Tuesday, December 25, 2007

God Became Man

John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Shortly after Thanksgiving I heard Brian Galloway of the Galloway Family give this testimony: “I appreciate this time of year – I really do. It’s a time when we should enter into an attitude of gratitude – we should be eaten up with it every day of our lives, especially at Thanksgiving when we stop and reflect and meditate on the goodness of God. The psalmist said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that’s within me bless His Holy Name.” And he says, “Forget not all of his benefits.” I’ll tell you, a lot of people take jobs simply on the basis of benefits. Benefits do matter – they sure do. I’m glad I got hooked up in something that’s got good benefits. Hallelujah! You better believe, praise God, there’s benefits in being a child of God - Fringe benefits. I’m glad I’m saved.

And always around Thanksgiving, we start gravitating into the Christmas season. Y’know a lot of people get pooch-mouthed around Christmas. They really do. You can look at the statistics and more people commit suicide around Christmas and New Year’s than any other time of the year. It’s a time of depression. But y’know, I get to thinking about the incarnation. And I want to crawl under the carpet somewhere and just melt when I think about how far God stepped down and entered flesh so that He could become a sacrifice for this sorry, low-down, good-for-nothing heathen. I’m glad I’m saved tonight. I really am. And don’t let the Thanksgiving and the Christmas humdrums get you down. You just think about the goodness of God – and think about God thinking enough of you to become flesh – and even yonder at the right hand of the Majesty on high right now there is a man Christ Jesus that is eternally locked in a body of flesh and He’s there so that He can be touched by the feelings of our infirmities. I appreciate the incarnation so much. I really do.” The Galloway Family then sang this song, God Became Man.

Well it was tax time in Bethlehem
And there were shepherds tending their flocks in the fields.
The star from the east did shine so bright –
Angels’ voices were heard in the quiet –
And all things were in place for the master’s plan.
Then God became man.

And now God understands my every need
And we walk through paths just God and me
And lest I stumble – lest I stray
His Love is there to show me the way.
A hopeless life is now a master plan
‘Cause God became man.

He’s the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost,
He’s Messiah as the prophets told.
He’s King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Holy, Holy is His Name.
But on that first Christmas morning
God became man.

Quote – “His is the only birth in history to cause every nation in the world to come to a grinding halt every December 25th.” – Ben Carper

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

An Example in Faith

1 Timothy 4:12 – “Be thou an example of the believers … in faith.”

It is over five hundred years since brave Columbus sailed the wide, treacherous Atlantic and discovered the new world. Before this there was a belief through much of Europe that there was another land "somewhere." There was much talk and many theories but no facts. After much discouragement Columbus set sail upon the unknown, untried seas. His men were discouraged and secretly determined to throw him overboard if he did not turn back. But he had just one command, "Sail on, sail on, sail on." Finally the coveted land was reached. They were profoundly happy and gave thanks to God. When he returned, after having actually seen the wonderful land, slept upon its shores, and eaten its fruits, his words were not as those of other men. They could theorize and speculate as to its existence or its nonexistence, but it was different with Columbus. He spoke with authority. Men gathered around him to listen.

So it is with the real Christian and with those who have entered the Canaan of perfect love. Others may doubt and scoff, but he has been there. He has met Christ, the great Deliverer from sin. He has experienced the joys of eternal life. He has touched heaven with his prayers. The child of God has been given a touch of glory, and when he speaks of the thrills of that kingdom, he speaks with first-hand knowledge.

A Touch of Glory

Give us a touch of glory divine,
O God of Heaven above.
Stir up our hearts with your Spirit fine,
And fill us with your love.

Breathe upon us, O Holy God.
Shake us from our sleep.
Help as we walk on this earthly sod,
Thy Spirit our souls to keep.

Put us in places of heavenly joy –
Show us Thy Holy Face.
Help us Thy Blessed Spirit employ
In our lives with wondrous grace.

Nuzzle up close to our sinful heart,
And fill our mouths with praise.
Help us not from Thy joy depart
And shout for all our days.
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “I know God lives – I talked with Him this morning.” – Dr. Harold B. Sightler

Evil Communications

1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”

William E. Brown, in his Making Sense of Your Faith, tells of a farmer in a Midwestern state who had a strong disdain for "religious" things. As he plowed his field on Sunday morning, he would shake his fist at the church people who passed by on their way to worship. October came and the farmer had his finest crop ever--the best in the entire county. When the harvest was complete, he placed an advertisement in the local paper which belittled the Christians for their faith in God. Near the end of his diatribe he wrote, "Faith in God must not mean much if someone like me can prosper." The response from the Christians in the community was quiet and polite. In the next edition of the town paper, a small ad appeared. It read simply, "God doesn't always settle His accounts in October."

Such was the plight of the rich farmer in Luke 12 – God let him prosper and he failed to give God the glory – “Look what I’ve done,” he said. He majored on the ME instead of going to his knees and thanking God. Look at the thinks he says to himself – v. 17 “What shall I do?” – v. 18 “This will I do” – “I will pull down my barns, and build greater” – “There will I bestow all … my goods.” Then he revels in his good fortune – v. 19 “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” But God had different plans – the farmer had profaned God with his evil communications – and God said to him in verse 20, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” God always has the last word.

And then there’s Belshazzar in Daniel 5 – he blasphemed God by profaning the temple goldware. He was the king (actually more the crown prince – his father was actually king, but he was away and left Belshazzar in charge.) – he was smug in his greatness. He decided to hold a great feast and show off Babylonian prowess to all his friends. He praised the gods of gold and silver and wood and stone – he drank to them from the vessels his grandfather had taken from the temple of God – he gave undue honor to false gods using vessels that had been anointed and sanctified for the worship of the God of heaven. He reveled in his own greatness and the greatness of his false gods. But God had different plans – Belshazzar had profaned God with his evil communications – and God said to him through Daniel in verse 27, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” And verse 30 tells us, “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.” God always has the last word.

My friend, each of us can share the same fate. We don’t have to shake our fist in God’s face and curse Him to blaspheme God. We can blaspheme God by living a life for self rather than for Him – we can blaspheme God by leaving Him out of our plans – we can blaspheme God by rejecting His Son – we can blaspheme God by denying the clear teachings of His Word. “Evil communications” don’t have to be cursings and railings and blasphemies – they are wrong teaching, wrong thinking, wrong living, wrong beliefs. And as our verse says, they always “corrupt good manners”. The choices you make will affect the whole of your life. Choose well, choose prayerfully, choose to honor God.

Quote – “Live with eternity’s values in view.” – Dr. Harold B. Sightler

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Harvest Aplenty

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 – “To every thing there is a season, … a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.”

Summer’s gone – fall is here. Traditionally the fall of the year is considered the time of harvest. It’s time to harvest that crop which was planted in the summer months. To the child of God, harvest represents something else.

