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« Reply #7320 on: July 28, 2021, 09:01:47 AM »

Stunted Growth in Carnal Christians

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)

The apostle Paul here makes a clear distinction between “spiritual” Christians, controlled and led by the Holy Spirit, and “carnal” Christians, still controlled by the desires of the flesh. A carnal Christian is a baby Christian. Baby Christians are a cause of great rejoicing when they are newborn believers, just like baby people. But if they remain babies indefinitely, they become an annoyance to hear and a tragedy to behold.

Each born-again believer needs urgently to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). That spiritual growth comes only through study of the Word, accompanied by belief and obedience. First there must be “the sincere [or ‘logical’] milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2), but that is good only for the first stages of growth. “For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14). Scripture encourages us to grow to maturity and then to continue growing.

Carnal Christians are not necessarily pseudo-Christians, although they should examine themselves to determine whether their profession of faith in Christ is genuine (2 Corinthians 13:5), but they should not be content to remain spiritual babes. Every Christian should be able to say with the prophet Jeremiah: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). HMM
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« Reply #7321 on: July 29, 2021, 07:51:24 AM »

From Prayer to Praise

“Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” (Psalm 28:6-7)

The story of David facing fears of surrounding enemies and impending death seems to be on repeat in the Psalms. But before we allow it to become redundant, consider your own life. How often do you face trials that strain your heart with fear, worry, and doubt? Perhaps David’s life isn’t too far from your own, just with fewer spears and battle cries.

In today’s psalm, David spends the first portion crying out to the Lord for help. But for our encouragement and edification, pay special attention to the close of this installment of Scripture. David goes from heart-wrenching prayer to heartfelt praise!

Consider practicing praise throughout your daily prayer pattern. Here are several reasons why you should bless the Lord.

    He hears your prayers (Psalm 66:17-20; Matthew 21:22; 1 John 5:14-15).
    He is your strength (Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 40:29; Philippians 4:13).
    He is your shield (Psalm 18:2; 33:20; Proverbs 30:5).
    He is trustworthy (Psalm 9:10; 56:3; Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 17:7).
    He is your helper (Psalm 54:4; Isaiah 41:10; Hebrews 13:6).
    He gives you reason to rejoice (Isaiah 61:10; Romans 15:13; Philippians 4:4).
    He is worthy of praise and worship (2 Samuel 22:4; Psalm 96:4; Revelation 4:11).

Join your heart today with the psalmist. Rejoice greatly and sing praises to the Lord! MH
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« Reply #7322 on: July 30, 2021, 10:29:41 AM »

The Voice of the Lord

“The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.” (Psalm 29:3-4)

When did you last consider the majesty of God and the power of His voice? From creation to consummation, Scripture proclaims the power of God’s voice. His Word begins with His speaking everything into existence (Genesis 1), and He completes His Word with eternal declarations (Revelation 21:5-8).

Today’s psalm draws our eyes to God’s power over the natural world. Think about mighty, rolling ocean waves and booming thunder during the fiercest storm. Many would describe them as powerful. While that is a good description for our finite minds to comprehend, as believers we ultimately don’t ascribe power to nature itself (e.g., Mother Nature or natural selection). We choose to give praise to the Lord Jesus Christ, who created and sustains each element of creation (Colossian 1:16-17).

Spurgeon expounded, “The thunder is not only poetically but instructively called ‘the voice of God,’ since it peals from on high; it surpasses all other sounds, it inspires awe, it is entirely independent of man, and has been used on some occasions as the grand accompaniment of God’s speech to Adam’s sons.”

The book of Job also portrays God’s powerful voice. “After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend” (Job 37:4-5). “Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?” (Job 40:9).

The voice of the Lord is unique. His voice alone can create and control. Let us use our words to praise His name and proclaim His wondrous deeds! MH
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« Reply #7323 on: July 31, 2021, 05:30:03 AM »

The Good Confession

“I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession.” (1 Timothy 6:13)

Young Timothy also had “professed a good profession [same word as ‘confession’] before many witnesses” (v. 12), evidently of similar substance and quality to that in the witness of Christ before Pilate. When the Jews urged Pilate to condemn Jesus to death, their charge was that “he made himself the Son of God” (John 19:7). Pilate gave Jesus opportunity to deny this charge and save His life, “but Jesus gave him no answer” (v. 9). Both by His silence, when a denial of the charge could have saved Him, and by His open testimony before Pilate that He was, in fact, a King from heaven itself—indeed “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15)—it becomes clear that our own “good confession” must be a confession of our faith in Jesus Christ as Son of God, our Savior and Lord, especially when that confession is made openly before hostile witnesses.

