the spiritual world is similar. The physical world in which we move, live and have our being is only a mirror of the eternal. Our lot and position in eternity may very well be in proportion to our success during our times of testing and trial; whether great trials of distress where all we can do is cry out for help, or the small trials we tend to set aside; thinking little of them.
Scripture gives many examples of this way of God. Here are a few :
1. King David said " I know also, my God, that Thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness." ( 1 Chronicles 29:17)
2. Jeremiah said, " But, O LORD of Hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins of the heart..." ( Jeremiah 11:20)
3. again in Jeremiah, " But, O LORD of Hosts, that triest the righteous, and see the reins and the heart..." (Jeremiah 20:12)
4. King David again says that the wickedness of the wicked will come to an end; and that God will establish the just - for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
5. The wisest man who ever lived outside of Christ, King Solomon said that the refining pot is for silver, and the furnace is for gold; but the LORD trieth the hearts.
In the natural world, I could never become a member of the Special Forces of the United States military unless I went through the required training. Is the spiritual world different? I hear of receiving a crown of righteousness for the saints and over comers, but to be an over comer we must go through things to be overcome! No trials - no crown? No tests - no rewards?
1 Peter 1 says the trial of our faith is much more precious than gold, even if we are tried by the fire. Our success in these grievous seasons, whether it be financial, sickness, great temptation or any number of issues will be found to bring praise and honour and glory when Christ Jesus appears to receive us unto Himself.
The great man Abraham, one whom God called friend was severely tried. His metal was tested, so to speak, when he was told to offer his son Isaac on the altar. Abraham was able to obey because he determined in his heart that even if Isaac was offered as the sacrifice, God was able to raise him up from the dead. This is faith! What a trial!
Revelation speaks of some being cast into prison that they may be tried. ( Revelation 2:10) Being tried is not just an old testament concept. We live in the age of grace; but trials and tests are part of the growth process; maturity, patience, grace and understanding of others are the fruits of our trials. They may be great tests requiring Divine miracles or small tests that seem to linger forever; all serve a purpose.
Even the Word of God is tried. It has been proved, tried, tested and found faithful. "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him." (2 Samuel 22:31)
The very foundation of our faith has been tried and found faithful and true. Isaiah 28:16 gives a beautiful picture of this~
" Therefore thus saith the LORD God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste."
Never lose heart and think you are forsaken, forgotten, or neglected. The enemy, and sometimes our friends may say so. One day soon Christ will look upon us and proclaim with great gladness that our hearts have been tried, tested and found worthy!
Friday, November 27, 2009
By Tal Rubin
Ten years ago in Russia, Luda and her son Arthur, were on a 3-day train ride from Siberia to Irkutch. During this trip, Arthur became very ill with a high fever and he was on the brink of death. Luda was not a believer in Yeshua (Jesus); however, in spite of this, she decided to kneel and cry out to the God she did not know. While she was praying, an ambulance appeared alongside the train and the train pulled to a halt.
As the medics entered the train car, they called out, "Where is the sick boy?" No one replied so Luda responded, "Here!" The medics gave him an injection and exited the train. The train started up and continued on its way, and Arthur gained strength and was healed. A steward asked her how she had managed to create contact with the ambulance staff. Luda replied that she hadn't! The steward then explained to her that someone whom he could not see had stood behind him and told him that the train must stop immediately for a boy in the same cabin in which Luda and Arthur were riding. As a result of this incident Luda gave her life to God.
When he was two years old, Arthur was diagnosed as having only one kidney, which was severely damaged and deformed. This kidney was in danger of atrophy in addition to being effected by Polycystic Kidney Disease. At the age of sixteen, just a short time ago, he came to Israel with his mother. The goal of this trip was to undergo surgery to remove the damaged, beyond repair, cyst-ridden kidney. Upon arrival in Israel, they headed up to Jerusalem and settled in a city to the east, in Ma'ale Adumim. Luda shared her story with a local congregational leader, Abraham Ben-Hod, and asked if he could baptize her.
