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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Living Water

John 4:10-15

Jesus was not using terms that were bound to be misunderstood; He was using terms that anyone with spiritual insight should have understood. The promise was that the chosen people would draw water with joy from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3). The psalmist spoke of his soul being thirsty for the living God (Psalm 42:1). God's promise was: "I will pour water on the thirsty land" (Isaiah 44:3). The summons was that everyone who was thirsty should come to the waters and freely drink (Isaiah 55:1).

Sometimes the Rabbis identified this living water with the wisdom of the law; sometimes they identified it with nothing less than the Holy Spirit of God. All Jewish pictorial religious language was full of this idea of the thirst of the soul which could be quenched only with the living water which was the gift of God.

At the heart of this, there is the fundamental truth that in the human heart there is a thirst for something that only Jesus Christ can satisfy. We are desperately unhappy about something - and we don't know what it is. In each of us, there is this nameless unsatisfied longing, this vague discontent, this something lacking, this frustration.

In his novel Sorrell and Son, Warwick Deeping tells of a conversation between Sorrell and his son. The boy is talking about life. He says that it is like groping in an enchanted fog. The fog breaks for a moment; you see the moon or a girl's face; you think you want the moor or the face; and then the fog comes down again and leaves you groping for something, you don't know what. Augustine talks about 'our hearts being restless till they find rest in Thee.'

Part of the human situation is that we cannot find happiness out of the things that the human situation has to offer. We are never safe from the longing for eternity which God has put into the human soul. There is a thirst which only Jesus Christ can satisfy.

~William Barclay~

The Great Day of His Wrath Has Come

As I meditate on these Scriptures, Lord, let Your truth sink deep into my heart and change my life.

" ... there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth ... and every mountain an island was moved out of its place. 'For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'" (Revelation 6:12 - 14, 17).

Those who are left here in the Great Tribulation will be those who have spurned and refused the Lord Jesus Christ. They wanted nothing to do with Him. But the Bible says of Jesus Christ that by Him all things consist (1 Colosians 1:17). So, suppose He just relaxes His grip on nature a little bit. What if He just let go of this earth and gives those who have rejected Him what they want?

These verses tell us there will be massive cataclysm. When the sixth seal is opened, we see that everything on earth and in space is severely disrupted and the forces of nature are unleashed upon the ungodly. A massive earthquake will shake the entire globe. The world will be plunged into darkness as the sun and moon are blotted out. Meteorites and asteroids will hit the earth. This day will be so devastating that if God did not mercifully bring this to a premature conclusion, no one would be left alive (Matthew 24:22).

When that day comes, there's going to be a colossal prayer meeting. People trying to hide from the wrath of the Lamb will cry out for the rocks and mountains to fall on them (Revelation 6:17). Isn't it amazing that they would reject the Rock of Ages, yet pray to the rocks? But their prayers to the forces of nature will be in vain. And it will be too late to pray for mercy, for the day of God's mercy will have faded into the great day of His wrath.

But the Bible says, "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Ths. 5:9). Thank God, there is a way out and it's the way up. It's Jesus!

~Adrian Rogers~ - "Tapestry, Promises & Prophecy"

Bible Study - verse by verse # 50

Matthew 17:20 Jesus wasn't condemning the disciples for substandard faith; He was trying to show how important faith would be in their future ministry. If you are facing a problem that seems as big and immovable as a mountain, turn your eyes from the mountain and look to Christ for more faith. Only then will your work for Him become useful and vibrant.

Matthew 17:22, 23 Once again Jesus predicted His death; but more important, He told of His resurrection. The disciples heard only the first part of Jesus' words and became discouraged. They couldn't understand why Jesus anted to go back to Jerusalem where He would walk right into trouble. The disciples didn't fully comprehend the purpose of Jesus' death and resurrection until Pentecost. The disciples were with Jesus, saw His miracles, heard His Words, and still had difficulty understanding. Despite their questions and doubts, however, they believed. We should too.

Matthew 18:10 Our concern for children must match God's treatment of them. Certain angels are assigned to watch over children, and they have direct access to God. These words ring out sharply in cultures where children are taken lightly, ignored, or aborted. If their angels have constant access to God, the least we can do is to allow children to approach us easily in spite of our far too busy schedules.

Matthew 18:14 Just as a shepherd is concerned enough about one lost sheep to go search the hills for it, so God is concerned about every human being He has created (He is not willing that any should perish. 2 Peter 3:9). You come in contact with children who need Christ at home, at school, in church, and in the neighborhood. Steer them toward Christ by your example, your words and your acts of kindness. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What My Obedience to God Costs Other People

"As they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon ... and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus" (Luke 23:26).

If we obey God, it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the pain begins. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything - it is a delight. But to those who do not love Him, our obedience does cost a great deal. If we obey God, it will mean that other people's plans are upset. They will ridicule us as if to say, "You call this Christianity?" We could prevent the suffering, but not if we are obedient to God. We must let the cost be paid.

When our obedience begins to cost others, our human pride entrenches itself and we say, "I will never accept anything from anyone." But we must, or disobey God. We have no right to think that the type of relationships we have with others should be any different from those the Lord Himself had (Luke 8:1-3).

A lack of progress in our spiritual life results when we try to bear all the costs ourselves. And actually, we cannot. Because we are so involved in the universal purposes of God, others are immediately affected by our obedience to Him. Will we remain faithful in our obedience to God and be willing to suffer the humiliation of refusing to be independent? Or will we do just the opposite and say, "I will not cause other people to suffer?" We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation, but it will grieve our Lord. If, however, we obey God, He will care for those who have suffered the consequences of our obedience. We must simply obey and leave all the consequences with Him.

Beware of the inclination to dictate to God what consequences you would allow as a condition of your obedience to Him.

~Oswald Chambers~

Use Your Mind Wisely

"Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures" (Acts 17:2).

God has given us wonderful faculties of brain power, and He earnestly desires for us to use them. In His grace, God does not cancel the action of any of His marvelous gifts, but He uses them for the communication of His purposes and thoughts.

