Just a thought: “It was F.B. Meyer, I believe, who once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. We also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances”
Month: February 2017
Yourselves Also in (their) Body
Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
We are surrounded by people going through a hard time. From those suffering outside of our boarders, to those in our country, to those in our church, and even in our own family, if we look, we’ll see people going through the fire. For those of us who work in ministry, we can get numb to it. If we’re not careful, we can even become calloused to people’s hurts and needs. This verse reminds us that not only are we to be mindful of these things, but we are to, almost meditate on their situation, putting ourselves in it, as if it was me going through that same thing.
As I think of this verse, I think of Christ. Isn’t this what Jesus did and does for us? He’s a high priest that is “touched” with our infirmities. He sympathizes and empathizes with us. And then, as our Advocate, He “goes to bat” on our behalf. Might we look around and recognize that “that could be me”, putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. If I see that as “my child” or “my sickness” or “my poverty”, I’ll be more apt to reach in and then reach out to meet the need how I can. Let’s be like Christ in this area.
Reverence and Godly Fear
Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Reverence is defined as “deep respect for someone or something, awe, downcast eyes in the presence of“. Godly fear is defined as “caution (religiously), reverence (piety), respect, a just view and love of the divine character of God”; Growing up, we loved my dad. He was our hero. He took time from his (very) busy schedule to play ball with us, have activities with us, take us on vacations, have family alter with us, meet our needs as individuals, and much more. He was a great father to us. But as much as we loved him and enjoyed his company, we feared him. When we heard that dad was coming home, we went into “dad’s coming home” mode. We “sat up straight, with our hands on our laps” as dad would say (ok, maybe not literally). We made sure it was clean. We made sure there wasn’t any bickering or feuding amongst the siblings. We shaped up because we feared dad. This doesn’t mean we scared of him. It means we respected and reverenced him. We knew his (high level of) character, and that he expected his house to follow a certain order.
This fear of dad was good for us. It kept us right. It helped us to choose our friends wisely. It helped us to keep things decently and in order. It kept order in the home. I thank God for a dad who loved, but also chastened. I believe that one reason a fear of God or authority is lacking in society, is because there’s lacking of fear of dad in the home. It’s from our earthly parents we learn much of the character of our heavenly Father.
Whether or not we had a good home situation growing up, if we are to serve the Lord acceptably, we must possess a holy fear of God. As we saw earlier, a proper fear of God is understanding His divine character. He is holy. He is just. He is love. And as such, He expects His home (He dwells in us) to be ordered a certain way. For us, dad might have gone away to preach, or to work for a moment. But God never leaves or forsakes us. He’s always there, watching and kn0wing everything we do. Having this understanding will help keep us doing what we ought to do and being what we ought to do. Today, this week, and through our lives, let us develop a holy fear of God.
Snacks, and… the Holy Spirit?
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
This verse that reminded me of an instance that happened a couple days ago. I was walking briskly (as I generally do) through Walmart (where all good Baptists shop :). As I passed the snack section, I noticed two rows of “star crunch” snacks. This wouldn’t seem significant to most people, but my sister (who has been serving as a missionary in Asia for the last two years) really likes these snacks. And the last time we were going to pay her a visit, we looked at three Walmarts, at Albertsons, and small stores trying to find them, but to no avail. However, this time, I saw two full rows of them, in two sizes (jumbo and regular).
As I passed the snacks, it seems a still small voice said “get those for Sue”. In my logic, it didn’t make too much sense, because I’m not going to see her again in Asia for another 4 months. But I bought them anyway. Fastforward to the next day, and I received a call from my friend – a faithful man in our church (John Castle). He had cancelled a job laying tile, and found out that tickets to Cambodia were less than $800. He had two weeks off, and he wanted to go to Cambodia that day! We talked, and I encouraged him to commit by purchasing the tickets. Then, later on that evening, two hours before check in time, John called me and said, “I have one carry-on that’s empty. Do you have anything you’d like me to take to Cambodia for you?” Oh – I did. And he did take them overseas for me.
It may not seem like much, but it seemed to be a big deal to Sue. She posted it online. She sent a nice text (or two or three) thanking me. She was grateful that someone had thought of her, and had sent something she liked her way. Yes, I was thinking of her while in that isle in the States as she slept in Asia. But I believe it was the Holy Spirit that really prompted me to do what I did.
I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit’s leading in the life of a Christian. Unfortunately, I think many times I’m guilty of quenching the Spirit. This little, seemingly insignificant illustration is a great reminder for us to seek to be sensitive to His leading. Maybe it’s a tract we ought to hand out. Maybe it’s someone we’re prompted to witness to. It can be as small as a note to someone who comes to mind. Perhaps it’s a need we can help someone with. Or maybe something as simple as a text or email to let someone know we’re thinking of or praying for them. Let’s be sensitive and obedient to the Spirit’s “still small voice”. We don’t know the difference it might make!
The Shedding of Blood
Hebrews 9:22-24 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
This morning, I thank God for the shed blood of Christ. I know some have downplayed the importance of the blood. Some have preached that Christ could’ve been strangled and still been our substitute and mediator. But if the verse above is true, His blood must have been shed, and I’m thankful that it was! Without the shedding of blood, “there is no remission (pardon, deliverance, forgiveness, liberty)”. Leviticus 17:11 tells us that it is blood that makes the atonement for the soul. Col 1:14 tells us that we have redemption “through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins”. Romans 5:9 reminds us that we are “now justified by his blood”. In Exodus He said “when I see THE BLOOD, I will pass over you” – a beautiful picture of what Christ’s work would do for us, and His blood that would be “sprinkled” on us – causing God to pass over our sins and accept us.
