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October 10, 2015

Psa. 47:2 For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. 

The fear of God, probably not one of the top ten sermon topics in our modern church. It seems that the fear of God has somehow fallen out of favor in the casual church crowd, it seems the fear of God is not what the ‘modern’ Christian wants to hear about. I guess maybe that is connected to that repentance thing. Somehow we have forgotten that God is not only gracious but He is also holy. 

Throughout history the fear of God has been one of the characteristics related to true revival. Revival never accepts the status quo of society but always challenges it. The Holy Spirit comes and convicts all of us about the areas in our lives that are unpleasing to Him. He amazingly convicts us of our sins and at the same time offers us pardon and righteousness by grace through faith. What is the outcome; amazing forgiveness and complete transformation. Our response, we tremble in fear before Him with unspeakable joy. Here are some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards on the fear of God. 
“The Scriptures place much of religion in godly fear; insomuch that ’tis often spoken of as the character of those that are truly religious persons, that they tremble at God’s Word, that they fear before him, that their flesh trembles for fear of him, and that they are afraid of his judgments, that his excellency makes them afraid, and his dread falls upon them; and the like: and a compellation (to address or name someone) commonly given the saints in Scripture, is, fearers of God, or they that fear the Lord. And because the fear of God is a great part of true godliness, hence true godliness in general, is very commonly called by the name of the fear of God; as everyone knows, that knows anything of the Bible.”
For Jonathan Edwards, the fear of God was closely connected to true spirituality. He had been privileged to experience two great outpourings in his church during his lifetime. His standard for measuring the reality of a move of God was the fear of God among the congregation. How can we restore that healthy fear to the modern church? Actually, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Find a church where He is welcome. Allow Hs presence to challenge your Christian walk and deepen your experience of His love. You will find yourself walking in the fear of God. 
Acts 9:31 ¶ Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. 


October 9, 2015

Phil. 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as dung, in order that I may gain Christ.

This is the very heartbeat of our Christian faith, that I might know Him. It is in knowing Him that I am changed. It is in knowing Him that I am satisfied. Everything else seems to end up in some sort of self help maneuver or, as Paul called it, the mutilation or the false circumcision. Every new teaching has some sort of angle. Somehow it turns in to me doing something and at the same time justifying my carnality. The message of the cross annihilates both. Our darkest sins are covered by His blood and at the same time calls us to and holds us to a higher standard of holiness. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke on today’s verse.

“That superior light, information, and blessedness which come through the Gospel of Jesus Christ; justification through his blood, sanctification by his Spirit, and eternal glory through his merits and intercession. These are the blessings held out to us by the Gospel, of which, and the law, Jesus Christ is the sum and substance.”

Clarke nails it. He says the cross justifies, makes us holy by faith. It also sanctifies, changes the way we live our lives. Then he reminds us that it calls us to a holy life focused on the glory to come. Then Clarke compares this new life to the one we left. Check this out.

“And do count them but dung. The word dung means the vilest dross or refuse of any thing; the worst excrement. The word shows how utterly insignificant and unavailing, in point of salvation, the apostle esteemed every thing but the Gospel of Jesus. With his best things he freely parted, judging them all loss while put in the place of Christ crucified; and Christ crucified he esteemed infinite gain, when compared with all the rest. Of the utter unavailableness of any thing but Christ to save the soul the Apostle Paul stands as an incontrovertible proof.”

Everything we used to have, even the greatest of our accomplishments, turns into filth in comparison to the new life purchased for us in Christ. Have you seen the value of this life for yourself? If so, you too are pressing on to know Him in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.


October 8, 2015

Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.
John 4:14
If you understand what Jesus is saying in this verse you will find out what an incredible claim He was making. He was saying you would not go through troubles in this life, on the contrary, He is saying that He will satisfy and sustain you in whatever you face in this crazy world. Whether you go through disappointments in family relationships, financial set backs, or even a bad report from the doctor; there is a drink that flows from the Lord that will fill us with joy and power to face whatever comes our way. 