Abraham and I both had on our hearts to pray that God would provide Arthur with a new kidney. We agreed together and prayed that God would create a new kidney and would miraculously heal his other damaged kidney.
On the day of her baptism (Friday), Luda told the testimony of supernatural healing for Arthur on the train. After the baptism and time of prayer, I felt again that God's will was to pray for a creative miracle of a brand-new kidney for Arthur. During the Ma'ale Adumim Congregation meeting on Saturday, we prayed over him again and anointed him with oil. The following Sunday he had another check-up at Ein Kerem Hospital. The first CT scan confirmed that his one kidney was very damaged. Following the second CT scan, the doctor stated that the very damaged kidney must be surgically removed; however, he would be able to function very well with one perfectly working kidney. Meaning, God did indeed create a new kidney for Arthur!
The operation to “remove” the damaged kidney lasted 8 hours. However, the doctors found the formerly “damaged-beyond-repair” kidney had surprisingly shrunk back to its normal size, and were able to repair it. The final outcome? Two kidneys! An answer to prayer and a creative miracle!
All that took place in Arthur's body is documented in medical reports.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The requirements of the Law was fulfilled on our behalf by Christ. Galatians 3 says that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law-He was made a curse for us. For it is written, cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. Romans 8:4 says He died that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us.
Matthew Henry interprets this that, "Both our justification and in our sanctification, the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us; through Christ-if we are in Christ."
God, by sending His Son in our likeness (sinful flesh, although He was without sin), Jesus condemned sin in the flesh on our behalf. So, the blessings of the Law are available to those who have the Spirit of God in them.
What are the blessings?
If we obey - listen diligently - observe and do all His commandments He will -
1. set us high above all nations of the earth
2. the blessings will come on us and overtake us
3. the fruit of our body will be blessed
4. the fruit of our field will be blessed
5. the fruit of our flocks of cattle, sheep and flock are blessed (our labors)
6. we will be blessed when we come in and when we go out
7. our basket and our storehouse will be blessed
8. any enemy that rises up against us will be smitten before our face
9 our enemy will come against us one way and flee from us seven ways
10. the LORD will command a blessing upon our storehouses and in all that we set our hands to do
He will establish us a His holy people unto Himself. He has sworn this to us if we keep His commandments and walk in His ways. What is the ultimate purpose of this, His way and promise? That all the people of the earth shall see that we are called by the Name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of us.
As we grow and mature in Him, He will make us plenteous in goods-the fruit of our body, the fruit of our cattle, the fruit of our ground in the Land He has sworn to us.
Remember, the earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof. He will open His good treasure and will give rain in His season. We will lend and not borrow. We will be the head and not the tail; we will be above only and not below. IF, IF we hearken and listen to the commandments of the LORD.
Christ said the most important commandment is to love our neighbor as our self; to treat everyone as we want to be treated. The Apostle Paul said that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:4)
In the middle of blessings we still have a very real enemy. He is relentless. But, we must not faint or grow weary. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says though the outward man perish, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. What does this verse infer? Our weight of glory in eternity will be determined by the affliction we endure.
How are we confident that we walk in and are in the Spirit? We will have the favor of God. Our main concern is the welfare of our soul and our concerns are for the eternal. A person is as the mind is; as you think, so are you. (Proverbs 23:7) We cannot tread in His steps unless we have His Spirit in us. Having the Spirit of Christ in us is the same as having the Spirit of God in us. There is a life of peace both in this world, which is temporal, and in the heavens, which are eternal.
Those who have His Spirit dwelling in them are meek, lowly, humble, peaceable, patient, charitable; as He was. God is our Creator, our Owner, our Ruler, and our Benefactor.
Again to the blessings that are available to us -
We must use each blessing to minister to others; the homeless, the sick, the heartbroken, the widow and the orphan. We must not waste them in selfishness on our own lust and desires. This is a constant battle.
