Divine Sugar Sticks for November 2001
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Thursday, November 1, 2001
“Because I Live, You Shall Live Also,” John 14:19
The prophets make it clear that personal accountability is an inescapable fact. Death, physical and eternal, is for the sinner’s own sin and not another’s. “Every one shall die for his own inequity,” Jer 31:31. “The soul that sinneth, it shall surely die,” Ezek 18:20. “Death through sin,” Rom 5:12.
Adam, the federal head of the human race, brought sin into the world and death because of sin. Ezekiel and Paul declare that every grave is the result of personal sin. “Death has passed upon all for all have sinned.”
All the tears, separations, heartaches, and graves which death produces can be traced back to sin. Had there been no sin, there would have been no death.
The death referred to does not mean cessation of being because the soul is indestructible. Death means separation. In physical death there is the separation of the soul from the body. In spiritual and eternal death, the soul is separated from the presence of God throughout all eternity. Therefore, “We believe...in the saving of the soul,” Heb 10:30.
“None Can Keep Alive His Own Soul,” Psalm 22:28
Another evident fact the Bible observes is that no one can live beyond the period of Divine permission. Science assures us that the span of life has been considerably lengthened. Life may be sweet to many of us, and the desire to linger as long as possible, but the psalmist here reminds us, None can keep his soul alive.
One interpretation is that man must leave all and follow death when it beckons. Saint and sinner, prince and pauper, alike must obey the call.
Another thought is that only the Lord who created the soul can supply the true life it must have if it is to function correctly. Apart from the Lord Jesus Christ Who is “The Life,” the soul is dead spiritually dead. Dead yet alive, 1 Thes 5:6, even as it struggles to live physically and spiritually.
“Let Me Die the Death of the Righteous,” Numbers 23:10
If we do go home by way of the grave, may our end be like the triumphant departure of those who have met death as a transition from Earth to Heaven.
Job speaks of those who die in full strength being wholly at ease and quiet. Because the victorious death of a Christian is precious in the Lord’s sight, may ours be the glorious experience of D.W. Moody, who as he died, confessed, “This is glorious. Earth is receding, Heaven is approaching. God is calling.”
“There Shall be No More Death,” Revelation 21:4
John found it difficult to describe Heaven. All he could do was to outline with a few negatives what will be missing in God’s new order. Thus he give us a series of “no mores” of which “no more death” is second. What a blessed Promise this is!
Because death is to be finally banished, there will be no more sorrow, there will be no more crying, no more pain, all of which are associated with man’s last enemy.
In summer-land above, there are no funeral homes, no cemeteries, no more cruel separations. Now death is a grim reality. But with the dawning of “God’s new world order,” no eyes will ever be wet with tears. Now caskets, graves, and heartaches are ours. But when God makes all things new, sin and death will never again mar His creation.
That beats the new world order that the politicians of our day are suggesting.
It is not death to close
Jesus Christ, thou Prince of life,
Promises Related to the Marital Realm
No matter how one may look at the Bible, it is unique in every direction. “There is none like it,” as David said of Goliath’s sword. Its authorship is Divine. Its historicity unquestioned. Its teachings eminently spiritual.
Yet although its tone is so high and lofty, it is the most practical Book in the world when it comes to dealing with the common and ordinary relationships in life.
It is indispensable in that it touches life at every point. And this is especially true when it deals with love and romance, and courtship and marriage, home and parenthood. No phase of martial life is omitted.
“Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it.”
In these days of disastrous sexual license, pre-marital experiences, wide-spread divorces, and the absence of a real home life, how wholesome it is to turn to the Bible for guidance as to all that concerns love and the home.
Numerous Promises are related to the right kind of love and marriage, and to parents and children, and to homes that are fragrant with Divine love and Grace.
“My beloved is mine, and I am his.”
“The Many Makes the Household, But Only One the Home”
It is to be regretted that most books on sex and marriage written today stress the lower instincts rather than man’s more noble and higher instincts. Many secular bookstores are saturated with literature pandering to evil lusts. Hollywood is not innocent to glamorizing adultery, divorce, and the looseness of the marriage vows.
Materially we never had it so good. But morally, our nation was never at a lower level than it is today. And people wonder why we find ourselves in a terrorist condition.
Therefore, we have a need of the study of the Word of God on these vital matters. For the Bible gives dignity and righteousness to the exquisite intimacies of love, marriage, and the home.
Today it is difficult to separate sex from sin. Originally sex was not connected with sin, because mating and marriage were instituted by God before Adam and Eve had sinned against their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“God blessed them and said unto them, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth,” Gen 1:28.
“God Blessed Them and Said Unto Them be Fruitful and Multiply and Replenish the Earth,” Genesis 1:28
To this first Promise given to our first parents, many more Promises throughout Scripture are directly and indirectly associated with love-union, marriage, wives, and husbands, home, and children.
Did not Paul worship “the Father of whom every living family in Heaven and Earth is named?” Eph 3:15.
Because family life was Divinely instituted, it is fitting that the Bible should contain clear and explicit precepts and Promises regarding the exact nature and order of all that is connected with marital life.
God Who inspired the Bible is the same God who made the marriage of man and woman a part of His creative plan. Because He wants His creatures to be well-adjusted in every area of life, He desires that courtship and marriage be the means of marital contentment rather than frustration.
Thought for the Day!
When God wanted to discipline Israel, He used other nations as a whip to bring them back and restore them to Himself. Could it not be that the Lord is using the terrorists as discipline to get this nation back to the Lord?
“God bless America” – but which God is America's?
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” The Lord Jesus Christ is not the God of this nation. We can’t even mention His name in the midst of the United Nations.
“I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by Me,” John 14:6.
By Ordaining Marriage, God Planned That Men and Women, Through Physical Union, Might Share With Him a Partnership in Begetting New Lives
God alone possesses the power to create, which means to bring something out of nothing. But through marriage, mating, conception, and child-bearing, God permits a man and a woman to be His instruments in creating a new life, “an immortal soul.”
What a wondrous thought! A partnership with God! Sex is a sacred and sobering area of life, when seen in Scripture from the viewpoint of God’s creative purposes. This is a most valuable principle in that it proves that God in His great providence has given us all necessary instructions on such a valuable subject.
As we endeavor to classify what the Bible has to say about the unfailing flower of love, may these expressive lines remain in our souls.
Beloved let us love so well,
Friday, November 2, 2001
As We Seek to Gather Out the Promises Covering the Manifold Phases of Marital Life, We Will Find That the Bible is a Bold Book
It hides nothing of shame. And the Bible is not afraid of words which may make your cheek burn. The Bible conceals nothing of moral infirmity, or weakness, or evil.
An illustration of the absolute honesty of the Bible can be found in the chapter dealing with Jacob’s progeny and policy. Gen 30. There is no attempt to hush things up. No paint is used to obscure the pallor of the sickly face of that ancient family.
Think of this ugly list.
The Frankness of the Bible is Also Presented in an Unvarnished Record Found in Judah’s Sons, “Er and Onan,” Genesis 38
The wickedness of “Er” is declared, but not described. Whatever it was, “It was wicked in the sight of the Lord,” Genesis 38:7.
Of the sin of “Onan,” which is described, we can only say that such a sin has slain its thousands and is one to be shunned as we would shun, if we could but see them, the flames and smoke of Gehenna.
The evil of these two sons must have been great for both of them were slain by God, Gen 38:7, 10. As to love and sex, as a whole the Bible takes cognizance of them and presents them in both the true and perverted light.
Divine Promises are given to the virtuous.
Although we have no way of knowing how Adam felt as he looked upon his God-given companion, the world's first woman, wife, and mother, he must have been enraptured as he gazed upon her undraped, perfectly formed figure and the beautiful countenance which Eve must have had as the Lord’s direct creation.
For both Adam and Eve it must have been “love at first sight.” As soon as Eve was formed out of Adam, each knew they were meant for each other and were Divinely instructed as to all that they were to do, for, and to be, to each other.
By intuition, Adam recognized the close relationship of Eve to himself and that, as part of himself, she would continue to be a part of himself. Is not this fact designed to show that any man and woman made one by marriage are to regard themselves as being one flesh? Eph 5:31.
Those who are to be completely one in a spiritual sense are sure to be one in mind, in companionship, and in purpose. And can lay claim to all the Promises connected with such union symbolizing the union between Christ and His Church.
Promises were given to Adam and Eve as to their parenthood, power, and provision, which Promises were shadowed by their ensuing sin. Gen 1:28-31, Gen 3:14-19.
Love and Marriage, Then, Received Their Sanction and Their Sacredness From the Divine Relation to Them
God instructed marriage when He made the world. And the Lord Jesus Christ honored it when He attended the wedding at Cana, John 2.
It was good for Adam intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually “not to be alone.” And the provided love and companionship of a woman for Adam show how grievously they err who cast a reflection upon wedded bliss by “forbidding to marry,” 1 Tim 4:3, the doctrine of demons.
God Placed Honor Upon Womanhood in That the First Woman, Like the First Man, Was a Divine Creation, Genesis 2:21-23
Adam was made of the common dust, but Eve was made of dust having been “etherealized by passing through the hands of God” and was signally honored, as all should honor women. Eph 5:33.
But women are not worthy of their origin when they degrade their dignity. A wife is not a real companion if she is a field wife like Dinah, a street wife like Tamar, a widow wife like Jezebel, a nagging wife like Job’s wife, a worldly wife like Lot’s wife, a cruel and vicious wife like the mother of Herodias.
Is it not sad to realize that Adam fell through the one he loved? Has not this story been repeated thousand of times in human history?
Affection for earthly friends must always be subordinate to what the Lord demands. If we do not love Him supremely, we cannot love Him at all. Giving Him the first place means the enrichment of our love to others.
“He That Loveth Father or Mother...Son or Daughter More Than Me is Not Worthy of Me,” Matthew 10:37
As to romantic courtship, it is somewhat refreshing to read the Bible’s unsullied, charming stories of the wooing for the affection of another with a view to a companionship for life. The Song of Solomon, a much misunderstood Book, is devoted to the art of, and the right kind of mind for the making of love.
The Song of Solomon is a Book of the expression of pure marital love as ordained of the Lord in creation. And the vindication of that love as against both asceticism and lust, the two profanations of the holiness of marriage.
An application of the Song of Solomon would be that of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Beloved Son and His heavenly bride, the Church. 2 Cor 11:1-4.
A Question Has Arisen as to How the Book the Song of Solomon Became a Part of the Holy Scriptures
Jewish scholars thought of it designed by God to give a right apprehension of conjugal love.
The thought of it as the glorification of wedded life, and if we conceive of it from no higher standpoint than this, it would mean that it had a right place in the Canon.
Wedded life in Israel represented the very highest, fullest, and deepest affection of a time when, in the nations surrounding Israel, a woman was looked upon as mere chattel, as a slave or as the object of a man’s pleasure to be discarded when and as he pleased. (This still exists today in the Mid-East.)
But it was otherwise in Israel. The Jewish home was a place where love and tenderness reigned, and no doubt this little Book, Song of Solomon, had a great deal to do with lifting it in to that glorious height.
Another Beautiful Courtship is Between Isaac and Rebekah
With these two like-minded souls, it was another case of “love at first sight.” As soon as Isaac saw Rebekah, “He loved her,” Gen 24:67. Guidance to the right kind of person by Abraham’s son had been promised. The servant of Abraham, entrusted with the mission to find a wife for Isaac, Gen 24:7 and relying upon the Divine Promise of guidance, he succeeded in his task.
“He shall send his angel.” The earthly messenger was guided by the Heavenly Messenger and the servant contacted Rebekah, “which thing preceded from the Lord,” Gen 24:50.
Some matrimonial matches have been described as “Lucifer matches.” But here, at all events, was a marriage that was made in Heaven. There would be more angels in our homes if young people looking for husbands and wives, were more careful to seek the guidance of the angel by whom the servant of Abraham was led.
Abraham’s Servant Prayed for Good Speed, and He Got it
God’s Promise for Isaac had been fulfilled. And the relatives of Rebekah saw the leading of the Lord in the mission of Abraham’s servant. And they gave their consent to the proposed marriage, Gen 24.
How all young people who are attracted to one another ought to read and to reread the story of the bride sought and won by the servant, and guided and protected by him across the desert until she met the one she was meant for.
It was soon after his mother’s death that Isaac found great consolation in Rebekah’s companionship. Their united life deserves close study by those who are wooed and won. Rebekah’s marriage to Isaac was to be a link in the chain of events resulting in the fulfillment of the Promise that secured blessing for all nations of the Earth through the seed of Abraham.
Abraham was really looking for the “Seed of the woman,” Gen 3:15, the Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom.
The Union of Isaac and Rebekah Was Brought About by Prayer
It was a Divinely-ordered alliance. What early shipwrecks in many marriages today would be prevented if only those drawn to each other had sought and obtained the guidance and benediction of Heaven.
After 20 years of marriage, Rebekah was still childless, which must have been a trial of faith for both souls. So Isaac made this a matter of care and of prayer, and as the prayer was in the line of God’s purpose, it was sure of an answer.
“Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren,” Gen 25:21, 22.
“If we ask anything according to His will, He will hear us,” 1 John 5:14.
Those long years of waiting prove that the Lord is never before His time, or after it. He knows just when to perform His Promise.
Thought for the Day!
Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for his son Isaac.
God the Father sent His Messenger, the Holy Spirit, into the world to find a bride for His Beloved Son. The Holy Spirit says, “Will you take this Man to be your lawfully wedded husband?” And when you said, “I do,” you become the bride of Christ.
“Jacob Have I Loved, But Esau Have I Hated,” Romans 9:13
Here are two boys born with the same parents and under the same influences and in the same environment. But one turns out good and the other turns out bad.
Environment is not the answer to man’s problems, but regeneration is. Man can never solve man’s problems. The Lord is the only One who solves man’s problems.
“Jacob Have I Loved, But Esau Have I Hated,” Romans 9:13
The family life of Isaac and Rebekah and their twin sons, Jacob and Esau, sounds a warning about the folly and the tragedy of favoritism in a family. Isaac’s love for Esau was somewhat sensual. He loved Esau because “He did eat of the venison.”
Such an aspect of love was of a carnal nature. Highest love has not so much regard in what the loved one gives us as to what he or she is.
“Rebekah loved Jacob.” That she had a good deal of influence over her son but used it for a bad purpose, is seen in the command, “My son obey my voice,” Gen 27:8. See 2 Chr 22:3. Evidently God had a preference for Jacob.
He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
On the human level, when parents do not treat their children equally and dote on one child to the indifference of the other, homelife as God meant it to be is seriously impaired, as later experiences in the home cycle of Isaac and Rebekah prove.
Was it out of spite that Esau grieved his parents by aligning himself in marriage with two ungodly Hittite women? Gen 26:26, 34. And later on he married his half cousin, the daughter of Ishmael. Gen 28:9.
As Esau was around 40 years of age, he knew his own mind, and he should have sought a companion in keeping with Hebrew requirements. A sin sometimes is aggravated by the age of the sinner.
“Jacob Served Seven Years for Rachel and it Seemed Unto Him But a Few Days, For the Love He Had to Her,” Genesis 29:20
Jacob and his beloved Rachel provide us with one of the sweetest stories of courtship in the Bible. Here is another illustration of a praying man being Divinely led to a good woman who was to share his life.
How incomparable in the realm of literature is this soul gripping statement, “Jacob served seven years for Rachel and it seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her,” Gen 29:20.
When a soul by choice and conscience doth
Thought for the Day!
When the Lord Jesus Christ is out of focus, all your relationships in life are out of focus.
When the Lord Jesus Christ is in focus, then all your relationships in life are in focus. “Looking unto Jesus.”
Saturday, November 3, 2001
Having met God, Jacob was now on his way. “Jacob lifted up his feet,” Gen 29:1, which implies a light-hearted alacrity. He continued the journey to the woman who was to capture his love. The promise of Divine companionship and protection inspired him with good courage.
“I am with thee, and will keep thee in all the places whither thou goest,” Gen 28:15.
Jacob’s first sight of Haran, where he was to live for more than 20 years of his life – the same length of time his parents had to wait for his birth (Gen 27:23, 32:29) – must have cheered his heart.
Incidents leading up to meeting the love of his life are dealt with in the narrative. There was the well, the gathered flocks, the shepherds Jacob called “brethren,” and finally the apparent unpremeditated meeting of Jacob and Rachel. The moment he looked at her beautiful face he knew that this woman was to be his.
The union of Jacob and Rachel was like that of Isaac and Rebekah and it was of God, Whose providence ordered things so that they should meet at the well.
Divinely directed lives are often shaped by circumstances which human prescience could not have foreseen. What a fascinating record it would make if only we could have a group of stories of how men and women first met before entering into a matrimonial alliance.
Jacob’s instant love for Rachel prompted him to come to her aid in the removal of the great stone at the well. Love nerved him into new energy. 2 Cor 5:14, and when “Jacob kissed Rachel and lifted up his voice and wept,” that kiss remained an unforgotten one.
The unfolding story of Jacob’s introduction to Rachel’s family and of his covenant with Laban, her father, can be briefly told. Jacob manifested his love for Rachel by agreeing to serve seven years for her.
He loved, not in word only, but in deed and truth. And because love brightens labor, those seven years of service must have been bright for Jacob.
Do we not have a parable and Promise here of the Lord Jesus Christ and His love for the Church?
“He loved the Church and gave Himself for it.”
Jacob was faithful to his promise and at the end of seven years he went to Laban to claim his much-loved Rachel as his own.
But what deception Laban practiced! After the wedding feast, in the light of the next morning, Jacob discovered that Leah, and not her sister, Rachel, was his wife. Gen 29:21-30. Laban tried to condone his unrighteous, cruel act by pleading the custom that the younger could not be given in marriage before the first-born. He was a deceiver and should have thought of this custom seven years before when he made a covenant with Jacob.
True love was not to be daunted or discouraged, so for another seven years Jacob bravely served on. Polygamy, in which Jacob became involved, was practiced before his time and after. But his experience with his two wives and their families reveals polygamy as a disgraceful crime against a serene home life. Rachel’s envy over Leah’s children was a part of the evil fruitage of polygamy, which is a sin against the Divine arrangement.
Rachel’s Spirit of Envy Led to a Wicked Request, “Give Me Children.”
Rachel made the common mistake of looking to man rather than to God, Who alone can give life.
Rachel’s request aroused the anger of Jacob. But such anger over the one he loved so truly and tenderly was a source of bitterness. Perhaps Jacob had not considered the bitterness or Rachel’s disappointment over her barrenness as he might have done.
Rachel however was not forgotten of God. “He remembered her,” Gen 30:22, 23 and Joseph, who was to become the Saviour of Egypt, was born. How full of God Rachel’s life became. He heard her prayer and added unto her another son, Benjamin, whose birth cost Rachel her life.
How often the brightest anticipations of life are clouded by the gloom of the grave.
In the Promise of Rachel’s Second Son, Benjamin, There is the Larger Promise of “Another Son,” Even the Lord Jesus Christ
The Son of Mary, like the son of Rachel, was both the son of sorrow, “BEN-ONI,” Isa 53:3-4, and the son of the right hand, “Benjamin,” Heb 1:2-3.
Doubtless Rachel praised God for answered prayer in the birth of Benjamin, the son of my right hand. But such an answer was a crushing burden and she sank beneath the weight of it. Yet to her there came that sweet Promise, “Fear not.”
It Must Have Been a Heavy Hand That Raised the Pillar Over the Grave of the Beloved Rachel
Earlier he had dug another grave in which Jacob buried the images Rachel had brought over from Haran. He had no regret over rearing a pillar over that grave. But this pillar at Bethel was a sad memento of a broken heart.
What loneliness overtakes a true lover when half of his soul is taken to Heaven.
Courtship of a Sensual, Debased Sort, Was That of Amnon When He Fell Madly in Love With His Half-Sister, Tamar
After seducing the virgin girl, love turned to hate, and what hate! “Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her,” 2 Sam 13:15.
