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Soldier4Christ
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« on: January 01, 2006, 12:03:06 PM »

The Oracles of God

"Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" (Romans 3:2-3).

This striking synonym for the Scriptures ("the oracles of God") occurs just three times in the Bible. In our text, Paul is emphasizing the great privilege and responsibility that was committed to the Jews when God gave His "oracles" to them, a word implying "divinely inspired utterances."

Then the author of Hebrews rebuked those Hebrew Christians who had still not learned the very "first principles of the oracles of God," despite having been professing Christians for a long time (Hebrews 5:12). Finally, the apostle Peter urged his readers: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (I Peter 4:11). That is, anyone who presumes to speak for the Lord must "Preach the word" (II Timoth y 4:2). It is not our words, but His words that are "quick, and powerful" (Hebrews 4:12). In fact, Stephen called them "the lively [or `living'] oracles" (Acts 7:38).

In all these references, it is clear that these "oracles of God"--that is, the Holy Scriptures--constitute the very utterances of the living God. They were given to and through believing Jews and are preserved for us now in our Bibles. They obviously should be believed, studied, obeyed, and proclaimed by all who consider themselves to be Christians.

The fact that many people reject the Bible, even claiming it is wrong in what it teaches, is irrelevant. Such claims merely display human arrogance. God's Word has been "for ever . . . settled in heaven" and "is true from the beginning" (Psalm 119:89,160). It will endure even after this present world has passed away (Matthew 24:35) and will finally be the criterion by which its detractors will be judged in the last day (Revelation 20:12; 22:18-19).

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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2006, 12:04:00 PM »

Buried with Him

"Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

The burial of Christ after His death was extremely important for two reasons: First, it assures us that His death was a physical death and that His resurrection was a bodily resurrection. Secondly, His burial--like His death and resurrection--has profound doctrinal and practical significance for the believer's individual life.

All this is pictured, as our text points out, by the ordinance of baptism, displaying symbolically the death of Christ for sin and the death of the believer to sin, then the burial of the corruptible body of flesh (which, for all but Christ, returns to dust in accordance with God's primeval curse). And finally, the resurrection, demonstrating Christ's eternal victory over sin and death, and, in the case of the believer, the begi nning of the new life in Christ.

The same truth appears again in Colossians 2:12: "Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead." Although these are the only New Testament passages where the doctrinal implications of Christ's burial are specifically mentioned, the spiritual truths taught thereby permeate all the Scriptures. If our old bodies of sin are--at least positionally--already in the grave, then it is altogether grotesque for them still to be walking around in sin. "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection" (Romans 6:5). We shall (not "should," as misleadingly rendered in our text) walk in newness of life, triumphant daily over sin through the implanted resurrection life of our victorious Savior.

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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2006, 12:05:03 PM »

The Annual Haircut

"And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year's end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king's weight" (II Samuel 14:26).

Young Absalom was David's son, and soon became such a favorite of the people of Judah that many decided he should be king since, ". . . in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty" (II Samuel 14:25). And that beauty seemed to be centered in his magnificent head of hair. By the end of each year, when he would get an annual haircut, the hair on his head weighed about five pounds.

It is interesting that many men and women even today, two thousand years later, still take great pride in their particular hairstyle. With Absalom, however, it was the means used by God to thwart his prideful rebellion. While in battle with the armed forces of his father, he rode upon his mu le "under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth," where David's captain was soon able to take "three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak" (II Samuel 18:9,14).

Thus pride in his hair led to his death. The lesson for us does not focus on haircuts, but on anything that generates self-centered pride. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). Our New Year's resolutions should involve more than a haircut at year's end! Remember Absalom! They should all center around the desire to please God most of all. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).

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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2006, 12:06:16 PM »

How Many Days?

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).

This admonition is from the great psalm written by Moses as he was about to finish his long life of service to God. Although he had lived 120 years, he wrote that the normal life span would thenceforth be seventy or eighty years. Actually, his early years were spent serving the Egyptians, so his service for God occupied only some 80 years at most, and much of that time he was in the desert away from his people. It was only after he had passed that normal 80-year life span that he actually led his people from Egypt to the Promised Land.

Probably that was in his mind as he stressed the importance of "numbering our days," so that we may determine to use wisely whatever time we have left. He also wrote, in Deuteronomy 32:29: "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!"