Whether we look to God for His harvest or to ourselves – within ourselves – the harvest most assuredly will come. We see that God provides a time of harvest – physical harvest. Look at Genesis 8:22 – “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest … shall not cease.” The Bible often speaks of the former rains and the latter rains and the time of planting and the time of harvest. Though the earth has been marred by the sin of man, God has promised “seedtime and harvest” in this physical earth.

But the Bible also speaks of a spiritual harvest. Galatians 6:7-9 tells us, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Sin will always produce a harvest – a harvest of corruption – and the harvest of sin will produce an end that will not be pleasing.

But the Gospel will also produce a harvest – a harvest of everlasting life. In John 4:35, Christ tells his disciples, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” He was telling them that the time to harvest the souls of precious men had come. It was time to get busy and spread the Gospel of salvation, as He had just done with the woman at the well. He had told her of the great Gospel of Christ and she had been born again – and not only her, but she had told everyone she met and had brought many others to Christ.

The time is now – for the harvest of judgment is nigh at hand. Matthew 13:39 tells us, "The harvest is the end of the age." And the end of the age is close – one day soon Christ will return to take us home to be with Him, and then it will be too late to spread the Gospel. So “Now is the accepted time; … now is the day of salvation.” Spread the “good news” of the Gospel now, while men can still be reached. Let us follow the example that Christ set for us as He told the Samaritan woman of God’s salvation. Let us tell it far and near and bring in that harvest.

The harvest dawn is near,
The year delays not long;
And he who sows with many a tear
Shall reap with many a song.
Sad to his toil he goes,
His seed with weeping leaves;
But he shall come at twilight's close,
And bring his golden sheaves.

Quote – “The world is full of proofs of his goodness. Every rising sun, every falling shower, every revolving season certifies his faithfulness.” – C. H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Autumn Gold

Jeremiah 8:20 – “The summer is ended.”

Yes the summer is ended – winter is approaching – days are getting shorter – nights are getting longer. There are fall festivals galore – festivals to celebrate the harvest. Farmer have put away their planters and their cultivators and are getting out their harvesting tools – their reapers – their sickles – their scythes. Then after the harvest, they will harrow their fields, making ready for their spring planting after the long sleepy winter. Fall is that transitional time between summer and winter. The trees turn beautiful shades of color and begin to shed their leaves to make a rich humus to feed the earth.

Fall represents that time in peoples’ lives when they have reached the peak of life and begin their descent down the other side – middle age if you will. The kids have grown up and moved on with their own lives, concentrating on their careers, looking to their own families for nurturing rather than to mom and dad. It’s the transitional time between the summer years of raising a family and the golden winter years of seniority.

Fall also represents that time in spiritual life of paying for the deeds done in the flesh – the time of harvest. Sowing has been long gone – did we sow good seed or bad seed? – did we sow to the flesh or to the Spirit? – now it’s time to reap what we’ve sown. For after the harvest comes the time of harrowing – breaking up the ground – the time of judgment. What shall be your harvest?

Autumn Gold

Fall is the time of year when all the earth
Begins to take on a new look.
We all admire the beauty of the leaves –
The wonderful reds and golds –
As we drive through hills of splendor.
We relish the scenes of golden sheaves,
Of glorious sprays of autumn grains,
Of bushel baskets filled with fruit
Of a wondrous, plenteous autumn harvest.

Children are all decked out in new fineries
As they return to the rigors of scholarly pursuits.
They soon transform into ghouls and goblins
Roaming the lanes, begging for treats.
Football games and fall festivals
Become the order of shortened, nippy days.
Roasted turkey and pumpkin pie assist us
As we pause to give thanks for blessings divine.
No value can be placed on this Autumn Gold.
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote - "God is true to his promise. Despite the dreary winter and the damp spring, autumn has come with its golden grain." – C. H. Spurgeon

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Godly Fathers

Ephesians 6:4 – “And, ye fathers, … bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Charles Francis Adams, the 19th century political figure and diplomat, kept a diary. One day he entered: "Went fishing with my son today--a day wasted." His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, which is still in existence. On that same day, Brook Adams made this entry: "Went fishing with my father--the most wonderful day of my life!" The father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. Each of us can look to the past and remember the lessons learned from our dads, the wondrous memories of good times, and those times that were precious to us, even when they didn’t realize it.

I recently heard a message by Robbie Smith, a missionary to Brazil, about lessons he had learned from his father, Buddy Smith, a long-time pastor. He spoke of how thinking about his father led his mind to memories, both good and bad, of days gone by with his dad. Of course, his dad was a preacher and lived a godly life and led his family to live godly lives. His fondest memories were those of great Spirit-filled services that his father had preached and how God had moved mightily. He then proceeded to tell us of some things that he had learned from his father.

First, he said his father taught him to respect the house of God. David said in Psalm 122:1, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” We respect the house of God by faithful church attendance. It’s God’s house where we are taught the precepts of God’s Word. It’s God’s house where we worship God. It’s God’s house where we lift our praises to Him. It’s God’s house where we fellowship with brethren of like precious faith. We respect the house of God by proper behavior. We need to teach our children to reverence the sanctuary – not run around like wild Indians. We need to dress with appropriate reverence to the eternal God – like we are in the holy presence of God not at an amusement park. A proper respect for God’s house is crucial to proper development in the Christian life.

Secondly, he said his father taught him to respect the man of God. 1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders that rule be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” God has given the man of God charge over our souls – “For they watch for your souls, as they that must give account (He 13:17).” Think about that next time you decide to have the man of God in derision. You complain about him – you talk about him – you disrespect him – you teach your children to do the same. How can he preach the whole counsel of God to you and yours if you constantly disrespect him? God has given the man of God the awesome responsibility of delivering the message of God. “He is the minister of God to thee for good (Ro 13:4).”

Finally, he said his father taught him to respect the Word of God. Psalm 119:11 tells us, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” God’s Word is precious to us – we need to hide it in our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” – and what better way to keep our heart than to fill it with the Word of God. God’s Word helps us to cleanse our way (Ps 119:9) – by heeding it (v. 10) – by hearting it (v. 11) – by hiding it (v. 12). The Scriptures are filled with admonitions to reverence His Word: Philippians 2:16, “Holding forth the word of life.” – Psalm 119:16, “I will delight myself in thy statutes.” – Psalm 119:73, “That I may learn thy commandments.” – Psalm 119:101, “That I might keep thy word.” – Psalm 119:114, “I hope in thy word.” – Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – John 15:3, “Now ye are clean through the word.”

Quote – “Our very survival as a nation will depend on the presence or absence of masculine leadership in the home." – Dr. James Dobson

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Wife of Thy Youth

Proverbs 5:18 – “Rejoice with the wife of thy youth.”

Today, June 16, is our wedding anniversary – all those wonderful years with the same lovely lady. It’s amazing how anniversaries turn your mind to memories – and each year that goes by builds more wonderful memories. Happy Anniversary, Hon.