What a tragic story is unfolded in this chapter. What solemn lessons it teaches. One evident lesson is that when sensual desires are stirred, they are only sinful when they result in a union outside the bound of marriage, and become fornication or adultery. Ex 20:14, 17, 1 Cor 6:13-20.
Promise of Divine blessing is only for those who woo and marry in the Lord.
Absalom, Tamar’s Brother, Was Determined to Have Revenge on Amnon for the Release of His Ungoverned Passion Upon His Sister
He waited two full years, 2 Sam 13:23, to punish Amnon.
Sheep shearing was a time of feasting, and cunningly Absalom begged his father, David, to allow all his sons to attend the feast. Amnon was David’s oldest son, and heir apparent, which coupled with the memory of his own sin with Bathsheba, was the reason for David’s guilty leniency toward Amnon’s crime.
David finally allowed Amnon to go to the feast as his representative, but it was to be a feast of death, for drunken Amnon was slain at Absalom’s behest. What an evil brood one sin can beget. Sin sins in clusters.
The Sin and Shame of Judah Offers Another Warning to Those Who Contemplate a Love Union, Genesis 38
He sinned against an explicit Divine command when he consorted with Hirah, and then with Shuah. Hebrews were forbidden to marry heathen of surrounding countries. Does this not illustrate the New Testament about “being unequally yoked together with unbelievers?”
Judah’s son of Shuah, Onan, was slain for his perversion of a sexual act. And Tamar, his widow, had vengeance upon her father-in-law for his breach of promise. She played the harlot and involved Judah, who became the father of her twin sons.
And the miracle of Grace is that Judah, Tamar, and her sons found a place in the greatest of all genealogies, Matt 1:3. Grace finds them in the line of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Foregoing Preamble Prepares Us for a Closer Examination of Those Precepts and Promises Associated With:
You may want to tune in. It is never too late for you or your children.
Sunday, November 4, 2001
Promises for Marriage!
In these days in extreme laxity in marriage ties, it is imperative to go back to the Bible in order to find out how God views such a solemn ordinance.
There are one or two conclusions drawn from the consistent witness of the Scriptures as to the sacredness and blessedness of marriage tie.
How sweet the mutual yoke of man and wife
“The flame of JEHOVAH.”
One or Two Conclusions Drawn From the Consistent Witness of Scripture as to the Sacredness and Blessedness of the Marriage Tie
The sad and lamentable increase of divorce would be greatly curbed if only professed lovers would remember the old promises for marriage.
Promises for Marriage
“In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths,” Prov 3:6. “All thy ways,” include “the way of a man with a woman,” Prov 30:19, and vice versa.
When two fall in love they should seek Divine wisdom enabling them to make sound judgments, and to discover whether they are truly mated.
If they are not, then there will be disillusionment and disaster ahead. There is no disgrace nor dishonor if the engagement is broken, if a happy life cannot be envisioned.
Because love is like a delicate blossom which can so easily be stifled and marriage a bond of deep affection, a thorough knowledge beforehand of each other’s different backgrounds, habits, ideas, and ideals is imperative.
But if there is no forethought or foresight, and marriage is drifted into, then a holy wedlock will become an unholy deadlock. It is far better to remain single and happy than be married and unhappy. Is it not preferable to be happily single than unhappily married?
A Striking Illustration of Thoughtlessness Before Marriage is That of Samson and Delilah
Ignorance of the Sorek woman’s treacherous character cost Samson his sight, his liberty, and his life.
So another necessary consideration if marriage is not to become a lottery, a game of chance, is that of previous instruction.
In other responsibilities of life there are deliberation and instruction. Why not training for marriage? Mothers should realize their sacred duty of talking thoughtfully to their daughters about the significance of marriage and on principles which shall guide them and what will be expected of them when they become wives.
Fathers should have quiet conversations with their sons on how they can make a satisfactory marriage.
Just think of 14- and 15-year-old girls and boys with appalling promiscuous activity – the root of such irresponsible behavior is from the lack of or inadequate parental guidance and example.
“Older woman teach the younger women how to love their husbands and their children.”
There are so many precious Promises connected with true marriages, but they can only be fulfilled on behalf of those who decide to unite only after deliberately and prayerfully examining their love and all that a permanent lovebond involves. It is only then they can experience a God-ordained marriage.
How to Claim the Promises of God!
“Then Elisha said, Hear ye the Word of the Lord, Thus saith the Lord, Tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel and two measures of barley for a shekel in the gate of Samaria,” 2 Lings 7:1.
Thought for the Day!
Since the terrorists’ bombings, all our signs read, “America united!” How come we are still so divided by so many “hyphenated-Americans”?
Don’t you think it is time for us to drop our hyphens?
As Theodore Roosevelt said, who was of German origin, and Barbara Jordan, a Houston congresswoman with a Afro-American origin, “I don’t care for the color or the race or the creed of a man as long as he is an American and nothing else but American.”
Or do we have to wait till the Lord Jesus Christ returns?
Assuming a couple drawn to each other, having calmly and prayerfully considered their growing love for each other, and ultimately marry in the Lord.
Has the Bible Any Advice and Guidance to Offer the Newlyweds?
Are there any Promises for them to claim as they stand together at the portal of their united life?
There are, and it is a wonderful insight into the Divine character that those who have just plighted their troth are remembered by the Almighty One.
Male Israelites were liable for military service from 20 years and upward. Num 1:3. But God made a merciful exception in the case of those who were newlywed.
“What man is there who hath betrothed a wife and hath not taken her? Let him go and return to his house lest he die in the battle and another man take her,” Deut 20:7.
“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither will he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home for one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken,” Deut 24:5.
How considerate the Lord is. The Mosaic Law and the regulations were Divine commands. And this one relative to the newly married man carried with it a Promise of a year’s uninterrupted bliss when both man and wife would have time to adjust themselves to their life together.
What a thoughtful practical God we have!
What a blessed Promise that is to make as a home is commenced. To have a perfect heart means without blemish or defect, as used by our Lord. Perfect implies imitation of God in doing good to the unworthy. Matt 5:48. David was a man after God’s own heart.
The best home is one with God at its center and circumference. It is profitable to fashion a home on spiritual principles. Setting out together to journey through life as companions, bride and bridegroom can mould a beautiful home as they endeavor to walk with the Lord.
It is He alone who can enable them to have an honor where His honor dwelleth. Trying to walk with the Lord outside the house will avail little if it does not correspond to one’s walk within the house.
To be a saint away from home and a devil at home is hypocrisy.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15.
Oh Lovers cling together! the old world
Monday, November 5, 2001
“As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15
Are you thinking of setting up house? Or are you recently married or entered a marriage, have foresight, wise expenditure, and friends who have provided you with all that is necessary in the way of utensils and furniture? Wedding gifts?
But can it be that in all your preparation and provision you have omitted to establish a family altar? Have you not learned that family life can only become beautiful and preserved from disaster, as those who form it to give God His due?
What Joshua meant by his declaration was that idolatry would not be tolerated by any within his house. All within were bound together by a solemn vow to worship and serve the Lord and the Lord only. Has this been your decision?
“Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and All These Other Things Will be Added Unto You,” Matthew 6:33
“Seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God,” Colossians 3:1
What constitutes the kingdom of God and those things which are above?
Are they not conformity to the Lord Jesus Christ and faithfulness in His service, and faith which trusts His Word, and love which has God for its Author? And the Lord Jesus Christ for its principle Object and spiritual things for its chosen subjects?
These are the things which are above, which saints enjoy and rejoice in.
As life is faced together, there may be anxiety now and again as to food and clothing. There will be practical problems confronting you.
But the cure for all anxiety is to trust in the Lord’s knowledge and care. His Promise is that all that is necessary will be added (thrown in) as a bargain, so to speak, if He is given the first place in your life and home.
When the Lord Jesus Christ tells you to take no thought for the morrow, He does not mean that you are to be careless or negligent regarding the future. Anyone failing to make all justifiable provision for his own is worse than an infidel. What the Lord Jesus Christ warns against is unbelieving anxiety.
Putting the Lord first, seeking the things above, result in the Lord taking over our present and future needs. If in your recently established home life, the Lord’s interests are being placed first, then your interest will become His first concern.
“Be Ye Kind One to Another, Tenderhearted, Forgiving One Another,” Ephesians 4:32
What precious advice this is to follow, whether newly married, or more firmly established in the ways of home!
It is not long before desires and personalities have a tendency to clash. What sorrow ensues when if one or the other insists on his will being done. What differing characteristics and inclinations. There can only be harmony as both husband and wife deal in the commodity of kindness. There must be a give-and-take situation.
“Two lovely bears” – “bear and forbear” – must always be present when purposes cross and conflicts arise. God knows that far too many homes are wrecked simply because one insisted on his or her rights and wishes.
When selfishness rides roughshod over what the other purposes, it ruins the peace of home. Mutual kindness, consideration, and forbearance keep a home intact.
Grace is promised to make us gracious and kind. So why not appropriate what the Lord offers?
The kindest and the happiest pair,
The Happiness and Perfection of Both Husband and Wife Depends on Each Asking and Receiving From the Other What the Other Only Can Give
What a sweeter, purer home life our nation would have if only newly-wed couples would make this appealing promise the motto of their united life. The young husband, for example, would learn that his partner is not to be his slave or his drudge, but his equal and companion. He would also learn his wife’s limitations as the weaker vessel and not overburden her accordingly.
Surely Peter’s phrase “heirs together” is one of the most expressive terms of the union and communion existing between husband and wife. How precious a sight it must be for the eyes of the Lord to gaze down upon two blissful souls united in Grace as well as in marriage, bowing together at the family altar, committing all that concerns their life and home to His tender care.
Being heirs together implies that there is mutual understanding in all things. May the Lord grant our country many more homes like the one Peter predicts.
“Two Are Better Than One...the One Will Lift Up His Fellow,” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Together, two trusting souls, can prevail against any intruder – especially when the Lord is the Third Party, and forms the three-fold cord that cannot be broken.
In any companionship formed, God must be the unseen Partner. Instead of a bi-unity, it must be a trinity. Each of you will require the other, and both of you will certainly need the Lord before you travel far along the highway of your wedded life.
As multitudinous cares, trials, and sorrows arise, may you remember that two with God is always a majority. Let prayer, faith, and holiness produce that dual companionship which is ever the bulwark of a good home.
“Wives, Husbands...as is Fit in the Lord,” Colossians 3:18
The fitness Paul writes about is not according to the accepted and accustomed standards of society, but according to Divine standards.
“As it is fit in the Lord.”
A thoroughly Christian home will not be characterized by unwarranted demands. Forceful and unloving husbands, bitter and inconsiderate wives, who act as a God-enlightened conscience, are certainly not “in the Lord.” How many loving couples started out with high and happy hopes, but who met with sad disappointment at the bend of the road where unreasonable demands were made?
Are these lines being read by two young souls who have recently promised to love and cherish each other until parted by death? Well take Paul’s words and have them ever before you. “As is fit in the Lord.”
Such an arrestive motto will safeguard as well as sweeten your whole marital relationship as you turn the motto into a motive for living.
“Make My Speech Nothing Worth,” Job 24:25
Home should inspire every tongue to speak the most loving words. Yet in many families there is a great dearth of kind, affectionate speech. A stranger might mistake the home for a deaf and dumb institution, or for a hotel where strangers were together only for a passing moment.
Home conversation should be devoid of all sharp, angry, or unloving words. Speech must be governed as James reminds us when he speaks of having a bridle on our tongue, so that no one will fly into a temper and utter bitter words at the smallest irritations.
How many Christians know that some of the worst sins in the Bible are sins of the tongue which need to be confessed? Otherwise when it comes to marriage, it is shot down.
It is said of the Lord Jesus Christ in Scripture that “Grace is poured from His lips” and that is our Bridegroom. “Kiss the Son lest He be angry.”
“I Know Him That He Will Command His Children and His Household After Him, and They Shall Keep the Way of the Lord,” Genesis 18:19
There can be no true family life without family Christianity. And family Christianity is best sustained by family worship. A proverb has it that a home without prayer is like a house without a roof.
Manifold Promises are for those whose home life is permeated with prayer. A family that prays together stays together. Family prayer is the bond of family love and the cement of domestic amity and the sweetener of home life.
A home which puts the Lord Jesus Christ first and is bathed in prayer never breaks apart. When the first family was formed, family prayer began with the head of the family as the priest.
We now come to examine the component parts of a good Christian home. We begin with the husband to whom many Promises are given and Scripture makes it clear that husbands:
Good husbands are exemplified in Isaac and Elkanah. Gen 24:67, 1 Sam 1:4-5. While bad husbands are portrayed by Solomon and Ahasuerus. 1 Kings 11:1, Esther 1:10-11.
In His Marvelous Condescension, God Offers Himself as a “Husband” to His Believing People
“Thy Maker is thine Husband,” Isaiah 54:5
What a precious Promise that is! He is our nearest and dearest One, Who loves us more than any other. As a husband is united to his wife and they become one, so God is closely united to us. And more deeply interested in us than any earthy relative could be.
He has espoused us to Himself, has made full provisions for all our needs, and has prepared a home for us above. May we be found confiding in Him and ardently longing for our union with Him in Heaven.
As our Divine Husband, having loved us, He will love us to the end.
Wives Also Receive Much Notice in the Bible
And have Promises they can claim as the husband’s helpmeet. Precepts regarding wives are clear and explicit.
Tuesday, November 6, 2001
As to the Numerous Duties, Obligations, and Responsibilities of “Wives,” There Are Many Scriptures to Guide Them as They Function as Wives
Rachel and Leah, the Wives of Jacob, Were Conscious That God Must be Obeyed and Said to Jacob “Whatsoever God Hath Said Unto Thee, Do,” Genesis 31:16
What can be nobler than that of a good wife seeking to strengthen a purpose the Lord hath kindled in her husband? Would that we had more of such a noble order.
Ruled in her own house and was her husband’s pride, stood by him when his heart sank down with grief, and sang into his soul a melody she only knew.
Portraits of “Good Wives” Are Before us in the Wife of Manoah, Ruth, Abigail, Elizabeth, Mary, Priscilla, and Sarah
“Bad wives” are exemplified in Delilah, Michal, Zeresh, Job’s wife, Herodias, and Sapphira.
As Time Goes by, by the Grace of God, Husbands Become “Fathers” and “Wives” and “Mothers”
Thus we approach further home relationships and the Promises related to them. First of all, let us consider the “fathers” who occupy considerable space in the Bible. All we can do at this point is to select a few “father verses” to emphasize required fatherly qualities and the Promises connected thereto.
“Honor thy father,” Exodus 20:12, Matt 15:4, 19:19, Mark 7:10.
Parental respect – sadly decadent in modern life, it is strictly enforced throughout the Bible. Physical and material blessings are promised those who duly respect their parents.
Needless to say, some fathers are unworthy of any honor because of their Godlessness, and lack of any spiritual influence in the home. They fail in the true function of fatherhood. They are fathers in name only. Yet the Mosaic command does not carry any condition. It does not say, “Honor thy father if he be a good moral man.” Whether good or bad, we are to be Christian in our treatment of those who gave us birth.
“Honor Thy Father”
Can it be that we have been a little lax or thoughtless in our obligations towards our parents? Is there a heart somewhere starved for a word of appreciation?
When your father is dead and gone, it will be too late then to say “Thank you.” Say it now, and send him a token of your gratitude.
Let today be your Father’s Day when you let your Dad know how deeply indebted you are to him for all he has been to you.
“Know therefore, that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him,” Deut 7:9.
“Faithful” like most Hebrew words has a picture in it. It means, “something that we can lean on” or “to build on.” This leads to a double signification, which is “trustworthy” and that because of “being rigidly observant of obligations.” So the word applies to a steward, or friend, or witness.
Its most wonderful and sublime application is to God. It presents to our adoring love:
The Faithfulness of God – Part Two!
God Faithfulness – Part Three!
The conception of a covenant is the negation of caprice, or arbitrary sovereignty, or mystery. We know the principles of His government.
His majestic “I wills” cover the whole ground of human life and needs for the present and the future. We can go into no region of life but we find that God has defined His conduct to us there by some Word spoken in our heart and binding Him.
Obligations from His new covenant, and His highest Word in the Lord Jesus Christ. “He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins.”
The Faithfulness of God – Part Four!
God as recognizing and discharging these obligations.
With Him there is no change of disposition, no emergence of unseen circumstances, no failure or exhaustion of power.
That He does so is matter of fact. Moses pointed out the facts of history on which He built the “know therefore” of the text. On the broad scale the whole world’s history is full of illustrations of God’s faithfulness to His Promises and His threats.
The history of Judaism and the sorrows of nations and the complications of national events all illustrate these facts. The personal history of each of us, the experience of all Christian souls. No man ever trusted in Him and was ashamed. He wills that we should put Him to the proof.
God’s Faithfulness – Part Five!
God as claiming our trust!
Faith is our attitude corresponding to His faithfulness. Faith is the germ of all that He requires from us, how much we need it, how firm it might be, how blessed it would make us.
The thought of God as “faithful” is like a precious stone turned in many directions in Scripture, and wherever turned it flashes light. Sometimes it is laid as the foundation for the confidence that even our weakness will be upheld to the end. As when Paul tells the Corinthians that they will be confirmed to the end, because, “God is faithful through Whom ye were called into the fellowship of His Son,” 1 Cor 1:9.
Sometimes there is built on it the assurance of complete sanctification as when he prays for the Thessalonians that their “whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord.”
And finds it in his heart to pray this because, “faithful is He that calleth you, who will also do it,” 1 Thess 5:24.
God’s Faithfulness – Part Six!
God as claiming our trust!
Sometimes it is presented as the steadfast stay grasping which faith can expect apparent impossibilities, as when Sarah “judged Him faithful who had promised,” Heb 11:11.
Sometimes it is adduced as bringing strong consolation to souls conscious of their own feeble and fluctuating faith, as when Paul tells Timothy that “If we are faithless, He abideth faithful, for He cannot deny Himself,” 2 Tim 2:13.
Sometimes it is presented as an anodyne to souls disturbed by experience of man’s unreliableness as when the apostle heartens the Thessalonians and himself to bear human untrustworthiness by the thought that though men are faithless, “God is faithful who will establish you and keep you from evil,” 2 Thess 3:2-3.
God’s Faithfulness – Part Seven!
God as claiming our trust!
Sometimes it is laid as a firm foundation for our assurance of pardon as when John tells us that, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9.
And sometimes that great attribute of the Divine nature is proposed as holding forth a pattern for us to follow, and the faith in it as tending to make us in a measure steadfast like Himself. As when Paul indignantly rebuts his enemies, charge of levity of purpose and vacillation and avers that, “As God is faithful, our word toward you is not yea and nay,” 2 Cor 1:18.
Wednesday, November 7, 2001
“We Had Our Fathers of Our Flesh Which Corrected Us,” Hebrews 12:9
Necessary correction is never brutal, but always beneficial. Sparing the rod does not save the child. Faults unrebuked and unpunished develop into gross sins.
We have far too many spoiled children in these days of a false reasoning about repression of the young, both in our homes and in our schools.
The central point of the context dealing with our heavenly Father’s chastening is that such correction never reaches a Christian by chance. God’s correction always has a special, beneficial objective, namely, the perfecting of His children in holiness. That is why we must not forget the loving exhortation, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him.”
As Our Children Profit by Discipline, They Come to Reverence a Loving Father Who Has the Highest Welfare of His Chastened Child at Heart
In like manner we are to act to the “Father of spirits” and live. He would be unkind if He did not correct us in measure. Is Divine correction yours? Then let it yield the promised, “peaceable fruits of righteousness.”
“The fathers have eaten a sour grape and the children’s teeth are set on edge,” Jer 31:29, Ezek 18:2. This repeated dictum emphasizes the importance of individuality. While a great deal of sinning may be laid at the door of heredity, the Bible reveals that individuality has its message not only of awful responsibility, but also of glorious promise and undying blessedness.
Everyone is free to break with a saddening and miserable past. Grace can overcome inherited tendencies. “Everyone shall die for his own iniquity.” Wrapped up in the mystery of natural generation is the communication to others of desires and appetites, good or bad.
