Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lessons in Rebellion

1 Samuel 15:23 – “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”

Much is said in the Scriptures about rebellion, whether rebellion of a child against his parents or rebellion of the sinful heart against God.  Isaiah 1:2 says, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.”  Psalm 107:11, “Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High.”  Nehemiah 9:26, “Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets.” Isaiah 30:9, “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord.”  Needless to say, what is evident in these verses, as well as others in the Bible condemning rebellion, God hates rebellion.  But from man, He gets an endless stream of rebellion – yet through His longsuffering, He continues to give rebellious man chance after chance.  But in the end, the chances are going to run out and God will have to pass judgment.

But here in this passage, God likens rebellion to the sin of witchcraft.  And any student of the Bible knows what God thinks of witchcraft.  In giving the Law to Moses, God commanded in Exodus 22:18, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”  Pretty harsh punishment for one who is “just curious” about the black arts – Satanism – Wicca – the drug culture – but we’ll save that for a later discussion.  Rebellion was and is a very serious matter before God.  It was Saul’s rebellion in this 15th chapter of 1 Samuel that caused Saul to disobey God’s direct orders – and then try to pass it off on the people.  But what Saul was actually saying was, “I’ll do things my way, because that’s what I want!”  But God said, “NO!”  “Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”  This rejection drove Saul mad, and he sought out the counsel of one of the very witches that God had told him to drive out of the land.  This rebellion caused the defeat of the Israelite armies – it caused the death of his son, Jonathan – and it caused his own death.

In Genesis 4, God prescribed a certain way that offerings were to be brought before God – a lamb had to be slain.  Hebrews 9:27 says, “Without shedding of blood, is no remission.”  Each lamb that was slain as a sacrifice was a shadow looking forward to the Lamb of God who would make the ultimate sacrifice.  So God was very clear with His instructions.  But Cain wasn’t satisfied to do it God’s way.  What Cain was actually saying was, “I’ll do things my way, because that’s what I want!”  But God said, “NO!”  “Now art thou cursed from the earth … A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.”  Cain’s rebellion caused him to kill his brother Abel and forced God to expel him from his family to wander the earth for the rest of his life.

The final example of rebellion against God we find in 2 Samuel 11.  David was now king over Israel – he was a mighty warrior – he was a just ruler – he was a beneficent despot.  But he was still just a man – a man after God’s own heart – but just a man.  Instead of going to the battlefield with his troops, he seceded to stay home and rest.  There he saw another man’s wife, lusted after her, and took her in sin.  To cover his sin, he even went so far as to murder the husband.  What David was actually saying was, “I’ll do things my way, because that’s what I want!”  But God said, “NO!”  “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thy house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.”  He was caught – oh, the shame – the moral dispatcher of God’s justice was caught in sin.  But what did David do?  He repented – his repentance was sincere (read it in Psalm 51) – and God forgave him.  He stuck with the punishment, but He forgave David of the sin and restored David’s fellowship and joy.

Quote – “Any man who knows the will of God and refuses to do it is a fool.” – Dr. Charles Smith

"Lord, Thank you for your longsuffering - thank you for your forgiveness for our sin - thank you for your mercy.  But Lord, help us to set aside our rebellious ways and live in perfect fellowship with you daily. Amen." 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Give Me the Victory

1 Corinthians 15:57 – “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory that overcometh the world, even our victory.”

A little boy was spending his Saturday morning playing in his sandbox. He had with him his box of cars and trucks, his plastic pail, and a shiny, red plastic shovel. In the process of creating roads and tunnels in the soft sand, he discovered a large rock in the middle of the sandbox. The lad dug around the rock, managing to dislodge it from the dirt. With no little bit of struggle, he pushed and nudged the rock across the sandbox by using his feet. (He was a very small boy and the rock was very huge.) When the boy got the rock to the edge of the sandbox, however, he found that he couldn't roll it up and over the little wall. Determined, the little boy shoved, pushed, and pried, but every time he thought he had made some progress, the rock tipped and then fell back into the sandbox. The little boy grunted, struggled, pushed, shoved – but his only reward was to have the rock roll back, smashing his chubby fingers. Finally he burst into tears of frustration.

All this time the boy's father watched from his living room window as the drama unfolded. At the moment the tears fell, a large shadow fell across the boy and the sandbox. It was the boy's father. Gently but firmly he said, "Son, why didn't you use all the strength that you had available?"

Defeated, the boy sobbed back, "But I did, Daddy, I did! I used all the strength that I had!"

"No, son," corrected the father kindly. "You didn't use all the strength you had. You didn't ask me." With that the father reached down, picked up the rock, and removed it from the sandbox.

Do you have "rocks" in your life that need to be removed? Are you discovering that you don't have what it takes to lift them? There is One who is always available to us and willing to give us the strength we need.

Give Me the Victory

O Gracious Father, to Thee I plead.
Be Thou my Helper in time of need.
As Thou hast promised I call to Thee.
Show me Thy wonders; do great things through me.

O Blessed Saviour, my Lord and King,
To Thee my praises shall ever ring.
Thou hast redeemed me on Calvary’s cross,
Hast died and saved me from eternal loss.

O Precious Spirit, I yield to Thee.
O Holy Spirit, come fill Thou me.
Show me the Saviour — teach me His love
That I may please Him in His courts above.

