"Just A Moment"
Daily Devotional Guide
"Just A Moment" By Rev. Garry H. Fricker
Being an Example
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
You will never read of a proper classroom setting as the teaching style that Jesus used, but it is obvious that most of the boys, except one, learned their lessons well. They didn’t have chalk-boards or overheads but they were still grounded in the life-changing principles that are the foundation of the Church. The learning process was through the life-style example and the chats and conversations that were a constant part of the groups banter as they moved from community to community. They were the ones who related the stories recorded in the Gospels and the teachings of some of the Epistles.
When the scriptures speak about the simplicity of the gospel we are reminded that, “A little child will lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6) We have strange ways of complicating the whole gospel story that was intended to communicate the tender love of a very kind and generous Heavenly Father who gave His Son to be our Saviour. We break it down into the basic doctrines and then we pick at every word to explore the grammatical roots of the words that are spoken. We take apart the parables in our attempts to discover what all the symbolic phrases could mean and on and on it goes. I want to assure you that I think it’s important to understand clearly what Jesus intended to say in each of His messages so that we can convey truth to those who will listen to us. But, I think the pendulum of life should swing to the side of demonstrating the message through practical life experiences.
Jesus taught His most powerful lessons by how He lived and His disciples were witnesses of that. His gospel was one of demonstration of the heart of the Father applied to a world of tremendous hurts and needs. Words became simple pictures to bring a piece of heaven to the heart and soul of mankind. St. Francis of Asissi put it right when he told his students, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. If you have to, use words.” That’s quite different from our expectations today. It seems that we are more satisfied in hearing a sermon than seeing one lived out before us. I think that people in the world are tired of rhetoric and are looking for the reality of what Jesus would do if He lived in our time. Believers ought to be ‘acting out’ the message of Gods love, every day. It really takes a different life-style to give impact to what the Spirit of God has done in our lives. That’s what the world is looking for more than our lectures on morality and our pious sermons that criticize the deficiencies of our world. Jesus came to demonstrate the love of the Father. His actions spoke clearly of compassion, forgiveness and mercy.
“Let your light so shine….”
A Passion for Souls
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
I’ve borrowed a quotation from a quote by Charles Spurgeon:
“We cannot go on as some churches do without converts. We cannot, we will not, we must not,
we dare not. Souls must be converted here, and if there be not many born to Christ, may the Lord
grant to me that I may sleep in the tomb and be heard no more. Better indeed for us to die than to
live, if souls be not saved. If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies.
And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay.
If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there
….unwarned and unprayed for.”
That reminds me of the prayer of the Apostle Paul, who cried, “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own race...” (Romans 9:2)
Moses expressed that same concern: “.. please forgive their sin --- but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written…" (Exodus 32:32)
There’s passion in those words. Their heart reaches out to a generation of the lost who have not been warned that judgment awaits the transgressor but that the Grace of God pardons the one who sins, who seeks His forgiveness. There is hope. There is a way that people can be freed from guilt and condemnation. Christ is the answer. He is willing to forgive anyone who will call on His name; but it takes people to tell the story and stand in the gap on the behalf of those who have not yet heard the message.
May our hearts hurt for the true needs of those who live around us and across the seas. May there be a swelling of soul to encompass the broken and the bruised of our society with the compassion of the Grace of God. May our spiritual eyes be opened to the opportunities of these days to reach out to those that Jesus loved enough to lay down His life.
We’ve a story to tell and we need to step out and do exactly that. Time is short and the task is great. Only as each of us does our part will the souls of men be won. The greatest battle we may be facing in the matter of soul winning is our apathy to the need of men and to the call of God.
A Life In The Masters Hand
“Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside Him. Then He said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes Me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’” Luke 9:47, 48
If you would have seen the block of granite, you could never have dreamed that Michelangelo would have been able to visualize the figure of King David inside that chunk of stone. But He did; and after months of chipping and slicing, the statue remains to our generation as an artistic feat of ingenuity.
If you would see the diamond as it’s washed from the clay banks of an African hillside, you would never believe that such an ugly rock could be used to adorn the finger of a beautiful bride and reflect a million light beams for generations afterwards.
If you would have seen the lump of clay as it was slammed onto the artisans table as a dirty, slimy, mass of useless dirt, you could not have imagined what the Master Craftsman could do to shape and colour his work into a beautiful ‘Ming vase’ that is treated as a valuable treasure for centuries after.
When you see a little baby, born amidst the wailing of Mother and child (sometimes Daddy too,) you could never envision all the potential and possibilities that lie within that little life. We only know that in the beginning stages there’s a lot of crying, complaining and thoughtless actions at all times of the day and night. It may be hard to believe that each child has the potential to become a great scientist, Prime Minister, Military leader, Missionary/Pastor or teacher or whatever.
Jesus knew that and He loved the little children. Time and again, He reached out to a little child and drew that little life into His sermons and teachings. He understood the value of each one of them, the contribution that each would make to our world and the eternal worth of their souls. Pottery, gems, jewels and statutes fade into insignificance beside the lives of little people who will make a difference in our world. No wonder that we emphasize the importance of children’s ministries in our Churches. We are not just caring for the present but we are laying up treasure in the hearts of the children who will become the leaders of the future.
Will you be a part of an outreach to your community in volunteer service for the Children in the various departments of your Church? Everything we have learned about God was given to us to pass along to someone else. You’ve probably discovered that there aren’t a lot of big people that care to talk about God but the little ones are open to learning about Him.
You may have heard that 85% of all people who claim to be Christians, accepted the Lord before they were eighteen. That kind of sets a priority emphasis upon the direction for the outreach of a Church. Plan to be a part.
God Calls, We Send
“So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul.” Acts 15:25
Giving to Missions is a work of faith. It is an investment in the Kingdom of God in areas beyond our control. We are always happy when the call of God rests upon someone to go into the ministry and do the things that we know are important to the heart of God. We don’t always understand the principle of cooperation that is involved in the call of God. Paul wrote to the Romans, “How can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” For us today, the key word is, “SENT.”
There needs to be the sending by the Holy Spirit Who works in the hearts of His servants impressing the ‘called’ with a sense of urgency to do Gods will and then He prepares them for ministry. Like a written letter placed in an envelope, Gods message is wrapped up in the life of a messenger we call ‘a Missionary.’ At this point, 2 people are involved in Gods plan, the Holy Spirit and the potential Missionary.
It is then that the Holy Spirit begins to lay a concern for the fulfillment of His plan, upon the hearts of others who will care for the sending, to make sure that the letter is sent and received at the proper destination. Generally, that call is placed upon people who are willing to share themselves by way of their praying and their giving. These are senders who are working in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. We are given an opportunity to be partners with God in seeing His project come to completion. He counts on you and me to do our part in making sure the message gets to the area of need. Of course, there is a cost involved because, ‘How can they preach unless they are sent?’
Could you ever imagine a letter, with wonderful news inside of a wealthy inheritance, being held at the Post Office for lack of postage? Could you imagine Gods message being held up because of a lack of finances to send the messenger, when all along God has given you and me the ability to expedite the process through our giving to Missions? The truth is, we are a part of a great band of senders who have felt it is important to do Gods work while there is day. But the success of Gods plan is hanging on to the principle that everyone must do his part.
