Thursday, July 27, 2017

Roselyse Is Back Where She Belongs

After two weeks of agony for all of us, Roselyse is back where she belongs. The picture I have seen shows a little girl mighty glad to be back with her daddy.

Thank you for your prayers. Please continue them as we try to heal from this terrible ordeal.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It Will Surely Come

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3 (ESV)

Our society encourages us to hurry. We eat fast food. We expect next day delivery, seven days a week. Speed and quantity are honored above craftsmanship and quality.

Many Christians are caught up in the rat race. Contemplation, meditation, patience, are becoming obsolete words.

Moses wanted to deliver Israel from the Egyptians. God planned to do that, and he planned to use Moses in doing so. But another 40 years would pass before the journey began, and then 40 more before it ended. The Lord’s plans are not hurried, and that often makes us impatient. The question, “How long?” occurs frequently in the Bible, 25 times just in the Psalms.

Thousands of years passed between the sin in Eden and the sacrifice at Calvary. It was not that God needed all that time to develop a plan for redeeming sinners. The plan existed before the need for the plan was evident. God knew what he would do before the world existed (Eph 1:4). He was awaiting the fullness of time (Eph 1:10).

Jesus wants his people to get out of the crowd from time to time for spiritual refreshment (Mk 6:31). He wants them to wait patiently while his plans come to fruition (Rev 6:10-11). We will not always find it easy, but if we wait for him we will find his blessing. It will surely come.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Christian Does Not Live There

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God (1 John 3:8-9, ESV).

I have visited London several times, but I have never lived there. Normally, when I pass through London, it is only for a day or two. I am always on my way somewhere else when I stop in London.

Christians sin. That is a fact that we must not deny. John himself says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9, ESV).

Christians sin, but if a person who claims to be a Christian makes a habit of sin, continues to sin, lives in sin, that person has denied Christ and proven that their claim is false. Such a person has shown that, far from being a child of God, he is the offspring of Satan (1 John 3:4-10).

I have never lived in London, although I have passed through there. Christians will occasionally sin, but they do not live in sin. The blood of Jesus will cleanse us of our occasional sins (1 Jn 1:9), but if we give ourselves over to sin, if we quit fighting it, if we live in it, we show that we do not really belong to Christ.

Where are we living? What is the pattern of our lives? If the pattern is a pursuit of righteousness, although sin does creep in, that is to be expected. But if the pattern is of repeated wallowing in sin (2 Peter 2:20-22), our true genealogy is not of God but of the devil.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Imperfect Is Better Than Non-Existent

According to an old story, someone approached the well-known preacher, Alexander Whyte, and told Whyte that he did not like Whyte’s methods of visitation. Whyte confessed that he too was dissatisfied with many of his visits. He then asked, “Tell me how you conduct your visits.” The complainer had to admit that he did not do any visitation. Whyte replied, “I do not like the way I visit; but I like the way I visit better than the way you do not visit.”

Something similar might be said about our Bible studies. I confess that I am not always satisfied with our Bible classes, either the ones we hold at the building or the ones held in homes. Sometimes those of us who teach are not as well prepared as might have been wished. Sometimes we wander from the subject and comments are made that are a bit astray. But I am convinced that imperfect participation is better than the most perfect non-participation.

I have eaten many meals that were very good, but I do not know that I have ever eaten a perfect meal. I am not even sure what a “perfect meal” would be. On a number of occasions I have eaten some very imperfect meals. But as my daddy always said, “Half a loaf is better than none.” Had I turned up my nose at every imperfect meal through the years, I would not be alive today (physically or spiritually).

Don’t be a critic who complains about classes, worship, or visitation efforts. Of course, those who visit and encourage others do not always handle it perfectly. Of course, those who teach do not always teach perfectly. Nor do those who cook do so perfectly. But I am still going to show up at the table come dinner time, and I expect you will too. Try showing up to visit someone, even as imperfect as your visit is sure to be. Try showing up to Bible class, as imperfect as that class is sure to be. Imperfect is better than non-existent every time.

Which Scriptures?

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11, ESV)

The Jews of Berea were examining the scriptures. Which scriptures were the Bereans examining? They were not studying Matthew, Mark, Luke or John; those had not yet been written. They could not have been studying Acts; it was not written either. So, what were they examining? Clearly they were checking what we call the Old Testament (Genesis through Malachi).

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus(2 Timothy 3:14-15, ESV)

What scriptures did Timothy learn from childhood? It cannot have been the New Testament scriptures. Many of them had not been written even when Timothy reached adulthood, and none had been written when he was a child. Clearly it was Genesis through Malachi that his mother and grandmother taught him.

Many people study parts of the Bible and do not find that it makes them “wise unto salvation.” Many people study the Bible and do not find that it makes them “complete and ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Why? Because they do not study the whole Bible. They skip through the Bible studying only the parts they like, and find that they have not accomplished much.
Get to know the whole Bible. Then and only then will you know what it might accomplish in your life.