“The Fathers Have Eaten a Sour Grape and the Children’s Teeth Are Set on Edge,” Jeremiah 31:29, Ezekiel 18:2
At the back of the descriptive saying, both of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, is the idea, “Like father, like son.” This is one reason why young married men should be urged to keep their record clean. Unborn generations are to be influenced by their godliness and chastity. As they are today, so will their offspring be tomorrow. The stream will correspond to its source.
As a father, Lot failed miserably in the mission of shaping the character of his children after righteousness. He was a weak man and he chose to dwell in Sodom only because it was a wealthy city. He aimed at prosperity and position and his children married into the world and they were ruined. When Lot saw disaster ahead, he tried to act the father’s part in warning his children, but it was too late.
“He seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law,” Gen 19:14.
“I Was a Father to the Poor,” Job 29:16
Job, affected by the miseries of the poor, and willing to provide for their wants, is here self-styled “a father of the poor.”
In Church history the term “father” is applied to Christian leaders of the first centuries. Roman Catholic priests are called holy father, which is somewhat sacrilegious, since the designation occurs but once in the Bible and it is then applied only to God. John 17:11.
There is a sense in which all of us can manifest the fatherly qualities of love and compassion. In Scripture “fathers” are depicted as mature believers, not babes in Christ – suggesting growth and maturity.
“Ye Are of Your Father the Devil,” John 8:44
Our Lord Jesus Christ had no hesitation in naming the devil as the parent of a numerous, evil brood. In His discourse after the feast, the Lord Jesus Christ had some stern things to say to the Pharisees, who wanted to know who His Father was, John 8:18-19.
They professed to have God as their father, John 8:11. His Fatherhood is clearly taught both in this chapter and throughout John’s Gospel.
The Lord Jesus Christ also spoke of the “fatherhood of the devil,” naming him as the father of lust, murder, and lies. Without apology He told the religious people, the Pharisees, that they were the offspring of such a “hellish father.” No wonder these enraged “children of the devil” took up stones to kill Him. Religion kills. And it is quite obvious this is true in our day.
God the Father! Satan a Father!
Satan has been an ape of God.
When earthly fathers follow the hellish fathers, their own children are robbed of those holy influences leading to the loving Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
This is what religion does – blinds.
“I Will be a Father Unto You,” 2 Corinthians 6:18
Here we have one of those conditional Promises common to Scripture. To lay claim to God the Father’s fatherly provision and protection, we must be prepared to break off all carnal connections. For carnality and spirituality cannot be reconciled.
If our separation from worldly persons and pursuits bring with it persecution and isolation, God is as near as a father to comfort and to protect.
And wilt Thou, Lord, a Father be,
That God Holds a Sacred Estimation of Fatherhood is Evidenced by the Fact That He Often Uses Such a Relationship to Illustrate His Feelings Toward His Own
“Abba Father,” Gal 4:5-7.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was particularly fond of the word “Father” as He addressed God or spoke about Him. As His “Only Begotten Son,” the Lord Jesus Christ lived near to His Father’s heart and always sought to do those things pleasing to His Father.
When an “earthly father” dies, God offers to take his place and care for those who are left behind. And thus He speaks of Himself as “the Father of the fatherless,” Psa 68:5.
The best fathers in the world are those who are separated from the world and who are endeavoring to be free from an unequal yoke with unbelievers, and know what it is to have the Lord God Almighty as a Father.
Life is ever fragrant in a home when “a father, loving his Heavenly Father” and striving to please Him in all his ways, so orders his home life as to give his children a beautiful conception of the love, compassion, and protection of the Father above.
The greatest responsibility of any father is to reflect the character of God the Father.
As to children, they should remember that they can only expect the full Promise of God as they heed the words of Solomon, “Hear thou, my son, and be wise...and hearken unto thy father that begat thee,” Prov 23:19.
Only a dad, but he gives his all,
The Eating of the Peace Offering
“But thou must eat them before the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God in all that thou puttest thy hands unto,” Deut 12:18.
There are three bloody sacrifices – the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering. In all three, expiation was the first idea, but in the second of them the act of burning symbolized a further thought namely, that of offering to God. While in the third, “the peace offering,” there was added to both of these the still further thought of the offerer’s participation with God, as symbolized by the eating of the sacrifice.
So we have great Truths which are the most spiritual, depicted for us in these external rites.
The Peace Offering – Part Two – Depicts for Us
The Peace Offering – Part Three
It is blessedly true as to all that we lay on God’s altar – it is far more ours than it ever was or could be while we kept it for ourselves. And our enjoyment and our nourishment from our good things, when offered as sacrifices, are greater than when we eat our morsel alone.
If we make earthly joys and possessions the materials of our sacrifice, they will not only become means of closer union with the Lord instead of parting us from Him, as they do when used in selfish disregard of Him.
Nor must we forget the wonderful thought also mirrored in this piece of ancient ritual, that God delights in men’s sacrifices and surrenders and service.
Peace Offering –Part Four
“If I was hungry, I would not tell thee” said the psalmist in God’s Name in regard to outward sacrifices. “Will I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?”
But He does “eat” the better sacrifices that loving souls or obedient wills lay on His altar. He seeks for those and delights when they are offered to Him.
“He hungered, and seeing a fig tree by the wayside, He came to it.”
He still hungers for the fruit that we can yield to Him. And if we will, He will enter in and sup with us, not disdaining to sit at the poor table which we can spread for Him, not to partake of the humble fare which we lay upon it, but mending the banquet by what He brings for our nourishment, and hallowing the hour by His presence.
“If Any Man Lack Wisdom, Let Him Ask of God,” James 1:5
The verb is “AITEO.” It is used four times in James 1:5, 6, 4:3. It is distinguished from the verb to “ask,” “EROTAO,” which means the petitioner is on a footing of equality or familiarity with the person whom he requests. It is used of a king making a request of another king. Luke 14:32.
But the verb “AITEO” is the petition of one who is lesser in position than to whom the petition is made. Of men asking something of God, Matt 7:7. Or child from a parent, Matt 7:9-10. Or a subject from a king, Acts 12:20.
So the uniqueness of the New Testament Greek again brings out the accuracy and the distinction when we ask God for wisdom, recognizing His superiority and our inferiority.
Another Indication of How Important the Original Languages Are in Our Interpretation and Explanation of the Scriptures
“Babbler” and “babblings” – the word is “SPERMOLOGOS.”
A babbler is used in Acts 17:18, which is primarily an adjective. It came to be used as a noun signifying a “crow” or some other bird picking up seeds. “SPERMA,” a seed, and “LEGO,” to collect.
Then it was used of a certain man accustomed to hang around the streets and markets picking up scraps which fall from the loads. Hence, a parasite who lives at the expense of others, a hanger on.
Metaphorically it became used of a man who picks up scraps of information and retails them second-hand. A plagiarist or of those who make a show in unscientific style of knowledge obtained from misunderstanding lectures.
“KENOPHONIA” babbling, from “KENOS,” empty and “PHONE” a sound. Signifies empty discussion, discussion on useless subjects. 1 Tim 6:20, 2 Tim 2:16.
They called Paul a seed picker...
Thursday, November 8, 2001
When a wife has the added relationship of mother, what added responsibilities and joys become hers. The Bible has much to say about mothers. And it records Promises of all the strengths, Grace, and wisdom necessary for the exercise of true motherhood.
“Honour thy mother,” Deut 5:16.
Some of the greatest characters in the Bible and of history have testified to what they owe to their godly mothers. Abraham Lincoln said, “God bless my mother. All I am or hope to be I owe to her.”
What a different nation ours would be if only we had more Christian mothers. It is fitting that one of the most celebrated national events is Mother’s Day. Inaugurated to recall with gratitude a mother’s love, sacrifice, and influence, and to express our love and thankfulness to the one giving us birth and influencing our life.
Home is a home of peace, and wherever a true mother comes, the home is always around her. Home is wherever she is.
“A Foolish Son Despiseth His Mother,” Proverbs 15:30
King Lemuel had a good mother, one he loved and revered. That is why he gives us the most appealing portrait of a perfect mother ever sketched. From her pure lips, Lemuel learned that kings and queens must strive to maintain personal chastity. By her example as well as her exhortations she likewise urged her royal son to honor women.
Truly the price of such a wonderful mother is far above rubies. All the works, children, and husband of such a God-fearing wife and mother will praise her.
Godliness makes for the enrichment of home life. The finest mothers in the world are those who love the Lord and the Word of God and who amid all the cares, trials, and sorrows of home know how to steal away to the Lord Jesus Christ and confide in Him. Gen 25:22.
If a mother is virtuous and has a husband and children who can justly praise her for all she is and does, then they are thrice blessed.
“I Arose a Mother in Israel,” Judges 5:7
The distinguished wife of Lapidoth was endowed with a prophetic spirit and was therefore qualified to exercise all the functions of a chief judge in Israel. Judges 4:4. Dwelling between Ramah and Bethel under a palm tree, the Israelites came to her for judgment. It would appear as if she was the first female appointed by the Lord to rule His people.
How well she was equipped and how faithfully she discharged the duties of ruler! Her triumphant ode is one of the most solemn in literature.
As a war cry, it is most applicable to the dark days in any international conflict. Mothers are always heavy sufferers when war afflicts a nation. What sorrow over separations, suspense, vigils, grief, and heartaches are theirs.
In the hour of Israel’s national need, God had His woman ready. And what a true mother she became in all of Israel. As our nation is beset by terrorists within and without, it will be its mothers who will suffer most among our present war.
“Now There Stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother,” John 19:25
Faithful mothers never forsake a cross. Born to carry burdens, they shoulder them without complaint.
Is there not something arresting about the attitude and position of Mary? The One dying on that cruel Cross was her Son, the Child of her womb. Hers had been the privilege of bearing her Saviour. Now in the moment of His intense agony, where is she? She stood by the Cross, as the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ lighted upon His mother standing by the Cross, His disciples had forsaken.
For a moment, the Father had deserted His Son therefore, the poignant cry, “Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” But Mary maintained her sorrowful vigil and stood there. Do we not praise God for all the praying, heroic mothers Mary represents?
Are you among the number who can thank God for the faithfulness and kindness of a mother who not only stood by the Cross, but never rested until you received the One who died upon the Cross as your personal Saviour?
And when I in Heaven appear,
“Who is My Mother...Behold My Mother,” Matthew 12:48-49
The Lord Jesus Christ was ever mindful of His mother who gave Him birth. As He died, His last consideration was that of the future welfare of Mary. That is why in commending her to John He said, “Behold thy mother,” John 19:27. From that moment John’s house sheltered Mary. But in the context before us, the Lord Jesus Christ reveals a new privileged and promised relationship.
The Lord Jesus Christ was notified that His mother desired to speak to Him, but He answered, “Who is My mother?” Then stretching forth His hand towards His disciples He said, “Behold My mother...whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in Heaven, the same is My mother.”
“Behold My Mother”
Have you as a mother entered this new and intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ?
Looking upon you, can the Lord Jesus Christ say, “Behold My mother?”
There is no relationship so dear and sacred as that of motherhood. To have those around you and bless you for your motherliness must be a thrill.
But such feelings are not comparable to those that pulsate in the soul of one joined to the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you in the family of faith, bound to the Lord Jesus Christ eternally? If so, then your sweet home will be as Heaven’s twin sister.
A Choice of Masters! Under Terrorist Attack! 9-11-01
“Because thou servest not the Lord thy God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things, therefore thou shalt serve thine enemies...in want of all things, and He shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck until He destroy thee,” Deut 28:47-48.
The history of Israel is a picture on a large scale of what befalls us.
“Choose this day whom thou wilt serve, but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
“I put before you this day life or death, choose which it shall be to you.”
We are all born to obedience, to depend on or follow some person or thing. There is only the choice of services. And he who boasts himself free is but a more abject slave.
As the choice for a nation is either the rule of settled order and the sanctities of an established law, or the usurpation of a mob and the intolerable tyranny of unbridled and irresponsible force.
So with us. We have to serve God or enemies, our lusts, our passions, the world, evil habits, in a word, our sins ring us round. God is the only defense against them.
The contrast is between the one, and the many, a king or an ochlocracy – the contrast of the living Lord and hostile sins.
Discipline! The Greek Word is “SOPHRONISMOS”
From “SOPHRON,” which means “saving the mind;” from “SAOS,” contracted to; “SOS,” safe; “SOZO,” to save; and “PHREN” the mind.
Primarily an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, or to self-control, used in 2 Tim 1:17, “a sound mind,” literally, discipline.
“SOPHRONEO,” to be of a sound mind; “SOPHRONIZO,” to admonish; “SOPHRONOS,” soberly; and “SOPHRON,” sound mind.
That is the purpose of discipline.
Defraud...The Greek Word is “APOSTEREO” – Not to Defraud One Another
Signifying to rob, despoil, defraud, Mark 10:19, 1 Cor 6:8, 7:5. Of that which is due to the condition of the relationship between a husband and his wife.
In the middle voice, to allow oneself to be defrauded, 1 Cor 6:7.
In the passive voice, “bereft,” 1 Tim 6:5 with reference to the Truth, with the suggestion of being retributively robbed of the Truth through the corrupt condition of the mind.
“PLEONEKTEO” translated “defraud” in 1 Thes 4:6. “Wrong” the reference being to the latter part of the tenth commandment.
“The Mother of Harlots,” Revelation 17:5
The awful abominations of Romanism and of Babylon, the fountainhead of all idolatry and corruption, have each been spoken of as “the whore, the harlot.”
Whatever or whoever this foul “mother” will be, there is evidence that she is to gather unto herself all forms of false religions. “Sitting upon many waters” implies that she is to acquire to herself a sphere of world influence using them for unholy ends.
Here we have the degradation of a sacred term “mother” – “the mother of harlots.” Surely there is nothing as abhorrent as one who has prostituted her functions and privileges. Prov 23:27-28.
No wonder John was smitten with wonder as he saw this woman, drunk with the blood of saints and of martyrs. Do we pray and labor as we ought to be for the salvation of those mothers and potential mothers, who are lost and without Christ and without hope?
Never despair of the most abandoned and degraded women, because the Lord Jesus Christ is able to lift them from the dunghill and place them among the princesses.
Friday, November 9, 2001
“The Mother of Us All,” Galatians 4:26
As a figure of speech, “mother” is applied to a variety of subjects such as the earth, queens, cities, and to the Church.
As used by Paul, the term speaks of the Church triumphant in Heaven. The true Church is only “mother” of the “free.” Unless delivered from sin and the curse, we are in bondage and not spiritually fit to receive and experience the mother care of Him who is the Head of the Church.
Eve, another type of the Church, is called “the mother of the living.” And the Church of the living God is only the mother of those who have been made alive in Christ. Such a spiritual mother has no dead children.
If you are a mother according to the flesh, are you certain that you are a member of the Church, which is His body?
“As One Whom His Mother Comforteth, So Will I Comfort You,” Isaiah 66:13
What a precious Promise this is for us all. Not only as our Father, but our Mother also. A mother is a queen of comfort. As the personification of tenderness she can enter into her child’s grief.
When her boy or girl is overwhelmed by little troubles and sorrows, it is mother rather than to the father of the home, to whom the child turns for consolation.
A kiss on the brow, a hug to the breast, and a gentle rocking in loving arms provide an infallible cure for deserted babies. Of all comforters the child loves best the mother.
“As One Whom His Mother Comforteth, So Will I Comfort You,” Isaiah 66:13
It is not condescending for God to promise to act the mother’s part? Did He not remind Israel that He would dandle her on His knees and comfort her as one comforted by a mother?
It is He who takes His handkerchief and dries our tear-stained eyes. Even though our sighs and sobs are our readiest utterances, He never wearies of our appeals.
Where is the true mother who is weary of the child’s oft coming for consolations? The tragedy of life is that there are so many sorrow-laden hearts who meet their trials without a knowledge of the One who offers Himself as a Comforter, dearer than the best of mothers.
“As a Mother Comforteth...so Comfort I You,” Isaiah 66:13
Many virtues and graces meet in Him.
All that is best, holiest, sweetest, and most gracious in a noble man and also in pure-hearted women can be found in our Lord, who is the Source of all.
“Male and female created He them” and the characteristic feature of both are resident in His loving heart. He fuses together in His own adorable Person the strong, tender, brooding, comforting, sacrificial love of a woman.
This is why both male and female turn to the same Lord for salvation and sanctification.
Father and Mother Thou
“TIMOS” is translated “precious” in James 5:7, 1 Pet 1:19, 2 Pet 1:4, 1 Cor 3:12. “Costly.”
“ENTIMOS” is translated “precious,” 1 Pet 2:4, 6.
“POLUTELES” is translated “very precious,” Mark 14:3. “Very costly.”
“POLUTIMOS” is translated “of great value,” 1 Pet 1:7. Comparative degree.
“BARUTIMOS” is translated “great value, exceeding precious,” Matt 26:7. Weighty.
“ISOTIMOS” is “equal value, held in equal honor,” 2 Pet 1:1. A like-precious faith equally precious.
Jointly Fathers and Mothers Are Known as “Parents” Whose Joint Obligations Also Find Mention in the Bible
And for whom there are explicit Promises to be claimed and precepts to be obeyed.
If you are a parent, think of these most pertinent Scriptures. Parents are obligated:
When parents love the Lord and seek to bring their children up in His fear and are faithful in the discharge of their parenthood, then they are blessed by their children.
“Her children rise up, and call her blessed,” Prov 31:28, Isa 65:23.
And to Children Themselves the Promise of Them and Promises Connected with Them Occupy a Most Prominent Part in the Bible
Children who are a heritage of the Lord have claims and responsibilities all their own.
First of all, a classification of children Promises ought to enable us to realize our attitude toward the young and also something of their mission in the world.
Thought for the Day!
One man in the Bible, Jacob, said both of these things:
Yes, and the same man, Jacob said this:
Can you explain it?
Terrorist Thought for the Day!
Mental Illness, Depression, Despondency, and Fear!
There is no need to spend money on a shrink if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t spend your money for human viewpoint answers which will never give you mental stability. Or, as the Scripture says, “a sober mental attitude,” sober minded.
Now that is something to think about and if you get depressed or despondent or suffer from mental anguish. You are either lost and without Christ and without hope and without eternal life or else you are a believer out of fellowship with the Lord. No charge!
An All-Encompassing Promise!
“All we like sheep have gone astray.”
“We have each turned to our own way.”
“But the Lord (God the Father) hath laid on Him (the Lord Jesus Christ) the
iniquity of us all.”
Saturday, November 10, 2001
As a Child, the Lord Jesus Christ was an example for all children to follow. He was subject unto them,” Luke 2:51, 52.
The proverb has it, “Happy is he that is happy in his children.” How happy are the parents when their children are loving, thoughtful, and obedient. How true it is that there is beauty all around when there is love at home.
How distressed and divided a home becomes when a child or children grow up selfish, unkind, and disobedient.
Among Numerous Promises of Children and Promised Blessings Contracted With Them, Here Are a Few All Parents Should Meditate Upon
Let’s Look a Little Closer at Some of These Promises Which Make for a More Wholesome Child Life
“Children are an heritage of the Lord,” Psa 127:3.
In reply to Esau’s question regarding the children accompanying Jacob, Jacob said, “They are the children which God hath graciously given thy servant.”
Christian parents agree with Jacob and Solomon that children come as heavenly gifts. But children are only as arrows in the hand of a mighty man and only bring happiness to the father whose quiver is full of them when they grow up for the Lord. When children come from God, since He is the Author of all life, the tragedy is that multitudes of them grow up utterly godless in their life.
Can your parents speak of you as an heritage of the Lord? Born of God-fearing parents, who prayed for you before you saw the light of day?
Are you living in such a way as to please God who gave you life, and to gladden the hearts of those who have nurtured you through early days?
Children from God should be godly.
Thought for Today!
This coming New Year’s Eve will not be the same for many people in our country since the terrorist attack on our country. “Old acquaintances will not be soon forgotten,” simply because some have lost their loved ones, and lost businesses, and even their way of life.
There is only one way to face the coming year in light of this tragedy that has happened to our country. And that is to draw close to the Lord Jesus Christ who has promised to take the place of mother, father, sister, and brother. A Father to the fatherless and a Father to the widows and orphans.
