Saturday, June 24, 2017

OLd Erich Proverb - Disguise

If human beings are basically good, how do we manage to disguise the fact so well?

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Voice from the Past - Spurgeon

When He is absent from us, He is still thinking of us, and in the black darkness He has a window through which He looks upon us. When the sun sets in one part of the earth, it rises in another place beyond our visible horizon. Likewise, Jesus, our Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2), is pouring light upon His people in a different way, when to our understanding He seems to have set in darkness.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892, Joy in Christ's Presence, (Whittaker House, 1997, p.77)

Is God truly with us even though we may feel He has deserted us? What is the cause of this feeling?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Blind Spots



All of us have blind spots. And even those who honestly try to follow God can fall into them. Jehoshaphat was a good king (2 Chronicles 17:3-6; 19:3; 1 Kings 22:43). He sent officials to  teach the people the Law of God and judge disputes (2 Chronicles 17:7-9; 19:4-11). He trusted God in times of trouble (2 Chronicles 20:5-25; 18:31; 2 Kings 3:11-20). But he allied with King Ahab, and he married his son to Ahab’s and Jezebel’s daughter (2 Chronicles 18:1; 19:2; 1 Kings 22:44). He joined Ahab and his sons in many questionable ventures (2 Chronicles 18:2,3; 20:35-37; 2 Kings 3:7). This resulted in great evil for the kingdom of Judah (2 Chronicles 21:4-7; 22:1-4; 2 Kings 11:1-3). How then do we avoid our blind spots?

We need to be humble enough to recognize we are vulnerable and need God to reveal our weak points to us (1 Corinthians 10:12-14; Psalms 19:12-14; 1 Timothy 6:11). We must remember that we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:9), and although God is at work in us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13), we still have a long way to go in becoming the people God wants us to be (Philippians 3:12-16; Romans 7:14-18; Galatians 5:17). I am convinced that one of the great dangers for a Christian is believing we have it all together, which leaves us open to be blindsided. Pride and self-righteousness can easily set us up for a fall (Proverbs 16:18; 1 Peter 5:5-10; James 4:6-10).

It is easy to become conformed to the world’s standards and to let them determine our behavior (Romans 12:1,2; 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4). This can often result in our doing the wrong thing from good intentions, because we have adopted a worldly standard of values. We are constantly bombarded with the world’s messages. And we do not want to totally withdraw, for we want to be able to reach others for Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19-23; Matthew 9:10-13; Luke 19:1-10). But it is difficult to associate with people and not fall into their point of view (1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Colossians 2:8). This was the problem that resulted in Jehoshaphat’s family; by marrying into Ahab and Jezebel’s family, they fell into their mindset. But I wonder if one of the things that caused this in the first place was picking up the world’s idea of what was a good political alliance. We do not know what Jehoshaphat’ s motive was, but it is easy to become confused and see the wrong move as a good idea. To avoid this we need to be grounded in God’s Word (Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16,17). We also need to be in fellowship with other Christians who can steer us back to the right path when we get off it (Hebrews 10:24.25; 12:12-13; Proverbs 27:17).  For all of us are sinners, and we need ways to continually correct our blind spots.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summary

Now Ephesians 6:10-20 is the chief passage that gives a detailed description of the armor of God. A couple of items are also mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:8. This fits well with Ephesians, the helmet being the hope of salvation and the breastplate covering both kinds of righteousness, the righteousness we have before God by faith and the righteousness He works in us through love.

But it is a mistake to see these pieces of armor as totally independent. There are certain underlying themes that run through the armor. One is understanding and using the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16,17; Colossians 3:16; John 17:17). While it is called the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), it is also the basis for other parts of the armor (Ephesians 6:14). Also there is the theme of understanding God's grace (Romans 1:16,17; Ephesians 2:8-10; Matthew 11:25-30). Further, there is the need of faith and prayer (Philippians 4:6,7; 1 John 5:14-15; Matthew 7:7-11). But these are the basics of the Christian life in general. I would therefore conclude that spiritual warfare is the whole Christian life, as seen from a particular perspective. Therefore, the chief thing we need is to grow in Christ, that we might deal with all the situations we face in life.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Implications of No Condemnation



Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This is a wonderful truth to rejoice in. But it also has another aspect. If there is no condemnation for me if I am in Christ Jesus, there is also no condemnation for that other person who is in Christ Jesus. This can sometimes be a difficult truth to live. Now do not get me wrong; I am not saying that there is no place to correct another believer--Scripture clearly teaches there is (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15,16; Hebrews 12:12,13). Nor does it mean we should not seek to examine our own lives for things we need to change (Proverbs 28:13; Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 John 1:9). Rather, it requires a different attitude. If Christ has indeed paid the entire price for my sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:13,14; 1 Peter 2:24,25), then I am declared righteous in His sight by faith in Him (Romans 4:4,5; 3:28; Galatians 2:16). This being so, my motivation for doing good works is my love of God for what He has done for me, not servile fear (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; Romans 8:15). This means that, while I do need to examine myself to see where I need to change, I can put my sin behind me and go on in Christ (2 Corinthians 7:10; Philippians 3:12-16; Hebrews 9:12). As a result of my sins being paid for, I do not need to be discouraged or defeated by them but can go on with Christ, confident of His forgiveness. Much less should I be disheartened by not meeting those standards laid on me by other people.

But if I claim this for myself, I also need to grant it to other believers. (Even when dealing with unbelievers, I need to deal with them in light of the fact that this same forgiveness is offered to them if they only accept it.) This does not mean that I should not correct them as the Scripture requires, but it does mean that my goal must be to put them back on the right track. It cannot be to write them off or to tear them down (Romans 15:1,2; Ephesians 4:12-15; 2 Corinthians 13:10). This can often be a hard goal to achieve. There are those who simply will not listen. In some cases we may need to even impose discipline on them (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:4,5), but the goal of this should be restoration (2 Corinthians 2:6,7; 2 Thessalonians 3:14,15). But I am less concerned here about official church action than I am about how we treat those other believers we meet on a regular basis. Do we treat them as Romans 8:1 requires they be treated, or do we look down on them or mistreat them because they do not meet our standards? “No condemnation” needs to be applied to everyone and not just myself.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Touch of Humor - Positive and Negative

Should the negative aspects of life be part of our worship? How should this be done?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Old Erich Proverb - Little

God can do with little what we fail to do with much.