Friday, December 21, 2012

                                  Digging a Well With Sticks

This is a little known story about the children of Israel, after the serpent on the pole incident. The story is found in Numbers 21:16-18a. "And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water.Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, Well; sing ye unto it: The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves."
   Have you ever heard of people digging wells with sticks? Why certainly not! But why did Moses command them to do such a silly thing? Because, God wanted to show them, that He was the one that was going to provide them with the water; not them.  Yet, at the same time, God wanted them to do something, God provided them with the water, as they worked on digging.  
   This is the way that God wants us to be saved!  See, when we come to Jesus, we come to Him not in our own righteousness,  because in ourselves, it is impossible for us to cleanse ourselves from sin, just as those elders of Israel couldn't dig that well with some sticks! 1 Timothy 1:9 says,"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"   But at the same time, we are to show that God has wrought a change in our lives, by living according to the principles of God's Holy Law, just as the elders did start digging with their staves. 
   Those elders could have said,'Oh, if God provides us with the water, I don't need to do anything, after all, it seems so silly to dig with just some sticks!' James 3:17,22 says, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone....Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works, was faith made perfect?"   But God would not have given them the water, if they would not have shown that they had faith in what God said, by doing all in their power, to make it come to pass.    
    Also, to most people, it seems silly to forsake a pleasurable, and sinful life, in exchange for some thought of paradise called heaven.  Just as it seems so silly to dig a well with sticks.  1 Corinthians 1:18 says, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
   So let us not be scared to do the Lord's Will even if it seems crazy to the rest of the world around us.  Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

                                Who Do We Reflect? Part II

Another lesson we can learn from water reflecting its surroundings, is that water reflects its surroundings best when the water is still. When water in a stream is flowing, it will hardly reflect anything because the water is flowing too fast. But when the current slows down, it will start reflecting its surroundings again.
  There is a spiritual lesson we can learn from this. If we get too busy and rushed in our lives, our ability to imitate our Savior will become more and more dim, until people can't see Jesus in our lives anymore!  Jesus wants to take time out of our busy lives and slow down and contemplate His Character, and spend time in prayer and in studying the Word.  Psalm 46:10a says, "Be still, and know that I am God" We will obviously grow closer to God, when we take some time out for quiet time with the Lord.
   This reminds me of the story of when Jesus went to Martha's, Mary's and Lazurus's, house.  The story is found in Luke 10:38-40, "Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." So we see from this that Martha wasn't wanting Mary to do something wrong, but she was more concerned about giving Jesus a fancy meal, rather than taking time to listen to Jesus.  So it is wrong if we can get too busy even doing good things, if that crowds out time with our Savior!
  One time, when Jesus was ministering to the people that came to Him, Jesus told His disciples to go out of the villages and rest awhile, they didn't even have enough time to eat. So, Jesus saw that they really needed to rest their bodies, and  refresh their minds as well. Mark 6:31
    So let's take some time out of our busy lives, and spend some time at the feet of Jesus.  

But this stream is moving so fast, that we can't see any reflection of anything because it is too hurried!

We see that this stream has slowed down with very little current, so as a result, it is reflecting its surroundings quite well.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

                                 Who Do We Reflect?  Part I

Water has a special ability to reflect its surroundings. I don't scientifically know why it does it (God made it that way).
  We can learn several spiritual lessons from this. In the Christian life, the water represents us, and the trees or other objects represent God or Satan. As human beings, each and everyone of us is going to imitate or reflect one side or the other: God or Satan. There is no neutral ground! Who do we reflect? Romans 6:16 says,"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness?"
   A second lesson we can learn, is that whatever we are surrounded with, we will tend to reflect it, or imitate it. So we really need to be careful with what and who we associate with!  If we spend time reading God's Word and in prayer and beholding the character of Christ, we will continue to become more and more like Him. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says,"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
  On the other hand, if we don't spend time with the Lord, and don't associate with Godly people, we will not reflect God anymore but Satan's way. Proverbs 13:20 says, "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."  
   May we always reflect Jesus in all that we say and do!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I just want to share a very thought-provoking and solemn quote from the Spirit of Prophecy that a read a couple of mornings ago.
  "I have seen an angel standing with scales in his hands weighing the thoughts and interest of the people of God, especially the young.  In one scale were the thoughts and interest tending heavenward; in the other were the thoughts and interest tending to earth. And in this scale were thrown all  the reading of storybooks, thoughts of dress and show, vanity, pride,etc.  Oh, what a solemn moment! The angels of God standing with scales, weighing  the thoughts of His professed children_ those who claim to be dead to the world and alive to God. The scale filled with thoughts of earth, vanity, and pride quickly went down, notwithstanding weight after weight rolled from the scale. The one the thoughts and interest tending to heaven went quickly up as the other went down, and oh, how light it was! I can relate this as I saw it; but never can I give the solemn and vivid impression stamped upon my mind, as I saw the angel with the scales weighing the thoughts and interest of the people of God. Said the angel:"Can such enter heaven? No,no,never. Tell them the hope that they now possess is vain, and unless they speedily repent, and obtain salvation, they must perish."
  This is something to think about! I know that I need to spend more time with my Savior.  May we never let the love of this cheap, and sinful world steal our hearts!