“Give and it will be given to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.” (Luke 6:38)
Come and Follow
“If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.” Psalm 89:13, 14
Anyone who has ever made a decision to come to Jesus has discovered that there is forgiveness for sin and that the Lord, in His own loving way, does not condemn us for our past offences. The Bible clearly teaches us that confessed sins (to God) are forgiven because Jesus died to pay the penalty of our sins, that we might be free to serve Him. That all begins when we respond to His invitation to “come” to Him. What a wonderful privilege and honour for us to receive such a tremendous experience.
But I want to draw your attention to the fact that when Jesus said “come” He also said “follow me.” Most of us are happy to stop after the first word because there is very little effort involved in that step. It’s the “Following” part that is difficult.
I think it’s time that all Christians should shake our heads and recognize that one of the main reasons that Jesus invites us to come to Him is to follow Him in daily service. Being the kind of people He wants us to be requires dedication, commitment, loyalty, faith and may I say, ‘effort.’ Sometimes that takes us out of our comfort zone in order to leave a clear witness of the change that has occurred in our lives.
The process that follows is living our lives as Jesus would have us do. That may mean a change of schedules, honouring the Day of the Lord. It may mean changing our lifestyle terms of conversation. It could be that we need to review the things that are influencing our lives and make choices to select spiritual input in place of movies, videos, music, and other places of entertainment.
The Bible tells us that the believers were first called ‘Christians’ in the city of Antioch. (Acts 11:26) When critics saw the people who believed in Jesus, they were so amazed at the likeness between Jesus and His followers.
Our world needs that kind of demonstration again. Not just the “comers” but the “followers” who purpose to let Christ-like attitudes and actions be seen through their lives. He’s still calling. (Mark 1:17) The obedient who continue to follow Him in obedience soon learn that although the road may be rough on occasion, there is nothing like the joy of being His servant and knowing that what we do has been patterned for us. The Apostle Paul said, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) That is another principle that we need to be aware of; others, perhaps our children or good friends may end up doing what we do and generally imitate us. In other words, I need to follow the One who is worthy to follow and trust that those who follow me will all be going in the same direction.
“Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.” Matthew 15:30
He walked down the aisle with his arms extended in front of him as he hurriedly made his way to the front of the Church. He felt his way along the altar to the stairs and made his way onto the platform. The Evangelist called him to come closer and following the sound of the voice, the blind man made cautious steps toward the place of prayer. A brief interview followed as the young man explained that he had been this way from birth but that he believed that the God, Who still does miracles, would heal him today.
The Evangelist laid his hands on the head of the blind man and prayed a simple prayer. In a moment a miracle happened. There was a notable change in the appearance of the blind man. His smile shone brightly and the sparkle in his eyes betrayed the fact. His eyes were as big as saucers as he moved his head from side to side in utter amazement at this wonderful world around him.
The Evangelist said, “I want you to count the lights on the ceiling.” With his hand extended, he pointed; “One, two.....” That’s the way I saw it, as a young child at my first miracle service. Since then, I’ve seen and been the recipient of the miraculous healing power of God. One of the Old Testament names of the Lord was, “Jehovah Rapha, I Am THE LORD YOUR HEALER. It’s consistent then to understand that God is the One Who heals. If we believe in the many miracles that brought the world, the stars and life into existence, it should be no great thing to believe that God can heal today. He is the Designer and Maintainer of all things from the small one celled little creature to planets that hang, rotate and shine in space. I confess that there are many mysteries about Divine healing that I may not be able to resolve. The fact remains that the same God who created all things out of absolutely nothing is able to speak His word and bring His healing power into every one of us. He demonstrated the extent of His healing power when He ministered to the many who were brought to Him, who sought Him out and who called for His help. He turned none away. It’s the same Jesus that we come to when we pray and it’s the same Lord who has healed before and will do it again. When all is said and done, I trust that you’ll reach out to Him for your own physical needs and live believing that the day of miracles has not passed us by. Let’s be a people brave to trust the promises of God. When we don’t understand why we are not healed instantly, let’s be confident that God does all things well, but we won’t be completely satisfied until we have persistently tried everything in our spiritual arsenal to see the Power of God released upon the needs of men. Live expecting a miracle. Seek to be a miracle, today.
He Came For The Lost. All of us.
“He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
The reason Jesus came into the world is summed up in His own words. “The son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) That was His Mission. It is the expression of the heart beat of God. He was willing to go to any lengths to bring lost humanity back into a right relationship with Himself. One of Jesus’ last commands was the Great Commission: “... go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) The first and the last of His earthly ministry shared the same challenge. Then He made it clear that one of the main reasons He would send the Holy Spirit was to give us all power to witness; to witness to the whole world beginning from our home and then to all the nations.
The early Church understood the challenge and began to reach out beyond their borders to the provinces and nations of the world in spite of the persecutions of the day. It could be said that, ‘you couldn’t keep them quiet.’ They were commissioned to tell the most wonderful story ever told. Everywhere they went they gossiped the gospel “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” . (Acts 8:4) What they had to share concerning their experience with the Living Lord was worth more to them than their very lives.
Are lost souls really worth the effort and the cost? In a modern world that focuses on the comforts of life and of doing things to please ourselves, the primary aim of Gods purposes have been deflected. The modern believer shelters ourselves in the sense of security that we, the Church, are more valuable to God than the lost multitudes of this world. I wouldn’t advise anyone to push that idea with God. Do you remember the story that Jesus told of the 100 sheep? It seems that He was saying, “1 lost sheep is worth 99 in the fold.” Am I stretching the point?? We covet being comforted and nurtured in our Churches that serve to be nothing less than incubators for immature believers while God calls us to be obedient to His commands. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
We have been privileged to have Missionaries share their calling and vision with us from time to time. They are the ones who are listening most closely to the heartbeat of God. They are people who are working on the front line both for God and for us, because we should be a part of the team. The work will only be done if each in our own way will do the things that God asks us to do. The lost of our communities is our Mission field. Gods call to reach our neighbour is just as real as the call of a Missionary to some foreign country. Look around you today and see the ones that need the Lord. Don’t neglect to pray and seek for opportunity to reach out to them. God’s counting on you!
There’s A World Leader Coming
“Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist – he denies the Father and the Son.” 1 John 2:22
The Prophets have been telling us so for a long time. It’s all coming to an end. That is, this whole world system as we know it today is in for a big surprise. They will wake up one day and discover that all those “Christians” will have vanished in some unexplainable disappearing act.
That, of course, is no secret to us. We’ve been talking about the coming of the Lord for a long time, and we’ll continue to do the same because it is one of those Bible truths of the future that the Lord has openly declared. There may be some mysteries about how it all comes together and there are differences of opinion about the timing of His return, but every Bible believing person ought to be fully aware that He is coming back again. It is true, we don’t know the day, nor the hour but there are enough signs, described in scripture, to give us adequate warning that His time is ‘about now.’ It is very possible that the next world leader has already been born and is presently being educated or is already working in some office in preparation for his great day of revelation. Don’t be surprised, when you hear of some great wise man who begins to dominate the attention of the world with his solutions to the problems that have plagued us for centuries. He may pass himself off as a gift of God to this generation, for such a time as this. There’s no question about the fact that he will not only have some great solutions for the situations that have not been resolved through the centuries but also that he will be able to exercise supernatural powers that will cause even some believers to be deceived and to accept him as being Gods answer to the needs of mankind. We need to be ready! We need to be prepared, to be able to discern who this guy really is and not fall for all his impressive methods.