For me to live in this world below,
It’s such a struggle Thy Will to know.
Help me to conquer all worldly fare.
“Give me the victory,” is my daily prayer.
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote - "By the grace of God I am what I am: not I, but the grace of God in me. Whereupon, I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ, who has been pleased to give me the victory." – John Knox's Last Words

"Lord, Thank you for the victory we can have - not only daily victory in this world - but the ultimate victory we have promised culminating in eternal life with you. Help us to rest upon this promise and rejoice in you always. Amen." 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Comfort One Another

1 Thessalonians 4:18 – “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Billy Graham once asked, How often when you were a child did you stub your toe, bruise a leg, or cut hour hand? When this happened how often did you run to the arms of your mother and cry out your woe? Lovingly caressing you and tenderly kissing the hurt, she imparted the magic of healing and wholly comforted. Love and compassion contain a stronger balm than all the salve and ointments made by man.

Such is God’s command to the church in the early days of the spread of the gospel.  You see, here in 1 Thessalonians, Paul is concerned about the thoughts and fears of the church people there in Thessalonica.  There were some in the church, whether regulars in the church or just passing through, that were teaching that once the believing loved ones of those believers in the church died that there was no more after that.  They taught that there was no resurrection, but death was the end of it all.  There are many today who still teach the same false teaching.  Paul was letting those believers in Thessalonica know that after this life comes the resurrection.  And if they were still living at the end of the age, then they would meet their loved ones again in the air. 

He told the believers in verse 13, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”  That was his concern.  These false teachers were causing them to lose hope – to sorrow – to feel they would not see their loved ones again.  But in verse 14 he said, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”  He is guaranteeing them, by the resurrection of Christ, that those who have passed on will return with Him when He comes back.  He then assures them that their bodies will be raised to meet their soul and spirit in the air.  And then – and only then – we who are still living will “be caught up together with them in the clouds.”  What a wonderful promise!

These words are comforting, because we can be assured that the resurrection will take place.  Paul makes a very strong argument for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.  We don’t have the time or space to quote the whole chapter, but in verse 20 he says, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”  In verse 54 he assures them, “Death is swallowed up in victory.”  The resurrection is a fact!

These words are comforting, because we can be assured that we will go to live with Him.  Christ gave the disciples the same comforting thoughts in John 14, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (vv. 1-3)”  And in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Paul reassures the believers, “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

These words are comforting, because we can be assured that what God tells us in His Word will come to pass.  Philippians 1:5, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  We can trust in His Word – we can rejoice in His Word – we can be confident in His Word.  It will be performed as He has promised.

Quote – “The cemetery is not a burial ground, but a resurrection ground – The next move is UP!” – Dr. Harold Sightler

"Lord, Thank you for the reality of the resurrection - not only your resurrection - but also our eventual resurrection. We can rest in the fact that one day, after death, our bodies will get up and spend eternity with you.  Help us to be comforted daily in that thought. Amen." 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

There is a Way

Proverbs 14:12 - “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Said ABC Nightline's Ted Koppel one night:  "We have actually convinced ourselves that slogans will save us. 'Shoot up if you must, but use a clean needle.' or, 'Enjoy sex whenever and with whomever you wish, but protect yourself.' No! The answer is no! Not because it isn't cool or smart or because you might wind up in jail or dying in the AIDS ward, but because it's wrong!”

Believe it or not wrong is still wrong.  It’s unusual that someone in the liberal media – in the humanistic world system – in the ranks of the worldly wise recognizes that wrong is still wrong.  But all around us, this world is struggling to find answers to the same old questions.  They are struggling with that built-in sense that wrong is wrong and right is right.  They are struggling with the innate desire to please a divine being.  Yes, God put that desire into each one of us.  We know that there is a God – we know that He wants us to do right – we know that there is eternal accountability.  But where do we find the way to please Him?  Where do we find the answers to those questions that struggle within us? 

And of course, the answers are in His Word.  He gives us guidance – He gives us direction – He gives us leading.  All we have to do is turn our lives over to God’s Will – turn our hearts over to Christ for salvation – turn our will over to the leadership of the Holy Ghost.  He gives us all the answers in His Holy Word.

But too often, we don’t want to do things His way.  We want to devise our own ways.  In Genesis 4, Cain decided he didn’t want to do things God’s way and offered an unacceptable sacrifice that led to His slaying of his brother Abel.  In Leviticus 10, Nahab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, decided they didn’t want to do things God’s way and offered strange fire before the Lord that led to their being devoured by fire from heaven.  In 2 Samuel 6, David, the man after God’s own heart, decided he didn’t want to do things God’s way and transported the Ark of the Covenant on an oxcart, rather than at the hands of the Levites, that led to the death of one of David’s servants when he reached out to steady the ark and was struck down by God. 

In today’s church, we have abandoned the methods God has prescribed to win souls, the preaching of the Word, and have decided to try entertaining the lost and hope that works.  We’ve abandoned preaching on hell and have decided to try plays and cantatas.  We’ve abandoned preaching against sin and have decided to try puppet shows and artistic dance.  In today’s church anything goes.  It’s come as you are instead of Sunday best.  It’s children’s church instead of letting them sit under old fashioned preaching.  It’s worship centers instead of sanctuaries.  It’s gospel concerts instead of preaching. 

The modern churches have taken the deity of Christ out of their preaching.  They’ve taken hell out of their preaching.  They’ve taken accountability out of their preaching.  They have bowed to the desires of sinful man rather than taking a stand for what is right and against what is wrong.  They’ve built for themselves cisterns that hold no water.  They’ve climbed in another way.  They’ve heaped to themselves teachers having itching ears.  “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Quote – “We’ve found our way to the moon, but we’ve lost our way to the Son.” – Dr. Jimmy Robbins

"Lord, Thank you for the way you constantly work in our lives - for teaching us right from wrong. Help us to always do things your way, not our own way - our way is always wrong. Amen." 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Quickening

Ephesians 2:1 – “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”

The following notice was posted on the bulletin board in a business office: "The management regrets that it has come to their attention that workers dying on the job are failing to fall down. This practice must stop, as it becomes impossible to distinguish between death and the natural movement of the staff. Any employee found dead in an upright position will be dropped from the payroll."  God is telling all mankind the same thing.  “You are dead – you have no life within you – you must be raised up – you must be given life.” 

