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

"He Knows My Name" - MVBC Young Ladies Trio

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