From Family Matters:
Looking for a gift or just a unique way to say "I love you?" What do you give when his dresser is full of cologne and you're both on diets? When she thinks flowers die too soon, and you've already spent next month's paycheck? Here are 21 great inexpensive ways to tell the love of your life just how much you care.

1. Make a homemade card with a picture of the two of you on the cover. Get ideas for a verse by spending a few minutes browsing through a card shop.
2. Write a poem. It doesn't have to rhyme.
3. Send a love letter listing the reasons "Why I love you so much."
4. Pledge your love for a lifetime. Write it on calligraphy or design it on a desktop computer and print it out on parchment paper and have it framed.
5. Plan a surprise lunch, complete with picnic basket, sparkling grape juice and goblets.
6. Bake a giant cookie and write "I love you" with heart shaped redhots or frosting. (Don't worry about the calories, it's not for eating!)
7. Make a coupon book and include coupons for a back rub, a compromise when about to lose an argument, a listening ear when needed, and doing the dishes when the other cooks.
8. Kidnap the car for a thorough washing and detailing.
9. Design your personal crest combining symbols that are meaningful to both of you.
10. Compose a love song.
11. Arrange for someone to sing a favorite love song to you and your love when you're together.
12. Call a radio station and have them announce a love message from you and make sure your love is listening at the right time.
13. Make a big sign such as: "I Love You, Kristi. Love, Joe" and put it in front of your house or her apartment complex for the world to see.
14. Buy favorite fruits that aren't in season, like a basket of strawberries or blueberries.
15. Hide little love notes in the car, a coat pocket, or desk.
16. Place a love message in the "personal" section of the classified ads in your local paper.
17. Florist flowers aren't the only way to say "I love you." Pluck a single flower and write a message about how its beauty reminds you of your love. For greater impact, have it delivered at work.
18. Prepare a surprise candle light gourmet low-calorie dinner for two.
19. Write the story of the growth of your relationship from your perspective, sharing your emotions and your joys. What a treasure!
20. Make a paperweight from a smooth stone, paint it, and write a special love message on it.
21. Promise to change a habit that your love has been wanting you to change.

Quote – “Love is an itch that it takes two to scratch.” – Bobby Grubbs

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

What is Truth?

John 18:38 – “And Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?”

According to George Barna of the Barna Research Group, when asked the question, “Is there absolute truth?” in a recent survey, only 22% of adult respondents answered in the affirmative. In a similar survey by the Los Angeles Times, among born-again adults only 44% responded positively. Among born-again teenagers, only 9% said that there is absolute truth. These are staggering results. But this is not a new problem. In 1970, Johnny Cash released the song “What is Truth?” asking each person to look inside to a see a greater truth. The country had just come through a decade of turmoil with race riots, assassinations and war protests. A growing chasm existed between the youth of the day and current leaders. Cash risked open criticism to reemphasize the message of the youth and a refocusing on a greater truth. He was said to have once infuriated Richard Nixon by performing this anti-authority song during a performance at the White House. Here’s one of the four verses: A young man sittin' on the witness stand / The man with the book says "Raise your hand" / "Repeat after me, I solemnly swear" / The man looked down at his long hair / And although the young man solemnly swore / Nobody seems to hear anymore / And it didn't really matter if the truth was there / It was the cut of his clothes and the length of his hair / And the lonely voice of youth cries / "What is truth?"

This a question for which the answer has been sought for centuries – What is Truth? Pilate asked this of Jesus in response to Christ’s statements in the previous verse, “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” Then Pilate asked “What is truth?” He did not even wait for a response, but immediately when back out to speak to the Jews, so it was probably a rhetorical question, or at least one that he thought there was no answer to. Apparently even today, most people think there is no answer to it.

But had Pilate waited for a response, Christ would have probably revealed to him the essence of truth. He had actually been considering that same concept in His prayer in the previous chapter. In John 17:17 Christ prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” The blessed Word of God – the eternal Word of God – the living Word of God – “Thy word is truth.” And just as the Word of God, according to the psalmist, “The truth of the Lord endureth forever (Ps 117:2).” And then “After that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation (Ep 1:13),” “Whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel (Co 1:5),” and “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth (Js 1:18).” So Christ would have revealed to Pilate that the Word of God is truth.

And what, or who, is the personification of that living Word – Christ Himself. Look at John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And verse 14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us … full of grace and truth.” Yes, Christ Himself is the Truth – He says so in John 14:6, “I am the … truth.” And in John 8:31-32, “Then said Jesus unto those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” So it is very important that each of us trust in Christ for salvation – He is the truth – His way is the truth – His Word is the truth. So trust in Him – believe in Him – have faith in Him.

Quote – “Naked truth can walk down Main Street and never blush.” – Bob Jones, Sr.

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Way

John 14:6 – “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

I recently heard a radio preacher expounding this verse. He said he was once out in a rural area looking for someone’s home. He wasn’t having any luck finding the place on his own, so he did the unthinkable and stopped at a store and asked directions of a customer coming out the door. “Well,” began the customer, “You go up here to the third road and take a right. Then you go to the seventh mailbox and take a left. Cross three branches and look to your right for a herd of cows – right across from those cows you take another left. Go three gravel roads, not dirt now, and take another left. The house you want will be the fourth house on the right. You got that now?” The radio preacher asked his audience if they had ever experienced directions like that that totally befuddle you as you try to keep them straight in your head. He continued his story saying that he responded that he didn’t know if he could keep all that straight or not. “Well,” the kind-hearted stranger replied, “I’m going that way just follow me.” The preacher then drove his point home to the congregation by asking, “Now, would you prefer to follow directions about the way or would you prefer to follow the way? That stranger became the way for me, and it was surely a lot easier to follow the way than to try to keep straight his directions about the way.”

And that’s what Christ is to us. He is the Way! There is no other way. All roads may lead to Rome, but all roads do not lead to heaven – as some religionists would have you believe. There’s no alternate avenue – Christ says, “It’s my way or the highway.” Matthew 7:13-14 gives us this instruction, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” His is a narrow way – His is a hard way – His is an unpopular way – BUT His is the only way! Any other way leads only to destruction in the pits of hell.

Man, in his egotism and rebellion, has devised many other ways. Humanism, pragmatism, philosophy, religion – they are all man’s inventions to try to make his own way to heaven – they have “hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water (Je 2:13) – they have become “thieves and robbers (Jn 10:8)” who try to steal their way into the way. John Bunyan spoke of these who tried to climb over the wall into the way in his Pilgrim’s Progress. The wise man of the Bible says in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” God must have considered this verse extremely important as He repeats it almost word for word in Proverbs 16:25. John 10:1 tells us, “He that … climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Man must give up his puny attempts to find another way and come God’s way – through the Lord Jesus Christ.

And in Proverbs 22:6, God instructs us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” So we are not only to walk in the way ourselves, but we are to educate our children in the way. We are to teach them from birth about the Lord Jesus Christ and His commands to us. We are to teach them to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Pr 3:5-6).” This promise is made to us – if we’ll teach our children about The Way – guide them in The Way – teach them to follow The Way – then He will keep them in The Way.