“His Children Are Blessed After Him,” Proverbs 20:7
How many there are that owe their material prosperity to a father who coupled integrity with industry? A stranger to anything dishonest, success came his way enabling him to leave others provided for.
Have you entered into a spiritual and material inheritance? Have you desires, a disposition, and possessions which a good father made possible? Well, it is your obligation so to use all you are and have for right ends so that others will be blessed after you. Unborn generations will be influenced by your present life. “No man liveth unto himself.”
Influence is never neutral. Each of us are presently sowing seeds that will bear a good or evil harvest in others who will follow us. If you are presently blessed because of godly parents, determine so to live so that you will leave behind footprints on the sands of time.
“I Will Pour My Spirit Upon Thy Seed and My Blessing Upon Thine Offspring,” Isaiah 44:3
Here is a Promise every worthy parent seeks to claim. We are not long in discovering that our children do not have the Spirit of God by nature. Original or inbred sin is not long in appearing. But when it does, our fears for the salvation of are children are banished by the word that came to the patriarch, “Fear not, O Jacob, My servant.”
Because our heavenly Father takes pleasure in the prayers of fathers and mothers, He will hear your prayers for the regeneration of your children.
“Children...Live Long on Earth,” Ephesians 6:1, 3
When it comes to honoring our parents, no condition is attached. Whether they are in the Lord or not, we have to honor them. Godless they may be, yet because they gave us birth, we must ever respect them.
The double Promise of the commandment before us is full of import.
Disobedient and Unthankful Children Who Constantly Dishonor Parents Often Beggar Themselves and Shorten Their Own Days
Are you enjoying the first commandment with promise?
If this verse is being read by a young person who has the tendency to be independent and feels that father and mother are behind the times, too old fashioned and antiquated, then pause and ponder.
“Obey and honor” means happiness and life and also pleasure for the Lord Jesus Christ. Col 3:20, “Children obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”
“Fatherless Children I Will Preserve Them Alive,” Jeremiah 49:11
Among the most interesting exhibits in the Moody Museum in Chicago is the old Bible of D. L. Moody’s mother. Resting in its glass case, it is open at this page and alongside the verse before us is a cross. When Mrs. Moody lost her husband and was left with seven children to care for, she claimed this Promise for the dark and difficult days ahead.
It may be that you are fatherless and motherless, too. The comfort and the delights of the old home are gone, or can it be that the paragraph is being read by a widow who has the care of fatherless children?
God’s Promise of preservation is for you to claim, that is, if you know Him as the Father of the fatherless and His Son as your personal Saviour.
I Can Tell Your Fortune…
Not from a “horror” scope or astrology, but from a couple verses of Scripture, no tea leaves.
I can tell your past and your present and your future. It will take one email, no charge, no obligations.
Sunday, November 11, 2001
“A Little Child Shall Lead Them,” Isaiah 11:6
When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to this Earth, the animal creation is to be so transformed that the young will have no fear of destruction. Then a den of lions will be as safe as a playhouse.
Isaiah’s most quoted phrase however can be used in various ways. Often children lead their elders in humility and innocence. With a little child on his knee, the Lord Jesus Christ taught those around Him a much-needed lesson on humility.
It is not the first time a parent has been led by the simple prayers and faith of a child to the feet of the Crucified One. When brought up to turn to the Lord, they have an unaffected way of speaking about Him that causes older people to think.
But returning to the interpretation of Isaiah’s description of the Millennium, is it not blessed to know that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to make the world a safe place for dear children to live in?
“Behold I and the Children, Which God Hath Given Me,” Hebrews 2:13
What abounded joy will be the portion of completed circles as they gather around the Lord Jesus Christ in glory, to know that not one is missing will be cause for eternal praise.
How comforting it is to know that there are no children who died before coming to the age of accountability and responsibility in Hell, because their adamic sin was covered by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Tragedy is That so Many Family Circles Are Presently Broken
Parents are saved, children unsaved. The old-fashioned Gospel of godly parents seems to be too strait laced for children who feel they have outgrown the faith of mother and father.
Are you heartbroken over the lack of spiritual desires on the part of your children? We have to take heart from the fact that God hears and answers prayers.
Plead on for that girl or boy still out of the fold, and sooner than you expect, the God who hears and answers prayer will rejoice your soul and complete your circle in Grace.
“Children Let Them Praise the Name of the Lord,” Psalm 148:12, 13
The psalmist, in his “hallelujah” Psalm, did not exclude the girls and boys. The paean of praise ascending from all God’s work would not be perfect without children’s voices.
How happy is the home where the young love to sing God’s praises. Enthusiasms for the things of God rejoice the hearts of parents.
How blessed the man whose treasures rare,
It may be that because of the Lord’s desire to have infant praises in the Heaven above, God takes the lambs to be with Himself.
In these day when the TV, radio, and movies have such a strong fascination for the young and they quickly pick up trashy songs, it is to be hoped that you are keeping your children from worldliness, which is a mental attitude.
Hymns learned in childhood days have a way of sticking with one through life. Do not rob God of your praise. Strive to teach infant voices to proclaim their early blessings on His Name. Instruct them in all that pertains to godliness and you will have no regrets.
Before a child has reached to seven,
Promises for the Home
As to the homes which parents and children fashion, (1 Sam 30:24 KJV) For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.
Possibly David was drawing on his experience in Ziklag when he wrote the line above. Here is the full record, “As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike,” 1 Sam 30:24.
Is it Your Responsibility to Stay at Home Caring for the Stuff?
Public life may have more change and glamour about it than the humdrum duties of home.
Perhaps your husband is active in Christian work, whose service takes him from home a great deal, and you long for more of his company. It may be that you long to be more conspicuous in our Lord’s service. But there is little freedom from the care of children and home duties.
Do not be discouraged. It is your devotion to home that helps to make the public work of your husband possible. And at the Judgment Seat, when rewards are bestowed, “the spoil will be divided.”
“He Said to the Ruler of the House Bring These Men Home,” Genesis 43:18
This is the first reference to “home” in the Bible. “House,” meaning Noah’s loved ones and possessions, occurs for the first time in Gen 7:1.
Joseph would feel very much at home as all his brothers gathered around the table. Is it not the desire of our Heavenly Joseph to bring us all to our “long home,” Ecc 12:5 and the Lord Jesus Christ’s “at home day” is not far away.
Presently we are “at home in the body,” but before long, reunion will be ours just as Joseph was happy to have his own around him in his Egyptian home.
“Where I am, there ye may be also,” John 14:3.
That house where we shall meet and dwell,
“Ye Brought it Home and I Did Blow Upon it,” Haggai 1:9
The Lord had some caustic things to say about people who could spend money on their lovely houses, but were content with a shack of a place for the worship of His Name.
Judgment, however, fell upon those who prided themselves upon their ceiled houses. The Lord blew upon their coveted possessions. What have you brought home? Are you proud of your costly furniture? Rugs? Pictures? Antiques and rare editions?
Have you spent more on them than on the Lord and His Word? Beware lest He blow upon your house gods. “Except the Lord build the house” and controls your home, your labor is in vain trying to build it. Psalm 127:1.
“Keeper at Home...Show Pity at Home,” Titus 2:5, 1 Timothy 5:4, Habakkuk 2:5
Faithful homes made possible by those who love the Lord and His Word form the nation’s greatest assets.
When home life declines, so does the influence of the nation. Many a family has gone to pieces today simply because parents have neglected their home and their children.
Parenthood involves sacrifices, and in order that young lives might be shaped and molded correctly, a good deal of public life, even if one is fitted for it, must be lightly undertaken. Tragic results accrue from keeping other vineyards and neglecting our own.
Keeping house and showing faithfulness at home may not carry the glare and popularity of social or club work, but it does result in the production of young lives who are well guarded to face the temptations and trials of life as they reach them.
These are the children who in later years can say,
“Come Home With Me and Refresh Thyself,” 1 Kings 13:7
Turning aside from the direct interpretation of this passage, there is the application that home is not merely a place to eat, drink, and sleep in. We are certainly grateful for comfortable homes, and for all the temporal and material refreshment they provide.
But a good home should offer mental and spiritual refreshment, as well a material benefits. Yours is a poor house if all you can offer all those who enter it a hearty meal. When you invite friends to visit your home, do they feel when they come to leave that you have given them something more satisfying than a good dinner?
Do they leave knowing they have received a spiritual stimulus? Has your home a spiritual atmosphere about it that charms those sit at your table? Do friends who love to visit you, not merely for the fine table you spread, but for the refreshment of mind and soul they exercise? Then such a home is a blessing.
To speak sweetly and naturally of the things of the Lord is more beneficial than serving martinis.
“Go Home...And Tell,” Mark 5:19
The maniac of Gadara, marvelously delivered of his unclean spirit and restored to normal manhood, besought the Lord Jesus Christ, his Emancipator, that he might follow Him. The earnest request was refused because the Lord Jesus Christ knew that this demon-possessed man could do more effective work among his own relatives and friends.
The one-time maniac wanted to remain with the Lord Jesus Christ and preach and he was told to go home and preach. Reversely, the man who was commissioned to preach, asked to go home and bid farewell to his friends. But the Lord Jesus Christ forbade him. Luke 9:61-62.
Home is Often a Difficult Place in Which to Witness for the Lord Jesus Christ
Somehow it is easier to speak to strangers about Him
Has your life been transformed? Have you been made the recipient of the Saviour’s power?
Then let God the Holy Spirit make you a “home missionary” first. Try to win your own kin to the Lord Jesus Christ. By lip and life recommend the Lord Jesus Christ to those who are nearest and dearest to you. If God cannot use you in your home, there is little likelihood of Him using you outside of it. You don’t have to cross a body of water to be a missionary.
“Go home...and tell,” Mark 5:19.
“At Home There is as Death,” Lamentations 1:20
In God’s contest with Pharaoh, the last plague, with its death of the first-born, was a time of universal grief. Egypt became a nation with drawn blinds. “There was not a house where there was not one dead,” Ex 12:30.
Taking our world as a whole, we realize that death-plagued homes are on the increase. In times of wide-spread war, countless numbers of fathers and mothers and sons and daughters leave home never to return, like in our present day of a terrorist attack.
In peacetime, cars, planes, trains, plagues, and diseases claim a colossal toll on life, leaving widows, fatherless children, and orphans to wage a battle against poverty. Has death shadowed your home? Has your soul been emptied of a treasure? Well, you have the Promise of Divine comfort and provision, and the assurance that in your vacant soul there is One whose presence is real.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Friend death cannot rob you of. In the day of your adversity consider Him, Ecc 7:14, as for your precious dead who died in Christ, they are with Him.
“If They Will Learn...Let Them Ask at Home,” 1 Corinthians 14:35
In public gatherings, women were not allowed to seek interpretation of the tongues used, but were to ask their husbands when they got home the significance of what was said.
The enjoined silence then was in no way connected with public witness by women, but was a matter of interrogation. Whatever they desired to know had to be learned at home, where, in privacy, the husband explained the message of tongues which was for “those that believe not,” for the enlightenment and edification of his wife.
“If They Will Learn…Let Them Ask at Home,” 1 Corinthians 14:35
The broader application of this, asking at home, is educative value. Learn at home. Many of us have profited by what we learn in the college of the home.
Family life offers a liberal education. Through daily contact, the lessons of patience, forbearance, unselfishness, and consideration are learned. As we learn by asking, there are questions we can ask our loved ones that we would hesitate to ask a school teacher.
A godly mother, fully instructed in the Scriptures adds considerably to her child’s knowledge of life.
The Lord Jesus Christ spoke of Heaven as “His Father’s home.” It becomes more of a home as our earthly homes are broken up and scattered to the four winds. Many of us have more ties binding us to the unseen Home, than to the seen and temporal. Sin, sorrow, and death destroy our earthly home, but Heaven can never be ravaged by such destructive influences.
What Constitutes a Home?
Does not love, harmony, and godliness?
Heaven is our “long home.” “Man goeth to his long home,” Ecc 12:5, and perfect harmony prevails there, for all are one with each other and with the Lord Jesus Christ. Hell spells eternal homelessness.
It is hope that all within your home are children of God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, carrying with them the blessed assurance of the blissful home beyond the skies, as we wait for such a beautiful transition.
Promises for “the Fatherless” Because of a Terrorist Attack
Still dealing with those Promises related to the “marital realm,” we come to those the “fatherless” can appropriate.
It is somewhat surprising to find how much the Bible has to say about those who are orphaned. Both the character and companionship of children are seriously impaired when mother or father, or both, are removed by death. But the Lord has many heartening Promises for those who are bereft.
These Promises must be posted everywhere because of the recent attack on our country by terrorists. You won’t find them in your shrink’s office.
The fatherless are:
More to come. Share them with those in need.
More Promises for the Fatherless
The Lord must have had the fatherless in mind! He must have known something.
Monday, November 12, 2001
The Fatherless is Used Typically of Zion in Affliction
In his affluent days, Job’s fatherly heart felt for those who had been orphaned. He speaks of those who overwhelm the fatherless, of the arms of the fatherless being broken, of the driving away of the ass of the fatherless. Job 6:27, 22:9, 24:3, 9, 31:17.
In his defense, Job protects his innocence in these respects. His morsel had not been eaten alone but shared with those who had no father to provide for them. And in his compassion, Job stands out as a fitting type of our heavenly Father who is ever willing to share His bounty with the needy.
“Son, Thou Art Ever With Me and All That I Have is Thine,” Luke 15:31
When you meet a fatherless child whose life and home are somewhat empty, help them all you can. And above all, tell the sorrowful one of the Lord who is both able and willing to undertake for them.
Has your earthly father been taken from you and are you somewhat fearful as you face life without the care, protection, and fatherly counsel you have come to depend upon? Be of good cheer! Here is One who has promised to help you, and to meet your every need. He is also your Judge, ready to defend the fatherless against those who would take mean advantage of them. What must be made clear, however, is that God can only be expected to function toward the fatherless as He has promised if they commit their ways unto Him.
If those without earthly fathers desire to claim His promised provision and protection, His Grace and guidance must be sought through His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only thus that any of us, fatherless or otherwise, can appropriate the compassion and sustenance of Him.
“Who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“A Father of the Fatherless,” Psalm 68:5
Has not the Lord Jesus Christ reminded us in most exquisite language that the death of a lonely sparrow is noticed by our heavenly Father? Responsible as He is for all life, surely He is able to care for those without parents. When death robs us of our loved ones, has He not promised to take us up?
What is the function of a true father? Do not his children rejoice in his companionship? What a refuge his friendship is. When others misunderstand, He understands. When others grieve us, he throws his strong arm around us and soothes our troubled souls. In our perplexities, father is at hand to guide us. How clever and ready he is to straighten out our problems.
But when death removes him, somehow our light goes out. Yet there is Another ready to step into father’s place and to be all, and more than all, than the one we have loved long since and lost awhile.
“In Thee the Fatherless Findeth Mercy,” Hosea 14:3
In this sweet Promise, there is an excellent reason for casting away all other confidences and relying upon the Lord alone.
When a child is left without a natural protector, He steps in and becomes the Guardian. Mercy is spoken of as the compassion of Grace manifested in the lonely, wretched, and the needy.
It is seen especially in the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and in His great eternal salvation for the guilty. It is the mercy which all the fatherless, as all other sinners, stand in need of.
Often the removal of an earthly father brings the children to the realization of their need of Divine mercy.
The world has little sympathy for those who are left alone. There is the axiom, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.”
All Lonely Disconsolate Hearts, However, Can Find in the Lord One Who Truly Cares
“In all our afflictions, He was afflicted”
There is no place where Earth’s sorrows are more felt, than up in Heaven.
Keeping ourselves unspotted from the world, in respect to its tainted pleasures and pursuits, is only one aspect of pure worship. Another is that we are to go in the world, visiting and relieving the fatherless and the widows.
How often do your feet carry you into a home or an institution where the fatherless are found? Are you a visitor of love, bearing in your hands a few necessities of life a fatherless child may need, and a message of cheer on your lips? Children bereaved of parents find it easier to believe in a Father above the bright, blue sky, when someone with a kind, loving soul and face comes their way.
The word translated “pure religion” in our passage is literally the Greek word for “worship.” Religion is not found in the Bible in a good sense. Satan is the father of religion, i.e., terrorist attack.
Thought for the Day!
You don’t have to be an orphan if you don’t want to be. There is a Promise for that. “I will never leave thee orphaned.”
Simply accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and along with your so great salvation you now have, God is your Father. You’re no longer an orphan.
Thought for the Day!
Things we learn from a terrorist attack
It is plain to see right before our very eyes every day of the week the difference between religion and Christianity. This seems to escape even the elect.
Promises for Widows!
Commendable widows who were conspicuous for devotion in the Lord’s service are:
Typically a widow is used of desolate conditions, Isa 47:8-9, Rev 18:7, Luke 18:1-7; and of Zion in captivity, Lam 1:1.
Three classes of widows are to be distinguished.
“Ye Shall Not Afflict Any Widow,” Exodus 22:22
Widows received the utmost consideration and care under the Mosaic Law. That is why the single brother of a husband dying without children was commanded to marry his widow.
Two motives were behind this necessary enactment.
It was deemed a misfortune for a man to die without an heir and for his inheritance to pass to another family. That this law extended to more distant relations of the same line is proven by the example of Ruth, who married Boaz after she had been refused by a nearer kinsman.
With this consideration for bereaved wives before us, surely we are right in affirming that any widow who is in the Lord can count upon His comfort in grief, and His presence in loneliness, and His defense in exposure, and His provision in need.
Elijah’s visit to the widow of Zarephath proves that God’s ways are not our ways. We would have sent so conspicuous a prophet as Elijah to those who were affluent and able to care for a hungry man.
But no, God sent His servant to a poor widow who had a struggle to make ends meet. God bless the widows who cheer many a preacher.
God has a way of multiplying what little godly widows have, especially when they are willing to share their meager possessions with others, which is evidenced by the miracle Elijah wrought when he saw to it that the widow’s barrel of meal wasted not and her cruse of oil failed not.
Tuesday, November 13, 2001
“When Jesus Saw the Woman, He Had Compassion on Her and Said Unto Her, Weep not,” Luke 7:13
With her son’s death, the widow, who was apparently highly esteemed, probably lost her sole source of support. The young man devoted to his mother had kept the home together.
This we know. the Lord Jesus Christ was cognizant of all the circumstances and thus His compassion was of a practical nature. He had compassion on widows. At the Cross He committed His own mother to John’s care, which indicated that she was a widow.
If legend be true, Mary’s husband, Joseph, died when Jesus Christ was just a boy and he fell to his lot as the eldest to assist his mother while here on Earth. Are you a widow and somewhat lonely and needy? Then look to the Lord Jesus Christ and He will have compassion on you.
”Because This Widow Troubled Me, I Will Avenge Her,” Luke 18:5
Many a widow has been robbed of her possessions through the flattery and professed love of some religious chiseler. The reason the Lord Jesus Christ used this illustration of the widow was not merely to prove that He is the Protector of the defenseless, but to emphasize the necessity of importunity in prayer.
Persistency on the part of the widow moved the unjust, reluctant Judge to action. Her constant entreaty produced the deliverance from cruel adversaries that the widow so earnestly desired.
The question is, do we cry day and night unto God for the relief we need? We have to confess that we are so half-hearted in our supplications. We do not have the tenacity of the widow who would not take no for an answer.
God grant us more persistency in prayer. “The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Thou art coming to a king,
“The Poor Widow Hath Cast in More Than They All,” Luke 21:3
The point we often miss is the Lord Jesus Christ’s estimate of giving is that when this widow gave her two mites, she gave her all. So, when we talk about the “widow’s mite,” let us remember it implies the surrender of all possessions.
The righteous Pharisee prided himself on giving tithes of all he possessed. But the widow the Lord Jesus Christ immortalized was no tither. She cast in all the living she had, not merely a tenth of her penury.