In our verse, He says the child of God has been quickened, which means to be made alive.  And this is what God has done for each of us at salvation.  He takes an old dead sinner – dead in trespasses and sins – dead in the flesh – dead in the Adamic sinful nature, and makes him alive in Him.  In fact, God specializes in taking lost sinners and making them alive. 

You see, when God created man, He created Him innocent – perfect – sinless.  He was sinless because there was not yet sin in the world.  And He created him with three distinct persons – tri-partate – just as God is three distinct persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  In man, He made three distinct persons – body, soul, and spirit – all three vibrant and alive.  But He also gave man a free will.  He allowed man the freedom to choose sin over God – and when he did, his spirit – his God-breathed spirit – died within him.  So because of the sin of Adam, all men are born spiritually dead in trespasses and sins.  But God’s desire is that all men be saved and that spirit be awakened within him.  So He gave the plan of salvation to quicken the sinner.

The Quickening of a dead sinner – What are the causes?  How does this quickening take place?  What means does God employ?  What agents does He use?  He gives us the tools and the desire and the wherewithal to bring others into the fold of God.  What are some of the tools we can use to bring sinners to God?

  1. The Preaching of the Word of God is the main tool God uses.  Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
  1. Prayer is an important part.  Psalm 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
  1. Witnessing – Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me.”
  1. Gospel Tracts – Psalm 26:7, “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” There is no more convenient method of spreading the gospel.
  1. Sunday School – In the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19, we are commanded, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.”  Teaching is the commission of the Sunday School.
  1. Radio – A bit out of context, but 1 Corinthians 14:9 says, “… for ye shall speak into the air.”  Broadcasting across the air waves of radio and television is an excellent method.
  1. Missionaries – Acts 1:8, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me … unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  Our churches send out missionaries throughout the world spreading the gospel.
Quote – “God didn’t ask for a “walkie,” He asked for a “walkie-talkie.” – Dr. Tom Williams

"Lord, Thank you for the life we have through salvation. But Lord, help us to be alive in our salvation.  It's through working that we we demonstrate life.  Help us to go into the highways and hedges and spread the Gospel of Christ. Amen." 

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Uttermost Part of the Earth

Acts 1:8 – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, there was a shortage of currency in the British Empire. Representatives carefully searched the nation in hopes of finding silver to meet the emergency. After one month, the committee returned with its report. "We have searched the Empire in vain seeking to find silver. To our dismay, we found none anywhere except in the cathedrals where the statues of the saints are made of choice silver."  To this, Oliver Cromwell eloquently answered, "Let's melt down the saints and put them into circulation."

Oh, how the Lord wants His saints in circulation.  That’s why He commissioned the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 to “Go … teach … baptize.”  In the verse just previous to this Great Commission, He said, “All power is given unto me.”  And then here in Acts, He told them, “Ye shall receive power.”  And where is that power to come from, “After that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.”  Paul in Ephesians 5:18 commands us “Be filled with the Spirit.”  That’s where our power comes from.  And after that happens, we can’t help but be witnesses for Him.

We’ll spread the Good News of the Gospel of Christ everywhere we go – and then some.  We’ll spread it to those around about us in our home locale – our Jerusalem.  We’ll spread it throughout our home state – our Judaea – and our neighboring states – our Samaria.  We’ll spread it through missions throughout the whole world – the uttermost part of the earth. 

The Uttermost Part of the Earth

The uttermost part of the earth, He said,
That’s where the Gospel’s to go.
And everyone here who names my Name
Shall be scattered here below.

Take the Good News to your very hometown,
(Which was Jerusalem of old),
And then to your county and also your state,
(In Judaea it must be told).

Then spread the Word to neighboring states,
(In Samaria round about),
And then cover the earth with the truth of God’s Word,
To all men the message shout.

He’s promised to give us pow’r from on high,
When the Comforter dwells in our soul,
And then He would make us to witness for Him,
So that sinners could be made whole.
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering.” – Howard Hendricks 

"Lord, There are people all around us who need the great news of the gospel of Christ - people going into eternity without salvation - people dying without Christ.  Help us to be witnesses unto these people. Amen." 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Love The Lord

Deuteronomy 6:5- “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

"I do love God," said a little girl to her papa one day when he had been talking to her about loving God. "Perhaps you think so, Maria." "Oh, I do, indeed I do, Papa!" "Suppose, my child, you should come to me and say, 'Dear Papa, I do love you,' and then go away and disobey me? Could I believe you?" "No, Papa." "Well, dear, how can I believe you love God when I see you every day doing those things which He forbids? You know, the Bible says, 'If ye love me, keep my commandments.'"  How many of us fail to show our love for God because we do not keep His commandments?

He tells us to love Him with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our might.  The best proof of this love is to obey His commands, one of which is to love Him.  The Psalms also speak much of loving God.  Psalm 31:23 instructs, “Love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.”  And Psalm 145:20, “The Lord preserveth all them that love him.”

This command is so important that Christ reinforces it in each of the first three gospels when the lawyer came to Him and asked Him which was the greatest commandment.  In Matthew 22:37-38, Christ responds, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.”  In John 14:15, He adds, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” and in John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” 

The Apostle John takes it a step further in 1 John 2:5, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.”  Here’s that perfect love that “casteth out fear” of 1 John 4:18.  Two verses prior, John says, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

Love the LORD

Love the LORD with all thine heart Is what the Word commands.
Give to Him the praise that’s due With all that’s in thy hands.
Show to Him a heart that’s full Of love so strong and sure
By living here a holy life That’s right and clean and pure.

