THE LORD IS GOD

July 18, 2015

Psa. 100:3 Know that the LORD, He is God;
 It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

 We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 
Psa. 100:5 For the LORD is good;

 His mercy is everlasting,

 And His truth endures to all generations. 
For many years now I have read from the book of Psalms almost everyday. Most are written by David and are still permeated with his love and pursuit of the presence of God. In today’s two verses from Psalm 100 we see an incredible revelation of our God. Here are some comments from Matthew Henry on this amazing Person and some of my observations following Henry’s quotes. Enjoy!

“That the Lord he is God, the only living and true God; that he is a being infinitely perfect, self-existent, and self-sufficient, and the fountain of all being.”
Wow! We are sustained and satisfied by this unspeakable person. 

2. “That he is our Creator: It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves. We do not, we could not make ourselves; it is God’s prerogative to be his own cause; our being is derived and depending.”
This is why we are totally dependent on the Lord.

3. That therefore he is our rightful owner. The Masorites, by altering one letter in the Hebrew, read it, “He made us, and his we are, “or, “to him we belong.” Put both the readings together, and we learn, that because God “made us, and not we ourselves, “therefore we are not our own but his.
The fact that He created us gives Him ownership. What a place of safety, owned by God.

4. That he is our sovereign Ruler. We are his people, or subjects, and he is our prince, our rector or governor, that gives laws to us as moral agents, and will call us to an account for what we do.
He rules all things, this too is a place of safety and assurance in times of trouble. 

5. That he is our bountiful Benefactor;we are not only his sheep whom he is entitled to, but the sheep of his pasture, whom he takes care of.
No one can touch me, I live in the Shepherd’s hand. 

6. That he is a God of infinite mercy and good; The Lord is good, and therefore doth good; his mercy his everlasting.
His presence is a manifestation of these qualities, mercy and goodness. 

7. That he is a God of inviolable truth and faithfulness; His truth endureth to all generations, and no word of his shall fall to the ground as antiquated or revoked. 
His words are guaranteed, I can base my life on His written word. 

LIVING BY GRACE

July 17, 2015

Those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.ROMANS 5:17
Too often grace is invoked to coverup a life characterized by compromise. Grace is much more powerful than that. Grace doesn’t just cover past sin, it empowers us to life a different kind of life. Rather than struggling through life making lame excuses for our sinful behavior we can approach the throne of God by grace through faith and be daily strengthened to live a holy life. Grace is more powerful than sin. As Paul said, we can reign in life through God’s abundant and continual supply of grace. His grace is amazing. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on today’s verse. 
“Salvation does not, as many think, mean a life of falling and rising again. No, it is God’s will that His children should be conquerors in their life on earth. There is, however, one condition and that is that they should live day by day in the abundance of grace that is to be obtained at the throne of grace. In Romans 5:20, Paul says that where sin increases, grace increases all the more. Is it not wonderful that although sin abounds, grace is always greater and more abundant than sin can ever be? I may, by reading God’s Word, have an overpowering sense of the great power of sin, but I also have the assurance that grace—the life-power of God within me—is far more abundant and powerful. Remember that God’s grace is stronger than the power of sin and that you are more than a conqueror through Him that loves you. This is a sure word. They that receive the abundance of grace reign already “in this life through Jesus Christ.”
The key to this kind of life is coming before the Lord day by day. We eat of His goodness by feasting on His written word, and we also drink of His presence in our times of private prayer and worship. We are strengthened in the inner man as we come boldly before His throne of grace. Rather than struggling to avoid temptation you are tapping into God’s source of holy joy. Delight in God and you will certainly avoid the pitfalls of the flesh. This is so much better than excuses for living the way the rest of the world does. We are reigning in life by the grace of God. 

GRACE RULES

July 16, 2015

Rom. 5:21 NLT So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

I can still remember the guilt I felt about my sinful life before I became a Christian. I knew the things I was doing was wrong, I just couldn’t stop. I wanted to, at least part of me wanted to, but somehow my will was not free. My will was enslaved to my sinful nature and controlled my actions through sinful desires. That’s why I love grace so much. Not that modern version of cheap grace popularly called “the grace message”. I’m talk about biblical grace. The kind that not only forgives but liberates. That’s what C.S. Lewis was describing in this quote.