Remember, the bottom line is always, that Jesus Christ is the One and only Saviour of the world and that we have a heavenly hope because He died on the cross to set us free from sin. There is no other. Don’t fall for the lie that God would not punish us because He is love. Nor the lie that we’re all going to the same place, so any religion is good religion. Nor should anyone be deceived by someone who comes along and gives flowery discourses or performs some miraculous deeds. It’s all a part of the deception of the enemy of our souls to make us believe that Jesus is not the only one who can do these things.
But let me remind you, if you miss the coming of Jesus to this earth you’ve got a real tough row to hoe.
Be on guard! Jesus is coming soon. Be now, what Jesus would want you to be when He comes back to earth again. Be committed to the responsibility of declaring that the one and only way out of this world is to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. He’s coming back again to prove it! Maybe today.
Who Did Die?
“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18
As Barabbas sat on the cold dungeon floor he could hear the crowds gathered outside the prison walls. Their furious shouts drove shivers up and down his back. “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
He imagined the hate the Romans must have felt towards him because of the things he had done. Stories of his exploits; robberies and murders were the scary midnight tales that were told around the campfires. His life-style had brought him to this place and his execution was about to be completed along with his two friends.
By the sounds of the mob, it would happen any moment. There it was again, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” He knew that the people were calling for the Roman method of torture and judgment. He had seen the crosses many times on the roadsides of Israel during his nefarious career. Everyone in Israel hated seeing those crosses. That was the way the Roman law could publicly demonstrate, throughout the land, the price that is brought on by disobedience and rebellion to their purposes. It was inhumane. Death was slow. Suffering was maximized as the prisoners were beaten, goaded, reviled and ridiculed. Barabbas knew that as violent as his life had been against the Roman Imperialism, this would be his sentence.
But could it be, that the Jewish people would be so thankless of his efforts to free them of the Roman invaders that they would demand his death on the cross? Oh, the dread of the pain.
Barabbas heard the boots of the soldiers as they approached his cell. This was it. The moment had arrived. Death awaited just outside the door and a little way down the road. They threw open his cell door, unlocked his chains, pushed him roughly through the hallways and into the bright, blinding, morning light outside the prison walls. The door slammed shut behind him. He was alone and free! No walls surrounded him. No bars, no chains, no soldiers.
Then who was this One who would die on the cross? What crime did He commit that would cause the people to condemn Him to a death on the cross?
Whoever He was, He was going to die in Barabbas’ place and yours and mine and yours…..
Be A Man
“… fathers tell their children about YOUR faithfulness.” Isaiah 38:19
You’ll find all kinds of Fathers in the Bible. Each of them teaches us a lesson on lifestyle that will affect a future generation. The truth is, history has a way of making examples of all of us. You would probably like to know what effect your life will have on your kids and society of the next generation. Most of us would like to be remembered for the kindness, goodness and wisdom that we shared while we exercised our influence. It must be very humbling for the baseball players. When they make errors during a game, the loudspeakers at the stadiums blare out, ‘Player #42 made an error.’ It is registered on the scoreboard and goes down in the record books for posterity to review. Now, we have all made mistakes and we all acknowledge that. Sometimes it’s noted in the minds of our kids who may never forget, or in the memory of our closest friends, or on the ledger of the police blotter but always on the register in heaven.
You may not realize it but being a Father is pretty serious stuff. I always think it’s strange that there isn’t one specific chapter in the Bible that tells us how to be good Fathers. I believe that God wanted us to know how to be good in ourselves, to please Him, and that would flow out to be what God wants us to be as a Father. Building a strong personal relationship with HIM makes for great potential to becoming a good Father. However, it might surprise us that some who know the Lord really well do not practice the ‘Art’ of being a good Father. It’s sometimes easier to leave being a Father, up to Mother. She then needs to fulfill a dual role in the home. Gentlemen, let me advise you that there is no reward for relinquishing the responsibility of being a good Father. We sometimes tremble to perform our duties because, if there is a failure in the home, ‘the buck stops here.’ Better to let someone else handle that one. Hold on!
Let me give us some advice.
1. God still answers prayer and it is no retreat to leave all our burdens with Him and let Him work out some of the situations in our homes. You really don’t have all the answers. God still works miracles for those that seek him.
2. When you lack wisdom, “Ask God” for guidance. He has promised to supply. (James 1:5)
3. Being head of the home does not mean that you are always right, nor that you have to prove anything to anybody.
4. Submission is not a swear word nor just the responsibility of women and children. The Word is, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
5. If you are a man..... be a MAN. Be real!
6. Lastly, from time to time do what Jesus did.... He took the children in His arms and laid hands upon them and blessed them. Be as a Prophet to your family.
The Father Doesn’t Give Up
“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.” Psalm 116:7
It was the young man, who gave up on the Father, in the story of the prodigal son. The parable describes the Father as a patient and prayerfully anxious man who was a great provider for his family and for the servants that worked for him. The wayward son remembered that while struggling with the pigs for food. The Father didn’t give up on the son. It was the decision of the son to leave the Father.
What drove that boy to make the kind of decision that would throw away the security of a wealthy home with the careful provision of a loving Father? We can only imagine. Many young people have gone that same route. The tragedy is that some have not made it back from the pig pen. At least, not yet. I’ve seen some of them in downtown Vancouver begging for money to be able to buy themselves a bowl of soup. I’ve heard that they sell their bodies to be able to continue to live away from the comfort and shelter of loving parents and home. Many of them go through tremendously tragic circumstances of sickness, disease and the ‘might makes right’ mentality. It may be their method of rebelling against the rules and guidelines set down to shelter them from the very situation they are in. They want to try it for themselves with no rules and their own kind of freedom. We hope they will learn before it is too late. Some do and some ……. The sad part is that ‘experience’ is a bad teacher because it gives you the test first and then the lesson afterwards.
Then, there are some who live at home and enjoy the comfort and security of having all their physical needs supplied but they are as far away from the Father as anyone could be. That is just about as dangerous as the one who has chosen to live on the street. It is only a loving relationship under proper discipline (self or imposed) that will build healthy character and supply adequate resources for proper social skills to succeed in the world. That’s equally as true with our earthly relationships as it is with our Heavenly Father. There is no question, that Jesus’ story was intended to reveal the attitude of His Father toward those who are not in fellowship with Him. Let me make it clear; the Father never gave up on anyone. Those who are not loving and serving Him have made their own choices to go in the direction of life that they want. The Father allows that to happen but He is watchful for the first inclination to return. Sometimes it is pride that keeps people from admitting that they really need the Father to help them make something important of their lives. We’ve all been there. We know that the Father loves, more than words can describe, and He is ready to reach out to whoever reaches up to Him. There’s always room for those who choose to return.