Friday, November 2, 2012

                           Lessons From the Life of Moses Part 2

At the end of the forty years that Moses spent in the wilderness of Midian, herding sheep, he saw a bush that was on fire that wasn't being burnt up.  So he decided to check it out.  But suddenly, he heard the voice of God out of the bush, saying to him, 'Take off your shoes. For this is holy ground.' Then God told Moses, that  He wanted him to go to the land of Egypt, and deliver the children of Israel, as the Lord led him.  But Moses told God that he felt inadequate. But God told him that 'I AM hath me unto you.' 
   We can see that Moses' pride and self-sufficiency that he had had forty years before, was vanished. Now, he had gone to the opposite extreme. Now he thought that there was no way that he could do anything to save Israel from bondage.   If we don't have faith that God can work in our lives, it is impossible for God to work with us. Hebrews 11:6 says,"But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."  On the other hand, if we think that we have everything under control in our lives, and never feel a need for God; God can't work in our lives, either. In Christ Object Lessons p.154 says, "There is nothing so offensive to God or so dangerous to the human soul as pride and self-sufficiency. Of all sins it is the most hopeless, the most incurable." What an astonishing statement! We must not fall into either category!
   This one of the excuses Moses made, even after God gave him three signs to give to the Pharaoh, in Exodus 4:10-12,"And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?  Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." So if we think that the Lord can't work through us, we are underestimating, and denying our Maker! Isaiah 51:12-13a, says, "I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thous shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son for man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the Lord thy Maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth;" So if we are afraid of speaking for God, or doing anything that the Lord calls us to do, we are forgetting our beloved Savior! May always trust in our Maker, and never limit God!  And if we let Him help us, He will put the words in our mouth, right when we need them!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

                             Lessons From the Life of Moses  Part 1

There are quite a few lessons that we can learn from the life of Moses.  We know that Moses was raised as the princess's son in the palace. He could have easily become Pharaoh of Egypt, but he decided to stand up for his people, the Israelites.  So one day, Moses decided to go out in his chariot to see if he could help the Israelites in any way.  As he was riding along, he saw a sight that sickened him, an Egyptian beating an Israelite slave. In one moment, Moses leaped from his chariot, and in one blow killed the Egyptian.  In one moment of anger, he made a very hasty mistake. We see that Moses had a problem. He thought that he could deliver the children of Israel. In just about a minute, he had ruined his opportunity for God to possibly work through him in his high position of authority. So Moses had to flee into the wilderness for forty years to unlearn all his 'wisdom' before God could prepare him to be the leader of the Exodus out of Egypt.  You can read about this in Exodus 2:11-12. We can also learn that we should never let ourselves get into a moment of rage, and do something rash like Moses did. Proverbs 16:32 says, "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."
     We often don't wait on the Lord to work out His Will in our lives.  God's timing truly is always perfect! Lamentations 3:25 says,"The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him." Psalm 27:14 says, "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."   I'll write more about Moses later.