“Human will becomes truly our own when it is wholly God’s, and this is one of the many senses in which he that loses his soul shall find it.”
Lewis is describing the freedom from sin that comes when we, by the grace of God, yield our lives to Christ. This is the freedom our hearts are longing for, this is the only way to be finally free from those disgusting sinful pleasures that can torment our souls. This life I am describing is not just a one time shot, it is a new way to live our lives. Andrew Murray describes this in his comments on today’s verse. 

“Remember that God’s grace is stronger than the power of sin and that you are more than a conqueror through Him that loves you. This is a sure word. They that receive the abundance of grace reign already in this life through Jesus Christ. I am sure that by this time you have noticed how important it is to approach the throne of grace every day with a deep sense of need, but fully assured that you will receive the power to conquer sin. Daily fellowship with God will lead to a rich life full of good deeds—a life that will bear witness to the abundant grace of God.”
So what is ruling in your life? Maybe you are the way I was, good intentions without the ability to follow through. That’s where grace comes in. Grace is powerful, powerful enough to forgive you and empower you to live the kind of life your heart really wants to live. So I say, no longer let sin rule in your body. From now on you can say ‘GRACE RULES’.

I CAN’T – HE CAN 

July 15, 2015

Phil. 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Have you figured out that the Christian life is not hard, it is impossible. That is the whole point of salvation. There is no way anyone can live the Christian life. Actually there was one who did, Jesus of Nazareth. He was the only sinless man. He was the perfect sacrifice for sinful man and now not only represents us before the Father, He actually works in us Himself through the Spirit to live the Christian life in us. He not only forgives me, He lives in me to will and to do for His good pleasure. He believes through me, He prays through me, His peace resides in me, and even His holiness. Christ lives His life inside me for His glory. Here are some thoughts from A.B. Simpson on Christ’s life in us.   
“Let Him also be the sufficiency and strength for all the day. Let us never forget the secret: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13). Let us have Jesus Christ Himself in us to do the works, and let us every moment depend on Him, both to will and do [in us] of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Let our holiness be the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2). Let our health be the life . . . of Jesus . . . manifest in our mortal flesh (2 Corinthians 4:11). Let our faith be the faith of the Son of God, who loves [us] (Galatians 2:20). Let our peace and joy be His peace and joy. And let our service be not our works, but the grace of Christ within us.”
If this is true it takes the pressure off of me. When I face challenges in my ministry, He works in me. I have always had a difficult time in social situations. Some would say I can be socially awkward. The difficult part is this, I am a preacher. Public speaking was always one of my greatest fears. How did I overcome those fears? I haven’t!! I am still terrified to speak in front of people. It requires total dependence on Christ in me. Here is the conclusion. When I can’t, He can and does. The secret to living the life God has called us to live is recognizing that you can’t but He can. I must trust Him for everything. 

DEEP UNTO DEEP

July 14, 2015

Luke 5:4 ¶ When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 

I was thinking recently about the day Jesus appeared to the disciples while they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee. I say appeared because He had been crucified several days earlier and now made several appearances in His resurrected state. He saw the disciples were having a rough time fishing and told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Familiar words to Peter, he remembered three years before when he heard very familiar words, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch”. All Peter could hear was “Launch out into the deep-again”. This was another new day, time to trust God again, time to launch out into the deep. Here is a poem by John Wright Follette talking about these deep places in God.   
THE CALL OF DEEP UNTO DEEP

Down in the depth of my nature

Where the issues of life are born,
From that unknown mystical realm,
Surviving through ages of storm,
A call is forever rising–
But its language I cannot speak.
It was born ere I had being,
‘Tis the call of deep unto deep.

* * *

Our mother tongue here is awkward,
For no words can fully express
The needs in the depths of nature,
In bondage to sin and distress.
Our hearts in their depths sorely ache;
They hunger; they call; and they seek–
Then silently wait an answer
To the call of deep unto deep.

* * *

Down deep in the heart of our God,
In mystical regions sublime,
In the Godhead’s holy council
Long before our world or our time,
An answer was fully prepared
Every pain, every ache to meet,
In Christ, God’s only begotten,
Is answer to deep unto deep.