Quote - "The grace of God hath power to bring salvation to all men," and if a man is unsaved it is because he wants to work it out; he wants to receive salvation in some other way than God's way; but we are told that "he that climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber." – D. L. Moody

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Rules for Marriage

Proverbs 5:18 – “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.”

During his courtship with a young woman named Julia Dent, Ulysses S. Grant once took her out for a buggy ride. Coming to a flooded creek spanned by a flimsy bridge, Grant assured Julia that it was safe to cross. "Don't be frightened," he said. "I'll look after you." "Well," replied Julia, "I shall cling to you whatever happens." True to her word, she clung tightly to Grant's arm as they drove safely across. Grant drove on in thoughtful silence for a few minutes, then cleared his throat and said, "Julia, you said back there that you would cling to me whatever happened. Would you like to cling to me for the rest of our lives?" She would, and they were married in August 1848.

“I shall cling to you whatever happens.” – Oh, what a promise – what a delight – what a wondrous thing. Such should be the promise of every husband and wife to one another. Ecclesiastes 9:9 tells us, “Live joyfully with thy wife whom thou lovest.” This is one of many passages in the Bible that deal with the marriage relationship. It is easy to understand why the Bible deals so much with marriage, as this is how God pictures His relationship with Israel and how Christ pictures His relationship with the church. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” The Song of Solomon is a beautiful picture of the marriage relationship – representative of the beautiful relationship that we have with Him.

I heard once of a couple who married for 15 years began having more than usual disagreements. They wanted to keep their marriage intact and agreed on an idea the wife had. For one month they planned to drop a slip in a "Fault" box. The boxes would provide a place to let the other know about daily irritations. The wife was diligent in her efforts and approach: "leaving the jelly top off the jar," "wet towels on the shower floor," "dirty socks not in hamper," on and on until the end of the month. After dinner, at the end of the month, they exchanged boxes. The husband reflected on what he had done wrong. Then the wife opened her box and began reading. They were all the same, the message on each slip was, "I love you!"

Now, experts tell us an average of 13,500 people get married every day in our country. And these marriages range from eternal bliss to virtual warfare. Those who live in bliss have learned that for a marriage to work, both parties must give up self and all its selfishness and learn to become one. Dr. Jimmy Robbins always said, “I got married to love, not to fight.” One Sunday he gave us 10 rules for a happy marriage. I’ll close today with those rules, most attributed to Ann Landers:

1 – Never both be angry at the same time.
2 – Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire.
3 – If one of you has to win an argument, let it be your mate.
4 – If you must criticize do it lovingly.
5 – Never bring up mistakes of the past.
6 – Neglect the whole world rather than each other.
7 – Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled.
8 – At least once every day try to say one kind or complimentary thing to your life’s partner.
9 – When you have done something wrong, be ready to admit it and ask for forgiveness.
10 – It takes two to make a quarrel, and the one in the most wrong is the one who does the most talking.

Quote – “Marriage teaches you loyalty, forbearance, self-restraint and a lot of other qualities you wouldn't need if you'd stayed single.” - Unknown

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Fiery Trials

Malachi 3:3 – “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

I received this story by e-mail: This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it." If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Oh, the truth of that simple illustration. God tests us – God tries us – God puts us through the fire. Proverbs 17:3 says, “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts.” Peter reminds us of this in 1 Peter 1:7, “That the trial of your faith … though it be tried with fire,” and again in 4:12, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.” He warns us that trials and testings will come, and through these fiery trials we can be “partakers of Christ’s sufferings (v. 13).” Paul calls it the “fellowship of his sufferings (Phi 3:10).” And it’s through those trials of our faith that we grow spiritually.

No one knew fiery trials better than the Old Testament character Job. Look at his thoughts in Job 23:10, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job went through the terrible ordeal of losing everything he owned – all his material possessions – all his children – even his good health. But he recognized it only as a means of testing and trying. Oh, he cried out – he whimpered – he whined – he even questioned God – but throughout the ordeal, he recognized the sovereignty of God. “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” he said in Job 1:21.

And think of those three young Hebrew lads in Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were quite literally thrown into the fire. They trusted in God to deliver them “from the burning fiery furnace … But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods (vv. 17-18).” They recognized that it may be God’s will for them to perish – they took a stand for what was right. But in verse 25, God did deliver them, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” You see, friend, He not only puts us through the fire, but He’s right there with us to see us through it. So when you’re in a hot spot – when you’re in the fire – when you’re going through some terrible ordeal that you don’t understand, it may just be God’s fiery trial. But don’t fret – He’s real close by – He’s in the midst of the fire – He’s there to see you through.

Quote – “Let this be some comfort to you, that you are one of the Lord's suffering children, one of those who have to pass through rough roads and fiery places in the course of their pilgrimage to heaven.” – C. H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Divine Appointments

Hebrews 9:27 – “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment.”

It has been said that the only sure things in this life are death and taxes. That’s a comical way to look at life, and rather cynical. But to be sure, the only thing that’s certain in life is death. All men throughout history have died – 153,000 die around us every day – all men who will ever breathe God’s air will die. The Bible records only two men who did not have to pass through the portals of death. Enoch, who “walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Ge 5:24),” and the prophet Elijah, who “went up by a whirlwind into heaven (2 Ki 2:11).”

The Bible also records several who tasted of death more than once, not the most desirable thing – to have to go through the experience a second time – but there were some who did. The widow’s son raised by Elijah (1 Ki 17), the Shunammite woman’s son raised by Elisha (2 Ki 4), the man who was being buried and touched Elisha’s bones (2 Ki 13), the young man whose funeral Christ broke up (Lk 7), Jairus’ daughter that Christ raised (Lk 8, Mk 5), Lazarus who was raised by Christ (Jn 11), Dorcas who was raised by Peter (Ac 9), and Paul who was stoned, left dead, and raised by God at Lystra (Ac 14). There were probably others during the ministries of the prophets and of Christ and the apostles. You may say that there is no proof that they died twice, but it’s definite that they are not still walking around today. They all suffered death again.

But you can be sure, we all have two appointments that must be kept, not death and taxes, but death and deity. We are all wont to break our earthly appointments. We skip a dentist appointment – don’t we all hate going to the dentist. We miss a doctor appointment. We miss work appointments. We jilt a blind date. We all miss appointments of all sorts. But those two appointments – death and deity – we will not miss. Those are guaranteed.

Let’s look at the first one – Death – “It is appointed unto man once to die …” We have already seen how every man, woman, boy, and girl will one day face death. I have heard it said that how we face death is every bit as important as how we face life. Humanism teaches us, “You only go ‘round once in life, grab all the gusto you can get.” They say this trying to get us to buy their beer, experience their erotic thrills, smoke their cigarettes and drugs. Man spends his entire life searching for answers because he knows that death is coming and he desperately wants to be in control of his destiny. But no matter how much control he asserts, death still takes him. “Death, that undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns, puzzles the will,” Shakespeare says in his Hamlet. Man has been puzzled by death since the creation. He has to tried to explain it – he has tried to subdue it – he has tried to slow its advance – but death always wins. Rather morbid – rather depressing – rather discouraging – death always wins!