Advice To Men
“The Father of a righteous man has great joy…” Proverbs 23:24
The book of Proverbs is a book of advice for all kinds of experiences of life. Most of the words of counsel come from the wisdom of Solomon and were intended to give special insights into a variety of situations so that his own sons would have a book of direction to help them as rulers of the nation. It is obvious that Solomon had explored and discovered the righteous and the carnal sides of life and had special instructions to avoid doing things that would displease God and destroy a mans integrity. He does give many words of advice that serve our generation as well. Listen to this: “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6)
You’ve probably read that passage many times and passed over it quickly. I thought we should examine the intent of these words more closely in the light of Fathers Day. I have not yet met a man who deliberately determined to not be a good Father. I have been the witness at many a marriage altar where men have pledged their undying love and faithful commitment to the most beautiful women on earth. No, I confess, I don’t know what was going through the mind of these guys at the time but I don’t think they ever got a clear picture of what they were committing themselves to. You see, it’s easy to say the words because we know how to say what is expected of us but the test comes when the tuxedo is returned, the flowers have faded and the practical routine of life takes its toll of blood, sweat and tears. You see, the pledge of unfailing love is the kind that Jesus showed when He came into this world to live among the mass of humanity that had long disposed of the importance of God in the daily schedules of life. He came, anyway, to teach us that God has never stopped loving us in spite of our neglect of Him.
Husbands and Fathers need to get that kind of motivation back into every part of our living moments in life. There are some very special people who look to us for that type of unfailing devotion. I guess my question is, in this generation, where are the guys who pledged their faithfulness ‘til death do us part? Now I know that I have just made a general statement but I wonder why so many homes are breaking up and why we, as men, have not taken the leadership in reaching out to God for some of the solutions that He has for our situations. Why are we so slow in picking up our responsibilities as Spiritual leaders in the home? And why do the wives have to put up with so much, so long, that their patience has come to an end? The big question is the one that Solomon puts to us: “.. a faithful man who can find?”
Before anyone thinks that I intend to condemn all of manhood, let me assure us all that God wants to make our relationships loving and our homes a refuge of peace. To make that happen we need to remember that we are workers together with God. He is the One Who helps us to be men of faith and faithful. Let’s be sensitive to hear what He has to say and obedient to what He wants us to do.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
I’ve always wondered if blind people dream dreams and can they have nightmares? Can they see monsters lurking in the darkness of their unseeing world? I’ve never had the opportunity to ask anyone about it but I’ve wondered how they could imagine what people look like or what a dog would be like to someone who has never seen one. I’ve wondered how they could imagine the difference between the colours of red and yellow when they’ve never seen anything like that. No matter how much you describe the details of brilliance, shades and shadows, how could they ever know unless they had something to compare with, in their imagination. Is it possible that they can dream formless thoughts and conversations? Does a blind person really understand what they are missing that is so common to most of us?
How much did the blind man (Luke 18:35) understand about life, people and the Saviour who could heal him and give him something that he had never had before? What stirred his imagination when he heard the crowd and knew that Jesus was coming that way? How did he know that Jesus was able to heal him and how did he know that he was missing something that everyone else possessed? How could he imagine that he was missing one of the five senses and that he was so deprived?
Can you understand that it is possible that people with sight are also missing out on something that they can not see? They are losing out on the blessings of the walk of faith that every believer experiences every day. It may be impossible for the unsaved people to comprehend what we see and experience because of our relationship with Jesus. Our faith helps us to live in a world where moral values and priorities are totally different. The world cannot know the kind of blessings that we are privileged to have because there is no way that they can compare the peace of heart and mind that we possess with anything that I know in the world; unless someone tells them! Even then, the Spirit of God needs to work in their hearts to help them to understand the things of the Spirit. But someone needs to tell them!
There are better things in life than just living in the course of our world. Our world is full of people who see but are blind to spiritual matters. They possess all their 5 senses but are ignorant of the real purpose of life and the call of God that reaches out to all mankind. Someone needs to tell them and then bring them along to meet the Saviour! That’s what Missions and Evangelism is all about. I’ve never met a person who has truly committed their life to the Lord and returns with regrets. God has a way of opening the understanding to new things and a new hope.
What A Loving Father!
“How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 36:7
There is no father like our heavenly Father. His kindness and blessings, His mercy and patience, His giving and forgiving, His love for our future and all the details of our lives are far beyond anything that we can measure. I often wish there were a way that we could see His personal but invisible involvement in each of our lives every day. I’m sure that we often miss the degree of how much He is working out His plan through the details of our daily situations and circumstances.
Let me list just a few of the things that we know He is doing for us out of His Loving Kindness:
1. He is a faithful Counsellor and Friend.
2. His invisible hand is constantly working in us to make even the darkest of hours to be a blessing and benefit to us.
3. Great is the mystery of His exceeding mercy that sees the frailties of our humanity and the
weaknesses of our lives and yet He loves us with an everlasting love.
4. How awesome to our understanding is the fact that of all the majesty and beauty of His creation, its
order and created glory, His affection is focused on each of us as the prize and pride of His handiwork!
5. How magnificent the measure of His confidence and trust that He would commission us to represent
Him here on the earth as Ambassadors of His kingdom and representatives of His love and concern for all of His creation.!
6. How amazing that He would delegate to each of us to be the story-tellers of His plan and purpose in
bringing Salvation to the world through His Son. He entrusts us with the testimonies of the pardon, peace, and promises of His workings in our hearts!
- 7. What a glorious hope of the joy that awaits us because the Father has provided a way that all who believe in His Son will inherit eternal life, without the restrictions and limitations of our human frame! (No more pain, sickness nor sorrow.)
- 8. What a wonderful thought that among the treasures that await us in heaven is the fact that we shall see Jesus! That is a part of Hi loving promise to us. We shall live in His presence and share in the light of His glory as one of those very special gifts of our Father who wants to share His very best with those who trust Him!
9. Even now, He has promised to watch over us and that He knows the things that we have need of. He
is a wonderful Father!
Gods Valued Treasure
“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine.” Exodus 19:5
How much is a man worth? Joseph was sold for 20 shekels of silver. Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver. (I guess the cost of living had brought the increase.) I have a Missionary friend who bought a slave on the market in the Sudan only a few years ago. I’ve been told that you can rent a body in different areas of Vancouver for an hour or an evening. Minimum wage in B. C. at the time of this writing is $8.00 per hour and your income can go up from there according to your education, job position and whatever the market demand is for your talents.
But what is the real worth of a human being? Jesus said, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man exchange for his soul?” It’s one of those rhetorical questions that Jesus occasionally asked. The unspoken answer is, “There is nothing in this world that is worth the value of a soul.” It is impossible to accumulate enough wealth, in this world to pay cash for your soul. That should increase the view of our own self-esteem/self-worth if we understand that God looks upon each one of us with that value scale in mind. There’s nothing in this world that is worth more to God than you. Have you seen the picture of a little boy who says, “I’m important ‘cause God don’t make no junk?”
It’s funny though, we can take ourselves off of Gods stock and investment market, under His protection, and immediately another is ready to take possession of us. In the devils mind, we’re just trash. He’s gloating for the day when those who are so valued in Gods sight will all be thrown into the lake of fire. He’s busy, right now, trying his best to keep us out of the Grace and Mercy of God that changes the trash into the treasures of heaven. But let me remind you, God has given us the power of choice. We can make the decision to be restored into Gods purpose and His wonderful plan for eternity.
