Tuesday, November 29, 2011

John 14:1--3

"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

In those final hours of the Lord's time on the earth, the disciples' hearts were troubled by the Master's mood of deepening gloom, as He spoke of leaving, of betrayal, of death. Then, turning a corner, He gives a clarion call to encouragement, through promises of: (1) personalized preparation, (2) personal return, and (3) perennial fellowship.

"I go to prepare a place for you." In the process of soothing their troubled hearts, the Lord assures them that He will see to the preparation of each one's heavenly dwelling place, personally. This is no angelic mission, no assignment for deceased saints... rather, the Son of God Himself promised to make ready each believer's everlasting abode, perfectly suiting each one's "forever home" to his or her individuality. Our bodies will have been changed, transformed from earthy shells housing our redeemed spirit as well as the blessed Holy Spirit, to glorified ones, freed from all effects of sin's curse. And the place our Lord has prepared will match our glorified body and personality perfectly, producing praise to His glorious Name!

"I will come again, and receive you to Myself." The enemy of our soul loves to whisper subtle suggestions such as, "It's been centuries... He's not coming back..." Still, we must constantly remember: Our Lord's own character is the fundamental basis for the certainty of His promises. Not one word of anything He ever said failed to come to pass, because each syllable was an expression of His infallible character. So, when He said, "I will come again," He will! In His perfect timing, He will return. And note: we who are His will be received to Himself-- (causing one old preacher to say that heaven won't be a place so much as a Person!). For, what would all the streets of gold, pearly gates, etc., be without the Lord Jesus there..? Gorgeous surroundings, maybe, but not heaven... not unless the Lord of glory is there!

"...that where I am, there you may be also." For the blood-bought child of God there could be no sweeter place to be in all this universe than near the Lord Jesus Christ. Simply to be in His presence will be overwhelmingly full of wonder and adoration. When He walked this sin-cursed earth, children were drawn to climb into His lap, women wept at His feet, others left everything simply to be near Him as He walked, taught, healed, and revealed the Father. Is it even possible to imagine the joy of fellowship we'll experience without sin's interference in the heavenlies, as we are "with Him, where He is," forever?

Come quickly, Lord Jesus! May the truth of Your return impact our daily behavior, causing us to live holier, better-prepared lives. O that You would find us faithful when You come! Deepen our desire to not be ashamed at Your appearing. May Your Spirit remind us often of these things, as we are so forgetful. Thank You for Your great compassion and patience with us.
In Your Name we plea,

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." (Psalm 62:8)

To whom else would we go? You have the words of eternal life. Far too often we seek solace from others, i.e., friends, loved ones, counselors, teachers, and fail to bring our sorrowful hearts to the One who knows us completely, who loves us unconditionally, and has promised to never leave nor forsake us.

Whom have I in heaven but You? and besides You I desire nothing on earth (Psalm 73:25)

How great is our need to be weaned from all other affections that compete with our Lord. How easily is His still, small voice drowned out by the clamoring noise of many well-meaning advisors, thinking they help, when what is really needed is to be still, and know that He is God!

And those who know Your Name will put their trust in You... (Psalm 9:10)

The better I know Him, the more I trust Him. Where the line is drawn, beyond which I will not go in faith, that is the extent to which I know Him. Faith increases by feeding upon His Word, thinking through the scenes presented in Scripture that demonstrate His unfailing faithfulness. Trust is strengthened when recalling His past acts in times of need, and realizing He never changes!

So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord... (Hosea 6:3)

To move beyond knowing things about Him... facts learned at church, or through book or sermon... the God Who would have us take Him seriously bids us know Him, pressing on to know Him ever more intimately.
Some wag asked, "If God seems far away, guess who moved?" True. It is always our sin that keeps us at a distance; keeps us from knowing Him more intimately. Fellowship must be restored by agreeing specifically to the sin the Holy Spirit points out, following through with repentance. Through such obedience do we learn Him whom to know is life to its fullest.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Best is Yet To Come

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.' " [John 11:25, 26]

There it is... the crux of Christianity. If Jesus is who He said He is, then the one who believes in Him (is changed by Him), will live (spiritually) even if that person dies (physically). And everyone who lives (spiritually) and is changed by the Lord Jesus will never die (experience spiritual separation from God in hell).
In I Thessalonians 4, Paul takes this truth and draws the implication that, because death has been defeated through the Lord Jesus' atoning death and resurrection, we as believers need not grieve as those who have no hope. Sorrow, yes... as without hope? No.