It is greatly important then, that we should feed our minds with facts, reliable information, results of human experience, and, above all, with the teachings of God's Word. It is a matter of the utmost admiration to notice how full the Bible is of biography and history, so that there is hardly a single crisis in our lives that may not be matched from those wondrous pages. There is no book like the Bible for casting a light on the dark landings of human life.

While the Scriptures provide our first and best source of guidance, there is no harm in taking pains to gather all reliable information that we may please God with our actions and decisions. It is for us ultimately to decide how God will teach us, but He may be speaking to us through the voice of sanctified common sense, acting on materials we have collected. Of course, at times God may bid us to act against our reason, but these are exceptional cases, and then our duty will be so clear that there will be no mistaking it. For the most part, God will speak in the results of deliberate consideration, weighing the pros and cons.

When Peter was imprisoned and could not possibly extricate himself, an angel was sent to do for him what he could not do for himself. But after they had passed through a street or two of the city, the angel left him to consider the matter for himself. Thus God treats us still. He will dictate a miraculous course by miraculous methods. But when the ordinary light of reason is adequate to the task, He will leave us to act and decide according to careful and logical thinking.


What are some ways in which God has taught you? Why is it important for each of us to use our ability to reason in conjunction with the Bible?

~F. B. Meyer~

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Behold, a Pale Horse

Lord, make my heart ready for you message today.

"... and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:8).

It's doubtful anyone has ever seen a horse the color of this one that appears as the fourth seal is opened. The word pale doesn't quite capture the ghastly yellowish-green hue, indicative of the color of a decaying corpse. It is well-suited to its rider, Death. John continues to provide vivid imagery to help us grasp the awfulness of what is to come when the wrath of the Lamb is unleashed.

As the scroll unfurls and these horsemen ride, there is a chain reaction. First the antichrist comes with dominion; then war ensures because of division; then famine follows due to deprivation; then death comes from devastation. And the result is global decimation - one-fourth of the earth's population will die.

The Bible is not being redundant when it says some will be killed "with death." The word here can be translated "pestilence," which could easily be the product of some sort of biological warfare. "The beasts of the earth" mentioned here could also speak of creatures like rats that spread disease. Years of genetic engineering may produce any number of new strains of incurable sickness, spurring deadly epidemics.

During this terrifying time, there will be some who turn to Christ. But they will pay the ultimate price for choosing to follow Him during the reign of the antichrist. We see there martyrs as the fifth seal opens (Revelation 6:9). They are pictured under the later because they have just laid down their lives as a sacrifice unto the Lord. And God is resolved that they will3not have died in vain. He will avenge the blood of His servants once His plan on earth is complete (vv. 10_11).

In His holy determination, we see that nothing has gotten out of control. Even amidst all the horrors of the Great Tribulation, you can trust that God knows precisely what He is doing.

~Adrian Rogers~ - "Tapestry, Promises & Prophecy"

Bible Study - verse by verse # 49

Matthew 17:9 Jesus told Peter, James, and John not to tell anyone what they had seen until after His resurrection because Jesus knew that they didn't fully understand it and could not explain what they didn't understand. This question revealed their misunderstanding. They knew that Jesus was the Messiah, but they had much more to learn about the significance of His death and resurrection.

Matthew317:10-12 Based on Malachi4:5-6, the teachers of the Old Testament law believed that Elijah must appear before the Messiah would appear. Jesus referred to John the Baptist, not to the Old Testament prophet Elijah. John the Baptist took on Elijah's prophetic role - boldly confronting sin and pointing people to God. Malachi had prophesied that a prophet like Elijah would come (Malachi 4:5).

Matthew 17:17 The disciples had been given the authority to do the healing, but they had not yet learned how to appropriate the power of God. Jesus' frustration is with the unbelieving and unresponsive generation. His disciples were merely a reflection of that attitude in this instance. Jesus' purpose was not to criticize the disciples, but to encourage them to greater faith.

Matthew 17:17-20 The disciples were unable to drive out this demon, and they asked Jesus why. He pointed to their lack of faith. It is the power of God, not our faith, that moves mountains, but faith must be present to do so. The mustard seed was the smallest particle imaginable. Even small or undeveloped faith would have been sufficient. Perhaps the disciples had tried to drive out the demon with their own ability rather than God's. These is great power in even a little faith when God is with us. If we feel weak or powerless as Christians, we should examine our faith, making sure we are trusting not our own abilities to produce results, but in God's.

The Holy Spirit's Deity

"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit ... And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (1 Corinthians 12: 4, 6).

We must demonstrate the Holy Spirit's deity. This is a vital part of the doctrine of the Trinity. It is only Christians who believe this doctrine; all other religions fail to do so, as do all errors and heresies. The Trinity is the key that unlocks all truth. So we must look at the evidence.

The Scripture itself specifically asserts the deity of the Spirit. I take you back to that terrible incident with Ananias and Sapphira. After asking, "Ananias, why hath satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?" Peter continued, "Thou hast mot lied unto men, but unto God" (Acts 5:3-4). "The terrible thing that you have done," said Peter in effect, "is that you have not only been lying to men; you thought that you were just lying to us, the apostles, and to the other Christians, but no, you have been lying to God." And just previously he had said that Ananias had lied to the Holy Spirit. So clearly that is a specific statement that the Holy Spirit is God.

But we also find that the Spirit's name is coupled with the name of God, and this not only establishes His personality but His deity. This is seen in the baptismal formula, in the apostolic benediction, and also in 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul writes, "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit ... And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (verses 4, 6). At one point we are told it is the Spirit who does this, and the next moment we are told that it is God - the same God who works all and in all, and He is the Spirit. Therefore the Spirit is God - His deity is proven.

A Thought to Ponder

Scripture specifically asserts the deity of the Holy Spirit.

~Martyn Lloyd-Jones~

The Tempter Is Real

"And the tempter came and said to Him ..." (Matthew 4:3).

It is not popular today to believe in a literal, personal devil, even among professing Christians. The devil is increasingly seen as being somewhere between a figment of our imagination and a useful device to coerce obedience.