Of course I am not saying that the Lord will not save your family, provide your financial needs, or heal your body; He will do all that and more. What I am saying is life is not perfect and trouble always comes. Christ is more than sufficient in every circumstance we face. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon on this verse. 
“He who is a believer in Jesus finds enough in his Lord to satisfy him now, and to content him for evermore. The believer is not the man whose days are weary for want of comfort, and whose nights are long from absence of heart-cheering thought, for he finds in religion such a spring of joy, such a fountain of consolation, that he is content and happy. Put him in a dungeon and he will find good company; place him in a barren wilderness, he will eat the bread of heaven; drive him away from friendship, he will meet the friend that sticks closer than a brother. Blast all his gourds, and he will find shadow beneath the Rock of Ages; sap the foundation of his earthly hopes, but his heart will still be fixed, trusting in the Lord.The heart is as insatiable as the grave till Jesus enters it, and then it is a cup full to overflowing. There is such a fulness in Christ that he alone is the believer’s all.”
This truth is what caught me totally by surprise in the outpouring of 1994. I had no idea what was readily available for me in Christ. The scary thing, I THOUGHT I KNEW. Most Christians think they know but I found out there was more, way more than I ever thought. This new life of drinking in His presence became everything to me. Yes, He does have water to drink and if you drink it you will never thirst again.   


October 7, 2015

Phil. 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 

We used to sing a song from this verse back in Bible school days; ‘We are the circumcision we worship God in the Spirit. It’s funny, we were so used to singing that song that it seemed normal to us. Looking back at it, it probably sounded pretty weird to outsiders. Have you ever wondered about this verse? Why would Paul say something that sounds so weird to the natural mind? The jews in Paul’s day called themselves ‘the circumcision’. It was a title that they took great pride in. It meant, they were the people who had a covenant with God. Paul was preaching a very radical message in today’s verse, especially coming from what he called ’a pharisee of pharisees’. He was saying that born again Christians are now the people of the covenant. What is the mark or sign of that covenant? Rejoicing that comes from being filled with the Spirit. Here are some comments from this verse from Matthew Henry. 
“They worshipped in the spirit, in opposition to the carnal ordinances of the Old-Testament, which consist in meats, and drinks, and divers washings. Christianity takes us off from these things, and teaches us to be inward with God in all the duties of religious worship. We must worship God in spirit. Whatsoever we do…and we must worship God in the strength and grace of the Divine Spirit, which is so peculiar to the gospel state, which is the ministration of the spirit. They rejoice in Christ Jesus. They rejoice in their relation to Christ and interest in him. God made it the duty of the Israelites to rejoice before him in the courts of his house; but now that the substance has come the shadows are done away, and we are to rejoice in Christ Jesus only. They have no confidence in the flesh, in those carnal ordinances and outward performances. We must be taken off from trusting in our own bottom (foundation), that we may build only on Jesus Christ, the everlasting foundation. Our confidence, as well as our joy, is proper to him.”
To the jews under the Old Covenant, circumcision was essential. What is the true mark on us in the New Covenant? We carry the mark of God Himself, we are sealed (marked) by the Holy Spirit Himself. This is our confidence, this is our joy.   


October 6, 2015


Psa. 47:1 ¶ Clap your hands, all peoples!

  Shout to God with loud songs of joy! 
The kingdom of God is so different from the kingdoms of this world that it is easily overlooked. While wars and rumors of wars are clamoring for our attention, the joyful sound of the nations deepen. On one hand there are rockets, bombs, and saber rattling clamoring for recognition and power, at the same time the nations are joining in with the joyful sound. David’s worshippers are increasing in the nations; Africa, South America, Australia, and the Americas are joining into the heavenly celebration. The striving of the nations and the joyful sound of the redeemed both point to one inevitable event, the King is coming. His return is imminent. So today, each of us have decisions to make. Will I join the clamoring and striving of the nations driven by fear and greed? Or maybe I will tune in to the heavenly sound and clap my hands and shout joyfully to the Lord. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon on David’s song of celebration. 

“With the voice of triumph, with happy sounds, consonant with such splendid victories, so great a King, so excellent a rule, and such happy subjects. Many are human languages, and yet the nations may triumph as with one voice. Faith’s view of God’s government is full of transport. The prospect of the universal reign of the Prince of Peace is enough to make the tongue of the dumb sing; what will the reality be? Well might the poet of the seasons bid mountains and valleys raise their joyous hymn—
‘For the GREAT SHEPHERD reigns,

And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come.’”
Worshipping with your whole body, clapping, singing, and dancing, has a way of clearing your senses. Rather than being troubled by the drama that engulfs our world, our attention turns to another scene. Our king is exalted and His reign is real. For the un-renewed man, it looks like the world is in chaos and and only the strong will survive. But to those who have tasted His grace His rule has become apparent. We see all of the actions taken by the players in the world bringing about the inevitable; Christ will return and we will reign with Him. In the mean time the joyful sound is growing. Clap your hands and shout to the Lord, pretty soon the striving will seem far away and you will be immersed in the joyful song of anticipation. 