How do we get these blessings? I think some come automatically; some must be asked for. There is nothing an earthly father loves more than to hear one of his children using words and phrases they have learned from him. The Bible is the Word of God; repeat His words back to Him in prayer. Prove that He is true!
If we are Christ's, we are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29) Remember through it all, whether in blessing or a long season of waiting; keep the mindset that we look at things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We will be tried during our times of blessing. Will we squander our inheritance given by Him on ourselves, as the prodigal son did in the parable Christ told? Or will we, in turn, take of what He gives us and minister to others? This is a test by Him as He checks the condition of our hearts.
He promised that He would establish us in our land to be a holy people unto Himself; He has sworn this to us if we keep His commandments and walk in His ways.
Multitudes of promises, assistance, mercy and love are ours for the taking. Precious thoughts on this Thanksgiving Day!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
"O how love I your law." (Psa. 119:97)
Part A: Godly Man Loves the Word Written
Chrysostom compares the Scripture to a garden set with ornaments and flowers. A godly man delights to walk in this garden and sweetly solace himself. He loves every branch and part of the Word:
1. He loves the counselling part of the Word, as it is a directory and rule of life. The Word is the direction sign which points us to our duty. It contains in it things to be believed and practiced. A godly man loves the directions of the Word.
2. He loves the threatening part of the Word. The Scripture is like the Garden of Eden: as it has a tree of life in it, so it has a flaming sword at its gates. This is the threatening of the Word. It flashes fire in the face of every person who goes on obstinately in wickedness. "God will wound the head of His enemies, the hairy scalp of the one who still goes on in his trespasses." (Psa. 68:21). The Word gives no indulgence to evil. It will not let a man halt half-way between God and sin. The true mother would not let the child be divided (I Kings 3:26), and God will not have the heart divided. The Word thunders out threats against the very appearance of evil. It is like that flying scroll full of curses (Zech. 5:1).
A godly man loves the menaces of the Word. He knows there is love in every threat. God would not have us perish; he therefore mercifully threatens us, so that he may scare us from sin. God's threats are like the buoy, which shows the rocks in the sea and threatens death to such as come near. The threat is a curbing bit to check us, so that we may not run in full career to hell. There is mercy in every threat.
3. He loves the consolatory part of the Word - the promises. He goes feeding on these as Samson went on his way eating the honeycomb (Judges 14:8,9). The promises are all marrow and sweetness. They are reviving to us when we are fainting; they are the conduits of the water of life. "In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." (Psa. 94:19). The promises were David's harp to drive away sad thoughts; they were the breast which gave him the milk of divine consolation.
A godly man shows his love to the Word written:
(a) By diligently reading it. The noble Bereans "searched the Scriptures daily" (Acts 17:11). Apollos was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:12). The Word is our Magna Carta for heaven; we should be daily reading over this charter. The Word shows what is truth and what is error. It is the field where the pearl of price is hidden. How we should dig for this pearl! A godly man's heart is the library to hold the Word of God; it dwells richly in him (Col. 3:16). It is reported of Melanchthon that when he was young, he always carried the Bible with him and read it greedily. The Word has a double work: to teach us and to judge us. Those who will not be taught by the Word shall be judged by the Word. Oh, let us make ourselves familiar with the Scripture! What if it should be as in the times of Diocletian, who commanded by proclamation that the Bible be burned? Or as in Queen Mary's days, when it spelled death to have a Bible in English? By diligent conversing with Scripture, we may carry a Bible in our heads.
(b) By frequently meditating on it: "It is my meditation all the day" (Psa. 119:97). A pious soul meditates on the truth and holiness of the Word. He not only has a few transient thoughts, but leaves his mind steeping in the Scripture. By meditation, he sucks from this sweet flower and ruminates on holy truths in his mind.