Yet in addition to the name used here ("tempter"), the New Testament gives satan many other names: "ruler of the world" (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11); "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2); "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4); "Abaddon" and "Apollyon," both of which mean "destroyer" (Revelation 9:11; and "the serpent of old" (Revelation 12:9).

With these and many other references to the devil in God's infallible Scripture - all of which assume a real, supernatural person - it's clear that satan does exist. And he never made himself more personally manifest than when he confronted Jesus in the wilderness. The Lord's opponent was  an actual, personal foe in every sense of that expression.

Since the Fall, satan has directed his full attention and fury against God and His kingdom work. While Christ was on earth, that opposition was particularly intense against the Son and His redemptive mission, beginning at the very outset of His ministry. Yet all the forces of hell continue to present us with real challenges as we endeavor to advance God's kingdom. Thus all believers must remain ever vigilant and prayerful against a genuine spiritual foe.

Ask Yourself:

Have you grown lax in guarding yourself from the "roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8) who actively seeks to devour you? He is not to be feared, for Your God is triumphant, but he is definitely in need of accounting for. Ask the Lord to make you wise and wary of the enemy's presence.

~John MacArthur~

Friday, April 27, 2012

Take Peace From the Earth

Lord, help me discover the truths You wish to reveal to me today.

"Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword" (Revelation 6:4).

When the devil-inspired leader comes upon the world stage with ideas of world conquest in his evil brain, history shows that war, havoc and destruction always follow. This is what we see as the second seal is broken and a rider upon a red horse goes forth. Red in the Bible is symbolic of war because it is the color of blood. Jesus warned that the last days would be days of wars and even rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6).

When verse four says that people are going to kill one another, this speaks not only of wars between nations but also of class wars, race wars, and religious wars. When the church is taken out and the Antichrist takes over, a spirit of hatred will so inflame men's depraved hearts that brother will kill brother. Fathers will gladly slay their sons and mothers will turn on their own children because of the hatred. Without the Prince of Peace or the salt and light of the church, hatred will be unrestrained. There will be division, war, and bloodshed.

Then the third horse begins to ride. With the opening of the third seal, we see a black horse whose rider carries a pair of scales (Revelation 6:5-6). These old-fashioned balances talk about food that is going to be measured our carefully. It speaks of rationing. Famine is coming unprecedented in scale. Wholesale starvation is going to take over as the business of war brings economic deprivation and prices of food and basic provisions skyrocket. An entire day's wages will only bury enough bread to feed one person (verse 6). People are going to be without the necessities of life. This deprivation and desperation will make way for the next gruesome horseman to ride forth on the earth.

~Adrian Rogers~ - "Tapestry, Promises & Prophecy"

Bible Study - verse by verse # 48

Matthew 16:27 Jesus Christ has been given the authority to judge all the earth. Although His judgment is already working in our lives, there is a future, final judgment when Christ returns (25:31-46) and every one's life is reviewed and evaluated. This will not be confined to unbelievers; Christians too will face a judgment. Their eternal destiny is secure, but Jesus will look at how they handled gifts, opportunities, and responsibilities in order to determine their heavenly rewards. At the time of judgment, God will deliver the righteous and condemn the wicked. We should not judge others salvation; that is God's work.

Matthew 17:1 The Transfiguration was a vision, a brief glimpse of the true glory of the King. This was a special revelation of Jesus' divinity to three of the disciples, and it was God's divine affirmation of everything Jesus had done and was about to do.

Matthew 17:3-5 Moses and Elijah were two of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament. Moses represents the law, or the old covenant. He wrote the Pentateuch, and he predicted the coming of a great prophet (Deut. 18:15-19). Elijah represents the prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5, 6). Moses' and Elijah's presence with Jesus confirmed Jesus' messianic mission - to fulfill God's law and the words of God's prophets. Just as God's voice in the cloud over Mount Sinai gave authority to His law, God's voice at the Transfiguration gave authority to Jesus' words.

Matthew 17:5 Jesus is more than just a great leader, a good example, a good influence, or a great prophet. He is the Son of God. When you understand this profound truth, the only adequate response is worship. When you have a correct understanding of Christ, you will obey Him.

An Awful Separation

"I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left" (Luke 17:34).

What an awful separation there will be in the professing Church when Christ comes again.

Our Lord describes this separation by a very striking picture. He says, 'in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.'

The meaning of these expressions is clear and plain. The day of Christ's second advent shall be the day when good and evil, converted and unconverted, shall at length be divided into two distinct bodies. The visible Church shall no longer be a mixed body; the wheat and the tares shall no longer grow side by side; the good fish and the bad shall at length be sorted into two bodies. The angels shall come forth and gather together the godly, that they may be rewarded, and leave the wicked behind to be punished. 'Converted or unconverted?' will be the only object of inquiry. It will matter nothing that people have worked together, and slept together, and lived together for many years: they will be dealt with at last according to their faith. Those members of the family who have loved Christ will be taken up to heaven; and those who have loved the world will be cast down to hell. Converted and unconverted shall be separated for evermore when Jesus comes again.

Let us lay to heart these things. He that loves his relatives and friends is especially bound to consider them. If those whom he loves are true servants of Christ, let him know that he must cast in his lot with them, if you would not one day be parted with them for ever. If those whom he loves are yet dead in trespasses and sins, let him know that he must work and pray for their conversion, lest he should be separated from them by and by to all eternity. Life is the only time for such work. Life is fast ebbing away from us all. Partings, and separations, and the breaking up of families are at all times painful things; but all the separations that we see now are nothing compared to those which will be seen when Christ comes again.

~J. C. Ryle~ - "Day by Day with ..."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Unfruitful Believers

"And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 25:30).

Unfruitful members of Christ's Church will be condemned and cast away in the day of judgment.

The parable tells us that the servant who buried his master's money, was reminded that he 'knew' his master's character and requirements, and was therefore without excuse; it tells us that he was condemned as 'wicked', 'slothful', and 'unprofitable', and cast into 'outer darkness'; and our Lord adds the solemn words, 'there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth'.