Jesus said: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). Paul said, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9); and John said, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15).

Despite the great blessings awaiting all who make a courageous and good confession of saving faith in Christ, most people will refuse until it is too late. There is a time coming, however, when “every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11). HMM
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« Reply #7324 on: August 01, 2021, 06:21:20 AM »

Scripture Says/God Says

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Among the many evidences for verbal inspiration, both within and without Scripture, is the frequent interchange of God recognized as the author of a particular passage with the human author who actually penned it. This can be true only if the very words recorded by the various authors are “God breathed” (the meaning of “inspiration”).

For example, the early Christians exclaimed, “Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?” (Acts 4:24-25), thereby recognizing that God spoke through David, who wrote God’s words in Psalm 2:1-2.

Likewise, Paul, in his masterful dissertation on God’s sovereignty, claimed “the scripture saith unto Pharaoh” (Romans 9:17) that which God Himself had spoken unto Moses (Exodus 9:13). In other words, what Scripture says, God says.

Even Christ Jesus, who Himself had written with His finger “honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12) on tables of stone, personally ascribed the authorship of the passage to Moses (Mark 7:10). Evidently to Christ, there was no difference. That which Moses had written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and in this case what he had copied from the stone tablet, was fully the Word of God.

We can be sure that what Scripture says, God says. “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:17). We can trust our lives on Earth, our view of history, and our eternal destiny to what is written on the pages of Scripture. JDM
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« Reply #7325 on: August 02, 2021, 04:56:35 AM »

I Am

“And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:62)

After His arrest, “the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none” (Mark 14:55). Then they got their sought-after witness from Jesus Himself when the high priest asked Him: “Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” (v. 61), and it only took two words from Him. “I Am!”

As a matter of fact, this was not the first time He had thus identified Himself as the self-existent, eternal God. On an earlier occasion in Jerusalem, He had told the Pharisees: “I am the light of the world,” and then, “I am from above:..I am not of this world....If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:12, 23-24; the “he” in verse 24 is not in the Greek original).

He made this especially clear a few minutes later when He asserted: “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). But when He finally made this wonderfully truthful claim in the presence of the council, “they all condemned him to be guilty of death” (Mark 14:64). He had committed the capital crime of blasphemy in their opinion, by claiming to be God.

“I am” is, in fact, the very name of God. When Moses, at the burning bush, was called by God to deliver the Israelites from slavery, God said His name was “I Am That I Am” (Exodus 3:14). The name Jehovah (or Yahweh), the most frequently used name of the Lord in the Old Testament, is essentially this name.

One can count at least 196 “I am” claims of God in Christ (“I am the way, the truth, and the life,” for example—John 14:6) in the Bible. Truly, our Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal, self-existent God, “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13). HMM
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« Reply #7326 on: August 03, 2021, 08:28:24 AM »

The Infinite Wisdom and Knowledge of God

“In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)

One of the most amazing of the divine attributes is God’s omniscience. He not only understands all the complexities of relativistic science and higher mathematics, He ordained them in the first place! The same applies to every other discipline of study and activity.

And He knows all about each of us! “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off” (Psalm 139:1-2).

As far as human knowledge is concerned, it is vital to know that “the fear of the LORD” is the very foundation of “knowledge” and of “wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). All the greatest scientists of the past acknowledged that they were seeking merely to “think God’s thoughts after Him.”

How foolish it is to ignore or to oppose God! There are only four places in the Bible that speak of God laughing (Psalm 2:4; 37:13; 59:8; Proverbs 1:26), and each of them describes His response to such folly.

Instead, we should marvel at all the wonders of His creation and providence. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).

