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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #60 on: February 10, 2006, 02:36:46 PM »


Thy Light and Thy Truth

"O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles" (Psalm 43:3).

This old troubled world desperately needs light to find the way out of its darkness and truth to rightly plan its future. But they must be God's light and God's truth, not the seductive lights and humanistic philosophies of man's fabrications.

God has, indeed, already sent out His light and His truth, but "men loved darkness rather than light" (John 3:19) and, although they profess to be "Ever learning," they yet are "never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" and, in fact, "turn away their ears from the truth" (II Timothy 3:7; 4:4).

That was true in the psalmist's day, and perhaps even more so in our day, although we surely have far more light and access to truth today than the psalmist ever had. We now have, for example, God's complete written Word (Genesis through Revelation). Another psalmist had promised: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," and also had promised: "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light" (Proverbs 6:23).

God's truth surely is what we need -- in fact, all we need -- for our faith as we look to our future. This also is revealed in the light of His Word, both His inspired written Word and His incarnate living Word. The Lord Jesus not only claimed: "I am . . . the truth" (John 14:6), He also prayed for us, saying: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17). And for all who believe His revealed truth; "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (II Corinthians 4:6).

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« Reply #61 on: February 10, 2006, 02:40:35 PM »


The Elect of God

"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth" (Romans 8:33).

The doctrine of election is a key doctrine of Scripture, but it is also controversial, so any discussion of it should, mostly, let the Scriptures speak for themselves. The Greek and Hebrew words for the "elect" are the same as for the "chosen," and it is clear that whenever the elect are mentioned, it is God, not man, who has done the choosing.

For example, Christ elected the twelve to be His apostles of His own volition. They are called, in fact, "the apostles whom He had chosen" (Acts 1:2). The Scriptures also speak of "the elect angels" (I Timothy 5:21) and even of Christ Himself as being the "chief cornerstone, elect, precious" (I Peter 2:6).

Most often, however, the term is applied to those who have been saved through faith in Christ and His substitutionary death, and they are said to have been "chosen . . . in Him before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4). Having been chosen, these elect ones are then, in the fullness of time, drawn to Christ. As He said: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him"; and He also said: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:44,37). Finally, to make it crystal clear who does the choosing, Jesus said: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit" (John 15:16).

None of this eliminates our individual responsibility to "make [our] calling and election sure" (II Peter 1:10), but the grand purpose of this great doctrine is simply this: "Base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen. . . . That no flesh should glory in His presence" (I Corinthians 1:28-29).

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« Reply #62 on: February 10, 2006, 02:41:56 PM »


Adam's Rib

"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man" (Genesis 2:21-22).

This amazing record of how the first woman came into being has been the object of much ridicule, but it is completely and literally true. However, the "rib" which God used was most likely not a rib at all. Rather, the Hebrew word in most of its occurrences is translated either "side" or "side chamber." This would probably be a better translation here, as well.

It may be that Eve's body was formed by God from Adam's side, or from something within the "chamber" of his side. Any such "surgery" must at least have involved the shedding of blood. Since "the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11), and since the circulating blood in one's body cleanses and renews both flesh and bones, such a primeval blood transfusion from Adam's body would be uniquely appropriate to bring life to Eve's body.

Adam's "deep sleep" thus becomes a prophetic foreshadowing of the deep sleep of death into which one day "the last Adam" (I Corinthians 15:45) would enter, when a spear "pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water" (John 19:34). As Adam's sacrifice gave life to his bride, so did the death of Christ quicken "the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). "Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; . . . That He might present it to Himself a glorious church" (Ephesians 5:25,27). As Eve thenceforth shared Adam's very life, so do believers today constitute Christ's beloved Bride, and we are "hid with Christ in God," so that Christ Himself is "our life" (Colossians 3:3-4).

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« Reply #63 on: February 11, 2006, 11:11:51 AM »

Here a Little, There a Little

"For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10).

The setting of this unusual passage is most sobering. Both the people and their priests in Israel's northern kingdom (personified by "Ephraim") were in gross rebellion and drunken disobedience to the Lord. They were even ridiculing God's prophets who were trying to call them back, complaining that they were being treated like school children. In effect, they were saying: "Are you presuming to teach us as you would freshly weaned infants, going line by line, with rule after rule?"

Whereupon God replied that He would use people of another tongue to come in and teach them what they refused to learn from Him. These precepts He had been trying to teach them should have provided true rest and refreshment, but now learning these lessons would prove to be their undoing. What should have been a blessing to them would become their condemnation.