There will be no excuse for an unconverted Christian at the last day. The reasons with which he now pretends to satisfy himself will prove useless and vain: the Judge of all the earth will be found to have done right; the ruin of the lost soul will be found to be his own fault. These words of our Lord, 'thou knewest', are words that ought to ring loudly in many a man's ears, and prick him to the heart. Thousands are living at this day 'without Christ' and without conversion, and yet pretending that they cannot help it! And all this time they 'know', in their own conscience, that they are guilt. They are burying their talent: they are not doing what they can. Happy are they who find this out before time!It will all come out at the last day.

Let us leave this parable with a solemn determination, by God's grace, never to be content with a profession of Christianity without practice. Let us not only talk about religion, but act; let us not only feel the importance of religion, but do something too. We are not told that the unprofitable servant was a murderer, or a thief, or even a waster of his Lord's money: but he did nothing, and this was his ruin! Let us beware of a do-nothing Christianity: such Christianity does not come from the Spirit of God. 'To do no harm', says Baxter, 'is the praise of a stone, not a man or woman.'

~J. C. Ryle~

Intimate with Jesus

"Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?'" (John 14:9).

These words were not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with surprise; Jesus was encouraging Philip to draw closer. Yet the last person we get intimate with is Jesus. Before Pentecost the disciples knew Jesus as the One who gave them power to conquer demons and to bring about a revival (Luke 10:18-20). It was a wonderful intimacy, but there was a much closer intimacy to come: "... I have called you friends ..." (John 15:15). True friendship is rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart, and spirit. The whole experience of life is designed to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His Word, but do we really know Him?

Jesus said, "It is to your advantage that I go away ..." (John 16:7). He left that relationship to lead them even closer. It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to walk more intimately with Him. The bearing of fruit is always shown in Scripture to be the visible result of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ (John 15:1-4).

Once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely and we never lack for understanding or compassion. We can continually pour out our hearts to Him without being perceived as overly emotional or pitiful. The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control. This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth. The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.

~Oswald Chambers~


"... that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6).

What is regeneration? It is the implanting of a principle of new spiritual life and a radical change in the governing disposition of the soul. The important thing to grasp is the whole idea of disposition. In addition to the faculties of our souls, there is something at the back of them that governs them all, and that is what we refer to as our disposition. Take two men. They have the same faculties, but one lives a good life, one lives a bad life. What makes the difference? The answer is that the good man has a good disposition, and this good disposition, this thing that is behind the faculties and governs them and uses them, urges him to use his faculties in the direction of goodness. The other man has an evil disposition; so he urges the same faculties in an entirely different direction. That is what one means by disposition.

When you come to think of it, and when you analyze yourself, your life and your whole conduct and behavior and that of other people, you will see at once that these dispositions are, of course, of tremendous importance. They are the condition, if you like, that determines what we do and what we are.

There is in every person a disposition that seems to determine the kind of person he or she is. It is this that directs the faculties and the abilities so that one person is artistic and the other scientific and so on. I am making this point to show that what happens in regeneration is that God so operates upon us in the Holy Spirit that this fundamental disposition of ours is changed. He puts a holy principle, a seed of new spiritual life, into this disposition that determines what I am and how I behave and how I use and employ my faculties.

A Thought to Ponder: Regeneration is a radical change in the governing disposition of the soul.

~Martyn Lloyd-Jones~

The Holy Spirit and Common Grace

"That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world" (John 1:9).

It is the Holy Spirit who is responsible for what is called "common grace." Let me give you some definitions of what that means. Common grace is the term applied to those general blessings that God imparts to all men and women indiscriminately as He pleases - not only to His own people, but to all men and women, according to His own will. Or, again, common grace means those general operations of the Holy Spirit in which, without renewing the heart, He exercises a moral influence whereby sin is restrained, order is maintained in social life, and civil righteousness is promoted. That is the general definition. The Holy Spirit has been operative in this world from the very beginning, and He has had His influence and His effect upon men and women who are not saved and who have gone to perdition. While they were in this life and world they came under these general, non-saving operations of the Holy Spirit. That is what we mean by common grace.

Now, how does the Holy Spirit do this? Well, there are various answers to that question. You will remember that we are told in the prologue of John's gospel about "the true Light, which lighteth every man" (John 1:9). It does not matter how you translate that verse. " ... the true Light, which ligheth every man that cometh into the world," says the King James Version; "the Light that lighteth every man was coming into the world." says another. This light (that Christ puts in every person) is a kind of natural light, natural understanding. It is the light that is in the conscience, and there is that light of conscience in every person born into this world. Now that is one of the operations of the Holy Spirit in what is called common grace. It is a light that comes from Christ, because He is the Head of the human race, but it is the Holy Spirit who puts that light into everyone who is born.

A Thought to Ponder: Common grace is the term applied to those general blessings that God imparts to all men and women indiscriminately.

~Martyn Lloyd-Jones~

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why Jesus Rejected Sensationalism

"On the other hand, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" (Matthew 4:7).

The Lord Jesus had two good reasons for not participating in a worldly spectacle such as jumping from the temple roof. First, such sensationalism is captive to the laws of diminishing returns. To generate and hold people's allegiance to Him merely by stunning signs, Jesus would have needed to produce greater and greater signs. People would never have been satisfied and would always have demanded just one more miracle, one additional showy event. Real faith would not have been certain; they would have been lovers of sensation more than God, which similarly could happen to any of us who don't trust God's already revealed will.

Second, and more important, for Jesus to participate in sensational signs would have demonstrated a profound mistrust in His heavenly Father and a presumptuous, faithless testing of God. But that's what the devil wanted so that Jesus' sin would shatter His claim to divinity and ruin humanity's hope of salvation. Such an action would have questioned the Father's providence and love - and the wisdom of His redemptive plan.

If our sinless Saviour and Lord shunned sensationalism, we as imperfect men and women ought never to live recklessly or carelessly, expecting God to rescue us when we get into earthly trouble or spiritual peril.

Ask Yourself: Perhaps you don't consider yourself a risk-taker. But looking honestly at your own life, do you spit some behaviors that are spiritually risky, actions that presume on the grace of God? In humble repentance today, surrender these things to the Lord. Receive, but don't force, His great mercy.