(c) By delighting in it. It is his recreation: "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart." (Jer 15:16) Never did a man take such delight in a dish that he loved as the prophet did in the Word. And indeed, how can a saint choose but take great pleasure in the Word? All that he ever hopes to be worth is contained in it. Does not a son take pleasure in reading his father's will and testament, in which he bequeaths his estate to him?
(d) By hiding it: "Your word I have hidden in my heart" (Psa 119:11) - as one hides a treasure so that it should not be stolen. The Word is the jewel; the heart is the cabinet where it must be locked up. Many hide the Word in their memory, but not in their heart. And why would David enclose the Word in his heart? "That I might not sin against you." As a man would carry an antidote about him when he comes near an infected place, so a godly man carries the Word in his heart as a spiritual antidote to preserve him from the infection of sin. Why have so many been poisoned with error, others with moral vice, but because they have not hidden the Word as a holy antidote in their heart?
(e) By defending it. A wise man will not let his land be taken from him but will defend his title. David looked upon the Word as his land of inheritance: "Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart." (Psa 119:111) And do you think he will let his inheritance be wrested out of his hands? A godly man will not only dispute for the Word but die for it: "I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God." (Rev 6:9)
(f) By preferring it above things most precious: (1) Above food: "I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food." (Job. 23:12). (2) Above riches: "The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver." (Psa. 119:72). (3) Above worldly honour. Memorable is the story of King Edward the Sixth. On the day of his coronation, when they presented three swords before him, signifying to him that he was monarch of three kingdoms, the king said, "There is still one sword missing." On being asked what that was, he answered, "The Holy Bible, which is the 'sword of the Spirit' and is to be preferred before these ensigns of royalty."
(f) By talking about it: "My tongue shall speak of your word." (Psa. 119:172). As a covetous man talks of his rich purchase, so a godly man speaks of the Word. What a treasure it is, how full of beauty and sweetness! Those whose mouths the devil has gagged, who never speak of God's Word, indicate that they never reaped any good from it.
(g) By conforming to it. The Word is his compass, by which he sets his life, the balance in which he weighs his actions. He copies out the Word in his daily walk: "I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7). St Paul kept the doctrine of faith, and lived the life of faith.
Question: Why is a godly man a lover of the Word?
Answer: Because of the excellence of the Word.
1. The Word written is our pillar of fire to guide us. It shows us what rocks we are to avoid; it is the map by which we sail to the new Jerusalem.
2. The Word is a spiritual mirror through which we may see our own hearts. The mirror of nature, which the heathen had, revealed spots in their lives, but this mirror reveals spots in the imagination; that mirror revealed the spots of their unrighteousness, this reveals the spots of our righteousness. "When the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" (Rom. 7:9). When the Word came like a mirror, all my opinion of self-righteousness died.
3. The Word of God is a sovereign comfort in distress. While we follow this cloud, the rock follows us. "This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life." (Psa. 119:50). Christ is the fountain of living water, the Word is the golden pipe through which it runs. What can revive at the hour of death but the word of life (Phil. 2:16)?
Part B: A Godly Man Loves the Word, Because of the Efficacy it has had upon Him
A godly man loves the Word preached, which is a commentary upon the Word written. This day-star has risen in his heart, and ushered in the Sun of righteousness. The Scriptures are the sovereign oils and balsams; the preaching of the Word is the pouring of them out. The Scriptures are the precious spices; the preaching of the Word is the beating of these spices, which causes a wonderful fragrance and delight. The Word preached is "the rod of God's strength" (Psa. 11O:2) and "the breath of his lips" (Isa. 11:4). What was once said of the city of Thebes, that it was built by the sound of Amphius' harp, is much more true of soul conversion. It is built by the sound of the gospel harp. Therefore the preaching of the Word is called "the power of God to salvation" (Rom 1:16). By this, Christ is said (now) to speak to us from heaven (Heb. 12:25). This ministry of the Word is to be preferred before the ministry of angels.
A godly man loves the Word preached, partly from the good he has found by it - he has felt the dew fall with this manna - and partly because of God's institution. The Lord has appointed this ordinance to save him. The king's image makes the coin current. The stamp of divine authority on the Word preached makes it an instrument conducive to men's salvation.