For though the experience of death itself may be grievous, and the emotional loss difficult, we are to be comforted that we will be with Him forever.
Our Lord gave His wonderful promise in John 14:2, 3 -- "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also."
I share a story I was sent recently:

A young woman diagnosed with a terminal illness had been given a short time to live. As she was "getting her things in order" she contacted her pastor, and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.
She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what Scripture she would like read, and what outfit she had picked out to wear.
Everything was in order, and the pastor was preparing to leave, when suddenly the young woman remembered something very important to her!
"There's one more thing," she said excitedly.
"What's that?" the pastor asked.
"This is very important," the young woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand." The pastor stood looking at her, not knowing quite what to say.
"That surprises you, doesn't it?" she asked.
"Well, to be honest, I am puzzled by the request," said the pastor.
The young woman explained. "My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love, and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared away, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming... like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful and with substance!"
So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder 'What's with the fork?' Then I want you to tell them: 'Keep your fork.. the best is yet to come.'
The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye.
At the funeral people were walking by the young woman's casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand... over and over the pastor heard the question: 'what's with the fork?' And over and over he smiled.
During his message he told the people of the conversation he had had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it meant to her. He told them how he could not stop thinking about the fork, and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.
He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you ever so gently that the best is yet to come.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Isaiah 30:18

"Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him."

Such an amazing truth is this, that the sovereign Creator and LORD of the universe should wait longingly to be gracious to the likes of us! Such astonishing condescension, that He Who spoke everything into existence should set His heart on mortal worms such as us, actually longing to reveal His compassion towards us. And especially astounding, considering our sinful attitudes and actions committed every day we live! How can the LORD of justice look upon us with favor...?

Because His righteous wrath was poured out upon His Son when "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him", (II Cor. 5:21). As we are viewed by the Father as being in the Son, He sees us in the Lord Jesus' perfect righteousness, in His flawless keeping of the perfect Law, in His complete satisfaction of the Law's requirement for acceptance by God into His holy presence: absolute sinlessness. That is the Father's perspective on His children, as viewed through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The blessing comes for the one who learns to walk in the light of such unconditional acceptance; the longing for God characterizes the life of those who practice their position... who take seriously the fact that they can never earn nor deserve His favor, and rejoice in His grace by (1) deeply longing for His presence, and (2) speaking to others who need the Lord Jesus' salvation.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Psalm 42:11

" 'Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.' "

Some of the most needed sermons we hear are the ones we preach to ourselves. When thoughts arise that are contrary to the Lord's will and Word, when our flesh rises up in rebellion against the Lord's discipline, or when our emotions flare out of control, then it is time to speak sternly to our spirit, even as the psalmist here exhorts himself to hope in God!

No matter how long we have walked with the Lord, no matter how mature we are in the faith, no one is immune to times of discouragement, doubt, or even despair... no one is exempt. Even one of the caliber of John the Baptist, of whom our Lord said among those born of women none was greater, reached a point where he sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord Jesus if He indeed was the Expected One, or should they look for someone else (Luke 7:19)! There is comfort in the fact that the Lord Jesus did not rebuke John for this lapse of faith. He knew John's situation, and He knew John's heart.
Come to think of it, He knows our situation and heart, as well, doesn't He. In truth, much of His work of sanctification is revealing our heart to us, granting the grace to confess the sin we see there, repent, and move on, becoming more and more conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus.

Father, teach us how to speak to our soul, as did the psalmist. Grant the wisdom from Your Word as well as Your Blessed Holy Spirit to teach Your truth to our heart when needed most. You know how easily our silly heart is deceived and swayed by the enemy and his cohort the world... deepen our determination, strengthen our resolve to declare aloud Your pure Word which never fails in the matter for which You send it! Praise to Your Name! I plea this in the risen Name of Your Sovereign Son, the Lord Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Luke 17:32

"Remember Lot's wife."