But what comes after death? Man teaches in his humanistic dogma that there is nothing after death – he’s still trying to have some semblance of control – he’s not willing to admit that there is a supreme being that he must answer to. But he’s wrong. There we find our next certain appointment – Deity – “… and after this the judgment.” This is why man fears death so – why he makes for himself alternate endings – why he cringes at the thought of death. Hamlet again muses that it’s “the dread of something after death.” Romans 14:10 tells us, “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Sinners will face Him at the Great White Throne judgment. Yes we will stand before God – we will be judged for the things done in this body – we will face deity for our sins. But the only thing that will decide our fate in that afterlife is “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he (Mt 22:42)?” If you’re trusting in Christ for salvation, then “Death is swallowed up in victory (1 Co 15:54).”

Quote – “A person never gets too busy to attend his own funeral.” - Unknown

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ye of Little Faith

Matthew 17:20 – “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, … nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

A group of people were waiting for the elevator in a department store. One woman seemed extremely nervous. When the elevator door opened and she was about to enter, she looked down the elevator shaft and drew back in a gesture of panic. “I can’t,” she trembled. “See how deep it is below!” All eyes immediately looked at the open space down the elevator shaft. The practical operator said to her with the kindliest of advice, “If you always look up in an elevator, Ma’am, you’ll have no need to fear.” So often we look down in fear instead of looking up in faith.

Where is your faith? In the book of Matthew, Christ several times rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. We see the first instance in Matthew 6:30 – a lack of faith in the provision of God –“Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not so much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” You know, we have that same problem today. We worry about all the little things that God knows we have need of. And this passage tells us that He will provide if we’ll just trust in Him. Look at verse 33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” That is what we should be concentrating on – fulfilling His will for us – spreading the word of His gospel – telling others about Christ and His salvation – living holy, consecrated lives. If we will do these things, then “all these things shall be added unto you.”

Next, remember when Jesus and the disciples were on the restless sea and Christ in Matthew 8:26 rebuked the disciples – “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” he said to them. This was a lack of faith in the protection of God. John 10:29 tells us that we are smack dab in the center of the hand of God, and in that place of protection, nothing can harm us. How many times have we seen David in the Psalms praise God for His divine protection? We have the same God watching over us that David had. We have the same God watching over us that Paul and Silas had when they sang praises to Him from the prison cell and God delivered them. We have the same God watching over us that Peter and John had when God delivered them from prison. We have the same God watching over us that John had on the Isle of Patmos. We have His divine protection.

Next, we see in Matthew 14:31, the disciples had a lack of faith in the preeminence of God. In this instance, Peter actually showed tremendous faith in God by asking Christ to allow him to come to Him on the water. He got out of the boat and began to walk on the water towards Christ. What power – what faith – what courage – and then he began to doubt. He was out there – he was walking on the water – he was defying the law of gravity – but as he saw the boisterous sea and the waves crashing about him, he forgot that the one who was master of all the waves is the one he should trust in. He began to consider his circumstances – oh, how those circumstances will swallow you up! He forgot that God was preeminent over all circumstances – He began to sink – He cried out to the Lord – “Lord, save me.” Christ reached out and lifted him above his circumstances and then rebuked him for his lack of faith – “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” He was reminding him of His preeminence over every circumstance.

Then lastly, we see the disciples’ lack of faith in the providence of God in Matthew 16:8, “O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread.” They had forgotten to bring bread with them across the sea and were worried that Christ was rebuking them for it. He was teaching them about the leaven of the Pharisees – their wickedness – their hypocrisy – their false doctrines. But they thought he was rebuking them for not bringing bread – He who blessed five loaves and had twelve baskets full to spare – He whose providence was in control of every situation. Yet they doubted that providence. So I ask again – where is your faith?

Quote – “When the outward look is dark, try the upward look.” - Unknown

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Coming Again

Matthew 16:27 – “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”

The hymnwriter said it – “Jesus is coming to earth again; what if it were today?” It’s a promise that Jesus made – John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again.” It’s a promise that the angels made – Acts 1:11, “Ye men of Galilee … this same Jesus … shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” It’s a promise that the Holy Spirit made through the apostles – James 5:8, “For the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven.” – Revelation 19:14, “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses.”

When He came the first time, He came as Saviour – next time He comes as Sovereign. When He came the first time, He came quietly – next time He comes openly before all nations. When He came the first time, He came as a servant – next time He comes as a King. When He came the first time, He came to die – next time He comes to reign. When He came the first time, He came in humility – next time He comes in exaltation. When He came the first time, He came as a babe in a manger – next time He comes for His bride. When He came the first time, only a few knees bowed to Him – next time He comes every knee shall bow. When He came the first time, He came in weakness – next time He comes in power and great glory.

Coming Again

Christ is coming to earth again,
As sure as He did long ago.
First He came as a helpless babe
And laid in a manger low,
Worshiped by shepherds and common folk,
Surrounded by things of no worth,
Cattle and donkeys and sheep and such,
To welcome the dear Saviour’s birth.

Then Christ did live a sinless life
Here in this sinful place.
Yet man in his sin despised Him so –
They cursed Him and spat in His face.
They hung Him upon a criminal’s cross
And laughed and mocked His dear name.
But these were the ones He came to save –
He loved them all the same.

But Christ is coming to earth again,
And that day the Tide will turn,
When men of time will face the wrath
Of the One they chose to spurn.
And He who came as Saviour first,
In that day as Judge will come,
And those who trust His saving grace
Will go to a heavenly home
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “I clearly see in Scripture that the Lord Jesus Christ will come—so far I go, and take my stand—that he will come personally to reign upon this earth.” – C. H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Good Name

Proverbs 22:1 – “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”

In William Shakespeare’s classic play Romeo and Juliet, the love-struck Juliet tells Romeo that his name, Montague, means nothing to her. Her family, the Capulets, are embroiled in a feud with the Montagues, but she assures him that she loves him, not his name or his family. The theme of the play – its central struggle – its tragic circumstances are encapsulated in Juliet’s quote: “What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet.” But contrary to Juliet’s assessment of the situation, names are extremely important. It should be our desire to maintain for ourselves a good name – oh, not necessarily our earthly moniker – but our new name. In fact Juliet asks Romeo to “deny [his] father,” to which Romeo promises to be “new baptized” as Juliet’s lover. We have denied our father – the father of lies – the prince of the power of the air – the devil and his minions – and been “new baptized” into the family of God. His is the name that we must strive to protect – to keep good – to maintain.

