“CHURCH LIKE IT USED TO BE”
“What Do We Find Important”
“I rejoice at thy Word, as one that findeth great spoil. Great peace have they who love thy law, and nothing shall offend them. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies; for all my ways are before thee.” Psalms 119
Jesus taught, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” The theme of Psalm 119 is the psalmist’s love of the Word of God; it is his lamp that illuminates his every step and his light that serves as a beacon to show him the path of righteousness. He testifies that he will find his delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on His Word day and night. What do all of these verses mean and how important are they to you? The Word of God must become so much a part of us that it is as important as the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink; without His Word we will die as if we stopped breathing air or eating food or drinking water. Someone said, “These hath God married and no man shall part, the dust on the Bible and the drought on our heart.” Oh, that we would hunger for the Word of God. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. Job 23:12
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive; But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, who is the head, even Christ.” Ephesians 4:14-15
What makes a church great? Is it the programs? Is it the social opportunities? Is it the status or size of the congregation? What is the purpose of the church? Many are looking for a church that fits their criteria. But does it meet the criteria of God’s Word? In fact that is where it begins, what does the church believe about the Word of God? Do they believe it is divinely inspired and infallible given to man to teach us how to have a right relationship with God? What do they believe about Jesus Christ? Is He the Son of God, virgin born and fully human and yet fully God? That He died on the Cross and shed His blood for our sins, buried and bodily resurrected for our justification? That He is the only way of redemption and we are saved by grace through faith? What do they teach of Heaven and Hell? Is God’s Word the final authority? Accept no less!
“A Personal Witness”
“A true witness delivereth souls, but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.” Proverbs 14:25
Someone once asked what a “living sacrifice” meant. He wondered if it meant martyrdom, for surely if someone was to lay his life down for the Gospel that would be a sufficient enough sacrifice to show love to the Savior. Or was it to surrender one’s self to a foreign field somewhere in the far reaches of the world? If someone was to ask you to define this “living sacrifice”, could you make it truly personal? A medical missionary went to a village in Africa to work with the lepers in a remote location. Tirelessly, she worked with them by caring for them, feeding them, changing their wraps and applying salve for their decaying bodies. Then one day she noticed some blemishes on her skin and as she feared and suspected she was a leper. She now felt their burden first hand and continued to serve until her death. She initially went to give her life in service to them and then became one of them and learned to love them in sacrifice for them. Could it be that a living sacrifice is simply a living witness that is demonstrated by our love to our Savior and our desire to share Him?
“It Is A Great Life”
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
One of the evidences of God’s satisfaction to our obedience to Him is that of peace, the witness of an inexhaustible peace, the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, tarry until it does or find out the reason why it does not. Ask yourself if you are living in obedience to the Lord or following your own pathway. His way is not free from obstacles and storms, but our way is always free from peace. We find peace in the midst of our storms, it is His peace and so He says do not let your heart be troubled. Our questions come whenever we cease to obey. Any problem that comes between God and myself springs out of disobedience; any problem, and there are many, that is alongside me while I obey God, increases my delight, because I know that my Father knows, and I am going to watch and see how He unravels this thing. What wonderful words were penned by C. Austin Miles as he stated: “And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.” Yes, it is a great life!
“The Lord Didn’t Promise A Truck Load”
“Give us day by day our daily bread.” Luke 11:3
Think of the hymns we sing in honor and adoration to the Lord. Day by day and with each passing moment, moment by moment I’m kept in His care, each step I take my Savior goes before me, and many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand. We have a great hope for eternity and we sing of that far off distant land, but our walk with the Lord is a single step at a time. The Lord’s answer to His disciples to their request to teach them to pray was for the Lord to give each day’s provisions each day. We do not need next week’s provision today, we need today’s provision today. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness God provided manna each day to be used that day; it was not to be stored, so yesterday’s provision was not good for today, and next week’s provision would be given next week. They learned to trust in the Lord day by day and He was faithful to provide them the things they needed each day for over forty years. Lord, provide this day’s provision for me today.
“Be Still And Know”
“Praying always will all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Ephesians 6:18
Jesus instructed that men ought always to pray and not faint; it was Paul who instructed that we are to pray without ceasing; and then James continues that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. What does prayer mean to you? Is it simply a blessing over your daily meal? Is it a place to go when your life is falling apart and you need Divine deliverance because all you have tried has failed? When Jesus instructed about prayer in Luke eleven, He spoke of the majestic and eternal sovereignty of God, and how His sovereignty should be personal to each of His children. You see, when we come into His presence it must be more than just talking with God that has brought us there, we must go there to listen to Him, we must go there to intercede for ourselves and others, and we must go there to have fellowship and communion with Him. Remember a good conversation is measured by how the participants listen to one another. He listens to us when we come into His presence. Do we listen to Him?
“And Whom Are You Serving”
“And whatever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Colossians 3:23
A friend of mine was an electrician before he was saved and he was in charge of a large group of electricians. He told me that his company bid on and received the electrical work in a very large church. One day there was a discrepancy over some inadequate workmanship and this supervisor commented, “This will be okay, after all, it’s just for a church.” As he finished saying this he turned and noticed the pastor of the church was standing next to him. He and his crew had a good laugh about this later in the day, but he was still haunted by this statement many years after he became a Christian. He said, “Oh, if I could only go back and redo that work for my Lord.” It took salvation for him to realize that his work was for Someone higher than the pastor. As Christians we are often ready to give God the leftovers of our time and possessions. Someone once said, “I might as well give this to the church, because if I don’t, I’ll just have to throw it away.” When we consider that our Lord gave His all and His best for us, how can we desire to give less than our true-hearted and whole-hearted best back to Him?