Possible lessons:

*Our eyes follow our heart.
What our heart desires, our eyes will seek out. Although she was walking away, her heart still longed for Sodom and Gomorrah. Proverbs 4:23 comes to mind: "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." And how differently the story would have concluded had she obeyed v. 25: "Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you."

*Her curiosity was, in fact, rooted in distrust and unbelief, leading to disobedience.
With a response similar to Eve's in the garden of Eden, Lot's wife must have felt that God was withholding something from her; that there was no good reason why she shouldn't see the destruction of the cities for herself. Impugning the truthful character of both God and His angelic messenger (Genesis 19:17), she looked back, with the direst of results.
Only in eternity will we know what tragic and terrible spiritual (as well as physical) sequences and consequences resulted from our reluctance and refusal to take God seriously.

*Ignoring God's warnings of discipline results in certain punishment.
Both she and Lot had been shown great grace in multiple warnings: in verse 13, twice they are told by the angel that Sodom is to be destroyed. Again in verse 15 they are warned. In verse 16 their hands are seized, out of the Lord's compassion, and they are led outside the city. Still they do not want to go! God grants Lot's request to settle in Zoar, yet on the way there she felt she could not resist a backward look, despite all the warnings.

NOTE: neither she nor Lot had been told exactly what would happen if she looked back. Perishing as a pillar of salt had not been mentioned.

LESSON: when we sin, we cannot predict the severity of the result, either. Some among the Corinthian fellowship who took the Lord's supper unworthily found this to be so (I Corinthians 11:29, 30). We serve a thrice-holy God, Who does all His good pleasure as He sovereignly chooses.

"Father, as Your children we can easily take Your grace for granted, becoming comfortable with sin as we are lulled into complacency. Forgive such arrogance, Father, and warn us again by bringing Lot's wife to remembrance, to walk in a manner worthy of Your holiness. Cause us to trust You when You say, "No, wait." Cause us to faith You when You say, "I will provide. It will be enough." May we take You seriously in ALL You say.
In the Lord Jesus' Name I ask,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Prayer

I would intercede for a choice sister in the faith as she ministers to her loved one through dreadful days and difficult nights. The enemy of her soul is no doubt doing all he can to discourage and dismay her heart-- I plea Your blessed Spirit would speak peace and assurance of love to her spirit incessantly, especially in the night hours, when needed most.
Strengthen her resolve in times of tiredness, Father, bolstered by Your Spirit's bringing promises from Your Word to her remembrance.
Be pleased to grant her wisdom & discernment in her use of time, balancing her various family responsibilities so that her heart is free of guilt, one of the enemy's choicest tools.

You've shown Yourself so faithful on her behalf times without number in the past, Father... plainly proving that Your power is perfected in weakness... minister Your grace afresh, I plea, in this time of protracted stress.
Beloved Lord, I would that You move in such a way that others would sense and be aware that it is You who are accomplishing this, and thereby gain the credit and glory! Bear witness to Yourself, through her actions, attitudes, and countenance, that You, and You alone, are the only true and living God!
May Your living reality be manifest through her simplest acts, resonating through her words, resulting in Your perfect will accomplished in her loved one's life.
All to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose Name I pray,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

II Corinthians 4:3, 4; I Cor. 2:14

"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised."

Ironic imagery that Paul uses to describe the spiritual condition of the lost, since he himself was struck blind as he approached Damascus. His sightless eyes mirrored the blindness of his soul. He had no idea who it was who had knocked him so forcefully to the dust.

Yet, before that momentous day, had anyone asked, he would have been greatly insulted at the very questioning of his spiritual understanding. Of course he was not spiritually blind! The very idea!! His Judaic credentials were impeccible, his academic accomplishments impressive. So it is with spiritual pride. "Every man's ways seems right in his own eyes."