“The Breaker Has Gone Before Us”

October 5, 2015


“The breaker is come up before them–they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it–and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.” Micah 2:13 
In so many ways we have it made. Christ has cleared the path. In no way are we left alone without help in this world. One would have to throw the word of God away and put cotton in your ears to think we are without hope. The BREAKER HAS GONE BEFORE US! He breaks the prison of our sins and leads us forth on the path to victory, marching ahead of us triumphantly. He presents us to the Father and never stops praying for us. All we have to do is follow in His steps. Jesus bids us to follow Him and to fear not! 

Why is he called the breaker? He breaks down the obstacles that lie in the road. When Christ died on the cross he satisfied justice and all the claims that were made against us. He also breaks the hard heart- “he melts it, and softens it, dissolves it, and humbles it, and lays it low in holy admiration and adoration of this blessed Immanuel. And thus he breaks the heart by breaking into the heart, and breaks the soul by a sense of his dying love and atoning blood, and this breaks it all to pieces, so that it crumbles into nothing at his feet.” (Spurgeon)

The believer cannot break himself. We need the breaker to go before us and “break the gates of brass and cut asunder the the bars of iron”. (Is.45:2) Sometimes we face immeasurable difficulties in our personal lives, He can show his mighty arm of strength. He divides asunder both soul and spirit and brings healing in our inward parts.   

“Where He has gone we shall go. In heaven, He will still be the leader of our progress and the captain at the head of our march. For He crowns all His other work by this, that having broken the prison-house of our sins, and opened for us the way to God, and been the leader and the captain of our march through all the pilgrimage of life, and the opener of the gate of the grave for our joyful resurrection, and the opener of the gate of heaven for our triumphal entrance, He will still as the Lamb that is in the midst of the Throne, go before us, and lead us into green pastures and by the still waters, and this shall be the description of the growing blessedness and power of the saints’ life above, These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” MacClaren

Let’s join in the victory! 


October 4, 2015

He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. ACTS 1:3

You ever think about what Jesus said to Pilate when he asked the Lord if He was a king?

He said, “My kingdom is not of this world”. He didn’t deny He was a king, He knew Pilate could never comprehend His answer. It was as if He said, “I am a king, just not that kind of king”. You see in Pilate’s mind a king was about palaces, armies, prestige, wealth, and political power. Jesus was speaking of the unseen kingdom, the kingdom of God. His kingdom was about men’s hearts and souls. He even told Nicodemus that you can’t see His kingdom unless you are born again. When someone is truly born again, they are transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s only Son. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on the kingdom of God. 
“The teaching of Jesus during the forty days after the resurrection dealt primarily with the kingdom of God. It is remarkable that Luke, in the last verses of Acts, sums up the teaching of Paul at Rome in the same words: “He explained and declared to them the kingdom of God” (Acts 28:23) and “He preached the kingdom of God” (Acts 28:31). Christ had entrusted to His disciples the announcement of the coming of the kingdom—a kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy. The rule of God in heaven came down in the power of the Spirit, and the disciples were full of the one thought—to preach the coming of the Spirit into the hearts of men. The good news was that the kingdom of God was ruling and dwelling within men, even as in heaven. In the last command our Lord gave to His disciples (see Acts 1:4–8), we will find the great truths of the gospel:”
The kingdom of God was the message of Jesus and the early church. They all knew about earthly kings and kingdoms, in Christ they had found something far greater. In Him there was a greater purpose, a greater power, and a sustaining joy. Just as Jesus testified the good confession before Pilate and tasted death because of the joy set before Him, we can live in this world even though we are not of this world. We are citizens of another kingdom, and because we have tasted the glory of it, this kingdom on earth has lost its attraction to us; it just doesn’t do it for us anymore. 


October 3, 2015

John 1:16 For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift. 