God has given us the Holy Spirit, Who works with us to resist the attacks and accusations of the enemy of our souls and who makes us sensitive to the things that are important to God. It is God and only through Jesus Christ that we gain any real value in this world. You can’t pay for it in cash; nor can you claim it by education. You can’t claim it by inheritance nor by your heritage. It’s who we belong to that gives added value or less to our lives. Becoming important to God comes through receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and that has to be a personal decision each of us makes. Living without that kind of security is dangerous because we never know when ‘cash-in’ day will come. For some, it could be today. For others a week or two, or a little longer; but who really knows. I’m with those who have made our choice and are glad that He will be returning to catch us to be with Him for endless eternity. He has prepared a special place of peace and happiness for those who have come to trust Him.
In God We Trust
“My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” Psalm 42:3
We are blessed! We serve a loving heavenly Father whose faithfulness knows no limit. His watchful eye is upon us for good as He survey’s all of His creation “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.” (1 Peter 3:12) In a world of constant turmoil and apparent injustices it ought to give us a great sense of peace to know that the Lord of hosts is taking care of His children. It is true that we don’t always understand how He is able to make all things to work out for good but our trust in Him is not based upon what we see with the physical eye but rather upon His promises. He knows best. We always think that we know best because we measure the blessings of God according to our comfort level. Listen carefully! I suspect that this is the process that most of us follow: If we feel good, God is good. If we don’t feel so good, ‘WHERE IS GOD?’ The truth is that His loving kindness will not allow Him to permit anything to come our way but what is ‘for our good.’ It has been said that those who walk through the dark valleys understand this only after they’ve come through the valley.
It’s like me, in the Dentists chair, and she’s holding a very long needle in her hand behind her back and she’s looking into my mouth. I know that what she is about to do is good for me but I have a hard time telling myself that I’ll be glad for what she is about to do. Of course, I’ll be glad when it’s all over but it’s the ‘during the process’ that I have to sell myself on the fact that this is good for me.
Let me tell ‘us’ again. God is good and His care for us, through all trials and tests, is based on His eternal love. He knows every detail of our daily routines and is able to work miracles of grace in our lives. He invites us to ‘cast all our care upon Him, because He cares for us.’ He calls us, “Come, to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30) It’s obviously not His intention to leave us alone under any circumstance. I think there is another side of the whole situation. If we don’t learn to trust God in the difficulties then the discomfort level rises; like two yoked animals where one does not want to go along with the other. The truth is, they both suffer. Better to learn that when we walk with the Lord in our daily experience things will go much easier on us if we can trust that He knows the route of our journey. So, let’s trust Him.
The Psalmist says, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens.” We are blessed because we serve an awesome God! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5 )
The Only Way
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” John 10:9
It’s only the precious blood of Jesus that washes away the stain of our sin. There is no other method nor cleansing agent that can make our offences disappear though only the sins that are brought to Him can be dealt with. Whether we like it or not there are no other options. The bible makes it clear, “..without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22) And then again, “The blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) We admit that many other religions have virtues that we commend because they demonstrate, in most cases, the desire of men to do what is good and right. But there is no other way to receive forgiveness of sins except through what Jesus did on the cross of Calvary. There is no other way to have peace with God with the promise of an eternity in heaven. Jesus is the only way!
We are aware that the enemy of our souls will do anything for us to miss that point. It has always been his desire to destroy the things that God has done and to keep people from God. He extends apparent other spiritual options hoping that we will not make the ‘right’ choice until it’s too late. That’s why there are so many different religions in the world and also so many divisions in ‘Christianity.’ The enemy also tries to keep us ‘too busy’ to make the right choice right now because He knows that delay is as good as denial on the day of judgment.
We know that the Bible teaches that God has designed one plan to bring all men, women and children of all nations to Himself. We have that treasure of truth in the scriptures, not because we are good but because God is Good and the record of His Word is the revelation of His truth. The fact is that none of us deserves the kindness of His favours that grant us forgiveness and pardon. His love has provided that for us and given us a way in spite of our ways. If Jesus had not died on the cross, we would all be responsible to make annual sacrifices that would cover our past sins until our next sin. The cost through our lifetime would be tremendous.
The intent of the Old Testament process was to teach that sin has a high cost; there is no easy way out and that there is no person that could ever pay such a price for all of humanity; that is, until Jesus came. Because He is the faultless Son of God His death was sufficient to pay for all the penalties of the sins of mankind. His life was poured out as a free gift to all who will believe and to all who will receive His provision. There are no hoops to jump through; no cash down-payments; no mountains to climb; no oceans to swim; no penances to perform. The invitation to come to Him has been extended to all mankind through the generations and there is no other way. He simply asks us to BELIEVE that what He has done is a free gift to be received by faith and anyone can receive Him.
Advice From A Winner
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4
We learn a lot of lessons from the experiences and discoveries of others. That is one of the most valuable purposes of communication. If others take the tests and teach us the lessons then we are wise if we learn from them. That is a principle of the walk of faith that serves us in the learning processes of life. David was a great leader. He had a way of inspiring his followers because he had a reputation of being a winner. He had a few failures, like the rest of us, but it’s his rising above his weaknesses that demonstrate the true success of this great man of influence. Today, I would like to look at a couple of words of testimony that he shared in Psalm 16:2 “I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’” I want us to look specifically at two things that he shares in this brief passage.
1. We know that David loved the relationship that he had with the Lord. He makes this public confession, “You are my Lord.” He made a decision. God was going to be his Master by his choice. The fact that he was the leader, anointed for some very special tasks, did not fill him with pride. This confession is one of humble submission. He recognized a higher authority Who had a priority on his life. He, willingly, was prepared to surrender his position and accomplishments to the oversight of the Lord. His Commander in Chief was the Lord Himself. That is something that he practiced every day and gave him the recognition as being a man after Gods heart. That’s quite a compliment. It all began in his yielding to the direction that the Lord had for his life. That’s good advice for all of us. May there be more men and women, like David, who have a heart after God.
2. He, also, made a simple declaration of priorities that we should accept as wise counsel. Here it comes: “Apart from you I have no good thing.” There are a lot of things in the world that entertain us or give us pleasure but outside of the Lord nothing is really that important. We can easily be distracted by peer pressure or by our own desires and fantasies but that does not always serve us well in our continuing life experiences. His advice for all of us is to make our choices the kind that will give us lasting benefits with no regrets. If the Lord is the centre of our activities and choices then all things will work together for the good…. I hope that is not viewed as being super-spiritual. I think that even the routine and mundane things of life can be blessed by the Lord.
Leaving God out or our lives is asking for trouble. He wants to share “good” with us because He loves us so.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14
It really doesn’t matter what your occupation is, if you are a Dad, you are called to be a teacher/trainer. Our primary responsibility, once we’ve brought a little child into the world is to make sure that he learns how to go to heaven. We often forget that what we’re doing to earn a living and provide for the needs of our families is only a temporary activity and everything around us is only here for a moment. We have higher goals. We have begun a walk of faith that will never come to an end. But there remains many times of decision that young lives need to make. Some of those decisions will determine the direction of their lives both here and now and then and there.