Our text verse above (Colossians 2:3) is actually referring explicitly to the Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten and eternal Son of God. It is He who has given us access to the Creator God and therefore access to the divine knowledge and understanding. Part of the still-effective dominion mandate (Genesis 1:26, 28) is to learn what we can about God’s creation, always remembering that Jesus insisted that—no matter what unbelievers say—“the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). HMM
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« Reply #7327 on: August 04, 2021, 09:51:32 AM »

The Lord God of Heaven

“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.” (Ezra 1:2)

It is noteworthy that the words of this verse are almost the same as in the last verse of 2 Chronicles. This is an indication that Ezra the scribe (who wrote the book of Ezra) was also the compiler and editor of the two books of Chronicles.

Even more noteworthy is the fact that the great emperor Cyrus seemed to acknowledge that the God of Israel was not just a tribal god, as many have claimed, but the Lord God of heaven—that is, Jehovah Elohim—recognizing Him as both Creator and Redeemer of the world. The Persians were largely followers of Zoroaster, but his religious system did bear some resemblance to the true monotheism of Israel.

But Cyrus had been called, and even named, by God, long before he was born (Isaiah 44:28–45:6). When he conquered Babylon, the prophet Daniel was there (Daniel 6:28). The Jewish historian Josephus wrote that Daniel even became prime minister under Cyrus and was able to read Isaiah’s remarkable prophecy to him, thus influencing him to send the Jews back to Jerusalem.

There have also been other Gentile rulers who acknowledged God, even before Christ came. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, once hating God, finally was forced to confess that He was “the most High” and “King of heaven” (Daniel 4:34, 37). Another was the Queen of Sheba, who recognized “the LORD thy God” (again Jehovah Elohim, 1 Kings 10:9). Then there was the king of Nineveh and Assyria, who believed in God at the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:6-10). In fact, in the ages to come “the kings of the earth” will all “bring their glory and honour” to the Lord in the holy city (Revelation 21:24). HMM
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« Reply #7328 on: August 05, 2021, 08:38:25 AM »

Practicing What We Preach

“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:15)

Christ’s life matched His teachings, and so must ours. Consider, for example, Christ’s teaching that we should “pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). This is matched by His prayer for His tormentors while on the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Elsewhere, He taught that our circle of influence should be greater than those of like thinking (Matthew 5:47), a fact that caused His detractors great consternation (Luke 15:2). He taught that our prayers should not be done so that “they may be seen of men” (Matthew 6:5). And the gospels record several times where He went “into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35; see also Mark 6:46). Christ placed great value on children, as we see in Matthew 18:6, and later He welcomed them (Matthew 19:14). He taught Peter to forgive “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22) and later forgave Peter for his continued denials (Mark 16:7).

Christ advocated paying taxes (Mark 12:17) and later enabled Peter to pay tribute for both of them (Matthew 17:27). He taught that “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15), and He Himself had “not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). Likewise, He placed great store in aiding the poor (Luke 14:13), both in teaching and in practice (Matthew 14:13-21). Perhaps His teaching “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) is best illustrated by His tender prayer for those who would soon take His life as He hung on the cross for the very ones responsible for His death (today’s text), all the while dying for them.

May God grant us the strength to follow not only our own teachings, but His teachings as well. JDM
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« Reply #7329 on: August 06, 2021, 08:34:23 AM »

Treasures of the Snow

“Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail?” (Job 38:22)

It is interesting that this book, the oldest in the Bible, contains more references to snow, ice, and frost than any other book of the Bible. This is despite the fact that Job’s homeland was in what is now essentially a desert region. Possibly the effects of the post-Flood Ice Age were still strong in Job’s day.

In any case, the beautiful phrase “treasures of the snow” is both appropriate and prophetic. Its crystal structure, though mostly in the form of delicate six-pointed “stars,” is endlessly varied and always intricately symmetrical and incredibly beautiful.

The snow is a treasure in other ways as well. The winter’s snowpack in the mountains is often called “white gold” because of its indispensable water storage capacity, released in the melting season each spring to provide life to teeming cities and irrigation in the desert for needed food supplies. The snow also aids in maintaining the planet’s chemical cycles by returning various elements in the nuclei of its flakes back from the ocean to the lands from which they were leached and transported by rivers to the oceans. When the snowpack becomes a glacier, it can greatly assist in the breakup of rocks to form fertile soils.