But to whom are we to maintain this good name? First of all, we are to keep a good name before the world. How men see us is important. In Matthew 5:16 Christ tells His disciples, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Our testimony before the world needs to be protected. Someone once said, “We are the only Bible some people will ever read.” Therefore it is important that we so live before them that they will want what we have. Our reputation before the world needs to be protected. Shakespeare said in his Othello: “He that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed.” The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said, “Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of - for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”

Secondly, we are to keep a good name before God the Father – how He sees us is the only thing that is important. Pastor Steve Griffith once said, “Reputation is what the world thinks you are; character is what God knows you are.” When God looks at you, He looks for only one thing – the blood of Christ applied. If He sees that blood, then He can’t see the sins or the sinful nature that once controlled our hearts. If He sees not the blood applied, then all He can see is the sinful nature that is present. And He has to turn away, for His holiness cannot look upon sin. When Christ was on the cross taking upon Himself the sins of mankind, God had to turn His back upon Him. Look at Mark 15:34, “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried … My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” A thrice holy God cannot look upon sin. And every time we who are saved choose to sin, we grieve the Spirit of God – Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God.” Our primary goal in this earth is to glorify God – to please Him in all we do. And how can we please Him if we don’t keep His commandments? 1 Thessalonians 4:1, “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” And Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith, it is impossible to please him.” So, let us keep our testimony clean before the world and our hearts and lives clean before God.

Quote – “Your testimony is the most important thing you have – Keep it clean!” – H. M. Mickel

Monday, March 26, 2007

Nothing But The Blood

1 John 1:7 – “And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Dave Griffith reports the following story on his website. One night in a church service, a young woman felt the tug of God at her heart. She responded to God's call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. But, the change in her was evident. As time went on she became a faithful member of the church. She eventually became involved in the ministry, teaching young children. It was not very long until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and heart of the pastor's son. The relationship grew and they began to make wedding plans. This is when the problems began. You see, about one half of the church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable for a pastor's son. The church began to argue and fight about the matter. So they decided to have a meeting. As the people made their arguments and tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand. The young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up about her past. As she began to cry, the pastor's son stood to speak.

He could not bear the pain it was causing his wife to be. He began to speak and his statement was this: "My fiancĂ©e’s past is not what is on trial here. What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away sin. Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it wash away sin or not?" The whole church began to weep as they realized that they had been slandering the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Too often, even as Christians, we bring up the past and use it as a weapon against our brothers and sisters. Forgiveness is a very foundational part of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the blood of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely then it cannot cleanse us completely. If that is the case, then we are ALL in a lot of trouble. Ask yourself; "What can wash away my sins;" nothing but the blood of Jesus....end of case!!!

Remember the words to this great hymn? “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” These wonderful lyrics, penned by Robert Lowry and first published in 1876, give us the great truth that there is nothing that can answer our sin question but the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is indeed a fact of Scripture that men can be redeemed, but not without the blood of Christ – Hebrews 9:22, “And with out shedding of blood is no remission.” Men can be justified, but not without the blood of Christ – Romans 5:9, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Men can be sanctified, but not without the blood of Christ – Hebrews 13:12, “That he might sanctify the people with his own blood.”

Since His miraculous conception and birth in the stable of Bethlehem, Christ set His face “like a flint” to fulfill His purpose at Calvary. “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again (Lk 24:7).” This is the reason He was born – this is the reason He was called – this was the reason He ministered. He came to shed His blood. John proclaimed it by the River Jordan, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (Jn 2:29).” And He was faithful to the end – He fulfilled His purpose – He died on Calvary – He shed His precious blood. “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Quote – “The blood of Jesus runs like a scarlet cord throughout all the books of the Bible.” – Unknown

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Safety in the Cross

Galatians 6:14 – “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

D. L. Moody once asked, “When men see that a prairie fire is coming, what do they do? Not the fleetest horse can escape it. They just take a match and light the grass around them. They take their stand in the burnt district, and are safe. They hear the flames roar as they come along, but they do not fear. They do not even tremble as the ocean of flames surges around them, for over the place where stand the fire has already passed and there is no danger. And there is one spot on earth that God has swept over. Nineteen hundred years ago the storm burst on Calvary, and the Son of God took it into his open bosom; and now, if we take our stand by the open cross, we are safe for time and eternity.”

Wherein do we have to boast? In what worldly place do we find safety? In what earthly thing can we glory? There is none – no hope of salvation – no wisdom of this world – nothing in which we can put our trust. For the world is in just as bad shape as we are – there is no hope. So along with the Apostle Paul and the great Chicago preacher, D.L. Moody, we have to doff our caps to the one and only hope we have – the only thing wherewith we have to glory – the cross of Christ. For without the cross of Christ, we are yet in our sins – without the cross of Christ, we are of all men most miserable – without the cross of Christ, we are lost, destined for a devil’s hell. Therein is salvation – therein is hope – therein is safety. If we will put our trust in Christ’s finished work on Calvary, we can find safety from the eternal wrath of God.

The cross is our beacon in a treacherous world. Just as the lighthouse on the rocky crags of the ocean cliffs guides wayward ships through the dangerous shoals, so the cross of Christ guides us to safe harbor in Him. How many shipwrecks we see – those who have scuttled on the rocks – with no hope of salvation. Fanny Crosby wrote that wonderful hymn, “Rescue the perishing; care for the dying. Jesus is merciful; Jesus will save!” If we’ll look to the cross, we’ll see the way. There’s safety in the cross.

The cross is our healing in a sin-cursed world. Christ told Nicodemus in John 3:14, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” And just as those who looked to the serpent as God instructed were healed of their snakebites, so everyone that looks to the cross is healed of the curse of sin on his life. How many have looked to their own way – rejecting the way of the cross – with no hope of healing. But if we’ll look to the cross we find the cure. There’s safety in the cross.

The cross is our banner in an unforgiving world. Where but Christ can we find such an ensign? Song of Solomon 2:4 says, “His banner over me was love.” The love of Christ, so purely expressed in the cross, is disseminated to the hearts of all men. The choice of accepting or rejecting this love is squarely on the shoulders of every man. If you reject the love of Christ, so generously offered, the only recourse is damnation. Look to the cross – accept his loving forgiveness – “Look and Live.” There’s safety in the cross.

Now the world won’t accept it, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God (1 Co 1:18).” No the world won’t accept it – to them it’s foolishness. But to us it is the power of God. There’s safety in the cross.

Quote – “A bloodless gospel is the gospel of the devil.” – Dr. Ian Paisley

Saturday, March 24, 2007


2 Chronicles 29:31 – “Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the Lord, come near …”

Charles Spurgeon was saved on January 6, 1850, and on February 1 he wrote the following prayer of consecration: O great and unsearchable God, who knowest my heart, and triest all my ways; with a humble dependence upon the support of Thy Holy Spirit, I yield up myself to Thee; as Thy own reasonable sacrifice, I return to Thee Thine own. I would be for ever, unreservedly, perpetually Thine; whilst I am on earth, I would serve Thee; and may I enjoy Thee and praise Thee for ever! Amen.