Application: Let us test by this characteristic whether we are godly: Are we lovers of the Word?
1. Do we love the Word written? What sums of money the martyrs gave for a few pages of the Bible! Do we make the Word our bosom friend? As Moses often had 'the rod of God' in his hand, so we should have 'the Book of God' in our hand. When we want direction, do we consult this sacred oracle? When we find corruptions strong, do we make use of this "sword of the Spirit" to hew them down? When we are disconsolate, do we go to this bottle of the water of life for comfort? Then we are lovers of the Word! But alas, how can they who are seldom conversant with the Scriptures say they love them? Their eyes begin to be sore when they look at a Bible. The two testaments are hung up like rusty armour which is seldom or never made use of. The Lord wrote the law with his own finger, but though God took pains to write, men will not take pains to read. They would rather look at a deck of cards than at a Bible.
2. Do we love the Word preached? Do we prize it in our judgments? Do we receive it into our hearts? Do we fear the loss of the Word preached more than the loss of peace and trade? Is it the removal of the ark that troubles us?
Again, do we attend to the Word with reverential devotion? When the judge is giving his charge from the bench, all attend. When the Word is preached, the great God is giving us his charge. Do we listen to it as to a matter of life and death? This is a good sign that we love the Word.
Again, do we love the holiness of the Word (Psa. 119:140)? The Word is preached to beat down sin and advance holiness. Do we love it for its spirituality and purity? Many love the Word preached only for its eloquence and notion. They come to a sermon as to a performance (Ezek. 33:31,32) or as to a garden to pick flowers, but not to have their lusts subdued or their hearts bettered. These are like a foolish woman who paints her face but neglects her health.
Again, do we love the convictions of the Word? Do we love the Word when it comes home to our conscience and shoots its arrows of reproof at our sins? It is the minister's duty sometimes to reprove. He who can speak smooth words in the pulpit, but does not know how to reprove, is like a sword with a fine hilt but without an edge. "Rebuke them sharply" (Titus 2:15). Dip the nail in oil, reprove in love, but strike the nail home. Now Christian, when the Word touches on your sin and says, "You are the man", do you love the reproof? Can you bless God that "the sword of the Spirit" has divided between you and your lusts? This is indeed a sign of grace and shows that you are a lover of the Word.
A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word, but not the reproofs: "They hate the one who rebukes in the gate." (Amos 5:1O). "Their eyes flash with fire!" Like venomous creatures that at the least touch spit poison, "When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth." (Acts 7:54). When Stephen touched them to the quick, they were mad and could not endure it.
Question: How shall we know that we love the reproofs of the Word?
Answer 1: When we desire to sit under a heart-searching ministry. Who cares for medicines that will not work? A godly man does not choose to sit under a ministry that will not work upon his conscience.
Answer 2: When we pray that the Word may meet with our sins. If there is any traitorous lust in our heart, we would have it found out and executed. We do not want sin covered, but cured. We can open our breast to the bullet of the Word and say, "Lord, smite this sin."
Answer 3: When we are thankful for a reproof: "Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked." (Psa. 141:5). David was glad of a reproof. Suppose a man were in the mouth of a lion, and another should shoot the lion and save the man, would he not be thankful? So, when we are in the mouth of sin, as of a lion, and the minister by a reproof shoots this sin to death, shall we not be thankful? A gracious soul rejoices when the sharp lance of the Word has pierced his abscess. He wears a reproof like a jewel on his ear: "Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to an obedient ear." (Prov. 25:12).
To conclude, it is convincing preaching which must do the soul good. A nipping reproof prepares for comfort, as a nipping frost prepares for the sweet flowers of spring.
[From The Godly Man's Picture by Thomas Watson, a Puritan Paperback edition published by the Banner of Truth.]