As important as the things that are about us are, today, they will lose their value eventually. Wise is the man who trains his children to understand that and who replaces the temporary with the unchangeable. It was a man of courage and faith who speaking to other Fathers of his generation could say with confidence, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) Knowing that your children are going to serve the Lord by their own choice is the result of the spiritual investment that Fathers make in the spiritual growth of those children. It won’t happen by itself. There is a teaching and training process that is involved.
Gentlemen, we need to take this to heart and not step back from our responsibility. God has placed us as the head of our household. You may not like that or you may find that it’s simpler to let our wives do that task. That may be the easy way out but there has to be some of our influence shared with the children or they will interpret our silence as disbelief.
Let me suggest a couple of things that we should be doing on a regular basis:
1. Pray for your children by name.
2. Pray with your children
3. Lead them to the House of God
4. Let the name of the Lord be a part of your conversation to demonstrate your commitment to serving Him.
5. Be an example of a man of Faith.
The advice of scripture is clear: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Happy Fathers Day !
“The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of the ruler of fools.” Ecclesiastes 9:7
Little Eyes Upon You
There are little eyes upon you,
and they’re watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly
take in everything you say.
There are little hands all eager
to do everything you do.
And a little boy who’s dreaming
of the day he’ll be like you.
You’re the little fellows idol,
you’re the wisest of the wise;
In his little mind about you
no suspicions ever rise;
He believes in you devotedly,
holds that all you say and do
He will say and do in your way
when he’s grown up just like you.
There’s a wide-eyed little fellow
who believes you’re always right
And his ears are always open,
and he watches day and night.
You are setting an example
every day in all you do.
For the little boy who’s waiting
to grow up to be like you.
“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.” Psalm127:3
It is a wise Father who recognizes the importance of his example. It is said that more is learned by
observation than by hearing. Our children learn more from what we do than from what we say.
It is said that experience is a bad teacher because we take the test before we learn the lesson.
Better to hear the wise counsel of a godly Father than testing experience for ourselves.
Ministries To Men
“That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21
It was an invisible congregation that the Prophet never saw. The fact that He felt He was all alone and voiced his complaint to heaven lets us see the human side of a great man of God. But God saw something that Elijah did not see. “Yet I reserve 7000 men in Israel whose knees have not bowed to Baal....” (1 Kings 19:18) That’s a good sized group of men. I believe that was an encouragement to Elijah, in his trying times, to know that he really wasn’t in the service of God all by himself. I think it would have been more encouraging to have those guys serving and worshipping God together with him. What a great congregation that would have made and what an impression it would have left on the ungodly had they all been there to stand together! !
I believe there have been many servants of the Lord, through the years, who have become discouraged because of the lack of input from men who refuse to bend to the direction of the worldly winds but who don’t stand up to be counted to back the Pastor. They are like the invisible 700. The trouble with an invisible congregation is that you don’t know who to count on for help when help is needed. I think that is one of the main reasons why God saves men in the first place. We are to work together to do the things that God wants us to do.
That is one of the main missions of Men’s Ministries and Honour Bound. There is nothing that is so encouraging to us as to know that there are other fellows who have the same kind of commitment as we have, who take/make the time to join heart and voice, body and spirit to get together to worship and serve the Lord. We need each other and every one is an important part of the Body of Christ. Every man has a special but different calling in life and it’s in the coming together times that allow opportunity for us to develop together to the fullness of Gods design. It appears that the women of our Churches have learned that lesson a lot more quickly than have the men. Yet, it appears that God has delegated certain responsibilities to guys to be spiritual leaders in our homes and in our communities. Only God knows what can be accomplished by a body of men who have learned to work together to serve the Lord. Our problem, too often, is that the invisible group of God worshippers remain invisible when they should be seen and actively engaged in public activities together.
What an impact and what a force that would be to have the men of our Churches united to honour God.
Peace, Be Still
“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
It is so good to come into the presence of the Lord with peace in your heart. It is so refreshing to be able to open yourself up to the Lord when you know that you are right with God. There can’t be anything in the world that is as comforting as knowing that there is nothing that stands between God and each of our lives. That is exactly the thing that the enemy of our souls wants to disrupt. Many years ago, he snuck into the Garden of Eden to break into the relationship of Adam and God; to cause fear and shame to fill the hearts of our first generation of fathers and mothers. That’s what sin does. It displaces peace and joy with fear and shame. Sin robs us of the sense of harmony that God wanted to instill in the heart of every human being from long before He created man.
God is a God of love. He has designed a plan that will restore “peace with God.” He comes to us in mercy. You shouldn’t fear that. He comes in forgiveness. You shouldn’t be ashamed of that. His love embraces all that will come to Him. He is the only One who can restore peace to fallen humanity. As a matter of fact, He took the initiative to make sure that we could find a way back to His presence and the joy of communion with Him. The Old prophet Isaiah explains it simply; “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.’” (Isaiah 30:15)
The message is clear. Repentance brings restoration to our relationship and rest is the natural result. It is then that we need to exercise quietness, to still our souls and to trust in the Lord. That’s the package that adds strength to the heart of the believer.
Let’s be confident that we are very precious in His sight and that He will do whatever is necessary to restore peace in our hearts.
Let’s be confident that there is no power in all of creation that is sufficient to keep us from His love. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or hardship or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35 – 39)
That’s the Rock of Gods word. It’s a firm foundation that we can hold on to when the enemy, with all his bluster and blow, comes to move us from Gods presence. We can possess a calmness in the midst of the storm because Jesus shouts, “Quiet! Be still!” (Mark 4:39)
“But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” (Psalms 37:11)
It’s All So Beautiful
“… On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:2
When Spring is in the air, the flowers are in bloom, birds are making their nests, the trees are showing the handiwork of God in the greens, pinks and whites of this miracle process of life that we are privileged to see at that time of the year. What an awesome God we serve! It’s all His idea. We enjoy the wonder of the new birth as we visualize the transition from the dormant, waiting during the winter chills to the vibrancy of life and colours of this season. As much as all of this leaves us with impressions of wonder and amazement at the beauty around us, God sees something of greater value in what He has made. All that we see; all that we appreciate and admire was designed as a temporary habitation for us until He is ready to take us to His home in heaven. There the beauties that we enjoy so much will fade into the glories of His eternal provision.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church and tried to give us a clearer focus on what God has reserved for us. He wrote: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) Heaven will be a beautiful place. No pain, no sickness, no sadness, no darkness and no fear. Loved ones will be there and reunions with those who have gone before us will bring shouts of laughter amid tender tears and loving embraces. Words cannot express the wonder of that place and the joy of the company that will inhabit the Kingdom of God. That’s the place we were designed to possess. We’re pilgrims here on passage to another destination. This earth, as beautiful as it is right now, was never intended to be our final home. In Gods opinion, it’s just not good enough for those who love Him.