“Is He Lord Or Not”
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46
Paul exhorted the Ephesian believers to be followers of God, as dear children. The word means to be imitators of God, as dear children, and teaches us that there should be a family resemblance to our Lord. Our standard, as a Christian, is Christ, and He is the standard of righteousness and holiness. There is no variance in Him, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Our namesake, Christian, should be a testimony to this truth, for we know that it means to be, Christ-like. It is not a question of whether others see Christ in us, but does God see Christ in us? It is a most proper thing to call Him Lord, but is it the confession merely of the lips and not really of life? If His Lordship be a reality, it will disclose itself in a daily walk of complete obedience to His will. We use a number of words and phrases as a Christian such as Lord and Master, and Thy will be done. Have we become accustomed to such things or are they a testimony of our inner most relationship with Him? Father, may Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, in me. Amen
“Contentment And Hope”
“Lord, my heart is not haughty… Surely I have behaved and quieted myself.” Psalm 131: 1-3
Sometimes the smallest, shortest, or simplest things seem to be the most profound or powerful. Psalm 131 is one of those Psalms. It does not take but a minute to read, but it takes a lifetime to learn and live its precepts. This Psalm is not only written by David, but also about David. This is a Psalm of contentment and hope. Contentment gladly rests in the will of God, while hope yearns for the fulfillment of the promises of God. He reveals his sensitivity to his Father as he confesses his lowliness. The key words are: not, nor, neither, and or, in this verse. He is confessing, I am not proud (haughty), but I am humble before the Lord. He reveals his satisfaction in his Father as he confesses his submission when he uses the words, behaved and quieted. David had disciplined his pride and smoothed out the roughness of his self-will to follow the Father. He revealed his security by his Father as he exercised his reliance and his rest in Him. It may take a lifetime to achieve, but it will be worth it when we arrive to this place in our walk with the Lord. God gives a lifetime to learn of Him.
“Another Value Of The Word Of God”
“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11
What a wonderfully simplistic formula for success in our lives and yet how utterly complex we choose to make it. Someone has stated, “This Book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this Book.” There are three parts to the verse that will assist us in keeping this in perspective if we will just follow them. First, we see the precious provision mentioned by the psalmist when he speaks of The Word. When we read from, hear about, or think of the Word of God we have a decision to make regarding its message. The psalmist helps us with this decision by teaching us what to do with the Word when he talks about his precious place, as he explains that his heart is where it must be hid. The reason he hides The Word in his heart is found in his final challenge as he speaks of the precious purpose for keeping it there and that is so he might not sin against God. It is not just a personal choice when we sin, it is a spiritual problem. It not only affects us, but also our relationship to our Heavenly Father, for He is the One that we sin against. It also affects those around us and those in our life who are most dear to us.
“Day By Day With Each Passing Moment”
“Give us day by day our daily bread.” Luke 11:3
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27
This is a beautiful and comforting thought that the God of the universe, Creator of all, and The Great I Am, cares about us. When we are cast down by the sorrows and cares of life, His unfailing arms are ever beneath to support us in our time of weakness; shelter us in our time of trouble; succor us in our time of need, and sustain us in our time of wavering. There is an Eye that never sleeps, beneath the wings of night. There is an Ear that never shuts, when sink the beams of light. There is an Arm that never tires, when human strength gives way. There is a love that never fails, when earthly loves decay. Are we leaning all our weight upon the everlasting arms? Upon His Everlasting Arms? When life storms appear, lean on Him. When life shatters our hopes and dreams, lean on Him. When life’s searching takes us to roads that are rocky, steep, and unsettling, lean on Him. Cast all your care on Him for He careth for you.
“Sound The Battle Cry, See The Foe Is Nigh”
Throughout history, there have been battle cries that have motivated and rallied people for a cause or a purpose. Early in our nation’s history, before we had gained our independence, as the British troops advanced onto our soil, the cry, “The British are coming”, spread across the region. The citizens of this newly found and forming nation took up arms against those who would take away the freedom they desperately longed for and craved, and this phrase rallied them together for the common cause of freedom and independence. In the early fight for freedom for the Republic of Texas, a small Mission was fought for and defended by 183 freedom seekers who all lost their lives for their cause. The infamous cry, “Remember the Alamo”, carried them on to victory and independence from those that would try to not only crush their dream, but also destroy those that dared to dream that dream. As Christians, we also have a phrase that we repeat; however, it is more than a battle cry or a term that would motivate us to rally around a cause, it is, “Jesus is coming again!” We realize the resurrection of Christ gives confidence of His soon return. Bless His Name! Read Psalm 100.
“Is It A Talk Or A Walk”
“And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46
Paul exhorted the Ephesian believers to be followers of God as dear children, in Ephesians 5:1. The word means to be imitators of God, as dear children, and teaches us that there should be a family resemblance to our Lord. Our standard, as a Christian, is Christ, and He is the standard of righteousness and holiness. There is no variance in Him, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Our namesake, Christian, should be a testimony to this truth for we know that it means to be Christ like. It is not a question of whether others see Christ in us, but does God see Christ in us. It is a most proper thing to call Him Lord, but is it the confession merely of the lips and not really of the life? If His Lordship be a reality, it will disclose itself in a daily walk of complete obedience to His will. We use a number of words and phrases as a Christian such as ‘Lord and Master’, and ‘Thy will be done’. Have we become accustomed to such things, or are they a testimony of our inner most relationship with Him? ‘Father, may Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen’.