“The Poor Widow Cast in More Than They All,” Luke 21:3
Often a Church is dazzled by the gifts of the rich. But in proportion, many a poor widow, obliged to work hard and long for a mere pittance, gives more to the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord’s commendation of our giving, then, is based on what we have left after we have cast of our abundance into the treasury. The widow earned eternal remembrance, because, after giving the Lord what she felt He should have, had nothing over for herself. Probably today’s widows do more for the Church that we know about.
“A Widow Who Served God,” Luke 2:37
Would that all widows would have the same record as this daughter of Phanuel. There are far too many merry widows who, free from home ties, are gay, worldly, and scornful of spiritual matters.
We read of Anna, that “she departed not from the temple but served God with fastings and prayer day and night.” In her adoration, she likewise gave thanks for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and witnessed of Him “to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”
May Grace be ours to follow the godly widow in her devotion to the Lord and to His house. As she testified that the Lord Jesus Christ was the One so many local souls eagerly anticipated, so let us speak of Him to all in need of His saving power. As we await His coming, let us serve the Lord day and night and thus be ready to welcome Him when He comes for us.
“Honor Widows Who Are Widows Indeed,” 1 Timothy 5:3-6
Elderly widows who had fulfilled certain conditions were eligible for Church relief and maintenance. Where relief could be ministered by those who had relatives, no support from the Church was to be forthcoming.
Perhaps Paul has an intimation of the tendency to shelve family responsibility at the expense of the Church funds. Thrice over we have the phrase, “Widows indeed.” Meaning, the godly who serve who are in dire need, if they were worldly minded, and spiritually dead, then they had no claim on Christian sympathy. Promised relief was not for them. Only the widows who were desolate and who trusted in the Lord could receive Church aid.
Kindness to good widows is to be commended. Bereft of a protector and a provider, life is hard and dangerous for many a widow. Defenseless, they are sometimes preyed upon by heartless men.
The Lord, however, has His eye upon godly widows in their affliction and in His Grace He offers Himself as a Husband to the widow and as a Father to the fatherless.
As one who increased the widow’s meager provision to feed the prophet, He never fails to supply the necessities of life for those who trust and honor Him.
Thought for the Day!
Trust touches the strength of the Rock of Ages, Isa 26:3-4.
Wednesday, November 14, 2001
“He Maketh the Barren Woman to be the Joyful Mother of Children,” Psalm 113:9
Many a childless home is fragrant with the presence of “the Holy Child,” the Lord Jesus Christ. For a fuller treatment for what the Lord accomplished for some Bible childless couples, study the prayers of the Bible and the miracles of the Bible.
While children not only provided help for an Israelite in his work and increased his prestige and his authority in the community, barrenness in a wife was deemed a great misfortune, which was somewhat partially remedied by giving her personal maid to her husband as a concubine, the latter’s child being considered as the wife’s children. Gen 16:2, 30:3.
The highest sanctions of spirituality and patriotism, blessed the fruitful woman because children were necessary for the perpetuation of the tribe and their spiritual heritage.
“He Maketh the Barren Woman to be the Joyful Mother of Children,” Psalm 113:9
Every Hebrew wife aspired to be the mother of the promised Messiah. Hebrew women like Sarah, Rebekah, Manoah’s wife, Hannah, and Elizabeth, were naturally sterile and the Lord’s special intervention shows, not only His particular favor to Israel, but His purpose to fulfill the Promise of the Messiah.
Occasionally we find couples who longed and prayed for a child, but whose desires were not satisfied. No ray of sunshine entered their home. A baby smile never brightened their lives.
Then one day the miracle happened. Longing souls were satisfied. God made them the joyful parents of a child.
“He Maketh the Barren Woman to be a Joyful Mother of Children,” Psalm 113:9
In these iniquitous days, it is tragic to realize that many whom God meant to be joyful mothers, resort in various ways to prevent nature.
Has God been good to you? After childless years did He permit a young one to come your way? How proud and happy you must be. Are you full of praise for Him who alone has the power to banish barrenness?
And are you training your special, longed-for child in the way of righteousness?
Do you look upon your baby as a two-fold treasure, namely, as God’s child and yours? And raising that baby for Him? Because it will end up with Him.
“As the Sword Hath Made Women Childless,” 1 Samuel 15:33
“Blessed are the barren,” Luke 33:29. These two passages have a somewhat loose connection.
In the latter verse, there may be a reference to the terrible destruction of Jerusalem, when dead children were boiled and eaten.
The beatitude of the Lord Jesus Christ can only apply to the Great Tribulation, the time of Jacob’s Trouble, when many a childless couple will thank the Lord they have no children to experience the horrors of such a time. When wars and revolutions overtake a nation or nations, many homes are ravaged and left bare, which we are seeing today with the terrorist attack. Then wombs that did not bare are saved a good deal of anguish and heartache. “As the sword hath made women childless,” 1 Sam 15:33.
The ghastly horrors which Samuel describes leave thousands childless.
During World War II, five Sullivan brothers were all killed in action in the Navy. Theodore Roosevelt lost all his sons in the war and he just regretted that he couldn’t die for his country like his boys did.
“The Desolate Hath Many More Children Than She Which Hath a Hundred,” Galatians 4:27
Paul quoting from Isaiah illustrates the difference between the children of the bondwoman and the children of the free. Isa 54:1.
Commenting upon the Lord’s act of taking up the children in His arms and blessing them, it is a Hebrew custom as a father’s act. Gen 27:28.
The Lord Jesus Christ had no children in order that He may adopt all children. If you have no child of your own on which to shower your love, well the world is full of little ones who know nothing of affection and who may be warmed by you. Think of the orphans who are hungry for kindness and compassion and determine to make some lonely child happy by transforming their desolation into the delight of the Lord.
“They Had No Child,” Luke 1:7
Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous before the Lord. Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless, yet they had no children.
Holy as they were, God in His wisdom withheld children from them. Ultimately, however, God declared that nothing was impossible and so Elizabeth had a son in her old age, Luke 1:36-37. A miracle often repeated in the Bible.
Some holy souls which crave for a child are never satisfied. And they will discover that if a child had been granted, he or she would have grown up to live a life of sin and shame. But the Lord knowing the end from the beginning, graciously denied the prayers and desires of the childless.
It is not always easy to accept denials in this way. “Now we see through a glass, darkly,” at “daybreak,” however, we will bless the Hand that guided and the Heart that planned.
“He Promised...When as Yet He Had No Child,” Acts 7:5
Abraham received the Promise of an heir before he became a parent. He was appointed as the father of the faithful before he was a father. Without a son, Abraham yet believed that his seed would possess the land. Childless, yet he trusted that both his natural and spiritual descendents would be as the stars in multitude.
It is encouraging to know that whether children are born to us or no, all of us can become spiritual parents.
“What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing, are not even ye...ye are our glory and joy,” 1 Thes 2:19-20. Paul spoke of young Timothy as his beloved son in the faith. Have you experienced the joy of bringing someone into the world of Divine love and Grace?
If as of yet you are spiritually childless, the Promise is to you, with the conviction of God the Holy Spirit of unbelief in Christ, you will never know what it is to be barren or unfruitful in the begetting of a spiritual family.
The Lord enables each of us to travail in birth until the Lord Jesus Christ is formed in other lives. Gal 4:9.
Promises Related to the Spiritual Realm!
The majority of the “better Promises,” Heb 8:6, are those related to our life in the Lord Jesus Christ and for the Lord Jesus Christ.
These manifold spiritual Promises are bound up “with the life that now is,” 1 Tim 4:8, and are simple and diversified and altogether beyond the utmost extent of possible need.
No variety of condition, no peculiarity of character, has been overlooked. The Lord has thought of and provided for every phase of our spiritual life. As we are about to see, we have an inexhaustible treasury of Promises to draw from, and burdened as we are with varied needs, the Lord will not turn us away empty.
We but have to come for our supplies with simplicity of soul and in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ to prove that God “will not withhold any good thing from us.”
Promises for the Spiritual Realm!
There are many passages in Job and Proverbs expressing the earthly advantages attended upon righteousness, and the dire consequences of sin, which also have spiritual application.
These promises, observations, and maxims, are not confined to the Old Testament saints, but are for all to follow. Even direct temporal promises have an indirect spiritual end.
Many of the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ were wrought only for the sake of the temporal or physical benefits immediately conferred, but as for ulterior and higher purpose, even for the confirmation of the Truth in order to the spiritual deliverance of the soul.
The promise of the material blessings are only for those who seek the Kingdom of God, Matt 6:31-34.
Promises are a shaft to lighten the day’s journey.
At the Outset, it May be Well to Remand Ourselves of Our “Charter” as We Come to Classify Our Needs and the Divine Promises of Relief
As we proceed, we will discover that all the glorious Promises gathering around our life here below have all the necessary requisites for the refinement and ennoblement of us.
The enlightenment of our understanding, the regulation of our wills, and the purification of our affections. Glorious Promises of pardon and mercy and of acceptance with God, of high honors, of the unceasing ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Beloved Son of God are awaiting to be claimed.
All the Promises and Blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ Are Still for Believers Today
Ephesians 1:3, 2 Cor 1:20, Psa 34:9,10, 84:11, Matt 21:22, Mark 11:22-24, John 14:12-15, 15:7, 16
As to conditions regulating spiritual Promises, here they are as set down by the Apostle Paul.
As to the number of New Testament Promises there are about 750 of them in 250 classifications. Seeking to link the Promises on the various phases of our spiritual life, we find the coverage to be very wide indeed. There is a need for every Promise.
As we proceed with the large number of Promises in this section of our study, it is essential to realize every one of them is for the humblest believer to appropriate. Each Promise is for all to claim, and all the Promises can be claimed by each believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thought for the Day!
Since a thousand years is as a day with the Lord…
Thursday, November 15, 2001
The Secret of Abiding!
The Bible has much to say regarding the Promises connected with the abiding life. The word “abide” itself carries several meanings.
As Used to Describe Our Life in the Lord, the Term “Abide” Implies “to
Dwell in, to be at Home With”
We must abide in the Lord Jesus Christ, for apart from Him we are nothing, and we have nothing, and can do nothing. It is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that we can do all things.
Union with Christ saves us and keeps us safe and serene. The Lord Jesus Christ bids us to abide in Him, which we do by living in absolute dependence on Him, and walking in daily fellowship with Him.
Promises of Answered Prayer, Fruitfulness, Are Ours Through This Abiding Life
It is only when we abide in Him that sin is mortified and Graces are granted. Abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ will give us a single eye, a burning zeal, and holy discretion, and enable us to seize all opportunities to glorify His Name.
The Lord Jesus Christ made the word “abide” so rich in splendid possibilities that once we realize what it is to abide in Him, the word “abide” is never commonplace again.
We are not to be as vagrants who sleep on a new doorstep every night, and who occasionally return to an old resting place. We are not even to be visitors upon the Lord, turning aside now and then for a brief sojourn and then away into forgetfulness again. We are to settle down with the Lord and to rest in Him, to abide in Him, to make Him our dwelling place. We are to be at home with the Lord. When you are at home with the Lord, you take your shoes off.
Our gracious Saviour, all Divine,
The Promises of Abundance
What vast riches we have in the Lord Jesus Christ! He does not provide us with just enough to get along. He is not stingy in supply. In Him we have more than enough. Whatever our need, abundance is at our disposal.
Of His Abundance Have We All Received...
The above exceeding great and precious Promises speak for themselves. To them we can add all of those passages taken up with “the fullness of God” and “the fullness of the Spirit.” John 7:37-39, 14:12-18, Acts 1:8, 5:32, Rom 8:14, 16, Eph 5:18, etc.
We Are Solemnly Warned Against Trusting in the Abundance of Material Things Which Can Vanish With the Wind
A Greek verse reads like this:
Abundance is the blessing of the wise.
The Liberty of Access!
Whether we think of salvation, worship, or ultimately Heaven, the same Truth applies. We have no access to God apart from the medium of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Lord Jesus Christ explicitly declared, “no man” can approach God apart from Himself, He means no man, no matter what religion or merit he has.
The Lord Jesus Christ alone is the “Way” to the Father.
Friday, November 16, 2001
Closely allied to the promise, privilege, and provision in access of our acceptance before God through the Lord Jesus Christ, it is because we have been accepted through Grace that we can venture nigh to God.
The Triumph Over Adversaries!
The foes arrayed against the Christians are strong, numerous, and varied. As a soldier, the believer must expect to face enemies. But many Promises are his, that as he “fights the good fight,” the Divine Captain will make him more than a conqueror. Our chief adversary, accuser, enemy, is Satan.
The three-fold source of all our woes is the world, the flesh, and the devil. While the three-fold avenue of approach is the lust of the flesh (the desire to indulge), the lust of the eyes (the desire to possess), the pride of life (the desire to attract).
But we have the Promise of deliverance from all the contrivances and snares of the devil. Assistance and encouragement are ours in the spiritual warfare when we cash in on the many Promises of Grace and strength, to mortify sin, and to resist the devil.
The highest perfection of holiness and happiness can be ours as we appropriate the victory over all satanic foes which the Lord Jesus Christ secured by His death, burial, and resurrection.
All the Christian’s enemies are of the one evil one, which the Lord Jesus Christ named as “the enemy” as “the God of this world,” as “the prince of darkness.”
Unceasingly this subtle enemy strives to injure us, to draw us away from the Lord Jesus Christ. And tries to destroy our peace with Him and of Him.
But as faith seizes the perfect work of the Lord Jesus Christ as its Shield and the perfect Word of God as its Sword, victory is secured over our infernal foe. Believe, hold fast your Shield and who shall pluck you from His hand? You will overcome through Christ’s blood and stand complete before your God.
“The battle is the Lord’s and He will give it into our hands,” 1 Sam 17:47.
The question we must first settle is, who is battling against our foes? Why, it is the Lord! We cannot be victorious over the enemy by our own will, wisdom, or might. If like Israel we look to the sword and spear, defeat will be ours.
Witnessing for Him, We War in His Strength
And with Him fighting though us, who can triumph over us?
“Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee,” Jer 1:8.
If in the conflict against all the foes of righteousness we falter or are afraid, then faith will weaken and defeat will come.
We should fear to fear. Be afraid to be afraid. Your worst enemy is within in you. We get to our knees and we cry for help and we rise up saying, “I will trust and not be afraid.”
“I am with thee and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee,” Acts 18:10.
“I Am With Thee and No Man Shall Set on Thee to Hurt Thee,” Acts 18:10
What assurance this Divine Promise begets!
As long as Paul was accomplishing a God-given ministry in Corinth, he enjoyed a God-given protection from those who would hurt him.
If we know that we are in the will of God, living and laboring as He would have us, “Then no weapon formed against us will prosper,” Isa 54:17. And for those who oppose us, “By the greatness of Thine Arm they shall be as still as a stone till Thy people pass over, O Lord.”
In the Struggle, the Lord is Near to Restrain, and Our Dauntless Faith in God Brushes Fear Aside Like the Cobwebs in a Giant’s Path
As we fight the Lord’s battles with the Lord’s weapons, we experience the Lord’s victory. Promises of such a victory permeate the Bible.
“I Have Overcome the World,” John 16:33
If you take the “y” out of victory, we are left with “victor,” which is what a lost soul becomes as soon as the “Victor” on the Cross is appropriated by faith.
Anticipating the Cross, the Lord Jesus Christ used the past tense in His affirmation of His conquest. But what did He mean by the “world?”
The word is the Greek word “COSMOS,” which is the present world system, the order, arrangement, under which Satan has organized the world of unbelieving mankind upon his cosmic principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure.
This world system is often outwardly religious, scientific, and cultured. But seething with national and commercial rivalries and ambitions and is upheld in any real crisis only by armored force, and is dominated by satanic principles. This is the world that the Lord Jesus Christ overcame by His death, burial, and resurrection.
“There Are Not...I Am Not,” John 17:16
Twice over in His High Priestly prayer, the Lord Jesus Christ declares that His own are not of this world, even as He is not of this world.
Unworldly, we are hated by the world just as the Lord Jesus Christ was. But is this true to experience? Do we continually appropriate the Lord Jesus Christ’s victory over Satan and over a system of principles and pleasures he inspires?
Are we dead to the world and is the world on the Cross insofar as we are concerned? We can be in the world and not of it, just as the diver is in the sea. But the sea is not in the diver. The secret of our separation from all forms of worldliness is the keeping power of our Heavenly Intercessor Keeper.
“I pray that Thou shouldest keep them from evil.”
“This is the Victory…Our Faith,” 1 John 5:4
During WWII, the “v” for “victory” movement swept over conquered countries, bringing hope to multitudes which had been overcome by cruel oppression.
They endured these terrible trials believing that their day of emancipation was near at hand. And in the war that rages, faith is essential to victory. In the spiritual realm victory is depended upon faith.
But John makes it very clear what particular aspect of faith assures victory. “Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
If we reject the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are not Christians, 1 John 5:1. But, if we are truly born of God and rest in the Deity of His Son, then God will keep us from the satanic influence of the world that lieth in wickedness, and Satan himself will not be able to touch us, 1 John 5:18-19.
“The Word of God Abideth in You and Ye Have Overcome the Wicked One,” 1 John 2:14
Promised victory is likewise dependent on the use of effective weapons. And, as the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit, we have in our hands the very weapon by which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself triumphed over Satan in the wilderness.
But we will never function as victorious Christians if the Word is merely in our hands. It must be in our minds. For it is only as it abides within that we are able to overcome the enemy.
Worldly-minded Christians are usually those who do not have a very close acquaintance with the Scriptures. Carnality, however, never thrives where there is a deep and daily meditation upon the soul-satisfying Truths of the Word of God. If you are not among the “overcomers,” revise your Bible habits and mark the results.
“The God of Peace Shall Bruise Satan Under Your Feet Shortly,” Romans 16:20
Satan was defeated prophetically, in Eden – actually, at Calvary. And is defeated practically in our lives as day by day we exercise faith in the overcoming principle.
For the complete bruising of Satan we must wait unto the Great White Throne of Rev 20:10, when he is to be cast into the Lake of Fire forever and ever. Are you presently enduring a season of satanic antagonism? Is he working through those who “cause divisions and offences contrary to the Doctrines you have learned and who serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly?”
But instead of their “deceiving good works” and “fair speeches,” Rom 16:17-18, take heart for your deliverance is at hand. Live near your Mighty God and a bruised Satan will be at your feet.
Saturday, November 17, 2001
“More Than Conquerors,” Romans 8:37
To be conquerors is surely something to be grateful for. But Paul is not satisfied with conquest. He declares that the Lord Jesus Christ is able to make us more than conquerors.
Evidently then there is something more than a mere victory. The believer is more than a conqueror in that he carries the tremendous gains of conquest.
Victors in the Olympic games were entitled to communal and national privileges. In verses 35 and 36 we have the negative side, and in verses 38 and 39 we have the positive side of our victory in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus
“Thanks be to God Which Giveth Us the Victory,” 1 Corinthians 15:57
Victory in the last issue, whether it is over the world, sin, Satan, or death, is not acquired, but it is appropriated. It is “given,” not gained. Victory is ever of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We sing about “marching on to victory,” but in reality we march from victory, not to it, by the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ securing a complete victory. Calvary was Satan’s Waterloo.
As a result of his ignominious defeat there by the Lord Jesus Christ, he is fully aware that any believer can overcome his machinations by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The question is, are we daily accepting from the pierced hands which achieved this glorious victory, the prerogative of telling Satan to get behind us? What fools we are if we refuse such a gift.
Promises of Past, Present, and Prospective Satanic Defeat Are as Exhilarating as They Are Explicit
Linger over these instances for your encouragement.
“The Lord...shall punish…the piercing serpent...that crooked serpent,” Isa 27:1.
Reading back into chapter 26, it would seem that the prophet is predicting and proclaiming the destruction of all the Gentile world powers, and during such merited destruction, the believing remnant on Earth will have the privilege of hiding in Divinely-provided chambers. Isa 26:20.
Behind all scheming and brutal nations, there is Satan, the god of this world, who himself is spoken of as a serpent and a dragon. And the punishment to be experienced by the nations which he has inspired, is but a forerunner of his own doom.
