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Showing posts from August 19, 2012

Testimony

It has been said by some that the best testimony is the testimony of a well lived life. This could express the sentiment of some with regards to “witnessing” to others about their faith. They feel that they need to live a good life before others and then wait for them to ask them what is different about them.
There is truth that a testimony shared from a mouth and life filled with debauchery is basically not saying much about God but there is also falsehood in thinking that living a life alone is all you need to do to testify of God.
The Psalmist said in 40:10, “I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.”
To “hid your righteousness in my heart” is to live a good life yet not say a word about the Resource that allows you to do this. That is why the word “hide” is used in the sentence. Rather, the Psalmist position is that it starts internal but must also become external. We ha…

Association

Can you dwell among reprobate persons and not be stained by their lifestyle? What is the influence of those with whom you associate on your own behavior?
Paul in speaking to the believers at Corinth about those deceivers in Corinth who rejected the resurrection and ridiculed its idea said, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Bad or worthless company, that company which does not build you up and encourage you in your faith, is not the kind of people you want to make the center of your life. It is more often true than not that because of our sin nature within, it is more natural for a good man to be pulled down to a vile man’s level than a vile man pulled up to a good man’s level. The stain of sin is easily spread from one to another. Paul prefers that these Corinthian believers who are seeking after lives of good character find their company among others of like pursuit. It has always been true that the company you keep has a direct influence …

Sex

We live in a world that is focused on the physical. Diet plans are offered to reduce our size; physical exercise is encouraged to keep our muscles toned; and the body itself is flaunted in nakedness. We are barraged by the suggestion that the act of sex is a “right” for every teenager and the norm for every adult whether married or not.
Paul spoke to a group of believers in the city of Corinth which was consumed by sexual activity to help them view this act from a different perspective. Individuals had gone to the extreme in making it a religious ritual in pagan idol worship or had promoted it as a key ingredient in the debauchery of the soul. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul speaks of intercourse as a rightful and consensual act within the borders of a marriage. He speaks of it in marriage as to the mutual ownership of each other’s body. “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.…

Angst?

When those who do evil seem to thrive, the person of faith may have feelings of angst. That is we may for a moment believe that what God says is true, that he crushes the evil and protects the believer, is not always true.
The writer of Psalm 37 begins by challenging the reader to “not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong” (vs. 1). But in our humanity and often in our selfishness we compare our “lot” with the lot of those who are being successful in evil. This is not seeing with perspective and accomplishes nothing worthwhile within us.
Instead, we are challenged in verse 34 to “wait for the Lord and keep his way.” Waiting is not my strong suit nor is it most of ours. Most of us are more into action and when we are told to wait on the activity of an unseen God it becomes very difficult. Somewhat like waiting on the street corner for that little flashing light to tell us we can walk. But God who sits outside of time is working in time to bring about judgment of e…

Tests of Faithfulness

What is it that will be your ultimate test of faithfulness to God? The story of Job presents three options. First, there was the loss of personal property. Sabeans and Chaldeans suddenly came upon Job’s possessions, oxen, donkeys, camels, and the people that protected them and killed the people and drove off the animals. These were the signs of wealth in Job’s ancient culture and they were gone in a moment.
Second, the loss of family caused when a natural disaster came suddenly on the sons and daughters of Job gathered in celebration and within moments they were all dead.
At this point Job 1:29 states that, “Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship..” Job recognized the true nature of his temporal status and that was he came into the world with nothing and his ownership of things and people was short lived if not an illusion.
But the third loss was even more challenging to Job. It was the loss of his health. His wife suggested he give into t…

Love

Here is a word which has been exampled in stories of sacrificial acts throughout the ages. Books and movies illustrate it and everyone desires it. Paul said there were three powerful actions, faith, hope and love and yet love stood above the other two. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1Corinthians 13:13)It is greatest not because it outlasts faith and hope but because it outranks them.
Faith’s nature is to believe and receive but love gives and how much more blessed it is to give than receive. Hope looks ahead to fulfillment, the reception of that hoped for, but love continues on from the past, into the now, and beyond the future without change or ending.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always…

Pursuit

If you were to chase after something with your life what would it be? Some with determination might pursue wealth, position, influence, or many possessions. Some would never pursue anything believing they are not worthy of anything and could never attain them if they tried. For the later, there is a mediocre life because of their thought process but for the former there exists the excitement of achievement. However, the act of pursuit has become the best part, because when they have attained what they wanted they are still not satisfied and caused to pursue again.
God through wise Solomon directs us to pursuit of the right things and the resultant satisfying circumstances when they are achieved. Note his words in Proverbs 21:21, “He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.”
This is a pursuit not temporal in nature but eternal. If any two attributes of God were available for us to obtain, these two would be at the top of the list. Pursuing after righteousnes…