Love the LORD with all thy soul – To Him above give praise.
Extol Him for His mercies fine, And love Him all thy days.
Give Him thanks for all He’s done – With all thy soul do tell –
Exalt Him over all the world For saving thee from hell.

Love the LORD with all thy might, Yet not thy strength alone.
Put on the righteousness of Christ, And stand before His throne.
For in the strength of His Dear Son, We’ll worship Him above,
And give to Him the proper praise With heart so full of love.
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “God is love.  If love is absent, God is absent.” - Unknown

"Lord, I do love you - I know it's easy to say with my lips - but help me to show it with my life. Lord, Help me to love you more and more each day and demonstrate that love with an obedient life. Amen." 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Free Indeed

John 8:36 - “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

I once read of a family who went whitewater rafting in the Great Smokies. When they started out it seemed like they were in control of the raft. But then they came to the first rapids. Big waves threatened to engulf them. The water swirled around them and pushed and pulled at their raft. No matter how hard they paddled or even in what direction, they had no choice but to go through the rapids and down the river. You see, it was the river – not the family – that was in control. In the same way, in fallen man it is sin and evil, not man himself, that is in control. No matter how hard we try, sin and evil plunges us straight ahead into the abyss of ruin and destruction.  We are bound by the chains of sin, and we will know no freedom until we meet the One who is Freedom.

We hear much talk in this world of freedom – freedom from persecution – freedom from slavery – freedom from dictatorship.  Men and nations go about to set up democracies throughout the world.  But know this, the freedom that Christ refers to in this verse is much more to be desired than any freedom that can be obtained on this earth.  Granted the children of Israel reveled in the freedom they gained from the taskmasters of Egypt, but the point of that experience and its inclusion in the Word of God was to be a picture of the sinner and his salvation through the blood of Christ.  Their coming through the Red Sea was a picture of the sinner’s death to sin and resurrection to glory.  Their passing through the Jordan River was a picture of the saint crossing into the joys of victorious Christian living.  Their wars and eventual conquest of Canaan was a picture of the struggles and trials the Christian goes through in this Christian life and the eventual victory he has in Christ.  The freedom we have in Christ is a freedom from the taskmaster of this world – it’s a freedom from the penalty of judgment – it’s a freedom from the chains of sin.  “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

I’ve Been Set Free

I’ve been unshackled; I’ve been set free.
The Holy Son of God has come and dwells in me.
He’s brought me freedom; He’s brought me life.
He’s loosed me from the chains of sin and strife.
I’m free, yes free, I am free indeed.
He has loosed me, now I’m free indeed.

I’ve met the Saviour; I’ve been set free.
The blessed Spirit has come down and works in me.
He gives me guidance; He gives me love.
He gives me peace that comes from God above.
I’m free, yes free, I am free indeed.
He has saved me, now I’m free indeed.

I am rejoicing; I’ve been set free.
The Heavenly Father has reached down and rescued me.
He has redeemed me; He’s made me whole.
He has delivered me from sin’s control.
I’m free, yes free, praise the Lord, I’m free.
I’m rejoicing for I’m free indeed.
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “Ye have not yet come to the full liberty of the children of God, as you will do if you cast yourselves into the hands of Jesus who looseth the captives.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

"Lord, Thank you for the freedom we have in you. Thank you for the salvation that makes us free. Help us to ever rejoice in your salvation. Amen." 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Faithful Men

2 Timothy 2:2 – “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

Warren Wiersbe tells how Charles Spurgeon preached to thousands in London each Lord's Day, yet he started his ministry by passing out tracts and teaching a Sunday school class as a teenager. When he began to give short addresses to the Sunday school, God blessed his ministry of the Word. He was invited to preach in obscure places in the country side, and he used every opportunity to honor the Lord. He was faithful in the small things, and God trusted him with the greater things. "I am perfectly sure," he said, "that, if I had not been willing to preach to those small gatherings of people in obscure country places, I should never have had the privilege of preaching to thousands of men and women in large buildings all over the land. Remember our Lord's rule, "whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

Now I know all of us can’t be a Charles Spurgeon, but God doesn’t expect us to.  He only tells us to lean on Him and He will do great things through us.  Each generation of preachers that have gone before impart to the next generation the truths of God’s Word – the passion for lost souls – the commitment to do a great work for God.  We have those who have within our lifetime passed from the scene:  Bob Jones, Sr., John R. Rice, Harold Sightler, Oliver B. Greene, J. Harold Smith, B.R. Lakin, Maize Jackson, E.F. Rabine, Monroe Parker, Percy Ray, Lester Roloff, Silas Fox, Buck Huntley, Billy Kelly, Bobby Grubbs, Robert Mullinax, and many more.  They have faithfully run their race, completed their tasks, and passed the torch on to the next generation to do the same. 

Saved at Early Age

We’ve heard it said of those who’ve lived a lifetime full of sin,
“Had he accepted Christ before, who knows what might have been.”
That thought alone should make us pause and ponder in our heart
And make us thankful, those of us surrendered from the start.
For some among us gave themselves to Christ when very young
And feel left out when others tell of deeds that they have done.
But there’s no need to feel a pang of envious regret,
For if we’ve trusted Him He has relieved us of our debt.

We must be grateful for the years we’ve given to the Lord
And praise His Name for saints of old who’ve gone to their reward,
Who led us in the way of truth and taught us of the right,
Who helped us keep our bodies pure and helped us win the fight.
For if we’ll look more closely at those people we admire
Who lived so long in sinfulness and played with Satan’s fire,
We’ll see that when one plays with fire, he always will get burned,
And though now saved, the scars are there from lessons he has learned.