Actually, a p erson with a 70-year life span only has a total of about 18,000 days of potentially useful service for the Lord, assuming his first 20 or so years must be spent in education and training. It may be much less than this, depending on how much of one's mature life is spent in other pursuits than those to which God has called him or her. Each Christian would be well advised to "number the days" he may still have before the Lord comes or death overtakes him. "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (Proverbs 27:1).

Whether this New Year brings chaos, or prosperity or whatever, its days will still afford opportunities to serve the Lord. Therefore, let us resolve to "walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16).

We should not only count our days, but make our days count, and count for Him!

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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2006, 06:31:24 AM »

Son of the Living God

"And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).

This ringing affirmation of faith came from Peter as spokesman, but undoubtedly was shared by all the disciples, since Jesus had asked the question, "Whom say ye that I am?" of them all. Actually, they had probably all been disciples of John the Baptist, who had directed them to Jesus, and so had heard John's testimony concerning Christ's identity. John had said that Jesus was indeed, "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father" (John 1:18).

Yet, as they had been following Him, they had heard Him speak of Himself far more often as "the Son of man." Over thirty times, in the gospel of Matthew alone, He identified Himself as Son of man, not once as the Son of God. Nevertheless, He accepted Peter's statement as absolutely true, saying that the Father had so revealed it.

In fact it is essential that one must believe it to be saved. Jesus did say: ". . . but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18).

Yet He seems to want us to know Him especially as the Son of man, perhaps so that we will never forget that He, though God, is also man just like us. And as man, He was "in all points like as we are, yet without sin" so He can "be touched with the feeling of our infirmities," and we now can "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

John was enabled to see Christ once again, long after His return to heaven. Although He was now in His resurrection body, John still saw Him as "one like unto the Son of man" (Revelation 1:13). Although He is indeed the Son of the living God, He is also our "Man in the glory"!

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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2006, 11:17:25 AM »

The Beginning of Months

"This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Exodus 12:2).

When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, not only was their manner of life changed, but even the way they kept track of time. A new calendar was established by the Lord beginning around the time of the Exodus, so that each New Year would automatically make them remember their new beginning when God led them out of bondage in Egypt.

This beginning of months, the month Abib (corresponding approximately to our modern April), was to be marked especially by observance of the Passover supper on the fourteenth day of the month. The lamb was to be selected for each family on the tenth day of the month, and presumably the first nine days were days of preparation. The week following was to be marked by the use of unleavened bread in each home. The leaven represented the sin which had been purged from the home symbolically by the s acrifice of the lamb and their deliverance by God from bondage in Egypt when He saw the shed blood on the side posts and top of their door (note Exodus 12:13).

Although our annual calendar is different from that of Israel, the spiritual significance of their religious New Year can well be applied in our own lives today. We can remember that "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" (I Corinthians 5:7), offering special thanks for our great deliverance from sin and death by our "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Then, like the redeemed Israelites, we should likewise "Purge out therefore the old leaven, . . . the leaven of malice and wickedness," and we should feast, instead, on "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (I Corinthians 5:7-8). If we would make--and keep--such New Year's resolutions as these, this month would, indeed, become "the beginning of months" to us.

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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2006, 10:24:11 AM »

The "Shall Not's" of John's Gospel

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

There are many wonderful promises to the believer listed in the Gospel of John. Many of these promises are things which "shall" happen, but let us consider seven of these which teach of things which "shall not" happen to the believer whose trust is in Christ.

Teaching of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christ said, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (4:14).

Similarly, "Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (6:35).

Furthermore, He taught: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not w alk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (8:12). Our deepest needs are met in Him.

Having once believed, we are placed into His family and He promises "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (10:28). In Him, we are utterly secure. Why? "He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (5:24).

Consequently, we have no fear of death. "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" (11:25-26).

As the familiar verse in our text tells us, if we only believe "that He gave His only begotten Son," we shall "not perish, but have everlasting life."

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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2006, 02:36:52 PM »

Mercy and Truth

"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10).

The words "mercy" (Hebrew, checed, also often translated by "kindness," or "lovingkindness") and "truth" (Hebrew, emeth) occur more often in the psalms than in any other book. In fact, "mercy" occurs more in the psalms than in all the rest of the Old Testament put together. Though at first these two concepts seem opposed to each other (for how can God's truth, which abhors sin, be compatible with His mercy, which forgives sin?), nevertheless they are "met together," for "His salvation," according to the previous verse, "is nigh them that fear Him" (v.9).