God will yet deal with Satan for all the sin and sorrow he has caused. He is a condemned being. This may be one reason why Satan keeps Christians out of the Book of Revelation. It records his certain doom.
“When the Enemy Shall Come in Like a Flood, the Spirit of the Lord Shall Lift up a Standard Against Him,” Isaiah 59:19
There are three aspects in this message – the enemy, the Spirit of the Lord, and the standard.
By the latter we are to understand a banner, a flag, or colors, carried in time of war. Numbers 1:52. This can be looked on as a type of the Cross.
Again and again the enemy is identified as Satan. He is the arch-enemy of God and man. In virtue of the Cross, God the Holy Spirit is able to meet and overcome the enemy in your life and mine. When his approaches are so tempestuous, almost overwhelming us like a flood, the Holy Spirit raises the flag, the Cross, and the flood recedes. The Cross, as wielded by God the Holy Spirit, is more than a match for the devil and his legions.
When floods of temptation rush by, do we call upon God the Holy Spirit to hold up the Cross and thereby defeat the enemy? What a double safeguard is ours. The Holy Spirit and the Cross. And as God the Holy Spirit presents the Cross, we become more than conquerors.
“Shall the Prey be Taken From the Mighty?” Isaiah 49:24
Let us never be guilty of underrating Satan’s power. He is “the strong man.” But while he is mighty, he is not almighty. He does not share the Lord’s essence of omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. And in this we rejoice – He can’t be in two places at once.
Men and women like ourselves form his prey and his captives. He it is who contends with us. But there is One greater than he. Isaiah describes Him as “Thy Saviour and thy Redeemer,” “The Mighty One of Jacob.”
“Greater is He that is you, than he that is in the world.”
Too often the believer becomes the prey of the mighty. And with guile Satan sets his snare, and the child of God is caught.
But “the Mighty One” is able to take the prey from the mighty. He can be plundered and robbed of his dupes and slaves. The Lord Jesus Christ stands ready to break all fetters and transform slaves into sons. Is He is using you to take some of the prey from the mighty?
“That Wicked One…Whom the Lord Shall Consume,” 2 Thessalonians 2:8
By this wicked one, or lawless one, we are to understand Satan’s masterpiece. The man of sin, who is to climax the sin of man.“Wicked” truly describes the anti-Christ, since he will personify all the inequity and deception Satan is capable of producing and imparting.
But the evil, cruel sway of this hell-inspired person is short lived. In spite of his much-vaunted authority and satanic, miraculous power, one look of the returning Lord Jesus Christ will be sufficient to wither this wicked genius.
When the hour of his destruction strikes, Satan will not be able to preserve his tool. “The beast was taken and with him, the false prophet which wrought miracles, before him...These were cast alive into a Lake of Fire burning with brimstone,” Rev 19:20. In the final depository of the wicked, the wicked one will endure for ever the wrath his wickedness deserves.
Thought for the Day!
Things Most Christians Don’t Know!
Don’t you think it is great to be a Christian and co-heir and joint-heir with the Lord of lords and the King of kings?
Sunday, November 18, 2001
“That He Might Destroy the Works of the Devil,” 1 John 3:8
Satan is the original sinner. He was the first to sin. Therefore, we have the significance of John’s phrase, “The devil sinneth from the beginning.”
By his act of rebellion, the devil gave birth to sin. And all who have sinned are of this parent of sin. Because of his sin, Satan was cast out from the presence of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ, by His sacrifice, brings the sinner into a right relationship with God. The Cross nullifies the work of Satan. Every regenerated transformed life is a fresh evidence of the conquest of the Lord Jesus Christ over Satan.
“That He Might Destroy the Works of the Devil,” 1 John 3:8
Many satanic works of Satan are still evident. Therefore, Satan, though spoiled as he was at Calvary, is still abroad doing his dirty work. But by faith all believers can appropriate Christ’s destruction of the devil’s works.
He can be overcome by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ is stronger than Satan and sin. And, if we will it, Satan must bow to the Lord Jesus Christ in our life, just as he will in the universe as a whole before long.
“The Devil That Deceiveth Them Was Cast Into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone ... and Tormented Day and Night Forever,” Revelation 20:10
Our last glimpse of Satan corresponds to the first. He deceived Eve, 1 Tim 2:14. The devil carries his name as a deceiver with him into the everlasting fire prepared for him and his angels. But what a deceiver he is!
Satan knows that this description of his doom is in the Bible for all to read, and for the devil there is no pardon. A certain looking for of judgment is his. This is why he is working with feverish haste to hurry men and women off of the face of the Earth without the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is determined to have multitudes share his eternal torments. And our solemn obligation is to see to it that the Lake of Fire will have fewer occupants than Satan is eager to cast them therein.
Satan blinds the minds to the Gospel, which is in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Heavenly Advocate!
The satanic foe which we have just thought about is also described as our fierce “accuser.”
Whenever Satan endeavors to accuse a Christian before God, the Lord Jesus Christ is there as our Advocate to plead the inaccuracy of Satan’s charge and to represent the Christian as innocent. If there is foundation for the charges, then our Advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ, pleads His efficacious blood on behalf of the sinning one.
“We have an Advocate with the Father,” 1 John 2:1.
And the case is thrown out of court and dismissed.
“We Have an Advocate With the Father,” 1 John 2:1
“He ever liveth to make intercession for us,” Heb 7:25.
The evidence of the Lord Jesus Christ’s advocacy above does not excuse sin. But in case we do sin, we have an Advocate to see us through it – our Defense Attorney.
It may be painful to be frank about our constant need of our Saviour’s advocacy. The greatest saints did not hide their sins, but confessed them and they had the assurance of His advocacy on high.
Where He not only pleads for us against the accuser, but also presents His sacrifice against our sin, He presents the Gospel at that time. As an Advocate, His arguments are powerful and His manner Divine. Those for whom He pleads are safe, “For the Father heareth Him always.”
Look on my soul with cheerful eye,
The Christian is Doubly Blessed
The Christian is fortified in that he has “another Advocate” inside, as well One interceding on his behalf in Heaven.
God the Holy Spirit is the One within that pleads our cause, exhorts, comforts, and prays. “Advocate and Comforter” are the same word. “PARAKLETOS” PARA = alongside. KLETOS = called. Meaning “One called alongside of us to help.”
Thus the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit are similar in their ministry for others.
“He Shall Give You Another Comforter,” John 14:16, 15:26, 16:17
As the Lord Jesus Christ intercedes with God the Father for us above, so God the Holy Spirit intercedes in us below. Rom 8:26, 34.
The Holy Spirit testifying of the Lord Jesus Christ within, answers as our Advocate before our consciences, the law’s demands. As the Spirit of prayer and adoption, He inspires in us prayers, which words cannot fully utter.
The Holy Spirit is within us to keep us from sinning. But if we do sin, the Lord Jesus Christ pleads His cleansing blood for us.
“If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9.
Lift up your eyes to the heavenly seats,
The Friend in Adversity!
Being Christians does not guarantee immunity from the trials, sorrows, and afflictions of this life. Much rough polishing gives the diamond its luster.
The combination of the Promises reminds us that it is folly to think that no adversity will come our way. When it does overtake us, we are to consider the Lord, Who is able to uphold and sustain us amid all the testing He may permit.
If He does not remove the Cross, He will strengthen and pad our shoulders that we may be able to carry it.
“My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” We yoke up!
“Have I No Power to Deliver?” Isaiah 50:2
If “prosperity” calls for rejoicing, “adversity,” says Solomon, calls for reflection. Possibly there is a just cause for permitted adversity.
Providence frowns because of sin indulged in, commands which are disobeyed, self exalted, and Grace slighted. Thus adversity is sent to reprove, correct, and restore us.
When we confess our sins, God who loves us freely, heals our backslidings. Divine Promises assure us not only of deliverance from the trials of life, but of the sanctifying power the Lord has in permitting them.
As the Father of mercies, He always has in view the spiritual and eternal benefit of His children.
Of my extreme distresses,
“Always” – Who is the Author of “Always?”
Ever and always as we meditate upon God’s precious Word, a little word seems to leap out of the sacred pages, and lays hold on us, and will not let us go until it blesses us.
“Always” is one such word to which sweet Promises are related. If you will look at the context of the following Promises and precepts, you will see that they speak for themselves. Let’s hearken to their voice.
I have selected 16 of them. How many can you find?
Years ago, when I was growing up, when God was a Child, I remember a song something like this, “I am in love with you, always.” At that time I thought it was talking about the military, but now I know it was talking about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Here is one.
“Fear the Lord thy God ... always,” Deut 14:23.
Thought for the Day!
The Lord Jesus Christ wants to show you the way to live;
Thought for the Day!
There is a Biblical pattern found in the Book of Joshua in chapter four and in other chapters of the teaching of the Word of God.
Thought for the Day!
There are some things that destroy spirituality in a Christian without a Christian even knowing about it.
For example, some of the worst sins you can commit are not overt sins. Mental attitude sins like jealousy, hatred, envy, worry, and anxiety destroy you as a Christian. And where do you find someone in the pulpit to tell you that? All that they talk about is smoking, drinking, dancing, drugs, etc.
But you can be out of fellowship with the Lord and carnal and not even know it.
The Ministry of Angels
Chariots are applied also to angels – 2 Kings 6:17, Psa 68:17, Isa 66:15.
“Angels Came and Ministered Unto Him,” Matthew 4:11
Twice over, after grim contests, angels hastened to the Lord Jesus Christ with their ministry of consolation.
The wilderness and Gethsemane encounters left Him physically exhausted. Yet a mystery of our faith is the fact that although the Lord Jesus Christ was higher than angels, in His humanity He evidently needed their beneficent aid.
Just what heavenly cordials they administered to the needy Lord Jesus Christ we are not told. It is apparent however, that they soothed, and strengthened by their attention, the Lord faced further sorrows with a fresh determination.
Monday, November 19, 2001
“Equal Unto the Angels,” Luke 20:36
Some of us can still remember how as children we used to sing, “I want to be an angel. And with the angels stand.”
Well, the fact is that we will never be angels, nor have wings. Ours is to be a more exalted and privileged relationship. We are to judge angels.
When our Lord Jesus Christ spoke of equality with angels, He referred, of course, in their deathless and sexless nature. No marriage. Angels adore the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us equal them there, even surpass them in praise because He died for us.
“His Angels He Charged With Folly,” Job 4:18
Angels did sin, Peter reminds us. And although they were angels, God did not spare them. Justly He judged them with their folly. If then, angels are guilty of prostituting their lofty privileges and position, how great is our peril, since we do not have the environment angels are used to.
And yet we are encouraged even by the judgment of angels for such is the evidence of a Divine holiness that must be recognized and exhibited.
“The Angels of God Met Him,” Genesis 32:1
“God’s host,” Jacob called the angelic company which met him on his way to the old home. Fear of Esau was expelled by the sight of the Divine protectors and companions.
If you are called upon to travel perilous roads and face arduous duties, endure grievous trials, go your way and the angels will meet you. Every believer has a guardian angel.
Glory will reveal how much we truly owe to the emissaries of Heaven.
“Four Angels Standing on the Four Corners of the Earth,” Revelation 7:1
The varied ministry of these legions of God is one of the most fascinating themes of Scripture. Here they are found exercising regulated power over material forces, holding in check mighty winds blowing from every quarter. The angels preserve the Earth from disaster.
The thought that we take from this is that it does not matter what corner of the Earth we may be, or where our loved ones live, threatened dangers are under the control of angelic protectors.
“Joy in the Presence of the Angels of God,” Luke 15:10
People accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour cause great angelic rejoicing. They share the joy of the Shepherd Himself as lost sheep are found.
The Lord Jesus Christ did not die for angels. Yet nothing thrills them like the sight of unbelievers becoming believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Are we contributing to the joy of angels and to the satisfaction of the Lord Jesus Christ?
“Nor Angels ... Shall be Able to Separate Us From the Love of God Which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord,” Romans 8:38-39
That angels have enormous regulated powers is seen in the work of the Angel who smote 185,000 Assyrians. And Peter speaks of angels being “greater in might and power” than proud, evil men.
Yet so indissoluble is the bond between the Lord Jesus Christ and His own that no angel or archangel is able to break it. In the Lord Jesus Christ we are eternally saved.
No force, human, heavenly, or hellish, can divide our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Aspect of Anger
There is a right kind of anger – wrath or indignation – as well as a wrong kind. It is apparent, even in the casual reading of the Bible, man is capable of righteous indignation or of a false anger.
When used of God, the above terms signify His just displeasure of sin and provision of its deserved punishment. Here is a selection of verses presenting the right and wrong forms of anger.
“The Staff in Their Hand is Mine Indignation,” Isaiah 10:5, 25
The double wrath and indignation John depicts will be experienced by the godless hordes of Earth during “The Great Tribulation” period, when the vials of Divine judgment, just anger, will be emptied out upon a guilty world.
Is it not blessed to know because we are the Lord’s, we shall escape future wrath? It is only upon those who are not His that Divine wrath abides.
“He That Believeth Not on the Son of God, the Wrath of God Abideth Upon Him,” John 3:36
The Christian, however, rests on the Promise that through the Grace of God he has been delivered from “the wrath to come,” 1 Thes 1:10. Believers will not go through the Great Tribulation, known in Scripture as the time of “Jacob’s Trouble.” Jacob represents unbelieving Israel.
Woe to the men on Earth who dwell,
The Reasons for Never Being Ashamed
There are many unworthy things a Christian should be ashamed of doing. But no one who follows the Lord Jesus Christ, however, should ever be ashamed of Him, or a shame to Him.
We have the Lord’s Promise that if we will acknowledge Him before men, He will acknowledge us before His Father.
I cannot ever be ashamed,
Something Believers Should Know About the “Word of God” Since it is Called “the Mind of Christ”
Thought for the Day!
When the terrorists hit the tower, I remembered, “My High Tower.”
“The Lord is my Rock,
The Blessing of Assurance
Biblical assurance implies an absolute certainty of the reality of an object. “Wherefore He hath given assurance unto all men in that He hath raised Him from the dead,” Acts 17:31.
The term also includes a firm persuasion in the soul of an interest in a person, Grace, righteousness, and intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Is ours that Grace of assurance enabling us to be triumphant in the dark and difficult hours of life? Paul’s great soul was calm and tranquil when he dictated these words so full of promise. “I know Whom (not what) I have believed.”
A Three-Fold Aspect of Blessed Assurance
In the light of apostolic assurance, how wrong it is for any Christian to affirm that it is nothing but assumption to say that they know they are saved, and that eternally. To doubt what God says is to make Him a liar.
The Lord Jesus Christ said that if we believe in Him, we have eternal life. John 3:36.
How then can it be assumption to take the Lord Jesus Christ at His Word?
The Promise in Benediction
The Bible possesses a few “benedictions,” each of which is fragrant with some Divine Promise.
“The Lord bless thee and keep thee,
Could this be a reference to the Trinity?
There Are the Apostolic Benedictions
This must be a reference to the Trinity.
To Such Rich Promises as These “Benedictions” Contain, We Can Only Add Those Suggested by the “Salutations” With Which Most of the Epistles Begin
These “salutations” are made up greeting and the parting words used by early Christians, because they were so full of hope and promise.
Promises, benedictions, and salutations – a three-fold blessing.
Tuesday, November 20, 2001
The Lord Jesus Christ wore “the white flower of the blameless life” and as He is, so are we to be in this world. This is why the Bible insists on blamelessness on the part of a Christian.
To be blameless means to be without open fault or guile, Luke 1:6. Is it not consoling to know that the call to such blamelessness carries with it the promise of performance?
Paul prayed that the believers in Thessalonica might be preserved blameless until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. But he hurried on to say “Faithful is He that calleth you,” “Who will do it,” 1 Thes 5:24.
God does not leave us to manufacture the blamelessness He calls us to. He graciously supplies it. He is faithful to His own Promise. He will ultimately present us to Himself, faultless. “He will perfect that which concerns us.” The good work He commenced, He will consummate.
The Music of the Blesseds!
Have you ever cataloged the blessed blesseds of the Bible? What an inspiring array they make, and how laden with Heavenly Promises they are.
Take for example, the “blesseds” found in the Psalms, and in the beatitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Book of Revelation. It would take a book to expound them all.
Here are some samples of these “blesseds” with promise. Just think, a blessing with a promise – double Grace.
The Bearer of Burdens!
No Christian is exempt for burden bearing!
The best of us have personal responsibilities we cannot transfer to another. Those that we cast upon the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the assurance He carries both ourselves and our load.
At the outset of our Christian pilgrimage, we are apt to think of life only in the terms of pleasure. But as we journey along, we discover that there are burdens to shoulder and crosses to bear and trials to endure, loses to reclaim. And that as belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ, we must not yield to despair.
“Cast all your cares on Him, because He keeps on caring for you.”
“Mine Enemies ... as a Heavy Burden They Are Heavy for Me,” Psalm 38:4
If a heavy burden is yours, then roll it upon God’s broad shoulders. When He takes it, then it is on Him and not on you. Sustaining you, He will make the burden a blessing.
The original language of the word “gift” is the word for burden. Often our burdens are gifts in disguise. If our poor shoulders are galled with some oppressive load, He is near as the “great Burden-Bearer” to relieve the pressure. Having carried our sins, He now promises not only to take our burdens and our cares, but ourselves.
The Cure for Care!
The last half of Peter’s promise can be translated, He has you upon His heart. If this is so, and it is, then He knows all His saints and all their personal needs, trials, and problems.
Here we are enjoined to cast them all upon Him and believe that He will care for them. As soon as cares appear, we should cast them upon Omnipotence.
Cast, He says, on Me thy cares,
Thought for the Day!
Are you among the number who have learned to sing that uplifting song of trust and confidence?
“I have no cares, O blessed Lord.
The Benefit of Changes!
Many of the changes in life are feared and unwanted. Yet the Bible declares that these very changes can be spiritually beneficial.
How is it that change and decay is all around us? The changing seasons of nature symbolize the mutations of our mortal life – “summer and winter.” Human life has its changes. Human institutions and governments have their changes. Customs and fashions change. Such changes impress us with the constant activity of the Lord and remind us that this is not our rest.
Days may becoming fraught with loss and change,
Wednesday, November 21, 2001
“Because They Have No Changes, They Fear Not God,” Psalm 55:19
David’s career by no means was a monotonous one. What vicissitudes were crowded into it? Constant changes were his and when he wrote about those who had “no changes,” he had in mind the changes that disturb and unhinge our plans and arrangements and frustrate our hopes.
Changes, which like earthquakes, unheave our ordered life, comfort, and settled case. Without such changes we are liable to drift into the perils of an undisturbed life, and pleasant monotony can breed ignorance of God.
When a Christian’s life is filled with blessings, but never darkened by storms, there is the fear that the absence of change will rob him of a deeper Christian life and a fuller acquaintance of the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Changeless One.
“Because They Have No Change, They Fear Not God,” Psalm 55:10
How do we stand when it comes to changes? Have we grasped the Promise that no changes can separate us from the Lord Jesus Christ Who is ever the same? Do we live merely for the present enjoyments, scorning the disturbing and unwelcomed changes of life?
Are we blind to the fact that the upheavals we shrink from can make for enoblement of character, that we can climb to the Lord by the path of pain? If, on the other hand, we have learned how to make changes minister unto us – if loss has yielded gain – if material poverty has produced spiritual wealth, then ours is life indeed.
“Because There is No Change, They Fear Not God,” Psalm 55:19
We live on the victory side when we discover that all the changes unsettling and deranging our schemes and discovering our hopes, but serve to remind us that we have no continuing city in this world of change.
“My expectation is from God,” Psa 62:5 is literally, “Leave it all quietly to God.” In the Lord Jesus Christ’s unchanging character, He is our Rock and Refuge amid the drastic changes overwhelming us.
The Children of the Covenant
A Christian is a child of God and is heir to several glorious Promises. As children, believers hold a privileged relationship in the Father.
Allied to the term “children” is the kindred one, “sons,” and it is the most profitable to meditate upon our rights, privileges, and promises as those belonging to our Heavenly Father. What impresses us most is the fact that we are named as children of the Covenant who have every claim upon the “Covenants of Promise,” Eph 2:12.