Life’s lessons are so hard to bear — they take an awful toll.
They bend the mind, pervert the will, deface the very soul.
They leave such marks upon the life that naught can e’er erase.
The only hope left for mankind is God’s amazing grace.
And though God tells us that our sins He will remember not,
The scars are there upon our life — by us they’re not forgot.
So when we’re saved at early age, a lot of pain we miss;
We live a life of no regrets — of everlasting bliss.
© Paul Stultz 2006

Quote – “Every preacher ought to die with a thousand unfinished dreams.” – Dr. Harold Sightler

"Lord, Thank you for your faithfulness to each of us.  Help us to be faithful to you - to give you our hearts, our souls, and our lives to do your will in every way. Amen." 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

From Him Cometh . . .

Psalm 62:1 – “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.”

The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn't know what to do. Napoleon's massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church. The pastor rose and said, "Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord's resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us." The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left.

Too many times, men try to work out their own salvation.  The humanistic philosophies of today teach us that we can be self-reliant – self-sufficient – self-dependent.  But if the truth be known, the philosophies of today are wrong.  Our verse tells us that salvation comes from God.  James 1:17 tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.”  And salvation is the most perfect gift – the best gift – the most divine gift.  If we depend on our own selves for salvation, then we are “of all men most miserable,” as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:19.  For it’s in the Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, that salvation comes.  Acts 4:12 tells us, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

But the context of the verse gives us several other things that come from God. From Him cometh . . .

1. My Rock – verse 2 – The old hymn goes, “The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide, A Shelter in the time of storm; Secure whatever ill betide, A Shelter in the time of storm. Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, A weary land, a weary land; Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, A Shelter in the time of storm.”   Psalm 18:2 – “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress.”  With Him as our sure foundation, how can we falter?

2. My Defense – verse 2 – “But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge  (Psalm 94:22).”  “For God is my defense, The God of my mercy (Psalms 59:16-17)."  Is God is our defense, who do we have to fear?

3. My Expectation – verse 5 – “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil 1:20, 21).”  Our earnest expectation will ever be to live in heaven with Him for all eternity.  With Him as our expectation, how can we be disappointed?

4. My Glory – verse 7 – “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14).”  In Him and Him only can we glory.  What else could the child of God glory in?

5. My Strength – verse 7 – “The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation (Psalm 118:14).”  “The Lord is my light and my salvation; of whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).”  When you have a big brother like Him, what bully can pick on you?

6. My Refuge – verse 7 – “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: (Deut 33:27)”  When you can run to Him for refuge, can ought harm you?

Quote – “When man’s mind comes in conflict with God’s mind, he will either put away his own thoughts, or he will continue in his own ways and reject God.” – Dr. Ivan Foster

"Lord, Thank you for the great gift of salvation. Help us to remember that all good gifts come from you. Amen." 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Day of Small Things

Zechariah 4:10 – “For who hath despised the day of small things?”

Often little things in life are like the slight movements of a railroad switch, which change the destinations of trains.  “The flight of birds from north to south changed the course of Columbus’ ship to the southern half of this western hemisphere and led to the settlement of that section by the Latin race.  God’s providence chose this northern continent for a Protestant people with an open Bible.”  An axe, carelessly placed near the compass of the Mayflower changed the direction of the ship, and led to the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth instead of New York.

Such is the plan of God – He uses small things to get His will done.  In the context of our text passage, the children of Israel have returned to Jerusalem after leaving Babylon.  They find a great mess, a great mountain of rubble in their sight.  Zerubbabel, the governor of Jerusalem, becomes so discouraged.  How can they rebuild the city – the temple – the walls?  It’s just too much and in Zerubbabel’s eyes, he was so small – a veritable nothing compared to the great task ahead.  Then Zechariah comes on the scene and gives him a message from God, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, sayeth the Lord of hosts (Zech 4:6).”  He continues by telling Zerubbabel that with God’s help, he can do great things.  He tells him in the rest of verse 10, “They shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel.”  He considered himself small before the great task, and God uses small things, so get the job done.

In Exodus 4:1-9, God used Moses and his rod to deliver Israel from Egypt.  Moses told God he was nothing.  God told him with His help, he was all that was needed.  He told him to use his rod, and with that rod Moses did great things to bring about Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and from the hand of Pharaoh.

In Judges 15:14-16, Samson used the jawbone of an ass to kill a thousand Philistines.  It was a small thing, but in the hand of God’s anointed, it became powerful.

In 1 Samuel 17, David used five small stones in a slingshot to fell the great giant Goliath.  He didn’t need the armor of Saul – all he needed was his faith in God and his shepherd’s sling.  And he slew the great giant and cut off his head with his own sword.

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, it only took a handful of meal and a small cruise of oil to sustain a widow, her son, and the man of God through the years of the famine. 

In Matthew 14:13-21, five barley loaves and two small fishes was all it took to feed a crowd of five thousand men, plus women and children.  All it took was a young boy who was willing to give it to the Lord and allow it to be used for His glory.

Lastly, in Matthew 13:31-32, Jesus said that the mustard seed, the smallest of all herbs, would become a great tree, and the birds would find shelter in its limbs.

Each one of us, though small and insignificant in this great universe, can be greatly used of God to do His work.  We don’t have to be great – or mighty – or popular to be used in His work.  All it takes is faithfulness and commitment.  1 Corinthians 1:26 tells us, “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.”