God’s infinite nature is being demonstrated all around us. One look out into the sky and His endless nature is on full display. The magnitude of the universe is beyond comprehension to the greatest minds among us. Then you can examine His daily, lavish provision for His creatures. How much krill do the whales eat, or how many shrimp do the fish consume daily, or the insects for the birds, or food for the six billion humans ? Then there is this issue of endless grace for sinners. David sang that the Lord is good and His mercy is everlasting. Ceaseless grace, grace upon grace; that is what we receive from Christ. Here is how Spurgeon calls it. 
“His gifts are beyond measure precious, and are as freely given as the light of the sun. He gives grace to his elect because he wills it, to his redeemed because of his covenant, to the called because of his promise, to believers because they seek it, to sinners because they need it. He gives grace abundantly, seasonably, constantly, readily, sovereignly; doubly enhancing the value of the boon by the manner of its bestowal. Grace in all its forms he freely renders to his people: comforting, preserving, sanctifying, directing, instructing, assisting grace, he generously pours into their souls without ceasing, and he always will do so, whatever may occur. Sickness may befall, but the Lord will give grace; poverty may happen to us, but grace will surely be afforded; death must come but grace will light a candle at the darkest hour. Reader, how blessed it is as years roll round, and the leaves begin again to fall, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this, The Lord will give grace.” 
God’s infinite nature is shown at its brightest in His abundance of grace being poured upon this fallen race of humans. We are born again by His grace, sustained daily by His grace, inspired by His grace, and finally we are kept in the worst of times by His unlimited grace. It is new every morning and never grows stale. Regardless of what you are facing today, His grace is more than enough.  


October 2, 2015

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1Thessalonians 4:17

It is so easy to be distracted from what life is really about by the activities we face everyday. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes; from the stuff we really love to the unpleasant situations we all deal with every day. Its easy to be distracted by vacations, favorite football teams, financial chaos, or bad medical reports when the coming of the Lord never comes to mind. If the Bible is true and His promises are sure, His appearance could come at any moment. Just think for a moment about that day. In an atomic instant millions of graves will open, dead bodies will come alive, and millions of living believers will be changed into immortal, stunningly beautiful creatures. It could happen today! Here are some thoughts from the 1500’s from Martin Luther about that great day. 

“We will all be taken up to the Lord together at the same time, both those who previously died and those who live until Christ’s coming. In one moment, all will hover together and see each other again. Although we who are still living will have our eyes wide open, we will not see the Lord Christ before those who have died. It would make more sense that we, who are still living, should be the first to see the Lord, because the dead have long since decayed and, to our thinking, are no more.

But Christ has determined that the dead will rise with us at the same moment and will have beautiful eyes that see as well as we do. God will do for Christians what he did for Christ. He pulled Christ out from the closed and sealed grave in an instant, so quickly that in one moment he was both in and out. So in the last moment, God will bring together both. He will bring us, who are still alive and have our five senses, together with those who are dead, decayed, pulverized, and scattered all over the world. We will all, at the same time, be drawn to heaven and soar in the clouds. We will be lighter than the birds and much more beautiful than the sun.”
So what is demanding your attention today? Will that situation even matter a thousand years from now? You will still be alive, really alive! Take some time to think about eternity. What kind of day will be the last one of this age? Setting your eyes on eternity tends to bring the here and now into perspective. His coming may be nearer than any of us really imagine. 


October 1, 2015

O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs—Song of Solomon 2:14

Does it seem like your life is under a constant siege? The world can be a scary and sometimes dangerous place. Political upheaval, economic mayhem, catastrophic predictions, it can be quite overwhelming. As Christians, we don’t have some magic wand or secret formula to make everything better. What we do have is something even more wonderful. We have a place of shelter that protects us and satisfies us in the midst of the worst of storms. Solomon describes it as the clefts of the rock. This rock is Christ and the clefts are His wounds. He was wounded for my transgressions and the chastisement on Him brings me peace. Hidden away in the death of Christ, soaring with Him to the heavenly places, this is my refuge and my very present help in times of need. Here are some powerful thoughts from A.B. Simpson on today’s verse. 
“The dove is in the cleft of the rock-the riven side of our Lord. There is comfort and security there. It is also in the secret places of the stairs. It loves to build its nest in the high towers to which men mount by winding stairs for hundreds of feet above the ground. What a glorious vision is there obtained of the surrounding scenery. It is a picture of ascending life. To reach our highest altitudes we must find the secret places of the stairs. That is the only way to rise above the natural plane. Our lives should be ones of quiet mounting with occasional resting places; but we should be mounting higher, step by step. Not everyone finds this way of secret ascent. It is only for God’s chosen. The world may think we are going down. We may not have as much public work to do as formerly. Blessed are the poor in spirit. It is a secret, hidden life. We may be hardly aware that we are growing, until one day a test comes and we find we are established.”
So are you surrounded by the clamoring and striving of the world and its issues? Let’s go to the secret place of the stairs. We climb these stairs as we turn our affections toward Christ. Every step we take, the noise of the world seems further away. We are taking our place, seated in heavenly places in Christ. 


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