I thank the Lord that though He didn’t deserve it, and though He didn’t have to, and though I should’ve been on that cross, He shed His blood for us. He walked Calvary’s hill. He bore the cross. He was nailed to that cross. And His blood – of necessity – and out of love for us and obedience to the Father, was spilt, as the One and perfect sacrifice. Might we not lose sight of the importance of the blood. Might we praise Him for it today.
Their Sins Will I Remember No More
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Today, we are reminded of the “better Covenant” that has been made with us through Jesus Christ. I praise the Lord this morning for who He is. He is love. He is just. He is faithful. He is compassionate. He can relate with us. He feels our infirmities. He is our High Priest. He is our burden bearer. He is our Friend. He is our brother. He is our Father. He is our Head. He is “better”. He is so much more. But this morning I’m reminded of a specific attribute of Christ for which I am forever grateful – He is merciful.
I’m thankful that the Lord reached down and saved an incapable, unable, undeserving sinner like myself. He extended His mercy and grace, drawing me to Himself, and saving my soul. And to this day, and into eternity, my sins and my iniquities (both past and future) He chooses to throw into the deepest see, and behind His back, to remember them no more. What mercy! What love! What a covenant!
Having understanding of this, might we love Him with an unconditional love (because He first loved us). Might we walk in His grace, living for His purposes, for His glory. Thank the Lord for His mercy.
He is Better
Hebrews 7:7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
This morning I am reminded of a great truth: Jesus Christ is so much better. Over and over in Hebrews we are reminded of this. He’s better than the Levitical priesthood. He’s better than the law. He’s better than Moses. He’s better than the angels. He’s higher than the heavens. He brought a “better hope”. He brought a better resurrection. He brought “so great salvation”. He’s so much better.
This morning I am reminded to pursue Jesus Christ, for He is better. He is better than my ambitions. He’s better than my dreams. He’s better than anything else this life has to offer. Might my relationship with Him and His purpose for His life be what I live for, for it is better. Might we choose that which is better.
Hope, Our Anchor
Hebrews 6:19-20 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
This morning, I praise the Lord for the hope we have in and through Jesus Christ. Our soul is like a ship, sailing through testy and at times tempestuous waters of life. But with Christ, and the hope we have because of Him, our soul has an anchor – one that is “sure and steadfast.”
It’s a wonderful life with Christ on this side of eternity, but when sorrows, anxieties, fears, and storms come, I praise the Lord that He is my hope, my anchor, and the “health of my countenance” (Ps 42:11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.). Might we “set our hope in God” (Ps 78:7) today, for it is that hope that will keep us anchored, and faithful, until the day He calls us home!
Harden Not Your Hearts
Hebrews 4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
The Scripture is full of counsel about the heart. My heart is the seat of my emotions. It is the driving force behind decisions that I make. Scripture says that the very “issues” of life come from from our heart.
In these chapters we read the warning, “harden not your hearts“. Naturally, as with soil, my heart becomes hard. But I must take heed to “break up the fallow ground”, to sow not among the thorns, and to not allow my heart to become hard.
A hard heart is an early step to a messed up life. We see a hard heart leads to falling into “mischief” (Prov 28:14). A hard heart leads to destruction (Prov 29:1). A hard heart destroyed Egypt and Pharaoh. A hard heart inflicted much pain on the children of Israel. It cut Nebuchadnezzar to the ground. And it will do the same to us. For with a hard heart, the Holy Spirit’s voice isn’t as clear as it ought to be. With a hard heart, I’m not as sensitive to the warnings of my conscience. With a hard heart, I’m not led by the Lord as He desires to lead me.
This morning, might we do a “heart check”, and see how soft and sensitive our heart is to the Lord and the things of the Lord. We may realize that we need to “break up” the fallow ground of the things of this world, the cares of this life, or the busyness that has choked the things that really matter and hardened my heart. A great way to start is to ask the Lord to “search me”, and to go to the Word of God, which is able to pierce, and which knows even the thoughts and intents of the heart, that we may be given a “heart of flesh” that He desires us to have.
Hebrews 3:1-5 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
God is always looking for faithful men. I remember the first time I ever preached. Naturally, I was very nervous. I went to my father and asked him for some help. I remember his answer, now 14 years ago: “Son, God is looking for faithful men. Why don’t you preach from Proverbs 20:6 – ‘A Faithful Man Who Can Find'”? He was right. As we read through Scripture, God is constantly looking for a faithful man to make up the hedge. He tells Timothy to commit truth to faithful men. He found David because he was faithful. And even today, He’s looking for faithful men.
The word faithful can be defined as: constant in the performance of duties or services; exact in attending to commands; as a faithful servant; not fickle. As we read today’s passage, we see two men who are called “faithful” through Scripture. One is Moses, and a brief study of his life shows us his faithfulness, for decades. The second is Jesus Christ. The Scripture says that He was “faithful to Him that appointed him“. As our example, we’d do well to look to Jesus as we seek to be faithful men and women for God. We, too, have One Who has appointed us. As Moses, and as Jesus Christ, might we take hold of the “appointment” that God has given us, and strive towards it as long as we live. Let’s remember that this isn’t a 50 yard dash. This is a marathon. And as Paul, let us “press toward the mark” – faithfully through our lives.
Questions I might ask this morning are: How faithful is my walk with the Lord? How faithful is my prayer life? How bout my love for my wife and children? Winning Souls? My thought life? Let us examine our faithfulness this morning, as we “consider Christ”.