Monday, October 1, 2012

                    Our Ideas Are Not Always God's Plan for Us

The story of Naaman's leprousy and how he was healed, is a good example of the importance of humility.  Naaman, the captain of the Syrian army had defeated Israel once again and took a little Israelite girl captive to be a slave for his wife. Obviously, the little maid's parents has taught her to obey God in everything. So when this young girl told her mistress, that a prophet in Israel could heal Naaman, Naaman's wife told Naaman, then somebody else passed on to the king of Syria. By the time the message reached the king of Syria's ears, he thought that it was the king of Israel that would heal Naaman! So the king of Syria sent a message and some presents to the king of Israel to heal Naaman of his leprousy. What shame it was, that the king of Israel didn't even worship the true God, and didn't even think of Elisha! We'll read the rest of the story from the Bible, in 2 Kings 5:9-14. "So Naaman  came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith unto thee, Wash and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean."
  Obviously, Naaman had some pre-conceived ideas of how the prophet was going to heal him. But it is interesting that Elisha himself didn't even come out of the house to see him, he just sent a messenger out of the house telling him to do something__ So simple.__Too simple! It seemed so insulting to him, the captain of the great Syrian army, that the prophet wouldn't even come to see him, and tell him to wash in such a muddy river.
  But fortunately, he had some servants that had some head sense. they said something like this, 'if Elisha had told you to do something great, like climbing to the top of the highest mountain and jumping of the tallest cliff into a chasm, wouldn't you instantly do it? Why not do something so simple like washing?'   
   We often have ideas of the way God will help us out of our troubles, but God often works out our deliverance in ways that will humble us, and in ways that we have never thought of.  God requires things of us that are so simple. Like Trusting. Surrendering. Loving.  Micah 6:7-8 says, "Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humble with thy God?"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

                         Pleasure Now, Or Pleasure Later

Today, I am going to talk about a portion of the story of Jacob and Esau and draw some lessons from it. Let's read the story from Genesis 25:29-34, "And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware to him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright." 
   So Esau was returning home from hunting really hungry. Now was there anything with feeling hungry and wanting something to eat? No. But Esau was so caught up in his present state of hunger, that he could think of nothing more than satisfying his ravenous appetite.  There was much more food in his father's camp which would take, at most, a short time to get ready, but since he was so carried away with the sensation of starvation, that he even thought that he would die in just a few minutes if he didn't get food immediately.  Esau was just thinking of the present, so Jacob thought this an advantage to bargain for the birthright. And Esau hardly hesitated in bargaining for it in just about a heartbeat. So his appetite appeased, He 'despised his birthright'. We tend to think that Esau was rather stupid for doing such a thing, but I began think that whenever we think that this old world is worth living for, and we don't want to go to heaven that bad, we're really doing the same thing that Esau did. We can live in this world from seventy to maybe as much as ninety years, but sooner or later, we are going to die and our 'party' on earth will soon end. But  Praise the Lord, God has given us the gift of eternal life, through Jesus' sacrifice. And if we live for Him in this life and not for ourselves, we will inherit eternal life in a world that will be so glorious, that we cannot begin to understand how wonderful it will be!  2 Corinthians 4:17,18 says,"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

                                    Shall He Not Avenge Us?

"And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me,I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge His Own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith in the earth? Luke 18:1-8.  First of all, what exactly does avenge mean? Well, the root word is vengeance, so it means to bring about justice. So this judge did not deliver this widow from her adversary, because he cared for her, but because he knew that the woman would keep pestering him, so he decided to get it over with.  He also was worried that his reputation as a judge would be ruined. So he did it out of pure self-interest.  So if a worldly judge delivered a needy one, how much more will our Heavenly Father who loves more than we could ever understand, deliver His people from their enemies, and problems!
    One thing that struck me when I read this passage today, is that if we have a heavy burden, or struggle, or affliction of any kind, Jesus wants us to bring that petition to Him every day and night!  Sometimes I tend to think,'Well, doesn't God already know what I want?' Of course He does know what we want, but He wants us to let Him know how serious we are in trusting Him. And sometimes if we don't trust Him, He might delay the gratification of your want, to 'wake' us up. Psalm 72:12 says, "For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and the needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight." So God will deliver us when we cry to Him for it.  Jeremiah 29:12,13 says,"Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."  What a promise! Let's claim it today!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

                           Jesus, The Source of Strength

We often don't realize that Jesus had to begin each day communing with His Heavenly Father. He daily asked for strength to do the work that His Heavenly Father had appointed Him to do. Here is an example of this in Mark 1:35,"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." Jesus of Himself could do nothing, He daily drew from the Source of Strength. We read in John 5:30,"I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."  So if our Savior, in His earthly ministry, each morning prayed for hours; how much more we, sinful human beings, must commune with our Heavenly Father!
   Everyday, we must feed on the Bread of Life, and daily surrender our lives to Him. John 6:35 says,"And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life:he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst."