How desperately do modern Christians need to heed these same words! They profess to believe God's Word, but they study it only superficially, compromise its doctrines, and disobey its instructions. "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God" (Hebrews 5:12). Most Christians of today, like the Corinthians of old, are still "babes in Christ" (I Corinthians 3:1). Thus, it really is necessary for their teachers to bring the Word of God to them "precept upon precept, line upon line, little by little." "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God" (Hebrews 6:1).

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« Reply #64 on: February 11, 2006, 12:03:31 PM »


Before Their Time

"The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come" (Isaiah 57:1).

How tragic it seems when promising young Christian men or women are cut off "before their time." Even more painful is the sudden death of a child, before there was ever the opportunity for him or her to grow up at all. Yet the Christian believer can be confident that such events do not occur before God's time, for He "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11). We know that God loves us, because He sent His own beloved Son to die for us. Therefore, "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

It may well be that God has allowed the righteous to perish and the merciful to be taken away, in order to spare them from "the evil to come," either increasing tribulation in the world, or perhaps the further growth of incipient sin in their own lives. It may be that their "untimely" departure "to be with Christ; which is far better" (Philippians 1:23) will be used of God to lead others to Christ and salvation. It also should give their loved ones greater incentive to learn more of God's Word and its gracious promises, as well as to forsake sin in their lives. In those situations where death seems to have been hastened because of zeal for the Lord, their loved ones can rejoice that the martyr's "crown of life" (Revelation 2:10) is awaiting them.

Other reasons may exist which we cannot understand now, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" (Romans 11:34). But we do know that even a sparrow "shall not fall on the ground without your Father" (Matthew 10:29). We may not fully understand now, but we can rest in the fact that He does all things well.

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« Reply #65 on: February 11, 2006, 12:04:55 PM »


Summer Is Ended

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

This is a sad verse. In the context, the "weeping prophet," Jeremiah, was lamenting the fact that his nation's time of blessing and peace had passed with no spiritual fruit produced. God had been wonderfully patient and had sent prophetic warnings time and again, but they had all been ignored, and the nation -- especially its priests and kings -- had continued in their rebellion. Now their summertime of ease was over. Soon, God said, "I will make the cities of Judah desolate . . . a den of dragons" (Jeremiah 9:11).

The end of summer does provide a good metaphor to depict the sad ending of a time of careless living. Astronomically, the autumnal equinox, occurring on this date, when the days and nights are equal in length, notes the beginning of the fall season, with nights growing longer and longer until deep in December.

Sad, indeed, is the tale of many a young man or woman who lives carelessly, often sinfully, during their prime of life, with little thought of God or what His will might have been for those good years of vigor and potential spiritual fruit in their lives. Suddenly they realize that their "days" of strength and joy are growing shorter, with little permanent harvesting of any real value accomplished.

Gladly, however, it is never too late for a lost soul to be saved. Even a thief, dying on a criminal's cross, can still say "Lord, remember me," and that gracious Savior, recognized finally as his Lord, will still take him to paradise (Luke 23:42-43).

But his life's summer will have been gone, with no lasting harvest produced to offer his Lord. As the poet said: "For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, `It might have been'."

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« Reply #66 on: February 12, 2006, 10:27:56 AM »

Demonic Discouragement
February 12, 2006

"Behold, He put no trust in His servants; and His angels He charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?" (Job 4:18-19).

This was the strange message delivered to Eliphaz, the first of the three friends who proved such "miserable comforters" to Job in his sufferings, by "a spirit" that "stood still, . . . an image . . . before mine eyes" (vv.15-16). This "thing was secretly [literally `stealthily'] brought to me," said Eliphaz (v.12), and there is little doubt that its original source was Satan himself, in his efforts to discredit and destroy Job. The "spirit" who instructed Eliphaz was not sent from God, as he may have thought, but was one of those angelic servants who had been "charged with folly," when they followed Lucifer in his primeval rebellion.

Still smarting with wounded pride that God would make His angels mere "ministering spirits" (Hebrews 1:14) to Adam and his children, whose own bodies were mere "houses of clay," built out of the dust of the earth, these demonic rebels hate human beings--especially those who love and serve God--with great passion. If Satan could not destroy Job by tempting him into moral wickedness or rebellion against an "unjust" God, perhaps he could lead him into discouragement, using his self-righteous "friends" to cause him to lose faith in God's love and care.

