Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

I have not posted anything in quite some time and this will be of few words. But I felt compelled to praise God this glorious Christmas day for His "indescribable gift". As a multitude of heavenly hosts once proclaimed in unison, may we each, with grateful hearts, declare "Glory to God in the highest"! Praise God and the glory of His grace for the privilege to know that which makes Christmas "merry", the truth concerning Jesus.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Today's Bible reading is the 1st chapter of the Book of Galatians. You can find it here at Bible Gateway: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NASB&search=Galatians%201

Before his conversion, by his own admission, the Apostle Paul "used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it". But he came to learn that he had been set apart, even from his mother's womb, and that when God "was pleased to reveal His Son" in him, by grace He did so in order that Paul might preach "the faith which he once tried to destroy" . He had received this gospel message Christ, the gospel of grace, not from men, but "through a revelation of Jesus Christ". So sure was Paul of the gospel message, he wrote the following in this first chapter to the Galatian believers: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed." The apostle then repeats himself and says, "As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed." Paul had already stated that "a different gospel" was in deed no gospel at all. But as had been the case with the Galatian's, Paul knew the tendency within man to pervert the true gospel message. He was so assured by the Spirit of that which had been "once for all handed down to the saints", that he purposely included himself in his warning. I am convinced that he wanted them to know, that even if he were to return one day preaching a different gospel than that which they had received, different than the gospel message Paul had preached to them, that he was not to be believed and that he too would then be counted among those who should "be accursed". Praise God for the surety of the gospel of grace, the gospel of Christ!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Today's Bible reading is the 3rd chapter of the Book of 2nd Corinthians. You can read it here at Bible Gateway: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%203&version=NASB

Confidence in ministry should never be misplaced. If we are confident in ourselves it has been. Boasting is excluded by a law of faith Paul wrote to the believers in Rome. With Divine clarity today's text tells us that we are not "adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves". Though not found "as coming from ourselves", as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and members of His church, we are adequate for ministry.  "But our adequacy is from God" Paul writes. It is safe to say that it cannot be found anywhere else. We are called to "God things", "heavenly things", "gospel things" and our adequacy must come from Him. We are "adequate" for ministry despite all of our inadequacies, because "our adequacy is from God". The One who calls is also the One who equips. He takes the one who is inadequate for ministry (me and you) and by grace makes us adequate. He is able to do this for all of His children as His adequacy is without end. Praise God.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Today's Bible reading is the 2nd chapter of the Book of 2nd Corinthians. You can read it here at Bible Gateway: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NASB&search=2%20Corinthians%202

In verses 10 and 11 we find the Apostle Paul writing these words to the believers in Corinth; "But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." This may have been true for Paul and it may be true for you, but I fear that many are indeed ignorant of Satan's schemes. In the text we find that one of his schemes we should not be ignorant of is that of being unforgiving. As a result of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, corrective action had been taken in the church with regard to one of it's members. Paul is now telling them to reaffirm their love for this brother in Christ. To be sure, there had been a time for discipline but now it was time for them to "forgive and comfort him". Failure to do so could result in bitterness on the part of those unwilling to forgive and the possibility that the one now needing forgiveness and restoration would be "overwhelmed by excessive sorrow". And Satan would take advantage of one or both. Yes, let us not be "ignorant of his schemes".

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Today's Bible reading is the 1st chapter of the Book of 2nd Corinthians. You can read it here at Bible Gateway: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NASB&search=2%20Corinthians%201

Today's text reminds us that we (believers in Christ) are not immune from afflictions, sufferings, burdens, despair and peril. Each is a part of living in a sin affected world. It is good for the Christian to have a proper perspective on this in order that he or she is not mislead in believing that God has somehow granted us exempt status from both the troubles that are found in life and those that come specifically because of our association with Jesus Christ. But the text also reminds us of the wonderful advantage that is ours in Christ. God is the "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies" and the "God of all comfort". Praise the Lord that He is indeed the God of all comfort! Much comfort is needed in our sin ridden world. The older I am, and I pray the more I grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the more fully I see the sin issue. Oh, how we needed a Savior! The "God of all comfort", our text says, "comforts us in all our affliction" and, at least in part, He does "so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." Comforted by God so that we might comfort one another as He comforted us. May we be thankful to Him for this. Yes, sufferings may be ours in this life and there may be an abundance of them, but our "comfort is abundant in Christ."  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Today's Bible reading is the 16th chapter of the Book of 1st Corinthians. You can read it here at Bible Gateway: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NASB&search=1%20Corinthians%2016

Two relatively short verses in this last chapter of 1st Corinthians summarizes much of what Paul had written to them in the entire sixteen chapters. In verses 13 and 14 the Apostle Paul was inspired to write, "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love". In keeping with much of what Paul had already written to the believers in Corinth, these two verses maintain their great profitability for churches all around the world today. Oh, how needful in our day for the church to be "on the alert"! Many have been "asleep at the wheel" for many years and the spiritual health of the church has suffered for it. Although admonished here and in other passages of scripture, we have failed to "stand firm in the faith" and have instead been "tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming" as we read in Ephesians chapter four. Spiritual maturity has been unimportant to many, including those who find themselves in leadership and teaching positions. There has been an unfortunate contentment with human wisdom, shallow spirituality and walking as "mere men". Quite frankly, the church struggles to embrace the gospel message, the gospel of grace and the cross of Christ. We must not walk as mere men but as Spirit empowered new creatures in Christ strengthened in His might. And although few would argue against the admonition that all things "be done in love", it seems that many find it difficult to have and maintain a biblical understanding of what Christlike love is. Yes, pray that we might "be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" and let all that we do "be done in love".

Friday, July 25, 2014

Today's Bible reading is the 15th chapter of the Book of 1st Corinthians. You can read it here at Bible Gateway: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NASB&search=1%20Corinthians%2015

To be sure, there is much to rejoice in throughout scripture. But I rejoice in the clear and simple proclamation of truth found in verses 3 and 4 of today's chapter. "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the scriptures" Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth. Praise God for these matters of "first importance", the glorious gospel message! These are not just important matters, but the matters of first importance. Our faith rests on the truths they proclaim. One might say that nothing else matters without them. That Christ died for our sins. That Christ was buried and that Christ rose on the third day. Oh, yes, without a doubt, they are the matters of first importance. The matters of utmost importance. Everything else we believe in and teach as Christians is only true because of these truths. May we praise God for these matters of first importance today and each day.