"Mercy and truth" (or "lovingkindness and truth") are brought together at least sixteen times in the Old Testament, including ten times in the psalms. And when God's eternal truth can be united with His loving mercy, both mediated through His Holy Word, there is great blessing indeed! "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies" (25:10). "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name" (138:2). The first time the phrase is found in the Bible is in the prayer of Abraham's servant, thanking God for "His mercy and His truth" (Genesis 24:27).

God's mercy and truth, of course, are really met together only in Jesus Christ, through whom God can both "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). He is "our peace" (Ephesians 2:14) and is "made unto us . . . righteousness" (I Corinthians 1:30). He is "the truth" (John 14:6) and will show in the ages to come, "the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7).

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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2006, 12:36:52 PM »

Job and Adam

"If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom" (Job 31:33).

The patriarch Job lived long before Moses and the writing of the Pentateuch, yet he knew about Adam and his fall and likewise about God's curse on the world because of Adam's sin.

Note the following references in the book of Job to death and the curse: "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble" (Job 14:1; compare Genesis 3:16). "All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust" (Job 34:15; note Genesis 3:19).

Evidently Job still had access to the records of primeval history, either by verbal tradition from his ancestors or perhaps through actual written records of the ancient patriarchs handed down from Adam to Moses.

There are also a number of references in Job to man's original creation. After speaking first of the beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, Job a sks: "Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:9-10). Note also Elihu's testimony: "The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (Job 33:4).

The book of Job was almost certainly the first written of all the books of the Bible, and it testifies abundantly that the knowledge of the true God and His creation was still the common heritage of mankind at that time. Job knew the Lord, and never tried to hide anything from Him, as Adam had done. His ancient testimony is still true today. Quoting what must have been an early revelation from God, he wrote: "And unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding" (Job 28:28).

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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2006, 09:07:51 AM »

The Soul Exchange

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37).

The lives of many people revolve almost completely around the stock exchange, and they never stop to realize that it easily may become a soul exchange, where they exchange their very souls for the imagined blessings of the great god, Mammon. "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (I Timothy 6:10).

Similarly, many are greatly exercised about their monthly profit-and-loss statements. But the Lord Jesus asks whether there is really a profit, even if one acquires the wealth of the whole world at the cost of his soul, and the answer to such a rhetorical question has to be: "No!" For "the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (I John 2:17).

Furthermore, the words "life" in verse 35 and "soul" in our text are actually the same word (psuche) in the Greek original. That is, to lose one's soul is to lose one's very life, for they are inseparable. A life centered around money is not only a soul lost, but a life wasted as well. On the other hand, if we lose our lives in Christ, then we find true life, eternal life, beginning here and now, and continuing forever. This is a good exchange!

God may well bless a Christian with material wealth, but this should not be his motivation. "Charge them that are rich in this world" Paul says, "That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate [i.e., share]; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (I Timothy 6:17-19).

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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2006, 10:09:42 AM »

Bruising the Devil

"And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen" (Romans 16:20).

This is an intriguing promise, suggesting that believers can somehow inflict bruises on the devil, who is perpetually seeking to "devour" them (I Peter 5:Cool. This promise is a clear allusion to the primeval assurance of Genesis 3:15, when God promised that the unique "seed" of "the woman" would eventually "bruise" (actually "crush") the head of the old serpent, the devil. This prophecy will finally be fulfilled in Christ's ultimate victory, when Satan first will be bound for a thousand years in the bottomless pit and then confined forever in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:2,10).

In the meantime believers, who also in a sense are the woman's spiritual "seed" (Revelation 12:17), can repeatedly achieve local and temporary victories over Satan and his w iles by resisting him "stedfast in the faith" (I Peter 5:9). If we resist him as Jesus did, with relevant Scripture, then God promises that he will "flee from you" (James 4:7). Such local victories can be obtained over these dangerous teachers whom Satan is using (note Romans 16:17-19, just preceding our text) "shortly" in this manner, but we need to be continually alert against his recurrent attacks. The ultimate victory over Satan, of course, will be won only by the Lord Jesus when He returns, and we must "Be sober, be vigilant" (I Peter 5:Cool until that time.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we must perpetually "wrestle" against "the rulers of the darkness of this world" (Ephesians 6:12), who will be casting "fiery darts" (v.16) against each believer. Finally, with the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (v.17), we can even by God's grace inflict spiritual wounds on Satan himself!