Quote – “God can use a crooked stick to draw a straight line.” – Dr. Harold Sightler

"Lord, Help us to remember that you can greatly use the smallest among us.  If you can take five loaves and two fishes and feed over five thousand, then you can use each one of us to do a great work for you. Amen." 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oh Lord, I Will Praise Thee

Isaiah 12:1 – “And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee.”

A good Presbyterian minister of Old Scotland, of the staid and orthodox type, had a poor old woman in his congregation who was in the habit of saying, "Praise the Lord," "Amen," when anything particularly helpful was said, This practice greatly disturbed the minister and one New Year's day he went to see her. "Betty," he said, "I will make a bargain with you. You call out, 'Praise the Lord' just when I get to the best part of my sermon and it upsets my thoughts. Now if you will stop doing it all this year, I will give you a pair of wool blankets." Betty was poor, and the offer of the blankets sounded good. So she did her best to earn them. Sunday after Sunday she kept quiet. But one day a minister came to preach who was bubbling over with joy. As he preached on the forgiveness of sin and all the blessings that follow, the vision of the blankets began to fade and fade, and the joys of salvation grew brighter and brighter. At last Betty could stand it no longer and jumping up she cried, "Blankets or no blankets, Hallelujah!"

Now, God commands us throughout the Scriptures to give praise to God, and those preachers who try to suppress the urge to express that praise are doing a great disservice to their people.  They don’t tell them not to yell when a home run is hit at a baseball game – they don’t tell them not to stand and cheer when a touchdown is scored at a football game – they don’t tell them not to whoop and holler when a three-pointer is made at a basketball game.  Yet, on the rare occasion that they may say something praiseworthy, they expect their congregation to suppress that expression of joy that God may bring to their lips.  Let me tell you – if one is born again, that salvation is more exciting than any home run, or touchdown, or three point basket.  I believe it was Sammy Allen who said, “Don’t get too excited now – we’re only going to live forever.”

Look at our text – “O Lord, I will praise thee.”  Look at the next verse and see why.  “Behold, God is my salvation.”  That’s very praiseworthy – makes me want to shout just reading it.  He continues, “I will trust, and not be afraid.”  Then in the next verse, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”  What a beautiful picture.  Verse 4, “Praise the Lord.”  Verse 5, “Sing unto the Lord.”  Verse 6, “Cry out and shout.”  We have commands from God, so get in there and shout praises unto Him.

Praise The Lord

Lift up your hands unto the Lord – Lift up your hands in praise.
Worship the Saviour in one accord – Give ear to all His ways.
Lift up your praises to God above For all that He hath done.
He loved us with so great a love He gave to us His Son.

Lift up your praises unto the Lord – Lift up your hearts in praise.
Don’t let the Saviour go ignored, Or Him your soul betrays.
Give Him the honor to which He’s due – Love Him and praise His Name.
And then obey Him with service true, And all His love proclaim.

Lift up your praises unto the Lord – Lift up your songs in praise.
He is the One who’s to be adored – Praise Him for all your days.
Sing to the Lord with all your voice – He paid the price for you.
Sing with your heart; with your lips rejoice – He gives you grace anew.
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “This is the quietest world we’ll ever live in.  If you’re lost, you’ll go to a world of weeping and wailing.  If you’re saved, you’ll go to a world filled with shouting of praise.” – Dr. Jimmy Robbins

"Lord, Thank you for giving us something to shout about.  Help us to never be ashamed to praise your dear name - for it's through praise that God is exalted. Amen." 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Matthew's Matchless Choice

Luke 5:27 – “And after these things, he went forth and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.”

O, what a calling – to be called of God!  “Follow me,” He said to this hated publican.  “Follow me,” He said to Simon and Andrew in their fishing boats.  “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matt 4:19).”  “Follow me,” He calls out to each of us as we go about our daily lives.  And what will be our response to Him.  Let’s look at the responses of some:

First, the fishermen – how did they respond?  The gospel of John tells us that Andrew was one of John’s disciples and when Christ was pointed out as the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,” he and another disciple followed Him.  The next day, as recorded in Matthew 4:19, Christ, while walking along the sea, saw Andrew and his brother Simon and made the call to make them fishers of men.  The next verse says, “And they straightway left their nets and followed him.”  He moved on and saw James and John mending their nets, made the same call, and got the same response, “And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him (verse 22).”  These first disciples were willing to make the sacrifice.

Second, the scribe – what was his response?  In Matthew 8:19, “a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.”  But then when Christ told him the kind of life he would lead, he changed the parameters and asked if he could wait till his father died.  “But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead (verse 22).”  Christ was telling him, “Put me above everything else.”  There is no indication that the scribe complied.  He apparently went the way of the rich young ruler and went away sad.  He was not willing to make the sacrifice.

Third, the rich young ruler – how did he respond?  Matthew 19:21, “Jesus said unto him . . . go and sell that thou hast . . . and come and follow me.”  Verse 22 – “The young man . . . went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”  He was not willing to make the sacrifice.

Fourth, the hated tax collector, Levi – let’s look at his response.  The Bible says that as Jesus walked by the tax tables, He looked at Levi and simply said, “Follow me.”  Luke 5:28 says, “And he left all, rose up, and followed him.”  He became the apostle Matthew.  He was willing to make the sacrifice.  Christ tells us in Matthew 16:24, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”  All Christ asks of us is commitment to Him. 

Follow Me

 What was it Lord that made me come, That day when Thou didst call?
Such simple statement – “Follow me” – I came, forsaking all.
It’s not as though I didn’t have Much substance to my name,
For I, a hated publican, Was wealthy – to my shame.

I had a simple goal in life – Gain all the wealth I can –
And I set out my purse to fill And cheat my fellow man.
But in that day when Thou didst pass Beside my table there,
All else faded from my mind – Yes, every earthly care.

