Posts

Showing posts from September 16, 2012

Discipline

Can you remember the last time you were disciplined by God? Most of us would struggle with this because it seems hard to identify what was and what was not a test by God. Possibly the Psalmist can help us here.
“For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:10-12
Note the Psalmist’s recollections about God’s tests. Refining like silver is hot and painful. It is not a pleasant experience. I used to work in a foundry where aluminum, brass and bronze were heated to temperatures over 200 degrees. The caldron was white or orange with heat. It was very dangerous and the men pouring it out wore asbestos.
Prison is the next recollection. Prison is for those who have done wrong. Guilt exists in the hearts of those present there. Locked in, without freedom, with burdens laid on the back bending you forward to bala…

Lifting Me Up

There is a way to bolster your self-image that runs contrary to the Word of God. It entails comparing yourself to someone else and proclaiming you as better than them. It is pushing others down to elevate self.
Paul spoke about this in Galatians 6:4 when he said, “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.”
Comparing our self to our self to see the advancements we have made is the only true way to measure. It is comparing apples with apples. When we compare our self to others we assume everything on their side is equal to our side however we do not know the life and actions that have unfolded in their lives to bring them to where they are today. We do not know the strengths and weaknesses they have and how they have battled in their lives. So, for us to say we are better than them is foolishness for we don’t even know them. Perhaps they have come much farther than us becaus…

Live

There are two ways to live: one, is living in our old nature that Adam gave us. This is a life of slavery to sin. We perpetually yield to the desires that will take us away from God. Two, is living in our new nature provided for us at our point of salvation in Christ which involves living under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. It is stated as, “…live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”(Galatians 5:16)
We sometimes become confused as to how to “live” under the Holy Spirit’s influence. We think this living happens when we create a new philosophy to live by or create resolutions to resist our old nature or even by force of education or law we live by the Spirit. All of these are substitutes and tricks of the old man within us to maintain control.
Living by the Spirit or under the influence of the Spirit is living according to His promptings. This necessitates communication with God, recognition and confession of sin, …

Crisis

When crisis enters life do you have faith, hope and trust in God? The world can enter into tumult and terror in just a matter of moments. A volcano can erupt creating massive destruction, an earthquake under the sea can raise tsunami waves which beat upon the shore, nations of people can be stirred to war by zealous persons, and hurricanes can overflow the land with water and winds. In these times, do you see God at work or do you feel He has stepped away?
God’s power over nature and a warring world is confidently proclaimed in Psalm 46. The writer begins with one of the most all inclusive statements of confidence we can see in Scripture. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
The solution and savior to all things is God, thus the emphasis in His placement at the very beginning of this verse. Whether we need Him to cover us defensively or to fight for us offensively, He is there, not just yesterday or tomorrow but always in the present.
Can any other source b…

Zealous

“It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.” (Galatians 4:18)  Yesterday in Today’s Word we spoke of being zealous in our respect of God and today we hear from Paul the truth of Proverbs 23:17.
Paul knew about being zealous. His rise to power as Saul the persecutor of “the way” got him fame and the support of the Jewish leaders. He went from house to house pulling out believers and beating them. He hunted them down and had some killed for their persistence in “the way.” He might even be equated with Hitler’s zealous pursuit of the Jews in Germany and its surrounding countries.
Here Paul says it very clearly out of his own experience that being zealous is a good thing IF it is for the right purpose. When religion seeks the power of world rulership (such as in the Dark Ages or today with Islam) it is zealous but not for good. It is using religion as a cover for enslavement and domination. There are other ways to be zealous …

Respect

How can I say this any better than the way it was said in Proverbs 23:17? I can’t, so here it is, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.”
Envy is a form of respect. It is full of lust to have what others have. It is greed. See not the today but the end of sinners, for whatever they possess is temporal. Their expectations or hopes are shortly lived. Their final punishment full of pain, regret, remorse but we do not see this.
The alternate to envy is “fear” rightly explained as reverence or respect of God. And, not just respect but a zealousness concerning it. A zealot is one who is extreme and compassionate in his beliefs. See the end of the believer as eternity with God, enwrapped in joy, peace, and love. Compare the two and opt for the later. Whatever your circumstances today, view them as a blip in your life. Don’t waste your emotions in desiring what will pass, direct your emotions toward the One who has made all things possible and is pre…

Spirit Led

There is a curious transition that takes place in those who come to know Christ as Savior. They begin their new life with enthusiasm, spiritual thirst and “A HA” moments as they are spiritually awakened from the pages of the Bible. Then time, success and busyness creep into their new life and they sink back to doing works to maintain their Christianity.
Paul spoke to the Galatian Christians about this when he said, “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:3) In other words he was saying, “you came to Christ by the work of the Spirit in your life and now are you going to live your Christian life by the works of the flesh?”
Money, power, status, supposed needs, influences of others not yet in the faith can direct us away from the spiritual path into a path full of the empty observances of rules that supposedly make us more spiritual. We can assume we know the way therefore put down the “map” or “compass” which is the Word of G…