Monday, September 3, 2012

I am going to talk about what Jesus had to go through, before His Crucifixion. Satan did all he could to tempt Jesus to give up and not sacrifice Himself, whether he used wicked people or even His own disciples to tempt Him to give up. Let's turn to Matthew 16:21-24,"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and  be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, 'Be it far from the Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee. But He turned, and said unto Peter, 'Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me:for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." So Satan was speaking thorough one of His most faithful disciples! How shocking! Satan was telling Jesus that He was the Lord of the universe, and that it would be absolutely stupid to die and His Life of healing and teaching that thousands of people so desperately needed would come to an end. Satan also insinuated that Jesus' work had just begun, why stop doing such a good work? Satan doesn't care whether he uses ways that directly transgress God's Law to turn us away from God, or tempting us to do things that are okay, or even right to do in themselves, but if it doesn't agree with God's plan, it is sin.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

                                   The Benefits of Sacrifice

I am going to talk about another nature object lesson that our family gathered last Sabbath.  We were going for a walk and noticed this tree called a honey locust tree, and it was covered with these big seed pods as shown below.
  There are several lessons that we can draw from this, but I am going to show one lesson today.  As you can notice, there are 17 seeds in each pod and there is at least a hundred pods on the tree. Why does the tree make all of those pods? Well, each seed in each pod if placed in the right conditions, would produce another tree just like it. But the 'casualty' rate is high, in other words, there is a relatively low chance that the seeds are going to sprout into a tree. The seeds might be eaten by animals, or laid bare on dry stony ground, or subjected to a number of inhospitable circumstances. But do you think the tree says to itself, "Isn't it awful that only a few seeds sprout and grow from all the thousands of seeds that I produce? I think it is useless to produce anymore."
   That reminds me of what God has done for us. I am so glad that when the Father and Jesus His Son, saw that Adam and Eve had sinned, and that the human race had become lost, They did not deem it useless to send Jesus into this world to save us. What incomprehensible love! And to think, that Jesus didn't even know that there might not even be one soul or that would appreciate and accept the gift or at best several people might accept it.
  This reminds me of the parable of the Lost Sheep taken from Luke 15:4-7 which says,"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me;for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance."  God thinks differently from Man. We tend to think that it is worthless to go to extreme measures to help just one soul. But God loves you more than we can ever imagine, and counted every soul worthy to risk anything!  I will close with this text from Romans 5:6-7,"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  So Jesus died for us when we were still sinners and not appreciative of any of His Sacrifice. And it is very rare for someone to desire to die for someone who is righteous,but how much more for those who are crucifying you and don't care one bit about the gift you are giving them.  I cannot fathom such Love!

Monday, August 13, 2012

                                Who or What Do We Rely On?              

Today I am going to talk about an object lesson that I have found.  It is amazing how many lessons you can gain by looking at the world that God has given us.  In fact, the Spirit of Prophecy says that nature is God's second Book. And we see that Jesus used numerous articles from the natural world to aid in teaching spiritual lessons.
   The grape vine has tendrils, which will grasp anything near it in order to support it.  So the vine is constantly seeking for something to support it, it doesn't matter to the plant if it is a weed or tree or fence or anything else.
   That reminds me, who or what do we confide in?  Some of us may tend to trust in our riches and possessions. Proverbs 11:28 says, "He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch."  And Psalm 20:7 says,"Some trust in chariots and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." But for some of us, we might trust in other people. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely good to have Christian brothers and sisters to encourage you and help you in life. But when we start trusting in them for safety, and totally crashing if they leave us, that is not good. Jeremiah 17:5,7 says,"Thus saith the Lord; "Cursed  be the man that putteth his trust in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.  For he shall be like a heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh;but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord,and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." I definitely want to be like a tree next to water; but I don't want to be like a dried up shrub in the desert!  So from this text, if we want to be blessed, we are to put our entire trust God, and not in Man.
    As you can notice in these two pictures, one of the grape vines is clinging to a weed that will soon die when winter comes.  But the other vine is clinging to a little tree which will not die when winter comes, but will keep growing and living for many years to come.
     We must rely totally on Jesus who is as solid as a rock, and not on man who will soon perish.  Let's make that decision today!                                          