“Ye Are the Children of the Covenant,” Acts 3:25
“Redeemed His people, to remember His holy covenant,” Luke 1”68, 72
One of the ruling ideas running through the whole of the Bible is that of a Covenant between God and His redeemed children. The marrow of the Puritan faith was all that the truth of a covenant with one another because they know that they had entered already into a solemn covenant with God, which was more solemn still.
In a past generation, the note of this word “covenant” sounded through the sermons and the hymns they loved best. “Testament,” as we know, is just another word for “covenant,” the title by which the apostles called the Gospels and the epistles, since they constituted the very bonds of their fellowship in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Behold My Covenant is With Thee Between Me and Thee,” Genesis 18:4-7
When the Puritans spoke of a “covenant-keeping God,” they knew that His covenant implied fixity and security – a covenant ordered in all things and sure. They were persuaded that God had bound them to Himself by links which were settled and established beyond their altering.
His covenant was deeper than their fluctuations of feelings and moods of emotion and was one that would endure through the changes and chances of outward affairs. Can we say that we share their estimation of the covenant?
“I Will Never Break My Covenant With Thee,” Judges 2:1, Psalm 89:34
A covenant Thou hast made for us,
“Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with thee ... an everlasting covenant,” Ezek 16:60.
“He Will Be Mindful of His Covenant,” Psalm 111:5
The thought of this Promise indicates that “those that fear God need not fear want.” Through those long 40 years in the wilderness, the children of the covenant lacked nothing.
God remember His covenant to guard and provide for His people. It is so with the covenant of Grace, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the Surety and God the Holy Spirit is the Administrator.
God will not suffer one word of such a covenant to fall to the ground. He will ever be mindful of His covenant. He cannot forget it. Neither can He act contrary to it. May we also be ever mindful of His covenant.
The Virtue of Courage!
The saints in God’s portrait gallery were “meek,” but not “weak.” Facing tremendous odds, fierce antagonism, cruel ostracism, and brutal martyrdom, they were wonderfully brave.
Fearing God, they had no fear of man. They were willing to hazard their lives for the Lord Jesus Christ whom they dearly loved.
Think of the fearlessness of the Hebrew youths, when thrown into the fiery furnace and of Daniel when cast into the den of lions. Think of John the baptist as he awaited decapitation and of Stephen with the terrible death of stoning. And of the apostle Paul as he awaited the hangman’s block on the Appian Way!
Where have you in the annals of history such an exhibition of courage as that to be found in the Bible? Read the illustrious role of dauntless warriors in Hebrews chapter eleven. What courage was theirs as they were called upon to shed their blood for the sake of Truth and righteousness.
The Virtue of Courage
In David’s beautiful eulogy of Saul and Jonathan, he describes their daring, boldness, and strength as that of “surpassing that of lions,” 2 Sam 1:23.
Solomon says, “that the righteous are as bold as lions,” Prov 28:1.
Wherein were those Bible saints “stronger than lions?” The strength of a lion is natural, but the strength of a saint is “supernatural.” They were dauntless and lion-hearted because they were strengthened with all might from Above.
What an inspiration, then, is the Divine record of the brave to our hesitant, fainting hearts? How we need to be baptized, “identified,” with the same courage they exhibited.
“Paul Saw and Took Courage,” Acts 28:15
The sight of a friend’s face in a time of crisis puts a fresh heart in us. Paul was ever so thankful when, on reaching the market of Appius, he met the brethren who had come from Rome to meet him. After such a perilous sea voyage and knowing what imprisonment faced him, Paul’s courage rose high the moment he met sympathizing friends.
Adversely, bearers of evil tidings may wither up any courage we may have. Joshua 2:11. Life at best is very brief. And the world is full of men and woman who need encouragement. Do those who cross our pathway from day to day feel all the better for having met us?
Is there something about our handshake, our contented look, our compassionate words, that lead them to thank the Lord and to take courage? Isa 41:6.
“He Took Courage and Put Away the Abominable Idols,” 2 Chronicles 15:8
King Asa’s reform, begotten as it was by the Spirit-inspired warning of the prophet Azariah, was as radical in its nature as it was wide in its range.
“For a long season Israel had been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law,” verse 3. Godless, spiritless, and lawless; what a condition! As even nature abhors a vacuum, the soul of the nation minus God, priest, and the law, became the home of abominable idols.
But a courageous king renewed the altar, revived the law, and recovered faith in God. And because moral courage is ever greater than mere physical courage, many a ruler finds it easier to lead his nation into war against invading foes than to cleanse his nation of immoral foes within.
It likewise takes courage to put away the idols out of our own souls, 2 Chr 19:11.
“Be Strong and of Good Courage, and Do It,” 1 Chronicles 28:20
Denied the privilege of building the temple, David handed over to his son, Solomon, the materials he had prepared in abundance for the house of the Lord God. In doing so, he urged Solomon to be strong and courageous in the accomplishment of the gigantic task.
“Dread not, nor be dismayed,” 1 Chr 22:13. And truly it required undaunted courage to continue through 20 years covered by the building of the temple and Solomon’s own house.
Has the Lord assigned you some hard, long task? Are you a little overwhelmed by what He has asked you to build out of materials He has, or will supply? Well, David’s promise to Solomon is good for you also. And remember “The Lord God will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work,” Joshua 1:6, 7, 9.
“When They Saw the Boldness of Peter, They Marveled,” Acts 4:13
No wonder the members of the Sanhedrin were amazed over Peter’s courageous defense of his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Why, was not this the same man who a few weeks previous, had cowered by the taunt of a servant girl and stoutly denied the Lord Jesus Christ he was now defending?
Such a change from cowardice to courage filled the Jewish rulers with amazement. The secret of such a transformation is given in the words, “They had been with Jesus.”
The Spirit of the Lord had possessed the servants. Pentecost transferred the courage of the Lord Jesus Christ to His one-time faltering servant. And fearlessness in witness is not of the flesh, it is Heaven-born. Eph 6:19-20
Thursday, November 22, 2001
David Encouraged Himself in the Lord His God,” 1 Samuel 30:6
David was in a sorry plight. Ziglag had burned with fire, and the best of the populace was carried into captivity. David wept until he had no more power to weep. And added to his sorrow was the determined effort of the people who had been robbed of all their dear ones to stone him.
Circumstances were against David. But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. What does it mean to encourage ourselves in the Lord? In David’s case it meant inquiring of the Lord, or in other words, reminding himself of all he had in the Lord. He rested in the joy of Who and What the Lord is.
In spite of his adversities, he believed in the Lord who was able to undertake and so he went “and recovered all.”
“Wait on the Lord. Be of Good Courage,” Psalm 27:14
Courage and strength are sandwiched between a “double wait on the Lord.” For David, ever a brave man, knew that there was a vital connection between communion and courage. All who would do such exploits must live near the Lord, Whose power nerves us for any conflict. The faith heroes of Hebrews chapter 11 waxed valiant but only through faith.
The heart of this Promise is in these words, “He shall strengthen thine heart.” If our mind (heart) is sound, the rest of our physical system works well. The spiritual mind empowered by God makes calmness amid tempest.
The Hebrew word for “wait” is one of the strongest words for faith. It pictures putting a thin thread, which can easily be broken, and weaving it into a strong rope, which becomes a part of the strong rope, which cannot be broken.
“He Shall Not be Discouraged,” Isaiah 42:4
A characteristic feature of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ among men was His courage. He was ever brave. The taunts of men could not frighten Him. As the Captain of our salvation, He remained valiant when assailed.
Steadfastly He set His face toward Jerusalem, and never halted until at Calvary He laid hold of the forces of hell and robbed them of their terror. In spite of the intense operation of Satan, demons, and foes the Word, “discouragement” was never found in His vocabulary. The Lord Jesus Christ was steadfast, brave, and true.
The Lord Jesus Christ, Believing in His Ultimate Victory, Courageously Endured the Shame and the Ignominy of the Cross
Isaiah likewise reminds us that the same dauntless Lord Jesus Christ will never yield to despair, “till He hath set judgment on the Earth.”
Is your soul discouraged because of the greatness of the way? Then ask the Lord Jesus Christ for a share in His faith and fearlessness. Allied to the Lord Jesus Christ’s courage was His compassion.
He defied those who thirsted for His blood to do their worst. But as He died the death His enemies planned, Grace was His to pray for the forgiveness of His murderers.
Unbound courage and compassion joined,
The Rod of Chastening!
God’s disciplinary methods with those whom He redeemed and loves occupies much space in His Word and mind. We may shrink from such necessary chastisement. Yet we are consoled by the fact that He is never vindictive, and that the rod is in the hand of our loving Heavenly Father, Whose one purpose in permitting chastening is our highest spiritual welfare.
Deserved discipline results in conformity to His mind and will. The Sculptor knows that as the chips fly, the image grows. A proverb has it, “A gem is not polished without rubbing. Nor a man perfected without trials.”
“No chastening for the present is joyous, but afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness by those who are exercised thereby.”
We May Not Look Upon “Chastisement” Itself as Being Much of a Promise
Its ultimate purpose, however, is full of promised spiritual growth and fruitfulness.
A consideration of the above passages convinces us that in loving-kindness the Lord provides and permits chastisement. He uses various methods of imposing it and He has a beneficial end in view in sending it.
Because the Lord is loving and faithful, He will not suffer us to be tempted beyond what we are able to endure. 1 Cor 10:13.
There is not a step the Lord does not weigh, nor a path He does not winnow, nor a tear the shedding of which has not been to Him a subject of anxiety, nor a stab of pain, the edge of which He has not felt before it touches us. Not a sorrow the weight of which He has not felt before He allowed it to impinge.
“In all our afflictions He was afflicted.”
Eight Good Results of the Chastening of the Lord, Psalm 38
“It yieldeth the peaceful fruits of righteousness.”
“Whom the Lord Loveth He Chasteneth,” Hebrews 12:6
We dare not doubt His Promise that He will perfect that which concerns us, Psalm 138:3. But sometimes the means He uses to accomplish His gracious design are not pleasant to the flesh.
God’s manifold temporal Promises never justify our expecting to escape His discipline. As our Father, He keeps in His hands the right to chasten us for our good, that we may partake of His holiness.
While He assures us that He will comfort us as a mother consoles her child, He also tells us that without chastening, we are bastards, not sons.
“I bear my willing witness that I owe more to fire and the hammer and the file, than anything else in my Lord’s worship,” Spurgeon.
“I sometimes question whether I have ever learned anything except through the rod. When my schoolroom is darkened, I see most,” Spurgeon.
“My Son, Despise Thou Not the Chastening of the Lord,” Hebrews 12:5
We must beware of despising Divine chastisement. This we do when we think that there is no occasion for it, or we could do as well, if not better without it.
Neither must we be guilty of cultivating a carnal, flesh-pleasing desire to be delivered from the necessary Divine correction. When the rod falls, we must ascertain the cause for its fall. And quickly learn the lesson that the rod is intended to teach.
If Grace is ours to submit to God’s disciplinary work, acknowledging His right to chasten and His love in doing it, then we can trust Him to end the duration of our trial when its mission has been accomplished.
“I Will Correct You in Measure,” Jeremiah 30:11
Sin and disobedience necessitate this correction and love sends it. His love is “without measure,” but His chastisement is “measured.”
God chastens every son He receives. Every son is chastened because every son sins. The assurance of this Promise is that God does not reward us according to our sin. He chastens us “in measure,” not “in wrath.” He seeks through His trials He permits to drive us to Himself, to humble us at His feet, to purify and to cleanse us. For the present these chastenings are not joyous, but grievous. But “afterward” they yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
Cheer – the Medicine of Cheer ...
“Blessed” means happinesses both in the Hebrew language of the Old Testament and in the Greek language of the New Testament. It is plural in nature, so that God can’t bless you, “He blesses you.”
God is the blessed God, or “the happinesses God.” And because He is happy, He does not want His children to be gloomy, despondent, cheerless.
Did not Solomon affirm that,
The Medicine of Cheer!
Is not the design of these cheery Promises designed to beget us a cheerful godliness and so to make us cheerful travelers on the road of life? The world around will not be attracted to the Lord by a cheerless godliness.
How narrow, how warped, and joyless the Christianity of some professed Christians seems to be. They appear to be destitute of the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Often their very faces suggest that the Gospel is a funeral rather than a feast.
“Happy Art Thou ... O People Saved by the Lord,” Deuteronomy 33:29
When adversity comes our way, we are apt to be downcast, and our soul sinks when we are sorely tried. But even in a shipwreck, with everything gone, Paul could urge both crew and passengers to cheer up.
Such was no false encouragement. Paul believed God, therefore his cheerful confidence that all would reach safety. We face a hostile world, but the Lord Jesus Christ says, “Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
What a Promise that is “to hide in our hearts.” When the Lord Jesus Christ bids us to cheer up, we dare not be cast down contrary to His will. To Him, the world is a beaten foe, and we can share in His victory over it.
Therefore, let us be of good cheer, and sing heartily to our conquering, soon-coming Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving Day ... A Thought for the Day!
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
“Thou shall remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee those 40 years in the wilderness.” You can put in your own age there.
“To humble thee,” “and to prove thee,” “to know what was in your mind,” “whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no,” Deut 8:2.
Friday, November 23, 2001
The Promises and Prospect of Christlikeness
The very name “Christian” implies that the one who bears it is like
Christ. To their adherence to all that the Lord Jesus Christ taught, and the
exhibition of Christ-like qualities, the disciples became known as Christians.
Our constant shame is that although we possess His Name, yet we are so unlike Him. Somehow life and likeness do not agree as they should. Many of the Promises associated with Christlikeness, are prospective in character. They are taken up with our transformation into His image, when upon seeing Him we shall resemble Him.
As We Tarry in the Flesh, Our Constant Desire Should be to Have a Growing Likeness to the Lord Jesus Christ in Life and Character
Can we say that our lives reflect His? Is it easy for those around us to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ because of the ways in which we exhibit His character?
Because the Lord Jesus Christ condescended to be made in the “likeness of men,” He expects redeemed men to have His likeness, Phil 2:7, Rom 8:3.
The Best of Companionships
Some of the most precious Promises in the Bible are those declaring God’s willingness to dwell within His people, and to be with them throughout life’s pilgrimage.
Surely that is a most privileged companionship. The loneliest believer in the
Lord Jesus Christ is not companionless. How abundant are those Promises of
Divine presence! How they deepen within us gratitude and love to him who became
“Immanuel,” “God with us.”
Why should we be lonely?
“David Waxed Greater and Greater for the Lord Was With Him,” 1 Chronicles 11:9
These blessed Promises of Divine companionship are for each believer in the Lord Jesus Christ to appropriate. In all of our journeys, we are assured of the double Grace of God’s presence and rest.
No matter how our journey may separate us from home and our loved ones, there is always One Who accompanies us making us the recipients of His fellowship, and also of His care, provision, and strength.
While our travels may not be with much physical rest, the knowledge that “the Lord of hosts” is with us, let us rest in the joy of all He is Himself. Psa 46:7.
Saturday, November 24, 2001
Our finite minds cannot fully comprehend all that is involved in this glorious change. This we do know, that we shall not only resemble the Lord Jesus Christ in His glorious body, but also in love, adoration, and praise.
With such a blessed hope in view,
If we try to be like Him in the power of the flesh, we shall fail miserably. It is only as God the Holy Spirit controls the soulish mind and will that the Lord Jesus Christ becomes enthroned within the life. Gal 5:22-23.
Then when we are filled with the Spirit, Eph 5:18, our works, ways, and words are fragrant with the reality of His presence within the life. He lives out His life through our life.
It was because Paul could say, “Christ liveth in me” that the life he lived in the flesh suggested the Lord Jesus Christ. A good deal of Christ imitation is artificial, and artificial roses have no perfume.
“I Am a God at Hand, Saith the Lord,” Jeremiah 23:23, 24
The truth that the weeping prophet Jeremiah is emphasizing in these verses is that of God’s omnipresence. There is no secret place where we can hide from Him.
“Ever at hand” – He sees and knows all. When Paul said, “The Lord is at hand,” he meant what the prophet did, namely, that the Lord is at hand, as close as that, and ready to undertake in all things.
God is Never So Far Off as Ever to be Near
He is within! Our soul is the house He holds most dear. To think of Him by our side is almost as untrue as to remove His throne beyond those skies of blue. So all the while I thought myself homeless, forlorn, and weary, missing my joy, I walked on Earth, Myself God’s sanctuary.
“The Lord will be with you,” 2 Chr 20:17.
“The Lord be With You,” 2 Chronicles 20:17
This short, but sweet Promise of the Divine presence was the very one King Jehosphaphat needed at that time. A great multitude had come out against him and he feared the outcome of the battle. But the king was assured that the Lord was with him, and that all would be well.
We, too, can lay hold of this Promise because no matter where we may be, in conflict, in the house, in the office, in the factory, with company or alone, the Lord is with us, Immanuel.
Abide with me from morn to eve,
“Lo, I Am With You All the Days,” Matthew 28:26
What a wonderful coverage this Promise has. All thy days, not some of them. The days ahead may be days of Divine discipline. But with the Lord with us, the discipline will be a blessing.
Affliction will only teach us to grasp His strong hand with a tighter hold and to pray.
Anyone can grow fine flowers in the daytime, but what can you grow in the dark? Well, “even in thick darkness” the Lord is near and can enable us to produce “the fruit of the Spirit,” Gal 5:22-23.
The unseen days ahead may prove to be days of temptation, or loneliness, or death. Yet whatever kind of days they may be, the Lord will be with us to the end, and through the end, and beyond the end, for ever and ever.
“Christ Liveth in Me,” Galatians 2:20
Since He lives within us, what else can He be but our dear and closest Companion? He is not only outside us as our Guide and Guard, but within us as our Guest, Who can never be evicted.
Further, because of His presence within, He is the Source of that inner joy and peace the trials around us cannot destroy. Indwelling us, the beams from His life turn night into day.
He is ever there to undertake at all times and to make our life as we journey with Him, the medium of blessing to others.
Then rest my soul upon the Lord,
“For God is With Me,” Isaiah 8:10
Because a Christian is never alone, he or she should not feel lonely. Think
of whom this constant companionship is, “the Lord God,” and He is with His
own, not only as an Observer, but as an omnipotent One.
He is with us as “the Lord of hosts,” having all the forces of Heaven and Earth under His direction to befriend us. He is with us as “The Guide” to direct our steps, as “The Counselor” to instruct us, and as “The Friend” to supply our need and comfort our souls.
“The Lord is Nigh Unto All Them That Call Upon Him,” Psalm 14:18
We don’t have to ask him to be near us and to go with us over life’s journey. It is for us to believe His presence that He is ever nigh, whether we call on Him or not.
Yet is it not comforting to know that whenever we have a sense of need or a sense of guilt, He is near, lovingly to listen to our cry and graciously willing to help in our difficulty or distresses?
“Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thought for the Day
Christians are sometimes called, “peculiar,” or odd, and they resent it. Christians are sometimes referred to as “being possessed.” And Peter tells us that both of those statements are true.
1 Pet 2:9, “A peculiar people,” which means a personal possession of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are possessed by Him, and we possess Him.
“I Will Be With You. I Will Not Fail Thee Nor Forsake Thee,” Joshua 1:5
As we can see from these kindred passages, the Old Testament Promise became the basis of a New Testament one.
Because the Lord Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, all that He was, He still is, and will ever be. With Joshua we should never be dismayed. Since the Lord Jesus Christ is with us, and in us, beneath and above us as the Omnipresent and Omnipotent One, it is because He cannot fail us that He will not forsake us.
“I Will Never Leave Thee, Nor Forsake Thee,” Hebrews 13:5
This Promise is not only one of the most precious in the Bible, but also the most remarkable in that you can read it backwards and it means the same. Take it the wrong way around, “Thee forsake, nor thee leave, never will I.”
Now read it the Bible way, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
So, whether we read it the right way or the wrong way, the thought is the same, namely that we have the Promise of our Lord Jesus Christ’s abiding presence every day and all the days.
You can’t get this Promise backwards – or you can.