In the Scriptures, its pure white color is often used to symbolize the cleansing of a sinful heart that trusts the Lord. “Wash me,” said David, “and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,” the Lord promises those who come to Him for salvation (Isaiah 1:18).

As the snow comes down from heaven, so comes the Word of God to ask the soul as in today’s text: “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?” (Job 38:22). HMM
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« Reply #7330 on: August 07, 2021, 08:28:52 AM »

He Knows Our Hearts

“Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men).” (2 Chronicles 6:30)

Eight times in Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple, he beseeches God to “hear from heaven” (vv. 21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 33, 35, 39) when His people confess their sins and pray for deliverance. It is marvelous that God, whose “dwelling place” is in heaven (vv. 21, 30, 33, 39) can actually hear the prayers of people here on Earth, but we remember that He is omnipresent through His Holy Spirit.

Even more marvelous, if possible, is the fact that He can hear prayers uttered only in our hearts. But He is also omniscient and thus knows the very thoughts of our hearts.

Then, as we read of Jesus’ wrath at the desecration of the temple by those who would commercialize their religion there, it was said that He “needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:25). This is direct confirmation that Jesus is God, for only God knows the thoughts of our hearts.

It is a wonderful day when we realize that God knows our hearts. It can be frightening, of course, if our hearts are not right with God, but it can also be of great comfort and exhilaration— it all depends on the thoughts and motivations of our hearts. As David wrote long ago: “Thou understandest my thought afar off” (Psalm 139:2).

We need, therefore, to guard our thought life just as much as our social life, “for he knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21). May God help us to be “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is a good thing if our thoughts please Him. HMM
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« Reply #7331 on: August 08, 2021, 08:49:35 AM »

Rejoice in the Lord

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

The Christian has a compelling duty to rejoice. Paul stresses the Christian need to rejoice by using the tense in the Greek that specifies a continuing and habitual action. This instruction follows his mention of otherwise faithful believers in the church who were unfortunately pursuing disharmony and dissension. Believers are reminded to restore broken relationships, follow after harmony, and rejoice.

Perhaps the best reason to rejoice is that all our names are written in the “book of life” (v. 3). This precious book was mentioned from old times as “a book of remembrance...written before him for them that feared the LORD” (Malachi 3:16). Christ mentioned this book as a cause to “rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Our rejoicing will continue throughout eternity, for only “they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27) will be permitted into the Lamb’s presence. Our love for the brethren and our hope for eternity are reasons to rejoice, indeed.

Paul told the Philippian church they were among the reasons for his joy. “I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace” (Philippians 1:7). Those who had a heart for the things of God were important to him. Therefore, “fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (2:2). “For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me” (2:18).

Their joy of fellowship was rooted in the love and service of Christ, as well as His sufferings, “that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (3:10). So, rejoice! JDM
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« Reply #7332 on: August 08, 2021, 02:57:11 PM »

As our late brother Tom use to say, "Christians should be the happiest people on this world" and that's why I smile all the time
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« Reply #7333 on: August 09, 2021, 09:10:51 AM »

Loving God's Word

“Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.” (Psalm 119:140)

When asked to name the greatest commandment, Jesus cited Deuteronomy 6:5: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” One who loves God must surely also love His Word. God has given the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the primary means to know God.

Those who love God’s pure Word respond to it in obedience and faith. James instructed believers, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

One who loves the Lord and His Word should realize that whenever the Bible says something that a reader may find unsettling, it is because humans fail to understand the infinite wisdom of God. The Lord explained this through the prophet Isaiah: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

One foundational point at which people often fail to trust God’s Word concerns the timing of creation. The first example of faith given in Hebrews 11 is “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God” (v. 3). One who truly believes that “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11) must also accept the chronological information the Bible provides. These data indicate that Abraham lived about 2,000 years after creation (Genesis 5 and 11), making the earth around 6,000 years old, not billions of years as secular scientists claim. Christians should be known for taking God at His Word and living in obedience to it. WP
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« Reply #7334 on: August 09, 2021, 09:13:20 AM »

As our late brother Tom use to say, "Christians should be the happiest people on this world" and that's why I smile all the time

How true that is.
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