~John MacArthur~ - "Daily Readings from the Life of Christ"

The Believer's Primary Goal

"We make it our aim ... to be well pleasing to Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9).

We make it our aim ..." It requires a conscious decision and effort to keep our primary goal constantly in front of us. It means holding ourselves to the highest priority year in and year out; not making our first priority to win souls, or to establish churches, or to have revivals, but seeking only "to be well pleasing to Him." It is not a lack of spiritual experience that leads to failure, but a lack of working to keep our eyes focused and on the right goal. At least once a week examine yourself before God to see if your life is measuring up to the standard He had for you. Paul was like a musician who gives no thought to audience approval, if he can only catch a look of approval from his Conductor.

Any goal we have that diverts us even to the slightest degree from the central goal of being "approved to God" (2 Timothy 2:15) may result in our rejection from further service for Him. When you discern where the goal leads, you will understand why it is so necessary to keep "looking unto Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2). Paul spoke of the importance of controlling his own body so that it would not take him in the wrong direction. He said, "I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest ... I myself should become disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9:27).

I must learn to relate everything to the primary goal, maintaining it without interruption. My worth to God publicly is measured by what I really am in my private life. Is my primary goal in life to please Him and to be acceptable to Him, or is it something less, no matter how lofty it may sound?

~Oswald Chambers~ - "My Utmost for His Highest"

Bible Study - verse by verse # 47

Matthew 16:22 Peter, Jesus' friend and devoted follower who had just eloquently proclaimed Jesus' true identity, sought to protect Him from the suffering He prophesied. But if Jesus hadn't suffered and died, Peter (and we) would have died in his sins. Great temptations can come from those who love us and seek to protect us. Be cautious of advice from a friend who says, "Surely God doesn't want you to face this." Often our most difficult temptations come from those who are only trying to protect us from discomfort.

Matthew 16:23 In His wilderness temptations, Jesus  heard the message that He could achieve greatness without dying (4:6). Here He heard the same message from Peter. Peter had just recognized Jesus as Messiah; here, however, he forsook God's perspective and evaluated the situation from a human one. satan is always trying to get us to leave God out of the picture. Jesus rebuked Peter for this attitude.

Matthew 16:24 When Jesus used this picture of His followers taking up their crosses to follow Him, the disciples knew what He meant. Crucifixion was a common Roman method of execution and condemned criminals had to carry their crosses through the street to the execution site. Following Jesus, therefore, meant a true commitment, the risk of death, and no turning back.

Matthew 16:26 When we don't know Christ, we make choices as though this life was all we have. In reality, this life is just the introduction to eternity. How we live this brief span, however, determines our eternal state. What we accumulate on earth has no value in purchasing eternal life. Even the highest social or civic honors cannot earn us entrance into heaven. Evaluate all that happens from an eternal perspective, and you will find your values and decisions changing.

Not Mere Words Alone

"The entrance of Thy words giveth light, it giveth understanding unto the simple" (Psalm 119:130).

Thanks to our splendid Bible societies and to other effective agencies for the dissemination of the Word, there are today many millions of people who hold "right opinions," probably more than ever before in the history of the Church. Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb.

Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.

Lord, as I study Your Word may I not merely read the words on the page but personally experience their truths, that I may know You personally and genuinely delight in Your presence. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~ - Tozer On the Almighty God"

Understanding Your Spiritual Resources

"God ... has blessed us with every spiritual blessing" (Ephesians 1:3).

As a Christian, you possess every spiritual resource you need to fulfill God's will for your life.

The story is told of a wealthy London businessman who searched many years for his runaway son. One afternoon he was preparing to board a train to London when he spotted a man in ragged, dirty clothing begging for money from passengers along the station platform. His first impulse was to avoid the beggar, but there was something strangely familiar about him.

When the beggar approached and asked if the man could spare a few shillings, the businessman realized he had found his long-lost son. With tears in his eyes and joy in his voice he embraced his son, crying, "A few shillings? You are my son - everything I have is yours!"

That pictures many Christians who are ignorant or negligent of their spiritual resources. They are children of the King, yet live like spiritual paupers.

Paul repeatedly emphasized our sufficiency as believers. In Colossians 2:10 declares that in Christ "you have been made complete." In Philippians 4:13, 19 he says, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me ... my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Peter adds that God's "divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).

The word translated "spiritual" in Ephesians 1:3 speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit. Every blessing you receive, whether material or immaterial, has God as its source.

As a Christian, you possess every spiritual resource you need to fulfill God's will for your life. You need not pray for more love, for example, because His love is already poured out in your heart through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). The same is true of joy (John 15:11), peace (John 14:27), strength (Phil. 4:13, and every other resource you need.

The key to spiritual progress and victory is learning to apply what you already have, not seeking more.

Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God for His abundant spiritual resources. Ask Him to help you apply them with wisdom and consistency.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 6:25-34 and Philippians 4:6-8. What specific promises does God make in those passages? What does He require of you?

~John MacArthur~ - "Drawing Near"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bible Study - verse by verse # 46

Matthew 16:19 This verse has been the subject of debate for centuries. Some say the keys represent the authority to carry out church discipline and administration; while others say the keys give the authority to announce the forgiveness of sins. Still others say the keys may be the opportunity to bring people to the kingdom of heaven by presenting them with the message of salvation. The religious leaders thought they held the keys of the kingdom, and they tried to shut some people out. We cannot decide to open or close the kingdom of heaven for others, but God uses us to help others find the way inside. To all who believe in Christ and obey His words, the kingdom doors are swung wide open.

Matthew 16:20 Jesus warned the disciples not to publicize Peter's confession because they did not yet fully understand the kind of Messiah He had come to be - not a military commander but a suffering servant. They needed to come to a full understanding of Jesus and their mission as disciples before they could proclaim it to others in a way that would not cause a rebellion. They would have a difficult time understanding what Jesus came to do until His earthly mission was complete.

Matthew 16:21 The phrase "From that time" marks a turning point. In 4:17 it signaled Jesus' announcement of the kingdom of heaven. Here it points to His new emphasis on His death and resurrection. The disciples still didn't grasp Jesus' true purpose because of their preconceived notions about what the Messiah should be. This is the first of three times that Jesus predicted His death.