Thus, the one who says, "I see just fine" has the least awareness that he is spiritually sightless, while the awakened one, the redeemed believer, needs daily ask that the Lord who knows the hearts of all would continually reveal his own heart to him (for indwelling sin blinds each of us to areas which need confession, repentance, and forsaking). Praise to the gracious Father for His blessed Spirit's revealing ministry!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Isaiah 55:10, 11

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."

However many the times my heart returns to this powerful passage, its confident promise of assurance still sweetens my spirit with the reading. So much in this world starts well but ends badly, shows promise initially yet eventually accomplishes little or nothing, so that this declaration stands in stellar contrast: God's Word never fails. Never.
True, I may not see the results in my lifetime. Or the outcome may not be what I expected or desired. Yet such consequences do not nullify this promise in the slightest: His Word never fails. Never.
How could it be otherwise, really...? The One making the promise is all-knowing, all-powerful, and never changes. As Jeremiah so aptly prayed, "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You" (32:17).
"Familiar and needed truths, Father, which I plea You would bring home to my heart afresh. Too often I lazily lapse into assuming truth about Your Word, rather than alertly wielding it in combat with the enemy of my soul. Forgive for ways I impugn Your character by unbelief in the power of Your Word, a reflection on Your power as Sovereign Creator. Call me again to a new awareness and commitment to You and Your unfailing Truth. In Your Son's Name I pray, Amen."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Crucifixion by R.A. Torrey

"Matthew reports the Lord Jesus as saying, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale (“sea monster,” RV marg.), so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (12:40). According to the commonly-accepted tradition of the church the Lord Jesus was crucified on Friday, dying at 3:00 p.m., or somewhere between 3:00 p.m. and sundown, and was raised from the dead very early in the morning of the following Sunday. Many readers of the Bible are puzzled to know how the interval between late Friday afternoon and early Sunday morning can be figured out to be three days and three nights. It seems rather to be two nights, one day and a very small portion of another day.