But there is another side to the story. Not everyone you meet is going to go there. You see, heaven is a ‘destination of choice.’ It just doesn’t come to us because we are living on Gods creation today. The truth is, heaven is a free gift. But it’s a free gift to those who invite Jesus Christ into their lives before we reach the end of our earthly journey. We all have to make that decision. Too many have swallowed the line that once we die we all go to heaven….death is our passport. Not so! People need to be told that God has prepared a better place and that His love has made it simple to assure our arrival there. That’s what missions is all about. Someone needs to tell the story of Gods love because each of us needs to make an individual decision. Whether it’s here where we live or somewhere else around the world, the story is the same. Jesus died on a cross to provide us forgiveness and the privilege to be a part of His Fathers Kingdom. Only accepting Him will guarantee an entrance into heaven. Refusing to choose is like not accepting a life preserver when we are drowning. There is no one else to blame but ourselves. Make your choice and make it Jesus!
The Grace of Giving
“For God so loved the world that He gave….” John 3:16
When we talk about giving most of us think immediately of money and how it is our right to make our own decisions concerning our finances. I want you to notice the focus of the passage we just read. Giving was a result of Gods love. The whole root of Gods plan to give us His Son was based on His love for mankind. It was His love that promoted the whole process of giving the world a Saviour. He demonstrated the principle that true love has an evidence. You can’t say that you love without giving. Ask any married couple who have walked life’s road together for any length of time if that isn’t true.
The whole matter of living, loving relationships is the surrender of time, energy and resources, sometimes invested out of great sacrifice. The key to healthy giving is doing so with the right attitude. No matter what the gift may be, if the heart and motive are in the right place the gift becomes an expression of grace. Some people find it hard to give. Usually those are the ones who should give the most. It is said that during the depression years, on the prairies, when times were tough that people shared whatever they had with those who had need whether they were friends or strangers. Potatoes became one of the most common food items and bartering tools for services and products. Humble folk shared their meagre resources with whoever had need. Their giving was based on the concern for the hardships of others. That’s still called love in my language.
The early Church believers held a very challenging attitude toward things. “No one claimed that any of his possessions were his own, but they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:32) I have often wondered if there was a deep struggle in their hearts and minds to come to the decision that everything that they possessed really belongs to God and we are all called to be Stewards not owners. I have tried to envision the sight of a body of people who held on to the things of this world that lightly. They must have been a people who knew that whatever their need would or could be, God would supply either through the gift of a brother or through a miracle.
Maybe this will stretch your own comfort zone but I believe that God has to make us able for any situation that comes our way. The potential for the supply of all our need is either in our control right now or ready for distribution from the foot of the Throne of God. Each believer holds the key to their area of Stewardship and is ultimately responsible to God. We can not give according to what others give. If we follow Gods principle, then our giving of talents, abilities, resources etc. will come from our love for God and His Church. The Corinthian church had many miraculous evidences of the grace of God in the Gifts of the Spirit but Paul had to write them to say: “But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8:7) He wanted them to learn to Give.
The Passing of Time
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14
As we enter into the New Year, we cross another marker in the life span of our earthly existence. Time is a strange invisible commodity that affects every one of us. We only notice it by the ticking of the clock, the growth of our children and the marks it leaves on our bodies. It doesn’t blow like the wind nor shine like the sun yet everyone’s life is measured by it in terms of birthdays and anniversaries. There is neither faucet nor dam that can stop the constant flow of the seconds, minutes and hours as they continue their relentless journey to fulfill their designed purpose. We face those unknown moments of another New Year with a renewed anticipation of seeing the hand of the Lord in action in a world that needs to know their Maker. This past year, as never before, God gave us a demonstration of our need to have Him involved in every area of our lives. Before us the future lies as an unsolved mystery. There are unseen secrets that will be revealed to us as we journey the seconds and minutes of life. But God sees it all, until the end of time, as clearly as this moment. He already knows every detail that will affect each of us and He is actively working to fulfill His plan for our lives.
The psalmist wrote: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) He is speaking of opportunities that will present themselves to us to serve the Lord in a way that makes each moment a profitable investment for the Kingdom of God. How can I be a better servant? How can I be better prepared as a sample of Gods grace living in a world of spiritual indifference? How can I adjust my personal schedule so that Gods priorities take first place and His purposes be fulfilled in my life?
Let me suggest a few things:
1. I must work on my prayer life. It will take time out of my routine but it is Gods method of strengthening my relationship with Him. I need to know the tug of the Spirit on my heart and mind. Prayer is still the fundamental process of communicating with the One Who holds today and the future in His care.
2. I must be diligent to read His Word and to capture its principles so that my life will have His direction through every experience of life. The Word is more than a composition of the letters of the alphabet. It is the revelation of His heart in dealing with mankind and the various conditions of the world.
3. I must learn to be sensitive to the voice of the Spirit of God as He seeks to influence my decisions and choices. I must be careful that I don’t clog up the times that He wants to speak to me. And, I must be careful that I don’t pass off His voice as some intrusion in my thoughts.
4. I must personally commit my ways to Him. Whether I’m comfortable with what He allows to come my way or not. He is Lord! He is Loving and Wise! He can not fail.
Jesus in the Old Testament
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Luke 24:27
It’s all about Jesus. Stories of the Old Testament often give us prophetic glimpses of Jesus and what He would do to bring us Salvation. The revelation of what Jesus accomplished on the cross is understood from pieces of many of the historical records of things that others did. When the pieces are put together they give us a clearer picture of Gods plan for His Son. For example, the book of Genesis gives us examples of what Jesus would fulfill when He came into the world. Other passages of scripture continue the same theme.
At Abel’s death, his blood cried out. (Genesis 4:10) (The blood calls for justice and reaches the throne of God.)
Noah was told to build an ark. (Genesis 6:14) (The one and only way to be saved from the judgment that was going to fall upon a sinful world is found in Jesus.)
Abraham was called out of Ur to follow God. (We are called to serve Jesus, in the world but not ‘to be’ of the world.)
Abraham received the son of promise (Genesis 21:2) (Jesus came as the Son of the promise to be our Saviour.)
Abraham was prepared to offer his only son. (Genesis 22:2) (Our heavenly Father prepared to offer His only Son from before the beginning of the earth.)
Abraham substituted a lamb for his son. (Genesis 22:13) (Jesus became our substitute Lamb and died for each one of us.)
Abraham commissioned his servant to find a wife for his son. (Genesis 24:3, 4) (The heavenly Father sent the Holy Spirit to prepare a bride for Jesus who will come to live in the Fathers promised land.)
Isaac was noted for opening wells. (Genesis 26:18-25) (Jesus is the provider of living water. John 4)
Jacob wrestled to bring blessing to his family. (Genesis 32:24 - ) (Jesus faced the struggles of Gethsemane and Calvary in order to provide a future for us all.)
Joseph was a God-fearing man of integrity but was persecuted and condemned for things he did not do. (Genesis 37, 39) (Jesus was condemned unjustly of crimes that he did not commit but through his death was able to make an eternal provision for all those who would trust in Him.)
Joseph would not seek revenge against his brothers for their betrayal and for his being sold as a slave. (Genesis 45:4, 5) (Joseph said, “..because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Jesus said, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”)
Joseph wanted to live as the ‘Protector’ of his family. (Genesis 50:21) (Jesus said, “Do not be afraid… I will be with you.”)