* **

The Answer indeed was the Word,
The Word when expressed was the Son.
Oh language of God how profound!
In answer what more could be done?
The heart of our God is hungry,
His portion, His people to seek.
“l thirst,” was cried by the Answer-
‘Tis the call of deep unto deep.
***
When Peter saw it was the Lord, he jumped in the ocean. He was determined to go out into the deep again. Maybe it is a new day in your life. Jesus is standing on the shore saying, “Come and follow Me”. 

“GIANT SLAYING” 

July 13, 2015

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY
“Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.”

1Sam. 17:45-47
I think giants come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. We face them all throughout our Christianity. Little ones, green ugly ones and then the big ones that really seem scary. (JABBA THE HUTT?) Thank God gives us “weapons for our warfare to the pulling down of strongholds”. One of my giants was getting over myself and all my failures. Then one day Jesus came and stepped on my boat and forced me out into the water. We can either perpetually live with our demons or confront them as David did. David spent years in the back country alone with God. He found the secret place of worship. 

FB Meyer said, “Let us live alone with God. The weakest man who knows God is strong to do exploits. All the might of God awaits the disposal of our faith. As a child by touching a button may set in motions a mighty steamship, making glide like a swan into her native element, so a stripling who has learnt to reckon on God may bring the whole forces of Deity to bear on men and things on the world’s battlefield. This is the victory that overcomes the world, the flesh, and the devil-even our faith.”

He goes onto to say; “This is the unfailing secret. There is no short cut to the life of faith, which is the all-vital condition of a holy and victorious life. We must have periods of lonely meditation and fellowship with God. That our souls should have their mountains of fellowship, their valleys of quiet rest beneath the shadow of a great rock, their nights beneath the stars, when darkness has veiled the material and silence the stir of human life, and has opened the view of the infinite and eternal, is as indispensable as that our bodies should have food. Thus alone can the sense of God’s presence become the fixed possession of the soul, enabling it to say repeatedly with the psalmist, “Thou art near, O, God.” 

David looked at the lion, the bear and this ugly giant the same. Go ahead and face that giant! 

GOD IS GOOD

July 12, 2015

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Ps. 118:1

After everything is said and done what do you really believe about God. The foundation of our faith is a belief in the absolute goodness of God. Regardless of what my circumstances may appear to be, God is good and has my best interests at heart. We see His goodness everywhere in creation. Jesus said that you can know a tree by its fruit. He must have had creation itself and the goodness of the Creator in mind when He said that. Even in creation’s current fallen state, God’s goodness shines through. All of creation is perfectly balanced to take care of His creatures. He has covered all the details and supplies everything for our enjoyment. Here is how Luther describes the goodness of God.

“God proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is good and loving. His daily and continual goodness shows this in rich and powerful ways. This psalm says, “His love endures forever.” In other words, God continually does what is best for us. He provides for our bodies and souls and protects us day and night. He continues to preserve our lives. He lets the sun and moon shine for us and allows the sky, fire, air, and water to serve us. The Lord causes the earth to give us everything we need—grain, food, cattle feed, wood, and the resources for making wine and clothes. He gives us gold and silver, homes and families, spouses and children, animals, birds, and fish. Who can count all the Lord’s blessings?”

Once you are born again you begin to see another depth of His goodness. All He has done is designed to display His goodness and place a desire in us to know and enjoy Him. This is what our lives are all about, to know and enjoy God Himself. That is the focus of the teachings of Jonathan Edwards. Here is a short quote from him.

“In heaven alone is attainment of our highest good. God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper happiness, and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.”

Do you believe that? The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied? When we come to that conclusion all our other questions will be answered. God is not only good, He is my good!!!

NUMBERING OUR DAYS

July 11, 2015

Psa. 90:12 ¶  So teach us to number our days

that we may get a heart of wisdom.

You ever think what your last day on earth will be like? I wonder if I will live to be an old, old man and die peacefully in my sleep, or will I live to see the return of Christ. Or maybe things will change and possibly I could experience martyrdom (that brings up another boatload of questions). I wonder if I could go by way of accident or unexpected illness? Nevertheless, no man knows the day or the hour of his death. Every day we have been given by the grace of God is precious. As Moses said in today’s verse, “teach us to number our days’. I wonder if we knew when our last day on earth would be would that effect the way we live our lives? These are questions most of us never ask ourselves but I think they are important. Here are some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards about today’s verse.