The solution of this apparent difficulty proposed by many commentators is that “a day and a night” is simply another way of saying “a day,” and that the ancient Jews reckoned a fraction of a day as a whole day, so they say there was a part of Friday (a very small part), or a day and a night; all of Saturday, another day, or a day and a night; part of Sunday (a very small part), another day, or a day and a night. There are many persons for whom this solution does not altogether satisfy, and the writer confesses it does not satisfy him at all. It seems to him to be a makeshift, a very weak makeshift. Is there any solution that is altogether satisfactory? There is.
The first fact to be noticed in the proper solution is that the Bible nowhere says or implies that Jesus was crucified and died on Friday. It is said that the Lord Jesus was crucified on “the day before the Sabbath” (Mark 15:42). As the Jewish weekly Sabbath came on Saturday, beginning at sunset the evening before, the conclusion is naturally drawn that as the Lord Jesus was crucified the day before the Sabbath He must have been crucified on Friday. But it is a well-known fact, to which the Bible bears abundant testimony, that the Jews had other Sabbaths beside the weekly Sabbath (which fell on Saturday). The first day of Passover week, no matter upon what day of the week it came, was always a Sabbath (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23:7; Numbers 28:16–18). The question therefore arises whether the Sabbath that followed Christ’s crucifixion was the weekly Sabbath (Saturday) or the Passover Sabbath, falling on the 15th of Nisan, which came that year on Thursday. Now the Bible does not leave us to speculate in regard to which Sabbath is meant in this instance, for John tells us in so many words, in John 19:14, that the day on which the Lord Jesus was tried and crucified was the preparation of the Passover ” (RV), that is, it was not the day before the weekly Sabbath (Friday) but it was the day before the Passover Sabbath, which came that year on Thursday. That is to say, the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified was Wednesday. John makes this as clear as day.
The gospel of John was written later than the other gospels, and scholars have for a long time noticed that in various places there was an evident intention to correct false impressions that one might get from reading the other gospels. One of these false impressions was that the Lord Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples at the regular time of the Passover. To correct this false impression John clearly states that He ate it the evening before, and that He himself died on the cross at the very moment the Passover lambs were being slain “between the two evenings” on the 14th of Nisan (Exodus 12:6, Hebrew; cf. RV marg.). God’s real Paschal Lamb, the Lord Jesus, of whom all other Paschal lambs offered through the centuries were only types, was therefore slain at the very time appointed of God.
Everything about the Passover lamb was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus. (1) He was the Lamb without blemish and without spot (Exodus 12:5). (2) He was chosen on the 10th of Nisan (Exodus 12:3), for it was on the tenth day of the month, the preceding Saturday, that the triumphal entry into Jerusalem was made, since they came from Jericho to Bethany six days before the Passover (John 12:1 —that would be six days before Thursday, which would be Friday); and it was on the next day that entry into Jerusalem was made (John 12:12 ff.), that is, on Saturday, the 10th of Nisan. It was also on this same day that Judas went to the chief priests and offered to betray the Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:6–16; Mark 14:3–11). As it was after the supper in the house of Simon the leper, and as the supper occurred late on Friday, that is, after sunset, or early on Saturday, “after” the supper would necessarily be on the 10th of Nisan. This being the price set on Him by the chief priests, it was the buying or taking to them of a lamb which according to law must occur on the 10th of Nisan. Furthermore, they put the exact value on the lamb that Old Testament prophecy predicted (Matthew 26:15; cf. Zechariah 11:12). (3) Not a bone of Him was broken when He was killed (John 19:36; cf. Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20). (4) And He was killed on the 14th of Nisan "between the evenings", just before the beginning of the 15th of Nisan at sundown (Exodus 12:6, RV marg.).
If we take just exactly what the Bible says, that the Lord Jesus was slain before the Passover Sabbath, the type is marvelously fulfilled in every detail; but if we accept the traditional theory that the Lord Jesus was crucified on Friday, the type fails at many points.
Furthermore, if we accept the traditional view that the Lord Jesus was crucified on Friday and ate the Passover on the regular day of the Passover, then the journey from Jericho to Bethany, which occurred six days before the Passover (John 12:1), would fall on a Saturday, that is, the Jewish Sabbath. Such a journey on the Jewish Sabbath would be contrary to the Jewish law. Of course it was impossible for the Lord Jesus to take such a journey on the Jewish Sabbath. In reality His triumphal entry into Jerusalem was on the Jewish Sabbath, Saturday. This was altogether possible, for the Bible elsewhere tells us that Bethany was a Sabbath day’s journey from Jerusalem (Acts 1:12; cf. Luke 24:50).
It has been figured out by the astronomers that in the year 30 A.D., which is the commonly-accepted year of the crucifixion of our Lord, the Passover was kept on Thursday, April 6, the moon being full that day. The chronologists who have supposed that the crucifixion took place on Friday have been greatly perplexed by this fact: that in the year 30 A.D., the Passover occurred on Thursday. One writer in seeking a solution of the difficulty suggests that the crucifixion may have been in the year 33 A.D., for although the full moon was on a Thursday that year also, yet as it was within two and half hours of Friday, he thinks that perhaps the Jews may have kept it that day. But when we accept exactly what the Bible says, namely, that the Lord Jesus was not crucified on the Passover day but on “the preparation of the Passover,” and that He was to be three days and three nights in the grave, and as “the preparation of the Passover” that year would be Wednesday and His resurrection early on the first day of the week, this allows exactly three days and three nights in the grave.