The Spring of Comfort
There is not another book of comfort in the world comparable to the Bible. Because the God of the Christian is “the God of all comfort,” we expect His Word to be laden with Promises of consolation for sorrowing souls in a world of tears.
Disconsolate ones see these Promises shine in golden letters on its dark days, and they take heart to trust them for their fulfillment.
The word sympathy never occurs in the Bible, but God is a sympathizing God.
“Miserable Comforters Are You All,” Job 16:2
What a difference there is between Divine and human comforters. The one delights, the other depresses.
Perhaps Job’s friends meant well. But they went the wrong way about cheering Job in the time of need. Clumsy hands often deepen a wound.
When we meet those whose hearts are smitten with grief, what need there is of tact, lest, in spite of our good intentions, we speak and act in a way calculated to increase sorrow.
A crushed soul needs delicate handling, but with God it is different. He is so understanding, kind, and tender. He not only means well, but does all things well. When our trials are at their worst and human sympathy is unavailing, He knows how to clothe our heaviness with the garment of praise.
Sunday, November 25, 2001
“Comfort One Another With These Words,” 1 Thessalonians 4:18
What words? Well, we must read the narrative to find out the significance of this climatic exhortation. These articulate messengers of comfort were words of hope. Loved ones had died, and lonely souls were anxious as the whereabouts of and union with, their departed. Would they rise again? Did the future offer any certainty of renewed fellowship? In answer to these questions, Paul unfolded the truth of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our holy dead are happy with the Lord Jesus Christ. At His coming, the bodies that are laid away are to rise again. Living saints are to be changed. The dead will be raised, the living changed, and both caught up together to meet the Lord in the air.
Thus the Rapture of the Church is a comforting hope. And in this vale of tears, there are multitudes of grief stricken souls who wait to be comforted “with these words.”
God pity the pulpit or Christians guilty of a sinful silence when it comes to the Lord Jesus Christ’s return in the air, which is a message for what a weary world needs.
“I Am He That Comforted You,” Isaiah 51:12-13
The Promise comprising these two verses does not need much comment. It speaks for itself. The Bible speaks for Itself.
Here is a promise to believe, feed on, and constantly plead before the Lord, Who Promises to comfort our fearful souls. Oppressors should not be feared, for their breath is in their nostrils and can be withdrawn at the Lord’s bidding.
How does God comfort those who are cast down?
He comforts in and by His Son through His gracious Spirit, the inner Comforter; through His Word, so full of the Promises of consolation; through His ordinances, in which He meets with us through His providential dealings.
We must guard ourselves against the comfort which does not come from the Lord, or lead to Him. As the Author of comfort, the Lord must be the Center to which we always gravitate, and the circumference within which we live, and move, and have our being.
All our springs are in Him, Psa 87:7.
“To Comfort All That Mourn,” Isaiah 61:2
Michael Drayton, of the 16th century, in his Barons’ Wars affirmed that, “Ill wind has wings and with the wind do go. Comfort is a cripple and comes ever so slow.”
Possibly human comfort is somewhat crippled and is slow in coming. But Divine comfort, like the Comforter Himself, is immediately available as soon as need of it arises.
Although happy are the people whose God is the Lord, yet in another sense they are mourners. They mourn over committed sins and over inward depravity, or spiritual impoverishment, or over unsaved relatives and friends, over the godless condition of the world, as well as over their trials and losses.
A saying recorded to a divine in 1600 reads, “I have only two comforts to live upon, the one is the perfections of Christ, the other the imperfections of all Christians.”
“Blessed Are They That Mourn, For They Shall be Comforted”
The Man of sorrows came as the anointed and appointed Comforter of His own and He ever lives to soothe and succor. He comforts us by pardoning our sins, by subduing our old sin natures, by using us in His service, by reminding us of His Promises, by the ministry of His servants.
My Saviour will my comfort be,
This Word of Promise, that the Lord will have mercy upon the afflicted, has a whole peal of bells connected with it. Hear their music.
Sing ... Be joyful ... Break forth into singing ...
And as we think of all the comforts of the Lord, we have something to sing about. Why should we sigh and sulk, as we sometimes do, when we have such “a God of comfort, and all the comforts of God.”
As those redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ, God wants us to be singing people as we remember the comfort of Christ, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, the comfort of God the Father, and the comfort of the Word of God.
There Can be Added to the Promises of Comfort Those Related to Consolation, Which Implies the Same Virtue
Generally the latter term signifies:
How our world needs a large army of Barnabases, sons and daughters of consolation, who by their words and work help to relieve distress.
He does nothing who consoles a despairing man with his words. He is a friend who in difficulty helps by deeds, where there is need of deeds.
God is a perfect Consoler who consoles our despairing souls not only with Promises of comfort, but with practical performances of same.
The Secret of Confidence
The “confidence” whereof the Bible speaks and to which several Promises are attached, signifies different ideas.
Monday, November 26, 2001
True and false objects of confidence are indicated, with judgment following the false objects and promised blessings related to true objects.
There is no need to linger over these passages. They speak for themselves. Men and material things fail and, therefore, we dare not rely upon them. The promise of defeat and loss accompanies any false confidence, Prov 21:22.
But for our encouragement, the basis of unshaken confidence is given.
Encouragement Based on Unshaken Confidence
A proverb has it that “confidence is never safe.” It is safe, however, if the Lord is its Object. All the merit is in the Object.
Another Latin proverb says, “confidence in another often compels confidence in return.” The Bible teaches that full confidence in the Lord never passes unrewarded. Isaiah would have us know no matter what our lot may be, “in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength,” Isa 30:15.
The Gain of Contentment!
The Bible is indispensable in that it not only promises such measureless content, but reveals the secret of it. Such contentment is beneficial spiritually, mentally, and physically.
Many physical ailments. like ulcers, would disappear if only people were more content. Is not “worry” a form of discontent?
Contentment also affects our mental outlook. It produces a peace, serenity, and satisfaction of the mind so necessary in health. Spiritually, contentment enables a Christian to rest in the all-sufficiency of the Lord and is a virtue recommending the Gospel to those who are plagued with discontented minds.
The Bible is called “Sound Doctrine” and the Greek word for “sound” is the word “healthy.”
“As a man thinketh in his mind, so is he,” Prov 23:7.
The contentment God imparts equips us to receive His ever-increasing bounty. We come to experience that contentment is the true philosopher’s stone.
How illuminating these passages on contentment are, especially when they are studied in the light of their context.
A cultivated contentment is not sufficient. It must be allied, as Paul reminded Timothy, to “godliness.” Such supreme contentment is born of faith in the Lord’s all-sufficiency to supply us with all He deems necessary for both our spiritual and material well being.
Too often discontent springs from the desire that things should come to us as we will, rather than the Lord wills best for us.
“I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Tuesday, November 27, 2001
“I Have Learned in Whatsoever State I Am Therewith to be Content,” Philippians 4:11
How far short the best of us are of this apostolic ideal! Materially Paul’s life was an impoverished one, “Yet though poor, he made many rich.”
Psalm 111 should be read in connection with the lesson of contentment that Paul learned. Evidently Paul was not always content. Before the Lord Jesus Christ met him and saved him, he had the discontent of ambition.
But as he came to know his all-sovereign Lord, everything was changed for him. For he gradually learned that He was able to do exceedingly abundant above anything he could ask of Him.
“I Have Learned in Whatsoever State I Am, Therewith to be Content,” Philippians 4:11
The words to underline in Paul’s statement are in whatsoever state. What is your present state or condition? Is it an unwelcomed one? One which has the tendency to irritate you? One which causes you to complain and grumble?
But is victory yours? Are you content in your state, knowing that as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ that you are a child of the King, and that your present sphere and position are of His ordering? So then all must be well.
Oh for the peace of perfect trust,
“Be content with such things as ye have,” Heb 13:5.
“Be Content With Such Things as Ye Have,” Hebrews 13:5
If one’s life is laden with an abundance of things, it is not difficult to be content. But if scarcity is ours, and we long for many necessary things others have and enjoy, do we manifest “the Grace of contentment” even though things are few and old?
If we do not have what we wish, as Christians we certainly have what the Lord Jesus Christ thinks is best for us at this time. It is the Lord Jesus Christ Who chooses our inheritance for us.
If content with present things, there is nothing wrong in hoping for better. In this Promise we rest, that “No good thing will be withheld from them that walk uprightly.”
The promised companionship of the Lord Jesus Christ is the guarantee that all necessary things “will be added unto us.”
“Better is a Little With the Fear of the Lord Than Great Riches and Trouble Therewith,” Proverbs 15:16
“Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food convenient for me,” Prov 30:8.
Do not these Proverbs express the true spirit of contentment? The possession of riches arouses the envious, while pangs of poverty excite repining.
Solomon indicates that if he would travel securely upon the path of life, it is wise to choose the middle ground. The qualifying clause is “the fear of the Lord” – occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ.
If the Lord Jesus Christ is our Portion, then we should be content. True contentment consists in a ready and cheerful compliance with the will of God, in a patient continuance in the calling God has ordained.
To a grateful use of all that He has provided, and in a constant endeavor not to covet what others have.
“Be Content With Such Things as ye Have,” Hebrews 13:5
Content I live, this is my stay,
“His Brothers Were Content,” Genesis 37:27
The contentment realized by the cruel brothers of Joseph meant that his precious young life was spared a horrible end. Judah’s plea to sell Joseph rather than slay him satisfied a jealous feeling.
But such a contentment as Joseph’s brothers experienced was false and fickle. The cries and moans of the lad as in anguish of soul as he pleaded for mercy were ever in their ears and haunted them through the days. Jealousy, deceit, and cruelty can never produce true abiding contentment.
When spite has been meted out against someone we dislike, vengeance may seem to produce a feeling of satisfaction. Revenge, we say, is sweet. It is often likewise satanic.
Wednesday, November 28, 2001
“Pilate, Willing to Content the People, Delivered Jesus Christ,” Mark 15:15
Had Pilate acted the other way and released the Lord Jesus Christ, he would have gone down in history as a courageous man. He was guilty however of placing position and prestige before conscience. His better nature or his better half told him that the Lord Jesus Christ was innocent. But the crowd clamored for His death. So what could he do?
Many a preacher has succumbed to Pilate’s temptation. Willing to content the worldly minded around them, they have soft-pedaled the Word of God. Accommodating a good living, preachers have been guilty of silence in the sterner side of the Gospel.
But pastor-teachers who are desirous of inheriting the Promises of God must be willing to be content pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ Who sends them, no matter what discontent or displeasure their faithful witness may produce.
“Godliness With Contentment is Great Gain,” 1 Timothy 6:6
The contentment that the Lord blesses us with is not a self manufactured one. It springs from a right relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the secret Source of every precious thing.
It is not a question of trying to be content under all circumstances, but the willingness to abide in the will of God that produces the Grace of God. Truly this Godly contentment is great gain.
There is a personal gain. In a discontented world, the power is ours to exhibit a poise, a confidence, a tranquility commendable to our Christian profession. Then there is the great gain in influence.
Tempted to fuss, fume, and worry, God-given calm, even when we do suffer, brings those around us whose minds are like a troubled sea to a new understanding of the marvelous Grace of God. Who also gain in honor and praise as a result of our contentment. Great gain!
“Godliness With Contentment is Great Gain,” 1 Timothy 6:6
If discontent sits heavy on your soul, look to the Lord and seek the calm and confident trust He can instill. He is all-loving and all-wise. And because you are His, you belong to Him. He knows all about your lot in life, and your state, and He is able to cause all things to work together for you.
Do not despise the little maid, content, spinning at your door. Welcome her in and she will bless you. “I stand at the door and knock.”
The Year of Days
In a year there are not only 365 days, but there are all kinds of days. And the promise is that no matter what kind of day follows, “as our day is, so shall our strength be.”
The Lord has promised strength for the day,
The Year of Days
We cannot possibly tell what is before us. It is true that we do not know what a day will bring forth. We are not omniscient and therefore cannot read the future. But to the Lord nothing is hid and all our tomorrows are known to Him.
His Promise is that strength will be proportioned to the needs and trials that each day may bring. “As the days” implying no matter what kind of days they may be, the Lord will be at hand to give when we want and as we want and all we want.
The Year of Our Days
The Promise given to Moses was plain and positive, and the Lord will not fail in its fulfillment on our behalf. When we face a need, the amount of Grace and the nature of Grace required are present.
Therefore, how useless it is to dwell on possible painful apprehension of the future, or to anticipate coming sorrows. Be of good cheer. Promised strength will come with tomorrow’s trials. When exigency arises, the Everlasting Arms will be around us to support us.
Day by day the Promise reads,
“Be not anxious for the morrow, for the morrow will be anxious for itself,” Matt 6:34.
Don’t worry at all about tomorrow. Tomorrow can take care of itself. One day’s trouble is enough for one day. Don’t borrow trouble.
On 9-11 terrorists hit our tower,
Men and women boys and girls,
America will not forget, she will take a stand,
America will not take this attack sitting down,
Peace does not stand long in an idler’s hand,
Thought for the Day – Our Motto
A three-fold cord on which our hope hangs:
Cross, tomb, throne. What do you think?
The Thought for Today!
Moses died alone ... but the Lord buried him. So the Lord was with him when he died, so he wasn’t really alone.
But the Lord Jesus Christ was completely alone when He died. God the Father and God the Holy Spirit forsook Him. He is the only one who is alone when He dies. We are not because when He died for our sins, He also died for our loneliness in dying. “Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Thou art with me.”
Thursday, November 29, 2001
“Surely Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life,” Psalm 23:6
David, in this shepherd Psalm of his, did not say that the goodness and the mercy of “the Divine Shepherd” would follow us “some” of the days of our life but through all of them.
These two “guards” – goodness and mercy – the shepherd’s faithful “sheepdogs” – are our portions on dark and difficult days of our life, as well as on those days when all goes well and our lives are serene and joyful. Goodness is ever present to supply our every need and mercy to forgive us when we sin against His goodness.
“Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life,” Psalm 23:6
May Grace be ours to live each day appropriating the Shepherd’s Promised provision and protection, claiming daily strength for daily needs. While we seek to live each day as it comes to us, we must not forget that all our days are links in an endless chain.
Each day receives an inheritance from yesterday and at its close passes it down to the day which comes after. In countless ways yesterday’s life and today’s are entangled.
Each day is but a little section of a great web, containing one figure of the pattern, the warp running through all the days and years. A life is a serial story opening with infancy, closing with death, and each day is one little chapter in the story.
“The Lord Shall Cover Him All the Day Long,” Deuteronomy 33:12
What a precious Promise this is for us to rest on each day and all the days of our life. You get up in the morning and say, “The Lord will cover me today” and do the same thing the next day and so on.
Why should we charge our souls with daily worry when we have such a “Divine covering?”
“Shoulders” in Scripture represent strength – strength to bear or carry. To be borne then upon the shoulders of the “Eternal” means that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Strength and Support as day follows day.
“All the day long” it does not matter how long the day or days may be. We rejoice in the Promise that we are beneath the canopy of Divine love.
“Is it Not Good if Peace and Truth be in My Days,” 2 Kings 20:19
Thou my daily task shall give,
So shall added years fulfill,
A Garland of Delights!
The “delights” of which the Bible speaks and which are so full of the Promise of blessing and satisfaction are not phantoms as Wordsworth declared them – as a phantom of delights. They are all real, substantial, satisfying, except those false objects of delight. Of these phantom-like delights, the Bible warns in no uncertain terms.
A Garland of Delights
Many of the so-called delights are among what Shakespeare calls “violent delights” (which have “violent ends”).
Have you ever thought of gathering together the Lord’s delights? That is, those objects that please and satisfy Him?
Winter, because of its fireside enjoyment and home-born happiness, is king of intimate delights. But greater than winter is the Lord Jesus Christ, who created it and He is the King of most intimate delights.
God the Father delights in His beloved Son.
“This is My Beloved Son in Whom I Am Well Pleased. Hear Ye Him”
Between God the Father and God the Son, there has ever existed that pure delight, which is only possible to Deity.
God the Father has always found delight in His Son. And the Son ever delights in the Father.
I often thought that if God the Father delights in His Son and is well pleased with His Son, should we not also be pleased with His Son and accept Him as our personal Saviour?
Thought for Today!
We rest upon Thy Promise, Lord,
Thou never failest, and we know,
Lord, keep us looking, trusting Thee,
Friday, November 30, 2001
The Lord “Delights” in His People
Can it be true that such poor, unworthy creatures as we are can be the objects of the Lord Jesus Christ’s delight? True, the humblest believer in the Lord Jesus Christ can say, “through the Grace of God I am the Lord’s delight and the object of His highest love, and the subject of His sweetest thoughts and His portion forevermore.”
What a blessed Promise and incomparable privilege is ours! The infinite God fixed upon us from eternity past and then sent His Son, the Supreme Object of His delight, to die for us.
A verse may find Him where a Bible class flies, and turns delight into a sacrifice.
God Delights in the Prayers of His People!
God delights in the way of His people!
God delights in His mercy towards us!
God delights in honesty and integrity!
Pursuing this aspect of meditation further, we discover that we are commanded to “delight ourselves in the Lord.”
So we have a kind of a “mutual delight society.” If we do delight ourselves in the Lord, we have the Promise that He will give us the desires of our heart. Psa 37:4.
We are to delight in His day!
We Are to Delight in His Word!
We Are to Delight in His Provisions!
No one and nothing can delight all our undelighted hours like the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the blessed Object of our delight and whose Promises and provisions delight our souls.
“Delighteth all my undelighted hours.”
The Reward of Diligence!
The Lord Jesus Christ will always remain as the most outstanding example of the quality of “diligence” in the Bible. When only 12 years of age, He knew why He came into this world.
Not His mother’s business, but His Father’s business.
Unwearingly He gave Himself to His God-given task, and setting His face steadfastly toward Jerusalem, He “diligently” pursued His purpose until on the Cross He shouted in triumph, “TETALESTAI,” (“It is finished – finished in the past with results that go on forever, literally in the original language of the Koine Greek).
The Man, Christ Jesus, most fervent and diligent, was certainly prepared to face satanic and human opposition to thwart His Divine mission.
Thought for the Day!
How often in the conflict, when pursued by the foe,
Abba’s Answer to Doubt!
Doubt sees the obstacles – Faith sees the way!
“Apron of Humility”
“Be clothed with humility” ... “Humble yourselves,” 1 Peter 5:5, 6
The Greek verb is a rare and curious one – “TAPENESIS.” It means “tie yourselves up in humility.” Humility is to be gathered around us like a cloak and tied up so that the wind may not blow it open, nor the rain beat inside of it.
But there is still a further and more delicate shade of meaning in the word. There was a particular kind of cape well known by the name taken from the verb, and we might call it a “tie up.” This kind of a cape was worn by slaves and no others.
It was a badge of servitude. Thus Peter bids them all gird themselves for one another in a slave’s “tie up” of humility. None are to be master in the body of Christ. The humility is the very first thing noticed about them as their outward mark and sign.
When Peter urges to “humble ourselves,” it is not merely submissive bearing the strokes which it pleased God to let fall upon them, but it would be shown in the bearing toward one another. And “the mighty hand of God” is not to be regarded as that which is chastening them, but as the Protecting Shelter which they are humbly to seek. It is a term for being Grace oriented and treating others in Grace.
The most outstanding personification of “humility” the world has ever seen is that of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, without any assumption whatsoever, could say of Himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart,” Matt 11:29.
The Lord Jesus Christ lived what He preached and commanded of others. His was a “stainless peace of humility” and He urged His own to accept this virtue from Him. In all His ways He rebuked “the spirit of pride,” because pride is the number one sin that God abominates.
Before He was born, God promised Him exaltation for the lowliness He was to experience. A Promise Paul records, “Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels and have crowned Him with glory and honor,” Psa 8:5-6, Heb 2:6.
“He humbled Himself ... Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him,” Phil 2:7-11. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up,” James 4:10.
The Bible Student Who Wants to Make a Study of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Humility Can Elaborate on Some of the Following Aspects Set Forth With Clarity in the Word of God.
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Page updated 06/26/05 04:59 PM.