Matthew 16:21-28 This passage corresponds to Daniel's prophecies: the Messiah would be cut off (Dan. 9:26); there would be a period of trouble (9:27); and the king would come in glory (7:13, 14). The disciples would endure the same suffering as their King and, like Him, would be rewarded in the end.

Bible Verses for Encouragement - 3

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth b removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea ... God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn." (Psalm 46:1, 5).

"Give us help from trouble, for vain is the help of man. Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies." (Psalm 60:11).

"For the Lord God will help me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. He is near who justifies me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near me. Surely the Lord God will help me; who is he who will condemn me? Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; the moth will eat them up." (Isaiah 50:7).

"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever." (Psalm 125:1).

"Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of his praise to be heard, who keeps your soul among the living, and does not allow our feet to be moved." (Psalm 66:8).

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by." (Psalm 57:1).

"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You." (Psalm 9:9).

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all of your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Fall On Us and Hide Us

Give me understanding, Lord, as I study Your Word.

"And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men ... every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!" (Revelation 6:15-16)

We don't think of a lamb as having wrath. But this is exactly what we see as the Lamb of God begins to unfurl the scroll that only He is worthy to open. One by one, each of the seven seals is broken, and the horrors of the Great Tribulation unfold before our very eyes.

Now, the Tribulation judgments will start soon after the church is taken out. Jesus said of the church that we are salt and light. When you take the salt out, putrefaction begins. When you remove the light, darkness ensues. And so this world will move into a time of unequaled darkness and desolation - the great day of the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:17). Jesus warned that in all of history there's never been a time as horrific as this coming Tribulation, and never will there be a time like it again (Matthew 24:21).

It begins with the opening of the first seal, as a white horse comes forth with a rider who carries a bow and is given a crown (Revelation 6:1-2). The bow symbolizes power and warfare, and the crown is a sign of dominion. Ancient kings returning victorious from battle would often ride upon a white charger, a sign of conquest. But this rider only has the appearance of a conqueror, for he is the Antichrist. With pompous display and seeming invincibility, this false Christ will come, ushering in the Great Tribulation.

The whole world is looking for a hero on a white horse. And he's going to come. But this wicked servant of satan will lead the world to death and destruction, as we will see when the rest of the seals are opened.

~Adrian Rogers~ - "Tapestry - Promises & Prophecy"

Worse Than Death

Psalm 6:1-10

All of us know what it means to sin and to confess our sin. Psalm 6 is the first of the seven penitential psalms. Occasionally God has to remind us to confess our sins.

In verses 1-5 David pleads for God not to rebuke him or to chasten him. God's chastening is not punishment. It builds our Christian character. Hebrews 12 talks about chastening, and the word used means "child training." It's the picture of a child learning how to be a good athlete. God chastens us, but He does so in love. David was afraid that God was going to chasten him in His hot displeasure. But our God is a God of mercy and grace. This doesn't mean, however, that we can minimize sin. This doesn't mean we should ever say, "Well, God is a forgiving God; therefore, I can do whatever I want to do, and He will forgive me." No, David was saying, "Lord, I've sinned. I'm weary with my groaning. Forgive me. I have done wrong." And God does forgive those who confess their sins to Him.

Sin is the Christian's worst possible experience. It's far worse than pain or suffering or even death itself. We are weak, and sometimes we fail. But let's never be afraid to come to our Father with our appeal for forgiveness. The tragedy is that all around us, enemies are waiting for us to fall. They want to point at us and say, "See, that Christian failed." But we can come before the Lord and ask Him for His forgiveness, and He will grant it to us. God will have mercy on us. "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Acts 2:21).

We must never treat sin lightly. Certainly, no Christian should ever harbor sin. But when we do sin, we may lean on God's mercy and grace and confess our sin to a loving Father. One of the great encouragements of the Christian life is that God forgives and restores. Are you living with unconfessed sin? Avoid God's chastening. Confess your sin and ask for His forgiveness.

~Warren W. Wiersbe~ "Prayer, Praise & Promises"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bible Study - verse by verse # 45

Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducee's demanded a sign from heaven. They tried to explain away Jesus' other miracles as slight of hand, coincidence, or use of evil powers, but they believed that only God could do a sign in the sky. This, they were sure, would be a feat beyond Jesus' power. Although Jesus could have easily impressed them, He refused. He knew that even a miracle in the sky would not convince them He was the Messiah because they had already decided not to believe in Him.

Matthew 16:4 Many people, like these Jewish leaders, say they want to see a miracle so that they can believe. But Jesus knew that miracles never convince the skeptical. Jesus had been healing, raising people from the dead, and feeding thousands, and still people wanted Him to prove Himself. Do you doubt Christ because you haven't seen a miracle? Do you expect God to prove Himself to you personally before you believe? Jesus says, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29). We have all the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testaments, 2,000 years of church history, and the witness of thousands. With all this evidence, those who won't believe are either too proud or too stubborn. If you simply step forward in faith and believe, then you will begin to see the miracles that God can do with your life!

Matthew 16:13-17 The disciples answered Jesus' question with the common view - that Jesus was one of the great prophets come back to life. This belief may have stemmed from Deuteronomy 18:18, where God said He would raise up a prophet from among the people. Peter, however, confessed Jesus as divine and as the promised and long-awaited Messiah. If Jesus were to ask you this question, how would you answer? Is He your Lord and Messiah?

Matthew 16:18 The rock on which Jesus would build His church has been identified as: 1. Jesus Himself; 2. Peter; 3. the confession of faith that Peter gave and that all subsequent true believers would give. It seems most likely that the rock refers to Peter as the leader of the church (for his function, not necessarily his character). Just as Peter had revealed the true identity of Christ, so Jesus revealed Peter's identity and role. Later, Peter reminds Christians that they are the church built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus as the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:4-6). All believers are joined into this church by faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour, the same faith that Peter expressed here (see also Ephesians 2:20, 21). Jesus praised Peter for his confession of faith. It is faith like Peter's that is the foundation of Christ's kingdom.