Though thousands of years apart, both Hezekiah, the speaker in the above passage of scripture, and Spurgeon made the same commitment – to be wholly consecrated to God. They both purposed in their hearts to give themselves totally to His Will. That’s what consecration is. A technical definition of consecration means that you are to set yourself apart from evil, turn to the Lord, and be prepared to be used by God. The difference between sanctification and consecration is that in sanctification, God is setting you aside for His service, but in consecration, He is actually cleansing you for His service. The two go hand in hand – God sanctifies you and then consecrates you.

It is not all God though. You have a part in both sanctification and consecration. God takes into account your will – He does not force sanctification on you – He does not force consecration on you. He yields to the will of the individual. The individual must, after salvation, make a decision to separate himself from the world. Romans 8:1 tells us to “Walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Galatians 5:17 tells us to “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” He instructs us to cleanse ourselves from the world by not partaking in the world. He also tells us to draw near to God – James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.” In doing this, we allow Him to do the work of washing us – we begin to lose interest in worldly things. The Apostle John tells us in 1 John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” This is essential to our consecration.

In Matthew 23, Christ condemned the Pharisees because they cleaned the “outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” These scurrilous Pharisees were hypocrites – “whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” They wanted to appear consecrated, but were actually just putting on – pretending – hypocrites.

This consecration is a continual process. Christ says in Luke 14:27, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” This implies a continual bearing and a continual coming. It is not something that we do just once and our consecration is complete – No, it is an ongoing process. We will never get to the point on this side of the grave where we can put our cross down. 2 Corinthians 4:10 tells us, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.” We must get used to bearing Him about with us – letting Him live in us – carrying Him wherever we go. This is what consecration is all about.

Quote – “People spend too much time making preparations for life on this earth, and not making preparations for eternity.” – Dr. Bob Jones, Jr.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Christian Living

Micah 6:8 – “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

General William Booth of the Salvation Army had ten rules for Christian living. They are: 1.) Consider your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and treat it with reverence and care. 2.) Keep your mind active. Stimulate it with thoughts of others that lead to doing something. 3.) Take time to be holy with daily Bible reading and prayer. 4.) Support the church. Mingle with others. 5.) Cultivate the presence of God. He wants to enter your life and will as far as you let him. 6.) Take God into the details of your life. You naturally call upon Him in trouble and for the bigger things. 7.) Pray for this troubled war-threatened world and the leaders who hold the destinies of the various nations. 8.) Have a thankful spirit for the blessings of God -- country, home, friends, and numerous other blessings. 9.) Work as if everything depended upon work, and pray as if everything depended upon prayer. 10.) Think of death not as something to be dreaded, but as a great and new experience where loved ones are met and ambitions realized.

How we live in this world is of extreme importance. Of course the most important aspect of our life in this world is that we “must be born again.” Our salvation determines not only how we are going to live here, but also how and where we are going to spend eternity. But once we have established the condition of our soul, we must turn our attention to the condition of our life. God continually directs us to live for Him – through Him – in Him. And if we will apply the principles of Scripture to our lives, we will walk in such a way that will please Him. 1 Peter 1:15 tells us, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [conduct].”

And how are we to do that? He tells us in our verse above. “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good” – notice He does not direct this to Israel, to whom the prophet is speaking directly, but to man – all mankind – Jew and Gentile alike – “he hath showed thee, O man!” What did He show us? He showed us “What is good.” He expects goodness of us – then our goose is cooked, for He tells us in Psalm 14:1 and again in Romans 3:12, “There is none that doeth good,” and Paul adds, “No not one.” Then how can we comply with what God expects of us – how can we do what is good if “there is none that doeth good?” The answer is in Christ – through His strength – through His Spirit. In ourselves we don’t have the strength to do good, but in Him we have complete strength – we have complete righteousness – we have complete goodness. In Christ we can meet all the conditions of God for living a good, clean Christian life.

First, He says we must “do justly.” This speaks of our dealing with God and our dealing with man. In our dealing with God, we are to keep His commandments (Jn 14:5), we are to glorify Him (1 Co 16:20), we are to live holy (1 Pe 1:16), we are to walk carefully (Ep 5:15). This is what God’s justice demands. In our dealing with man, we are to be honest (Ro 12:17), we are to be true (Phi 4:8), we are to be pure (Js 1:27). Even in the Decalogue, the ten commandments, the first four commandments deal with our relationship to God, the next six, our relationship to man. Secondly, He says we must “love mercy.” In the Beatitudes, Christ said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Mt 5:7).” In His parable of the Good Samaritan who showed mercy, Christ commands that we “Go, and do thou likewise (Lu 10:37).” We are to love the mercy of God on us and then return that mercy upon our fellow man (Mt 18:35). Thirdly, He says we must “walk humbly with thy God.” Enoch walked with God through faith and it pleased God (He 11:5). And God hates pride and haughtiness, so our walk must be in humility (Pr 6:17; 16:18).

Quote – “Live with eternity’s values in view.” – Unknown

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's Springtime

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 – “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;”

Yes, it’s springtime in my soul. It’s the season of new growth – of rebirth. It’s the season when the doldrums of winter are left behind – life springs anew. There’s babbling brooks – rushing rivers – mighty currents spring forth from the melting of the winter snows. There’s the robin redbreast singing his new song – there’s the budding of trees – there’s the blooming of flowers. It’s springtime!

But you know, for the child of God, it’s always springtime. We don’t need the vernal equinox to supply us with streams of water. For within us flows that River of Life – “For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert (Isa 35:6).” Christ calls it in John 4:14 living water – “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” To the Christian, there are no winter doldrums. We have the eternal Son of God lighting up our soul. John 1:9, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” To the child of God, there is no darkness. 1 John 1:5, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

We don’t need trees and flowers to see new life. Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).” He said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).” He said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” In Christ is everlasting life – eternal life – abundant life. That’s life everlasting – no death – no dormant state – no winter – ever again! Who needs springtime?!?


Much can be said of the wonders of springtime,
All of which has been repeated time and time again –
The brightly colored blossoms –
The freshness of newly budding trees –
The beauty of tiny tender shoots of grass
Springing up in the meadows –
The song of the red-breasted robin
Just returned from its long migration –
The buzzing of new life all around.

Yes the vernal equinox ushers in a glorious spectacle.
The busy bees traverse from bloom to bloom
Gathering the sweet floral nectar,
Spreading about more springtime as they go.
The air is so fresh and pure after the long cold winter
That it fills the lungs with its freshness
Till it seems that they may burst with excitement.
One could only wish to gulp in enough springtime
To last a lifetime.
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” – Martin Luther

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Happy is the Man

Psalm 144:15 – “Yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.”