“The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace.” Proverbs 13:5
Jesus said, “Be careful, be on your guard for the yeast...” (Matthew 16:6) Immediately the disciples thought about their lack of bread and their failure of foresight in planning the lunch menu. That was one message that went right over the heads of Jesus’ little congregation. You see, some Pastors are in good company when the congregation doesn’t grasp the direction of their sermons. Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of understanding concerning the point He wanted to make. Then after careful consideration, they caught on to the fact that Jesus was sending them a caution about the spiritual leaders. It was the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees that was the danger.
Let me show you a few things about their teachings.
1. They weren’t so concerned that people find God. The important matter was, “Will you be a Pharisee or a Sadducee?” Let’s get your denomination clear here. (Is it really that important? ?)
2. They emphasized the importance of keeping the Old Testament Law, the traditions of the fathers, plus their additional rules and regulations that placed importance on minor details. To them, you need to work to deserve God. You’ve got to work at pleasing God or He would be angry; needless to say, we all struggle with that. (They never found the Grace and Mercy of God)
3. They stressed the need of ‘separation.’ That is, you don’t mix with common folk or you might contaminate yourself with worldly things. They taught that they were superior to all others. ( What did Jesus do? ? )
4. It is said that a Pharisee gave thanks, every day, that he was not born:
a) a Roman,
b) a slave
c) a woman (That must have made the ladies in Israel really happy.)
And the list goes on. Needless to say, their pride of position and their segregational arrogance drove people away from God. Jesus came to address them with clear terms. They were ‘Whitened sepulchres, hypocrites, blind leaders of the blind, snakes and vipers.’
Jesus offered the truth:
- that the Father loves us all, just as we are.
- that He grants us forgiveness because we believe in Him, not by our works.
- that He is prepared to welcome us into an intimate relationship with Himself every day not just the Sabbath or holy days.
Jesus came into the world like a breath of fresh air to a generation, sick of the formalized religion and dictatorial domination. The Truth sets us free.
“That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21
Have you ever put your fingers together with ‘crazy glue?’ There is a bond there that is very difficult to break. It’s as though every mark of division is erased and flesh is united with flesh. Sometimes surgery is the only answer. It’s an ordeal to try to separate your fingers.
That’s great for broken things and often restores the appearance of the damaged object into beautiful wholeness, once again, but it’s hard on fingers that are supposed to operate independently.
That’s what the blood of Jesus does for each of us who have been abused, beaten and broken by the deceitfulness of the enemy. There is no natural solution for the repairing of the soul of man, marred and scarred as we are, through our sinful ways. We can not become ‘whole’ on our own. We have tried the crack-fillers of alcohol, drugs, immoral and good living, to no avail. There is nothing that brings us back into useful harmony with God like the blood of Jesus Christ. Every stain and blemish that is presented to Him by our humble confession is quickly eradicated as though it never existed. That’s the super-glue of heaven. Then and only then can we have compatibility with the Father and His purposes for us become reality.
Judah describes that kind of relationship in the example of his father Jacob who deeply loved Benjamin. Judah said, “my fathers life is bound up with the boys life.” (Genesis 44:30) His description of the bond between Father and son is one of unity to such a measure that to remove the boy from the father was to destroy the father. Now that’s love! ! The blood of Jesus does that for us. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38, 39) Do you get the ‘super-glue’ picture? There is a blending of lives to such a measure that two separate individuals become inseparable.
When we partake of the Lords supper, it is through the emblems of His broken body and shed blood we are reminded that Jesus came into the world to bring us back to the Father as new creations in Christ Jesus; as though we had never sinned; repaired, patched up and brand new, just like His Son! ! All traces of the damaged product of our lives is completely eradicated, by His sacrifice on the cross. He makes us one with Himself.
Vacation Time (2)
“Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.” Psalm 103:5
You’ve got to plan some time to ‘get away from it all.’ That’s what holidays are all about and summers are a good time to take advantage of the warmer weather and the beauty around us. Most of us don’t realize what pressures we are under until we get to some quiet place for a day or two. Some folks show it by the stress lines on their faces or by the sharp answers to simple questions. We were not designed to be perpetual motion machines. We’re only human.
Jesus was concerned, one time, for the welfare of His disciples. He said, “Come with me to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31) The people and the responsibilities were getting to the boys and they needed some time off. I’m sure that you understand what that is all about.
However, let me make one particular point that needs to be brought to our attention, at this vacation season. When the disciples took their “day away” it was with Jesus. Some folks pack up the trailer or board the plane and any semblance of spirituality is left at home.
In order to have a true and healthy vacation I want to challenge you to take the Lord along with you. Let your travels be filled with the blessing of the Lord or you might be returning home for a rest instead of going away for a rest. We can get ourselves in such a rush to travel or to do something different that we miss out on the relaxation that we need so much. Have you ever had that kind of a holiday? Changing your location does not necessarily mean that you’re having a rest.
Sometimes we need to still our hearts and minds and just plain, ‘relax.’ Purpose that each day you will just stop the ‘big rush.’ Set up a lawn chair under the shade of a tree and read your bible and then catch a few extra winks. It can be in those quiet moments that we are truly refreshed.
The Psalmist said, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) I found it interesting that the Hebrew word for ‘be still’ is Rapha. That’s the same word that is used in Jehovah Rapha, one of the names that the Lord uses to describe Himself. It literally means “I am the God who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26) Quieting ourselves and taking advantage of a time of rest is a healing and restoration process. We all need that.
If you are traveling somewhere this summer or just getting away from it all, don’t neglect the Lord during your time away from your Church.
“Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” Psalm 55:6
It’s the holiday season. People are coming and going and enjoying times of relaxation and pleasures in the sun/rain. Holidays are Gods idea. That was one of the reasons that He created 7 days instead of six. Think what a change that would make in our lives. Jesus called His disciples to, “Come with me, by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31) There’s something about getting away from it all, once in a while, that is designed to be good for the soul as well as the body. Some people when they go away for a holiday return home to get a rest. Does that sound familiar?
Let my gray haired experience give you some advice:
1. A holiday from work was not meant to be a holiday from God. Honour Him when you are away from your home Church. It may cost you a day but you will be blessed and refreshed as you take time to wait on the Lord. Being in another Church can serve a double purpose:
a) it makes you aware of how wonderful it is to be in the family of
God with ‘relatives’ all over the world.
b) you experience worship in a new way which could be a learning time to bring back to your own Church family.
2. Take time to relax. Don’t think that getting a change of geographic location is a holiday. The resting is important to rejuvenate and refresh the body and the mind. Good sleep is an excellent healer from the battles and stresses of the pressures of our daily routines and occupations.
3. Take advantage of the time to share your life with your family so that a closer bond can be either strengthened or developed. Converse with your loved ones. Play games with them. Take walks with them. Hear their dreams and learn about their desires. Find out where they are in life and what their plans are for the future. Share insights with them out of your own experience and allow God to use you to bless them.
4. Set aside some time to review and refocus on your personal relationship with the Lord and what it might be that God is saying for you in the coming days. You need some quiet time for yourself as well.
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©Copyright - Used with permission from the author Rev. G. H. Fricker.