Saturday, November 21, 2009
What is David showing forth? When his enemies are turned back. When they fall and perish. When God maintains our right and our cause. We boast in His ability to destroy wickedness, even the wickedness still in us, and especially in the forces that rise up against the righteous works He does in and through us as individuals.
The memorial of the wicked will one day soon perish. It will be as if they never existed at all! The LORD and His people will endure forever. In the process, and it is a process we must endure, the LORD is a refuge when we are oppressed in our times of trouble. Those who know God will put their very lives into His able hands. He will not forsake those who seek Him.
How do we seek Him? Once a week during morning worship or Sunday evening service at our local church? Will three or four hours of hearing His word sustain us for the remaining 168 hours of the week? Not today! Seek Him daily. When the manna fell from heaven in the Wilderness journey of the Children of Israel, each person had to go gather it for themselves. If they tried to store it for the next day it would rot! It was, and still is a daily process.
Troubles will come in this process. King David constantly prayed for mercy and help in his troubles. Verse 13 of Psalm 9 says that each time God has rescued David, he would show forth all God's praise in the gates of Zion; he rejoiced in deliverance and his salvation.
We walk in confidence and assurance that God saves those that are His. We are confident that the wicked will be caught in their own snare and trap they set for others. The heathen will sink into the pit they dug for others. They will fall and become victim by the work of their own hands.
The needy, and we are often in that lot at times, shall not be always forgotten. The expectations of the poor shall not perish forever. We can cry as did King David, "Arise, O LORD, let not man prevail; let the heathen be judged in Thy sight. Put them in fear, O LORD; that the nations may know themselves to be but men."
Sometimes we feel forgotten and forsaken. Even then, when all seems hopeless, our circumstance is only caught up in the processes of God. It is a process. Do not lose heart or believe the lies of the enemy. When it seems that evil will finally triumph, that is when they are getting ready to fall. God has set it up this way.
If it seems He has forgotten the cry and prayers of the humble, He says that even this is a part of His treasuries; the way He works most of the time. For example, think of the "pit experiences" given to us in His word; Jeremiah cast into a miry pit only to be rescued to prophecy again. Joseph thrown into a pit by his own family, his brothers, only to be sold into slavery; but to rise and become a great leader in Egypt and save the known world from famine. He was not only cast into the pit but imprisoned and forgotten for a season. Some estimate he may have been in jail for several years!
While in our testings and trials, as evil seems to be all encompassing about us, think of Moses, one man with hundreds of thousands of people depending on him, standing at the Red Sea with an enemy army baring down on them in great anger and with murder in their heart. Think of Paul and Silas, after obeying the great commission to preach the gospel, being beaten and thrown in jail; only to sing songs of praise in the midst of mental and spiritual fires. These glorified God in their fires.
Each one showed forth God's ways, His great deliverance, and gave Him the praise and honor He deserves.
When deliverance does finally come, it is as if we were never our of His care! There is an appointed time to be delivered. Learn through the process. As the saints in the days of old, we must encourage ourselves to wait for the year of the redeemed and the year of recompense for the controversy of Zion. We are of Mount Zion. He has a holy hill that only the redeemed are allowed to walk. Right now we spiritually sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.
I need to apply this fact in my everyday walk. No matter the obstacle thrown across the path; no matter the travail of the hour. As King David, I must show forth His ways, His praise, and His desire in every aspect of my life. I can say that we are never brought so low, so near death, but that God can raise us up. Those who truly believe do not make haste; but wait for the appointed time. May God give me grace in that regard; and He will!
HE BROUGHT ME OUT
I'll tell of the pit with its gloom and despair,
I'll praise the dear Father, who answered my prayer;
I'll sing my new song, the glad story of love,
Then join in the chorus with the saints above.
~ CHORUS ~
" He brought me out of the miry clay,
He set my feet on the Rock to stay;
He puts a song in my soul today,
A song of praise, hallelujah! "
(He Brought Me Out - Henry J. Zelley 1859-`942/Henry Gilmour 1836-1920)