To sum it all up, the Lord Jesus died about sunset on Wednesday. Seventy-two hours later, exactly three days and three nights, at the beginning of the first day of the week (Saturday at sunset), He arose again from the grave. When the women visited the tomb just before dawn the next morning, they found the grave already empty. So we are not driven to any such makeshift solution as that any small portion of a day is reckoned as a whole day and night, but we find that the statement of the Lord Jesus was literally true. Three days and three nights His body was dead and lay in the sepulcher. While His body lay dead, He Himself, being quickened in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18), went into the heart of the earth and preached to the spirits which were in prison (I Peter 3:19). This supposed difficulty solves itself, as do so many other difficulties in the Bible, when we take the Bible as meaning exactly what it says. It is sometimes objected against the view here advanced that the two on the way to Emmaus early on the first day of the week (that is, Sunday) said to the Lord Jesus in speaking of the crucifixion and events accompanying it, “Besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done” (Luke 24:21); and it is said that if the crucifixion took place on Wednesday, Sunday would be the fourth day since these things were done. But the answer is very simple. These things were done just as Thursday was beginning at sunset on Wednesday. They were therefore completed on Thursday, and the first day since Thursday would be Friday, the second day since Thursday would be Saturday, and “the third day since” Thursday would be Sunday, the first day of the week. So the supposed objection in reality supports the theory. On the other hand, if the crucifixion took place on Friday, by no manner of reckoning could Sunday be made “the third day since” these things were done.
There are many passages in Scripture that support the theory advanced above and make it necessary to believe that the Lord Jesus died late on Wednesday. Some of them are as follows: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). “This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days” (Matthew 26:61). “Thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it in three days, save thyself” (Matthew 27:40). “Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, “After three days I will rise again” (Matthew 27:63). “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). “They shall kill Him, and when He is killed, after three days He shall rise again” (Mark 9:31, RV). “They shall scourge Him, and shall kill Him, and after three days He shall rise again” (Mark 10:34, RV) “Destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands” (Mark 4:58, RV). “Ah, thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it in three days, save thyself!” (Mark 15:29). “Besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done” (Luke 24:21). “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But He spake of the temple of His body. When therefore He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said” (John 2:19–22).

There is absolutely nothing in favor of Friday crucifixion, but everything in the Scripture is perfectly harmonized by Wednesday crucifixion. It is remarkable how many prophetical and typical passages of the Old Testament are fulfilled and how many seeming discrepancies in the gospel narratives are straightened out when we once come to understand that Jesus died on Wednesday and not on Friday."

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Origin of Suicidal Thoughts

"After the morsel, Satan then entered into him" (John 13:27) "(Judas) went away and hanged himself," (Matthew 27:5).

The Lord Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly." (John 10:10) The mission of the enemy, Satan, is to steal, kill, and destroy. All thoughts of suicide, therefore, are from the pit of hell. Anywhere, anytime anyone entertains the thought of killing him- or herself, it is a certainty that the origin of that suggestion is NOT from God, the Author of life.

True, dire difficulties and seemingly insurmountable situations will face us, prompting the enticement to "end it all." The deeper the grief, the more intense the loss, the greater the temptation to consider "the easy way out."

For one who takes God seriously, His sovereignty must be settled, without reservation. To not only acknowledge, but to embrace the absolute rule of God over one's life, is to experience a release and peace incomparable. So much striving and churning in our hearts stems from having never really settled the issue of His sovereignty in creation, in salvation, in all aspects of life. Yet when the heart is melted before His majesty, when the knee is bent in submission to His Lordship without limitations, then come what may... the enemy's fiery darts of self-destruction can be extinguished.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Revelation 2:10

"Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."

'A 17-year-old girl in Somalia who converted to Christianity from Islam has been shot to death in an apparent 'honor killing.' Nurta Mohamed Farah, who fled her village to live with relatives after her parents tortured her for leaving Islam, died 25 November 2010 after two men believed to be relatives shot her in the chest and head with a pistol.

Sources said her parents beat her severely for leaving Islam. They shackled her to a tree by day and kept her in a small, dark room at night since May, 2010, when they learned she had embraced Christ. They also forced her to take medication for mental illness, thinking she had gone crazy. But the drugs could not sway her from her faith. Nor could the twice-weekly recitations of the Qur'an, which many Somalis believe cure the sick, especially the mentally ill.'

---Compiled from reports filed by Compass Direct News.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Mighty One

Choice and sacred moments, these, to muse upon Your majesty and grandeur! High and lifted up, and greatly exalted are You, with the angelic host praising You in antiphonal awe: "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!" O Father, bring home to my harried heart the truth of Your might, nourishing it afresh with Your Word:

" 'Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?' 'Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You' " (Jeremiah 32:27,17).

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand," (Isaiah 41:10).