“How much more would many men prize their time, if they knew that they had but a few months, or a few days more in the world; and certainly a wise man would prize his time the more, because he does not know but that it is so. This is the case with multitudes now in the world that now are in health, and so see no signs of approaching death. Many without doubt are to die the next month, and many are to die the next week; many are to die tomorrow that now know nothing of it, and think nothing about it. And neither they nor their neighbors can say they are any more likely soon to be taken out of the world than others. How many have died out of this town at one time and another, when neither they nor their neighbors saw any signs of death a week beforehand. And probably there are various persons now here present, hearing what I now say, that are to die in a very little time, that have no apprehension of it.”

Some may thinks Edwards a little morbid but I don’t think so. As a teenager he made a commitment to the Lord to think about the day of his death daily. I think it greatly effected the way he lived his life. Paul told us the same thing. He said “redeem the time for the days are evil”. Thinking about the way our life will end can prepare us for what really matters, the life that begins the moment this one ends.

BURNING AND SHINING LIGHTS

July 10, 2015

John 5:35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

This is one of those scriptures that I used to just skim over until I read a sermon by Jonathan Edwards called THE TRUE EXCELLENCY OF A GOSPEL MINISTER. In that message he explained what Jesus was talking about when he described the prophet John to his followers. Edwards used John the Baptist to explain what Jesus was saying. Edwards said that John was filled with a light of revelation. John prophesied about the One coming after him who would be more than a prophet but was the Lamb of God. Edwards went on to say that John was also a burning light, burning with a contagious love for the Lord. Those two qualities, burning and shining, tell us plenty about the ministry of John. These qualities should not only describe preachers, but every Christian. This changes what being ‘on fire’ is all about. On fire Christians are shining with revelation and burning with passion for God.  Here are some thoughts from Edwards on the burning and shining of John.

“John was a burning and a shining light. He was a light to the church of Israel, to reveal the mind and will of God to them, after a long continued dark season, and after they had been destitute of any prophet to instruct ’em, for some ages. He arose on Israel, as the morning star, the forerunner of the Sun of Righteousness, to introduce the “dayspring,” or dawning of the gospel day, “to give light to them” that till then had “sat in the darkness” of perfect night, which was “the shadow of death; to give them the knowledge of salvation”; And he was a “burning light,” as he was full of a spirit of fervent piety and holiness, “being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb”, having his heart warmed and enflamed with a great love to Christ, being that “friend of the bridegroom, that stood and heard him, and rejoiced greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.”

In our spiritually dark age we need an army of bright and shining lights. We need more than positive words, slick presentations, and well organized programs; we need what John had. This generation needs a shining revelation of Christ and His plan of redemption. It also needs to see hearts inflamed, burning as Jesus said, with a love for God. Let this burning and shining start with you.

OVER HIS HEAD

July 9, 2015

Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 
I was thinking recently of that fishing trip the disciples took after the resurrection of Jesus. They had no idea what the rest of their lives were to look like, so they did what all of us have done, took things into their own hands. They did what they only knew how to do, they went fishing (they had to be from Louisiana). That’s when their lives changed; again. Jesus appeared on the shore after a night of fishless fishing. “Throw your net on the other side”. Those were those strangely familiar words. Peter felt himself being transported to that day over three years before when he first met Jesus. Those words came resounding back into Peter’s head, “Launch out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch”. Before he could even come to his senses it was happening again, that boat sinking net ripping load of fish was being hauled into the boat. That’s when Peter remembered who this man was, he remembered the feeling when he first realized who had stepped onto his boat three years before. Those words were in his head again, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Without thinking, Peter was in over his head, swimming to the shore to be with the lover of his soul. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on this verse. 
“Peter, above all the rest, was astonished to such a degree that he fell down at Jesus’s knees, as he sat in the stern of his boat, and said, as one in an ecstasy or transport, that knew not where he was or what he said, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. Not that he feared the weight of the fish would sink him because he was a sinful man, but that he thought himself unworthy of the favor of Christ’s presence in his boat, and worthy that it should be to him a matter rather of terror than of comfort. It was the language of Peter’s humility and self-denial…Those whom Christ designs to admit to the most intimate acquaintance with him he first makes sensible that they deserve to be set at the greatest distance from him.”
Have you come to your senses yet? Has Jesus stepped onto your boat? Maybe its time to join Peter, jump into the deep, there is a supernatural world waiting for you. 


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