Such tenderness and love I felt, When first I heard Thee speak.
I felt compelled to leave it all And life with Thee to seek.
And in an instant did great peace Come flooding in my heart,
And there I left old Levi flat – A brand new life did start.
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “The pay in God’s service is little, but the retirement program is out of this world.” – Dr. Harold Sightler.

"Lord, Thank you for calling each of us to do your will. Help us to 'leave father and mother and take up our cross daily' and follow you. Help us to put everything else aside and give you our whole selves. Amen."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Salvation Brings Peace

Romans 5:1 – “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Several years ago a submarine was being tested and had to remain submerged for many hours. When it returned to the harbor, the captain was asked, "How did the terrible storm last night affect you?" The officer looked at him in surprise and exclaimed, "Storm? We didn't even know there was one!" The sub had been so far beneath the surface that it had reached the area known to sailors as "the cushion of the sea." Although the ocean may be whipped into huge waves by high winds, the waters below are never stirred. The Christian's mind will be protected against the distracting waves of worry if it is resting completely in the good providence of God. There, sheltered by His grace and encouraged by His Holy Spirit, the believer can find the perfect tranquility that only Christ can provide.

Throughout the Word of God, He promises us peace if we partake of the salvation that He so freely offers.  Paul tells the church at Rome, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom 8:6).”  1 Corinthians 7:15 tells us, “God hath called us to peace.”  Paul lists peace as one of the manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . . .”  In Ephesians 2:14, he says, “For he is our peace.”  In Philippians 4:7, he calls it “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.”  Because of His precious peace, we can pillow our heads each night with no worry.  God so promises in His Word.

In fact, most of the epistles written by Christ’s apostles begin with salutations to the recipients “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 1:3).”  This salutation in one form or another shows up in Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 2 John, Jude.  To be sure, if it were not for the imparted peace of Christ, the tribulations and storms would surely sink us – would overwhelm us – would wreck us.  But because of the salvation of Christ, “thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isa 26:3).”

He Gives Me Peace Of Heart

 He gives me peace of heart from worldly strife.
He sets my soul apart from cares of life.
He conquers every fear – In Him I stand.
He wipes away each tear and holds my hand.

He gives me grace each day to see me through.
His Spirit leads the way and teaches true.
He meets my every need, takes every care.
He makes my soul to feed on heavenly fare.

He gives me joy untold, makes me to thrill.
To me He doth unfold His perfect Will.
He sets my life apart from every whim.
He gives me peace of heart – I trust in Him.
© 2006 Paul Stultz

Quote – “Peace is such a precious jewel, that I would give anything for it but truth.” – Matthew Henry

"Lord, Thank you for that peace that passes all understanding - the peace of God that comes with salvation. Help us to rest totally in your arms - in your hands - in your love. Amen."

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Weighed in the Balance

John 11:14-15 – “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe.”

“Lazarus is dead.” – Christ made the pronouncement – Just as you and I will someday be pronounced dead. But in this instance, the death of Lazarus was not the worst thing that could have happened. Worse than that would be if Mary, Martha, or the disciples had continued living but in unbelief. Jesus said, “Lazarus is dead. I’m glad I wasn’t there when he died.” But you may notice he added “for your sakes.” That meant He had a lesson to teach through Lazarus’ death that He could not have taught if He had been there and healed Lazarus and kept him from dying. That may sound cold, cruel, and callous, but the Lord was more interested in saving the souls of lost men than saving the lives of saved men.

You see everyone in this world faces the same fate as Lazarus – all will die. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” What makes the difference is how we face death – in what condition we face death – the condition of our spirit when we face death. The Bible tells us that until we accept Christ our spirit is dead within us, and at the moment of salvation He quickens, or makes alive, our spirit. If we come to the end of our physical life with our spirit still dead, then are we dead eternally. But if our spirit has been made alive, then when we face death it is with eternal life in view. There are some examples of this in the Bible.

First look at Daniel 5 at the Babylonian king Belshazzar. He was satisfied with the life he was living. He was living a life of luxury – eating – drinking – partying – blaspheming God. He had made his plans as if he would live forever. He knew that when his father died, then he would be the sole ruler of Babylon – his life was all mapped out. But – when the warning came from God – and in a big way – through a disembodied hand writing judgment on the wall – he took no heed. Daniel translated the writing, the gist of which is in Daniel 5:27 – “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” That night God took his soul and divided his kingdom between the Medes and Persians.

Now look to Luke 12:16-21 at the rich farmer. He was very prosperous – he already had much riches – now the soil delivered greatly and made him even richer. He reaped exceeding abundantly, made plans for the future, and settled back to live in ease. Look at what he says in verse 19, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” Yet, in the next verse, God called him a fool and pronounced judgment on him – “This night will thy soul be required of thee.” He was, as Belshazzar, weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Next in Luke 18:18-23 we find the rich young ruler. He realized he was found wanting and came to Christ to seek eternal life. Yet he was not willing to give up everything for Him. Verse 23 says, “And when he heard this [sell all thou hast], he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.” He had a head knowledge, but not a heart knowledge.  He was still weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Lastly, look at Acts 9:1-9 at the Pharisee named Saul. When he was persecuting the Christians, he was weighed in the balance and found wanting – yet when it was brought to his attention, his response was “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” He corrected the situation – he gave up everything, including his life, to Christ - God even gave him a new name, Paul, to reflect his new life. Look at his testimony in Philippians 3:7, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” He was no longer found wanting. Oh that each of us would follow his example.

Quote – “You may live it up, but you’ll never live it down.” – Dr. Phil Kidd

"Lord, One day I was weighed in the balance and found wanting - I was bound in the slave market of sin - I was lost in deep despair.  But Lord, then you stepped on the scale and gloriously saved me. Thank you for your precious salvation. Amen."