But he failed! Job said: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him," and "I know that my redeemer liveth" (Job 13:15; 19:25).

Such defeatism is one of Satan's most effective weapons. When he strikes with it, we must, like Job, "resist stedfast in the faith" (I Peter 5:9), knowing "the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" (James 5:11).

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« Reply #67 on: February 13, 2006, 10:47:46 AM »

The Proverbial Tongue


"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise" (Proverbs 10:19).

The book of Proverbs has much wise counsel concerning the use of the tongue. It contains, for example, no less than 27 sober warnings against speaking lies! There are also at least eight condemnations of gossiping. For example: "A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter" (11:13).

Then there are warnings against using the tongue to criticize, or to slander, or to hurt. A good example is in 12:18: "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health," and also in 18:8: "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly."

Too much talking is also dangerous, as our text for the day points out, for it often results in sin. In this connection, one of the most picturesque proverbs is the following: "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike" (27:15). The virtues of silence are graphically pointed out in 17:27-28: "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: . . . Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."

Similarly, there are many promised blessings to those who speak carefully and graciously: "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver" (25:11). "The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning" (16:21). "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life" (15:4). "The tongue of the just is as choice silver" (10:20). "A soft answer turneth away wrath" (15:1). "A word spoken in due season, how good is it!"

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« Reply #68 on: February 13, 2006, 10:56:13 AM »


The Ages To Come

“That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

People may ridicule Christians for believing in “pie in the sky bye and bye,” but the sober truth is that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Why should we get enamored with the philosophies and projects of this present world, when the Scriptures tell us that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God,” and that both the wisdom and “the princes of this world” are going to “come to nought” (I Corinthians 3:19; 2:6).

Anyway, should we not “lay up for (our)selves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20), instead of foolishly “supposing that gain is godliness” (I Timothy 6:5). Christ “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world” (Galations 1:4), not to make us more comfortable living in it. In fact, “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life . . . passeth away: . . . but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:16,17).

God has not promised us pie in the sky, but He has promised to show us “the exceeding riches of His grace.” He has assured us that there will be “glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians 3:21). “And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Therefore, like Moses, we choose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season,” for we have “respect unto the recompense of the reward” (Hebrews 11:25,26).

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« Reply #69 on: February 13, 2006, 10:57:57 AM »


Labor And Profit

"Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

One of the inequities of human life seems to be that there is no dependable relationship between the diligence with which one labors and the reward he receives for that labor. Some men may work hard all their lives, yet live in poverty; the “idle rich,” on the other hand, may inherit their wealth.

The trouble is that perfect equity can never be achieved in such matters while man’s entire dominion is in bondage to sin and death, under God’s curse (Genesis 3:17–20). As long as one’s goals and motives in working are only “under the sun,” there is bound to be “vanity and vexation of spirit,” no matter what his current economic and social status may be. The accounts are not to be settled in the fallible ledgers kept here on earth, but in God’s books.

“Labor not for the meat which perisheth,” said the Lord, “but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (John 6:27). To bondslaves, Paul said, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23,24).

It is important to remember that, when all accounts are settled at His judgment seat, the “profit” we receive is not based on quantity, but quality, of services rendered. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it . . . and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (I Corinthians 3:13).

Not “how much,” but “what sort!” There is little profit under the sun, but, if we are “abounding in the work of the Lord . . . (our) labor is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).

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« Reply #70 on: February 14, 2006, 01:47:42 PM »

The Wife of Thy Youth


"Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which He hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labor which thou takest under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:9).

The writer recently had the privilege of taking a small part in the memorial services of a long-time member of the ICR Board of Trustees. This godly gentleman and his good wife had been married almost 77 years at the time of his homegoing! That was quite a record, especially in this day of easy divorce and sequential spouses. We are told that about half of all marriages in this nominally Christian nation end in divorce.

Most all couples at the marriage altar used to promise to care for each other "as long as ye both shall live." That ceremony is often caricatured these days by changing the promise to "as long as ye both shall love," which essentially means nothing. The wonderful couple mentioned above, however, took the original promise very seriously, putting it into beautiful practice for over three-quarters of a century!

Of course, there are many other Bible-believing Christians who practice it still, and the Lord Jesus Christ certainly taught it. When a group of Pharisees asked Him if a man could "put away his wife for every cause," the Lord replied: "Have ye not read, that He which made them" said that a man "shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? . . . What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:3-6).