A Vast Difference

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" 

It is possible to grow up in a church, learn the catechism and have everything done to us that they do to us, within reason. But after we have done all that, we may not know God at all, because God isn't known by those external things. We are blind and can't see, because the things of God no man knows but by the Spirit of God.

We imagine that we can handle it by the flesh, and we do handle it by the flesh - the Lord lets us do it! We can hold the creed and not know God in His person at all. The fearful consequence is that many people know about God but don't know God Himself. There is a vast difference between knowing about God and knowing God - a vast difference!

So it is that the human being can know about God, can know about Christ's dying for him, can even write songs and books, can be the head of religious organizations and hold important church offices - and still never have come to the vital, personal knowledge of God at all. Only by the Holy Spirit can he know God.

Lord, it is humbling to consider the possibility that I could know all about You, and yet not know You personally. Impart Your Spirit, Lord, that I may truly know you. Amen

~A. W. Tozer

Sunday, April 22, 2012

There Stood a Lamb

Lord, help me to reflect on the truth I will learn today and let it work its way into my heart and life.

"... in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne." (Revelation 5:6-7)

Notice this redeeming Lamb, this One Who shed His blood, is standing in heaven's throne room. He's no longer dead! Though He still bears the marks showing that He laid down in death, this Lamb has risen.

Not only is He a resurrected Lamb, He's also a reigning Lamb. His omnipotence is seen in the sever horns, emblematic of His matchless power. Eyes speak of wisdom and of searching. And the perfect number seven indicates He is all-knowing and all-seeing, so this Lamb is also omniscient and omnipresent. He and He alone is worthy to rule and to reign.

He is worthy because of creation, as we saw in Revelation 4:11, "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created." The One Who made everything has the right to take this scroll.

He is worthy because of Calvary (Revelation 5:9). Because He was butchered on a Roman Cross, suffering unspeakable indignities and indescribable agonies, this Lamb Who was slain has the prerogative to open the scroll.

And He is worthy because of conquest. He prevailed over satan, sin and self, defeated death and conquered the grave - therefore, He is exceedingly worthy!

~Adrian Rogers~ - "Tapestry - Promises & Prophecy"

Our Will Should be Given to God

"Not as I will, but as Thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39)

"To will and do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13)

There are two attitudes in which our will should be given to God.

First, we should have the surrendered will. This is where we must all begin, by yielding up to God our natural will, and having Him possess it.

But next, He wants us to have the victorious will. As soon as He receives our will in honest surrender He wants to put His will into it and make it stronger than ever for Him. It is henceforth no longer our will, but His will. And having yielded to His choice and placed itself under His direction, He wants to put into it all the strength and intensity of His own great will and make us positive, forceful, victorious and unmovable, even as Himself. "Not my will, but Thine be done." That is the first step. "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou has given me, be with me." That is the second attitude. Both are divine; both are right; both are necessary to our right living and successful working for God.

~A. B. Simpson~ - "Days of Heaven on Earth"

Bible Study - verse by verse # 44

Matthew 15:26-28 "Dog" was a term the Jews commonly applied to Gentiles because the Jews considered these heathen people no more likely than dogs to receive God's blessing. Jesus was not degrading the woman by using this term, He was reflecting the Jews attitude so as to contrast it with His own. The woman did not argue. Instead, using Jesus' choice of words, she agreed to be considered a dog as long as she could receive God's blessings for her daughter. Ironically, many Jews would lose God's blessing and salvation because they rejected Jesus, and many Gentiles would find salvation because they recognized and accepted Him.

Matthew 15:29-31 A great crowd was brought to Jesus to be healed, and He healed them all. Jesus is still able to heal broken lives, and we can be the ones who bring suffering people to Him. Who do you know that needs Christ's healing touch? You can bring them to Jesus through prayer or through explaining to them the reason for the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). Then let Christ do the healing.

Matthew 15:33 Jesus had already fed more than 5,000 people with five loaves an two fish. Here, in a similar situation, the disciples were again perplexed. How easily we throw up our hands in despair when faced with difficult situations. Like the disciples we often forget that if God has cared for us in the past, He will do the same now. When facing a difficult situation, remember how God cared for you and trust Him to work faithfully again.

Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees were Jewish religious leaders of two different parties, and their views were diametrically opposed on many issues. The Pharisees carefully followed their religious rules and traditions, believing that this was the way to God. They also believed in the authority of all Scripture and in the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees accepted only the books of Moses and Scripture and did not believe in life after death. In Jesus, however, these two groups had a common enemy,and they joined forces to try to kill Him.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

No One Was Found Worthy

Thank you, Lord, for Your Word. Please prepare my heart now to receive Your truth.
“So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne … stood a Lamb …” (Revelation 5:4-6)
John’s copious tears represent the tears of people throughout all the ages who have wept, wondering if there is no hope for sin, sorrow and heartbreak to be defeated in this world. And it seems there truly is no hope, since no one is found worthy to open the scroll. Then a Redeemer is revealed, and we see the tragic weakness of civilization juxtaposed with the triumphant worthiness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice that John is expecting to see a Lion – a powerful, majestic beast – Who has prevailed, meaning He has been victorious. So he turns to look for this mighty, ferocious, triumphant creature – and he sees a Lamb. The word used here actually means a little pet lamb, like the lambs that were offered at Passover. Instead of a fierce Lion, there is a tiny, tender, innocent ,  redeeming Lamb.
This is the One Who has regained the title-deed to the earth. Only Jesus could buy back the inheritance forfeited by Adam, for the price required was His own precious innocent blood. That’s why Jesus stepped out of heaven and became a man, the virgin-born Son of God – so that he could be the sinless sacrifice required to pay our debt. The Bible says we “were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold … but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter: 18-19).
There is only One Who could open the seals and redeem creation. The Lord Jesus, our near Kinsman, willingly paid the price and He is exclusively worthy.
~Adrian Rogers~ - "Tapestry - Promises & Prophecy"

A. B. Simpson Quotes

Divine anointing is the secret of the deeper life, "but that ye may be rooted and grounded in love" (Ephesians 3:17) is the substance and sweetness of it. The fullness of the divine love in the heart will make everything easy. It is very easy to trust those whom we love, and the more we realize their love the more we will trust them for it. This love is the source of healing. The tide of  love flowing through our bodies will strangely strengthen our very frame and the spring of youth and freshness in our physical being. The secret of love is very simple. It is to take the heart of Jesus for our love and claim His love for every need of life, whether it be toward God or toward others. It is very satisfying to think of other persons in this way. "I will take the heart of Jesus toward them, to let me love them as He loves them." Then we can love even the unworthy in some measure, if we see them in the light of Christ's love.