On his deathbed, John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, was heard to say, "Weep not for me, but for yourselves. I go to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will, through the mediation of His blessed Son, receive me, though a sinner, where I hope we shall meet to sing the new song, and remain everlastingly happy, world without end." John Bunyan found happiness in this world and knew that he would have happiness in the next. Men have strived for centuries to find happiness – most have not found it. Think of all the unhappiness that pervades our society today. Here in America, we live in the most affluent society that has ever existed – in all of history. But this is also probably the most unhappy of all time. Just what is it that brings happiness into our lives? An old man was asked what had robbed him of joy the most in his lifetime. He replied, "Things that never happened!"

Of course, the most crucial first step to happiness is to be saved – truly born again – trusting in Christ for salvation. But what about after salvation? Someone has cited these three keys to happiness:
1) Fret not – He loves you. Just read John 13:1 – “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” Now, isn’t that just wonderful – He loved us unto the end. John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What a great and wonderful concept – God loves us – there’s no need to fret.
2) Faint not – He holds you. Look at Psalm 139:10 – “Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” We, as saints of God, are positioned in His hand, where none can touch us. John 10:29 – “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” We are safe in the hand of God – there’s no need to faint.
3) Fear not – He keeps you. Read Psalm 121:5 – “The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.” There is none more powerful than God, and He has promised to keep us safe in Him. In Philippians 4:7 Paul says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” What could be more able to keep us and keep us happy than the blessed peace of God – there’s no need to fear.

Ten rules for happier living:
1. Give something away (no strings attached)
2. Do a kindness (and forget it)
3. Spend a few minutes with the aged (their experience is a priceless guidance)
4. Look intently into the face of a baby (and marvel)
5. Laugh often (it’s life’s lubricant)
6. Give thanks (a thousand times a day is not enough)
7. Pray (or you will lose the way)
8. Work (with vim and vigor)
9. Plan as though you’ll live forever (because you will)
10. Live as though you’ll die tomorrow (because you will on some tomorrow)
Author Unknown

Quote – “To see some people you would think that the essential of orthodox Christianity is to have a face so long you could eat oatmeal out of the end of a gas pipe.” – Billy Sunday

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Daniel Purposed in His Heart

Daniel 1:8 – “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank.”

In 1904, William Borden, heir to the Borden Dairy Estate, graduated from a Chicago high school a millionaire. His parents gave him a trip around the world. Traveling through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe gave Borden a burden for the world's hurting people. Writing home, he said, "I'm going to give my life to prepare for the mission field." When he made this decision, he wrote in the back of his Bible two words: "No Reserves." Turning down high-paying job offers after graduating from Yale University, he entered two more words in his Bible: "No Retreats." Completing studies at Princeton Seminary, Borden sailed for China to work with Muslims, stopping first at Egypt for some preparation. While there he was stricken with cerebral meningitis and died within a month. A waste, you say! Not in God's plan. In his Bible underneath the words "No Reserves" and "No Retreats," he had written the words "No Regrets."

Daniel made a conscious decision to follow God – this decision affected the rest of his life. He chose to keep himself clean from the world – this choice affected others as well. He could have gone along with the king’s plan – after all, he was miles away from home – no one would know – right? Daniel knew that God was always watching, and his choice was pleasing to God. His location and circumstances did not affect his conduct. It was the same in Babylon as it had been at home in Jerusalem. And his three friends, influenced by the stand that Daniel took, found the courage to take their own stand against the wicked king.

And because of his stand for God, Daniel was able to be used of God to do great things. We see in chapter 2, he interprets the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and is honored for his efforts; in chapter 5, he interprets the handwriting on the wall for Belshazzar; in chapter 6, he is made a high official, a position which carries over into the reign of Darius; also in chapter 6, he is cast into the den of lions because of his faithfulness to God. He served God literally his whole life – his consecration to God, he “purposed in his heart,” carried him through to the end.

Dare To Be A Daniel

The prophet Daniel, when a youth, Was wont to make a choice.
With Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael In God they did rejoice.
There came a time when Satan’s crowd Did tempt them to give in,
By offering the devil’s fare, And thus partake of sin.

But Daniel purposed in his heart To not defile himself
For when we practice evil deeds God sets us on the shelf.
He told the king that he would not Be taking sumptuous fare.
“Just give us beans and we’ll be fine – You needn’t have a care.”

So beans and water they did take, Surpassed the rest by far,
And proved that worldly appetites Serve only flesh to mar.
So food or drink or whatsoe’er When choices come your way
Choose to follow Holy God And please Him every day.

© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “A dog doesn’t go so far from home that his tail doesn’t follow.” – Missionary Bob Garrett

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Whosoever Will

Revelation 22:17 – “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

While preaching on this verse, the great evangelist Sam Jones related this story: That reminds me of the penitent down in Georgia at the altar. He was agonizing, praying. The preacher went up to him, trying to encourage him, and, "Well," he said, "I am not one of the elect, I am one of the reprobates; I feel it all over." And I don’t reckon a poor soul ever did try to seek God that the devil didn’t slip up with something of that sort. "You are one of the reprobates; God never died to save you." And there he was in agony, and the preacher said to him, "Well, my brother, listen to me a minute. Now," said he, "if you could see your name, James B. Green, written upon the Lambs book this minute, would you believe then Christ died for you and you were one of the elect?" The poor fellow thought a moment and he said, "No, sir. There are other people in this world of my name." "Well," said the preacher, "if you could see it, James B. Green, Scriven County, Ga., would you believe it was you then?" “Well," he says, "there may have been other people of my name in this county before I was born. I don’t know." "Well," said he, "if you could see it, James B. Green, Scriven County, Ga., and the year 1867, would you believe it was you?" "Well," he said, "it may be there is somebody in this county now of my name." "Well," said he, "if you could see it, James B. Green of Scriven County, and the Nineteenth District and the year '67, would you believe it was you?" "Well," he says, "I could not know definitely." "Now," said he, "my friend, God Almighty saw all that trouble and he just put it into one word and he said: 'Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." And the poor fellow jumped up and clapped his hands and said, "Thank God! I know that means me."

Sam Jones continued: Thank God, it is "whosoever will." If you will, God will; and I say tonight God don’t say "whosoever feels," or whosoever says this or that or the other, but he throws it all on your will as a man, and says: "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." And I like the conclusion: "Let him take the water of life freely." Blessed be God, ye thirsty men can drink, and there is enough for to-day, enough for all of us, enough forever and evermore. Come and drink freely.


Whosoever loves the Lord – That included me –
Whosoever trusts His Word, Him He maketh free.
Whosoever doth believe That Jesus is the Christ,
Whosoever wilt receive, God gives eternal life.

Whosoever knoweth Him Knows that He is love.
Whosoever turns from sin Finds a home above.
Whosoever will repent, Leaving worldly fare,
Whosoever quits his bent Finds wherewith to care.

Whosoever learns to love Those around about,
Whosoever’s born above Shows what love’s about.
Whosoever trusts His Word, Him He maketh free.
Whosoever loves the Lord, That included me.

© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “Blessed be God! It is for all of us. It is for all of us.” – Sam Jones

"He Knows My Name" - MVBC Young Ladies Trio

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