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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2006, 11:28:07 AM »

Atonement

"Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch" (Genesis 6:14).

It may be surprising to learn that God's instructions to Noah concerning the Ark's design contain the first reference in the Bible to the great doctrine of atonement. The Hebrew word used here for pitch (kaphar) is the same word translated "atonement" in many other places in the Old Testament.

While the New Testament word "atonement" implies reconciliation, the Old Testament "atonement" was merely a covering (with many applications). As the pitch was to make the Ark watertight, keeping the judgment waters of the Flood from reaching those inside, so, on the sacrificial altar, "it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11), keeping the fires of God's wrath away from the sinner for whom the sacrifice was substituted and slain. The pitch was a covering for the Ark, and the blood was a covering for the soul, the first assuring physical deliverance; the second, spiritual salvation.

However, not even the shed blood on the altar could really produce salvation. It could assure it through faith in God's promises on the part of the sinner who offered it, but "the blood of bulls and of goats" could never "take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4).

Both the covering pitch and animal blood were mere symbols of the substituting death of Jesus Christ, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (Romans 3:25). Through faith in Christ, our sins are "covered" under the blood, forgiven by God, and replaced by His own perfect righteousness, by all of which we become finally and fully reconciled to God.

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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2006, 06:31:27 PM »

Job and Adam

"If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom" (Job 31:33).

The patriarch Job lived long before Moses and the writing of the Pentateuch, yet he knew about Adam and his fall and likewise about God's curse on the world because of Adam's sin.

Note the following references in the book of Job to death and the curse: "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble" (Job 14:1; compare Genesis 3:16). "All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust" (Job 34:15; note Genesis 3:19).

Evidently Job still had access to the records of primeval history, either by verbal tradition from his ancestors or perhaps through actual written records of the ancient patriarchs handed down from Adam to Moses.

There are also a number of references in Job to man's original creation. After speaking first of the beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, Job a sks: "Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:9-10). Note also Elihu's testimony: "The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (Job 33:4).

The book of Job was almost certainly the first written of all the books of the Bible, and it testifies abundantly that the knowledge of the true God and His creation was still the common heritage of mankind at that time. Job knew the Lord, and never tried to hide anything from Him, as Adam had done. His ancient testimony is still true today. Quoting what must have been an early revelation from God, he wrote: "And unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding" (Job 28:28).


PR I enjoyed this devotional, for the last few days I've been telling my daughter that nothing is hidden from God. It's been a topic that has been on my mind for a few days, and now I read this devotional. God is trying to tell me something I think, I better ask Him what.  Huh
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2006, 10:49:36 AM »

Kiss the Son

"Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little" (Psalm 2:12).

Psalm 2 is a lofty song of God's glory and the reign of his Anointed. The Millennial kingdom is described in verse 9 as one in which Christ will reign with a rod of iron, dashing His enemies in pieces like a potter's vessel. After laying that foundational message, the psalmist instructs the mighty of the earth to "Kiss the son." What is the point of this instruction? In the Middle East a kiss on the cheek signifies friendship and solidarity. But how could the kings and the judges of this world kiss a prophesied Messiah who was not yet born? The answer is that this Son is the eternal Lord Himself. "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee" (v.7).

It is worthy of note that the common Greek word for worship in the New Testament is proskuneo, which literally means "to kiss toward." Many prou dly refuse to kiss the humble carpenter of Nazareth. Others respond like the sinful woman in Luke 7. The Lord informed his Pharisee host, "Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet" (v.45). However, there is a third category of people, those who make a pretense of kissing Christ but whose hearts have never bowed to his Omnipotence. These follow in the footsteps of Judas who "drew near unto Jesus to kiss him" (Luke 22:47). But Christ saw through his deception and asked, "Judas betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" (v.48). Judas kissed the door to heaven and within a few short hours dropped into hell.

What is our response to the command: "Kiss the Son!" Will we pass by in pride, put on a false show of friendship, or truly repent and humble ourselves in love for the Son of God?

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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
airIam2worship
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2006, 11:15:50 AM »

Great devotional brother, I enjoyed reading this and you shed some light for me by explaining 'Kiss The Son'. I know the Son is Jesus, I wasn't fully aware the worshipping Him is actually what Kiss meant. Learning together as we soujourn.
Your sister & friend in Christ,
Maria
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PS 91:2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust
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