It is easy for water to run down from the upper springs, but it requires a divine impulse for it to flow up from the valley in the subterranean springs. There is nothing that tells more of Christ than to see a Christian rejoicing and cheerful in the humdrum and routine of commonplace work. The praiseful Christian is keeping time in spirit with the footsteps and movements of labor and duty. No one has a sweeter or higher ministry for Christ than men and women at their regular occupations who can carry the light of heaven in their faces all day long. 

Sink or Shrink?

"But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased." (Matthew 14:30-32)

Jesus answered,"Come." In a flash, Peter was walking the waves. But he lost his spiritual footing. His faith faltered and he quickly began to sink. But before we look at that incident and criticize Peter too harshly, let's give him credit for having faith to leave the boat in the first place. The rest of the disciples were still clinging to their seats, trying to make sure they didn't fall overboard in the storm.

Sometimes we're afraid to risk a faith-based decision because we're afraid of failure or unsure of the outcome. What if we're wrong? What if we make a mistake?

Climb out of your seat and go! Better to trust God and make a wrong move than to do nothing and play it safe. I've discovered that God will honor even blunders made in complete dependence upon Him. He will be faithful to redirect your missteps for His glory and your benefit. So get going!

~John MacArthur~ - 

The Surrendered Life

"I have been crucified with Christ ..." (Galatians 2:20)

To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God's consideration.

Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sons of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.

If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.

~Oswald Chambers~

Friday, April 20, 2012

No One on Earth Was Able to Open the Scroll

Lord, as I come to Your Word, please allow me to see what You have for me to learn today." 

"And I saw in the right hand of Him Who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it." (Revelation 5:1-3).

The next thing that captures John's attention after he is caught up into heaven is a scroll in the right hand of the Majesty on high. This is the title deed to all the earth. It is the official document that is going to determine the outcome of human history.

In Bible times, when property was purchased, a scribe might record the transaction in writing. The document would then be rolled up and sealed so there would be no tampering with it. This scroll then belonged to the one who had paid the price and therefore had the legal right to open it and reveal what was inside. There was also a principle that allowed a person to legally regain property they had lost to someone else. If a person, through some foolish or unfortunate circumstance, were to have to turn over his property, a near kinsman who was able to pay the price could redeem his possessions for him.

When God created the world, He gave Adam and Eve complete dominion. But they turned that dominion over to satan when they allowed him to deceive them in the Garden of Eden. They sold the farm to him, as it were, and he slithered away with the title deed to all creation.

To regain possession of what was legally lost by Adam, someone is needed who can redeem, revive and rule this world. There must be a near kinsman who can pay the redemption price. The challenge is thrown out to all humanity and all recorded civilization ... and no one anywhere is able.

No wonder John weeps openly when it appears that sin and satan have conquered and the world will not be redeemed.

[John was wrong in his thinking. Continued with next post].

~Adrian Rogers~ "Tapestry Promises and Prophecy"

Born Again

John 3:1-6

To those who believe, there is given the power to become God's children (John 1:12). But the very essence of being a child of God is necessarily obedience. They who have My commandments and keep them are those who love Me" (John 14:21). The essence of this relationship is love; and the essence of love is obedience. We  cannot with any reality say that we love a person and then do things which hurt and grieve that person's heart. This relationship is a privilege, but a privilege which is entered into only when full obedience is given. So then to be children of God and to be in the kingdom are one and the same thing. The children of God and the citizens of the kingdom are both people who have completely and willingly accepted the will of God.

Now let us take eternal life. It is far better to speak of eternal life than to speak of everlasting life. The main idea behind eternal life is not simply that of duration. It is quite clear that a life which went on forever could just as easily be hell as heaven. The idea behind eternal life is the idea of a certain quality of life. What kind? Eternal life is the kind of life that God lives; it is God's life. To enter into eternal life is to enter into possession of that kind of life which is the life of God. It is to be lifted up above merely human, transient things into that joy and peace which belong only to God. Clearly we can enter into this close fellowship with God only when we render to Him that love, that reverence, that devotion and that obedience which truly bring us into fellowship with Him.

Finally, in this passage, John lays down a great law. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Human beings by themselves are flesh, and their power is limited to what the flesh can do. By themselves, they cannot be other than defeated and frustrated; that we know only too well; it is the universal fact of human experience. But the very essence of the  Spirit is power and life which are beyond human power and human life; and when the Spirit takes possession of us, the defeated life of human nature becomes the victorious life of God.

~William Barclay~

Taking the Next Step

"... in much patience, in tribulation, in needs, in distresses" (2 Corinthians 6:4).

When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in you duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel.

Every Christian must experience the essence of the incarnation by bringing the next step down into flesh-and-blood reality and by working it out with his hands. We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our everyday life with its trivial tasks. The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you. Never allow yourself to think that some tasks are beneath your dignity or too insignificant for you to do, and remind yourself of the example of Christ in John 13:1-17.

~Oswald Chambers~

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two Sister Blog Sites

In-depth Biblical Treasures has two sister blog sites you might be interested in:

Check us out on all three blogs!

The Seven Beatitudes of Revelation

The Book of Revelation

1. "Blessed is he
who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it." (1:3)

2. "Blessed are the dead
who die in the Lord from now on!" "Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them". (14:13)

3. "Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one
who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame." (16:15).

4. "Blessed are those
who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb."(19:9)

5. "Blessed and holy is the one
who has a part in the first resurrection." (20:6).

6. "Bless is he
who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book." (22:7)

7. "Blessed are those
who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city." (22.14)