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Soul Winner's Fire

James 5:20 – “He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death.”

It is related that one fearfully stormy night a boat was wrecked. As the dawn came, many were seen out in the icy waters, holding on to anything that would prevent them from sinking. Ed and Will Spencer came to the scene. Ed was a fine swimmer. He swam out and out again until he had rescued many, and was almost exhausted. He saw a woman holding on to a piece of board and crying for help. They said, "Ed, you'd better not go." But it was too much for him. He swam out into the icy waters and brought her to shore. Then he swooned. He was taken to the hospital. After some hours, he became conscious and said to his brother Will, "How many were drowned?" Will replied, "I do not know." Then he said, "How many did I save?" Will replied, "Ed, you saved seventeen." But Ed sadly said, "Did I do my best?" He would become unconscious, and every time ask the same question when he would revive. "Will, did I do my best?"  Have we done our best? We fear we are playing at religion and soul winning.

All around us we see men and women, boys and girls who know not the free pardon of sin.  We see them walking past us – we see them working around us – we see them rushing headlong down the broad road of destruction.  And it is our God-given duty to try to rescue as many as possible.  We have a special commission to win souls – the Great Commission – Matthew 28:19-20, “Go . . . teach . . . baptize . . .”  We are commanded by Christ to win souls to salvation.  In Mark 1:17, Christ told Simon and Andrew to “Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Christ Himself gives us an example of soul-winning in John 4 – the woman at the well.  The early church gives us an example of soul-winning in Acts 2, 4, and 5.  Acts 5:42 tells us, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” 

We have the testimony of Paul telling us to win souls.  He says in Acts 20:20, “How I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house.”  So we have Paul’s example for soul-winning – 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.”  Winning souls reveals to us the wisdom of God.  Proverbs 11:30 tells us, “He that winneth souls is wise.”  Winning souls brings glory to God.  Psalm 79:9 tells us, “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.”

Soul-winning saves people from hell.  Our text verse tells us that if we convert a sinner from the error of his ways, we save a soul from death (or more literally, hell).  Jude 23 tells us, “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.”  We can literally save unsaved men from hell.  And in so doing, we can deliver ourselves from blood-guiltiness.  Ezekiel 33:8 warns us, “That  wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”  Any man we have the opportunity to witness to and don’t, God holds us accountable for that soul.  That is an awesome responsibility. 

God used D. L. Moody so greatly because of his consuming passion for the salvation of the lost. Mr. Moody
made the resolution, shortly after he himself was saved, that he would never let twenty-four hours pass over his head without speaking to at least one person about his soul.  We need to adopt the same resolution.

Quote - "The most important thing for Christians to do is keep people out of hell." - Dr. Lee Stuart

"Lord, Give me that passion for souls that drove D L Moody.  Help me to have such a love for the souls of men that I would never let an opportunity to speak for you pass me by. Amen."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Known of God

Genesis 18:19 – “For I know him.”

Arlington National Cemetery’s website reports: The Tomb of the Unknowns, near the center of the cemetery, is one of Arlington's most popular tourist sites. The Tomb contains the remains of unknown American soldiers from World Wars I and II, the Korean Conflict and (until 1998) the Vietnam War. Each was presented with the Medal of Honor at the time of interment and the medals, as well as the flags which covered their caskets, are on display inside the Memorial Amphitheater, directly to the rear of the Tomb. The Tomb is guarded 24-hours-per-day and 365-days-per year by specially trained members of the 3rd United States Infantry (The Old Guard). The tomb is inscribed with these words, "Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God."

Don’t you think it would be terrible to be unknown – to pass through this life – from this life – and remain unknown by any? That would be terrible indeed. But it is even more terrible to be unknown of God. In our text verse, Abraham is being recognized by God as a faithful man. The context of the verse tells us that God knows that Abraham is faithful and will teach his children to be faithful. But isn’t that a wonderful testimony – to be known of God. There are other personages in the Bible that have a similar testimony:

Enoch – Ge 5:22 – “Walked with God”; He 11:5 – “Pleased God”

Noah – Ge 6:8 – “Found grace in the eyes of the Lord”

Abraham – Js 2:23 – “Called the friend of God”

Moses – De 33:1 – “The man of God”; Ne 10:29 – “The servant of God”

Joshua – Nu 27:18 – “A man in whom is the spirit”

David – 2 Sa 5:10 – “The Lord God of hosts was with him”

Job – Jb 1:1 – “Perfect and upright”

And many more …

In Psalm 139:23 the psalmist requests, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.” How many of us can be brave enough to ask this of God? We are usually too busy hiding sins – covering up faults – secreting wicked thoughts. We need to ask God to turn the searchlight of his Spirit on our souls and expose those secret sins – as the psalmist did in Psalm 19:12, “Cleanse thou me from secret faults” and v. 13, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins” and Psalm 32:1, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” Then cry out to Him for forgiveness as the sweet psalmist of Israel did in Psalm 51, “Have mercy upon me, O God … wash me thoroughly … cleanse me from my sin … purge me with hyssop … wash me … make me to hear joy and gladness … hide thy face from my sins … blot out mine iniquities … restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.” Nothing can be sweeter than to be known of God and have a right relationship with Him.

Quote – “When the dew of God’s Spirit saturates our spiritual nature, it makes the doing of God’s Will an easy matter.” – Dr. F. E. Marsh

"Lord, Thank you for knowing me for caring for me.  I can always count on you to be there by my side when the going gets rough. O Lord, I'm so unfaithful to you, but you're so faithful to me. Amen."

"He Knows My Name" - MVBC Young Ladies Trio

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