Valentine's Day, whatever may have been its original motivation, has largely devolved into a day glorifying romantic--sometimes erotic--love. It would be wonderful if Christians would make their "romance" a relationship of true Christian love--deep, lasting, self-sacrificing love.

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« Reply #71 on: February 15, 2006, 12:05:40 PM »

Jesus Christ Is Lord


"And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:11).

Throughout the New Testament, we find there are three names in primary usage for the Son of God: Jesus, Christ, and Lord. The name Jesus, meaning "Jehovah is the Savior," is His human name linking Him with humanity whom He came to save. Christ, meaning "anointed," is His Messianic name linking Him with the prophecy which He came to fulfill. The New Testament equivalent to the Hebrew word "Jehovah" is the word "Lord" linking Him with deity whom He came to represent and reveal, and to whom is due homage.

These three names have a chronological emphasis, for until His crucifixion, He was known primarily as "Jesus," but after His resurrection and ascension, He was preeminent as "Christ." When He returns, it will be as "Lord" to reign. To be sure, there is overlap, for He is simultaneously all three and has been throughout history. But the general pattern is clear.

The three names also indicate His three-fold office and work. "Jesus" suggests His career as a prophet teaching men the truth, while "Christ" suggests His priesthood atoning for sin, and "Lord" His Kingship, ruling over men. Man-kind's relationship and responsibility to Him follow this same pattern: obedience to Him as prophet; faith in Him as priest; surrender to Him as King.

There is no effort on the part of the Scripture writers to separate these names into different individuals, for on many if not most occasions, two or three of the names are combined, showing that these three names reference one and the same person. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).

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« Reply #72 on: February 15, 2006, 09:28:55 PM »

Jesus Christ Is Lord

"And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:11).

AMEN PR!
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« Reply #73 on: February 16, 2006, 12:04:37 PM »

The Spiritual Senses


"O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him" (Psalm 34:Cool.

Frequently, Scripture uses our five physical senses in a figurative way to help us comprehend our interaction with the heavenly realm of God's presence and power.

We can "see," for example, with spiritual eyes. Paul prayed thus for the believer: "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:18).

Similarly, we are privileged to hear the voice of the Lord with spiritual ears. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). "A stranger will they not follow, . . . for they know not the voice of strangers" (John 10:5).

The sense of touch is the sense of feeling, and God can both touch and be touched. We read, for example, of "a band of men, whose hearts God had touched" (I Samuel 10:26). Of Jesus Christ, it is said that He is not a remote deity "which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15). Even people who never knew Him can perhaps "feel after Him, and find Him" (Acts 17:27) if they truly desire His great salvation.

We can even become "unto God a sweet savor of Christ" (II Corinthians 2:15). To the world, the faithful Christian life and testimony can either be "the savor of death unto death" to those who refuse it, or "the savor of life unto life" (II Corinthians 2:16).

Finally, we are exhorted actually to taste the Lord, and see that He is good! His Word will be, according to our needs, either "sincere milk" (I Peter 2:2), "strong meat" (Hebrews 5:14), or "sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" (Psalm 19:10).

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« Reply #74 on: February 17, 2006, 09:56:51 AM »

Reasonable Service


"I beseech you therefore . . . by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:1-2).

For those who would know God's will for their lives, these verses provide the definitive answer. The key is sacrifice, not conformity. It is paradoxical, but wonderfully true, that real living is dying--dying to the world and living unto Christ! This great theme is emphasized repeatedly throughout the New Testament (Galatians 2:20, etc.).

Whether paradoxical or not, the principle of sacrificial living for Christ is eminently reasonable service! "Reasonable" is the Greek, logikos, from which we derive our word "logical." "Service" is the Greek, latreian, referring to service as a priest. We have been made "an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:5). It is perfectly logical that we render such lifelong service to the great Friend who laid down His life for us, in order to take away our sins and give us everlasting life with Him in the ages to come.

It is also logical that we should not conform our lives to the standards of this present evil world. Why should we imitate this world's materialism or humanism, in dress or music or morals or anything else? We have far higher and more lasting standards, guided by the Word of God and by minds renewed in Christ.

Our minds once were "blinded" by "the god of this world" (II Corinthians 4:4), but now they can be guided by "the mind of the Lord" (Romans 11:34; I Corinthians 2:16). Here is the key to knowing that good and acceptable and perfect will of God!

Logged

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.
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