How easily distracted this deceitful heart, staring at circumstances instead of gazing at You, my God. Such unspeakable peace when Your Spirit of might and power permeates my perspective, focusing on Your sufficiency, pondering Your promises, and rejoicing in Your perfect faithfulness and love!
Thank You for such a transforming, warming work on this otherwise cold and hardened heart, for showing Yourself so very strong O mighty Lord.
In Your risen Son's Name, I pray,

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"For this I have been born, and for this I have come into this world, to testify to the truth." (John 18:37)
He who was the truth, told the truth. Unsparingly. Unblinkingly. Every word, without equivocation, exaggeration, or embellishment. He never had to retract a single statement He ever made. He never "misspoke." With absolute awareness and understanding of every possible implication and contingency, He flawlessly poured out truth concerning eternity past, the present unseen realm, as well as future certainties.
He never said "too much," or "too little." He never lapsed into verbal miscues. Every word He uttered was like an apple of gold in a setting of silver, timed perfectly. True, what He said often astounded His hearers, and His wisdom amazed, for the Father's perspective runs counter to ours (Isaiah 55:8,9). Consequently, He was misunderstood, misinterpreted, and eventually maligned. Still, regardless of response, He spoke the truth, in love, even as we as His disciples are to do (Ephesians 4:15).
May God grant grace and boldness to speak His truth in season and out of season, sensitive to His blessed Spirit's urging, leaving the results to Him.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Genesis 3:1

"...has God said...?"

Astounding the audacity of a seemingly-innocent question, including: the Sovereign's authority was challenged; the veracity of the Almighty was doubted; the character of the Creator was impugned; the promises of the Faithful One were suddenly suspect. In the very act of questioning, the most crucial ingredient of man's relationship to his Maker was destroyed: trust. It is here that the dichotomy between the world system and the Christian world view is vividly apparent: the world trusts only the seen, the tangible, the measurable, whereas the one who walks by faith trusts the unseen One Who has never failed to keep all His good Word. The world considers it clever and sophisticated to question everything, mock taking God seriously, and to live only for this life, whereas the one whose life has been changed by the Lord Jesus knows in his spirit that His Word is true, His promises sure, and this world but a prelude to eternity in glory. Has God said? Yes!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Genesis 3:1

"...has God said...?"

This spirit of questioning was uttered from a heart of rejection and led to acts of rebellion. Long before he possessed the form of the serpent there in the garden, Satan had led a third of the angelic host in revolt against the Lord God in His heavenly rule. His inveterate hatred has never wavered, never lost intensity of purpose: steal God's worship, and hinder His worshippers' knowledge of Him.
How? Often through casting doubt on God's character and Word by a spirit of questioning, rather than acceptance by faith. Saturating the world's system is this spirit of discontent, fueled by refusal to submit to God's sovereign rule over all. Indeed, such submission is viewed as intellectual suicide, and disdained.
Yet for those who take God seriously, James 4:7,8a, are precious: "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Your Treasured Word

"Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You." (Psalm 119:11)

When first His love ravished my heart, I poured over the pages of His love letters hours at a time... couldn't get enough of the precious promises, newly-made just to me. The assurance of His love, the certainty of His salvation, the amazement at His grace, all enthralled my soul with ever-deepening desire to please and serve Him throughout my days.

O how I treasured His Word! How deeply the roots of His truth sank their nourishment deeply into the eager soil of my soul. Watered by the blessed Spirit's ministry of remembrance, matured by the blustry winds of life's testings, Your faithful Word has born the fruit of righteousness. When sickened by sin's deceitfulness, when overcome by the Accuser's skillful use of guilt, wondrous would be the way the blessed Holy Spirit would use the treasured Word to remind me of my Lord's loving acceptance, unfailing forgiveness, and unchanging nature.

Thank You for Your blessed Book, O gracious Father... for the times without number that You have led me to just the right promise, or to the exact precept I most deeply needed from Your treasury of truth. Such past faithfulness gives resolve to seek Your will and ways all the more diligently. Praise to Your Name for Your strengthening grace, using Your Word to encourage my heart, that I may not sin against You!