Sunday, August 5, 2012

                                 Becoming Great by First Being Lowly

Today I am going to talk about the importance of humility. Let's read from Luke 22:24,26,"And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted  the greatest. And He said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve." This saddened Jesus very much. For one, this was the exact opposite of the spirit that would rule in Jesus' kingdom; and secondly, this was right before Jesus went to Gethsemane. This goes to show that Satan was doing all he could to discourage Jesus, by getting the disciples to think about self, instead of doing all they could to encourage Him, and to be united.  In fact, the spirit that the disciples manifested was the same spirit that Satan manifested before he got kicked out of heaven. Lucifer had said, "I will be like the Most High." Isaiah 14:14. If we manifest just a little pride and selfishness, and don't repent of it, it will become bigger and more dominant in our lives until it is extremely hard to break away from it, that is what happened to Lucifer. Proverbs 13:10 says,"Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom."  It is logical that if we are prideful, we will be in strife with somebody. That's what happened to the disciples.  When this text says "but with the well advised is wisdom" that means those who are willing to accept counsel, or are humble, are wise.
   The spirit of the Most High is to be a servant.  Philippians 2:5,8, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:Who, being  in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."   Notice that this text says that we are to have this mind that Jesus had.  So we are to be willing to do menial tasks and not consider any duty 'beneath' us.  And to imitate the character of Jesus.
  I would like to close with this text from 1 Peter 5:6, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time:"  I would like to be exalted! So what we need to do to be exalted, is to be humble, and to accept the lot of life that God has given us, and someday, God will reward all those that are faithful to Him in the little things. I am looking forward to that day!

Friday, July 27, 2012

                                       The Chief Cornerstone Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote on some of this subject; now, I will bring some more lessons from the parable of the Chief Cornerstone.
   Even Isaiah likened Christ unto a chief cornerstone. Let's read Isaiah 8:13-15, "Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself: and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the House of Israel for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken." So what does this text mean when it says, "a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence"? I believe what this is saying is that when we are presented with the message of Jesus, we can resist the Holy Spirits's calling to accept Jesus into our lives; or we can resist. Then it says that many of them will fall, and be snared, and taken. Now what does that mean? Well, we tend to think of the words like  'falling' or 'snared'and 'taken' in a negative sense. But it is obvious in this text, that this speaking about surrendering ourselves to Jesus and not to evil. ,We are to fall at Jesus' feet and be broken and to be sorrowful of our sin, and to live a life in harmony with God.  This text is rather interesting for using such word terms a positive perspective.  1 Peter 2:6-8 says, "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."  I really like it when this text says "he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded". If Jesus bore the sin of every human being who has every lived, can He not bear our burdens? I am so glad that Jesus is ALWAYS there for us.  Then the text says that unto us that believe, Jesus is precious; but unto those that are disobedient, just the thought of Jesus, is a nuisance, it is something that is always pricking their conscience.  Isaiah 26:3 says,"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusteth in Thee." And to contrast, Isaiah 48:22 says,"There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked."

Friday, July 20, 2012

                                              "Be Ye Thankful"

Today, we are going to talk about the importance of thankfulness, even when we may have many problems. Let's turn to Philippians 4:4,6-7. It says, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. ... Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  I like it when Paul repeats " and again I say, Rejoice." I think Paul was trying to make it clear that it is very important to have positive attitude at all times. That reminds me of James 1:2, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;" That really doesn't make sense to the natural human mind, But God uses those trials for the purifying of our characters as we see in verse 3, "Knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
   Now let's review verse 6 that we read earlier, it says that in every prayer request that we bring to God, we are to always add the things that we are thankful for.  Sometimes, we think that we have sooo... many problems that we don't have anything to be thankful for. But that is what the Word of God says. Then we read verse 7 in the beginning of the post. I think that verse 6 is linked with verse 7. So if we want to have  "the peace of God, which passes all understanding", we are to be thankful for the things which we do have. Because every human on this earth has at least one thing to thankful for. I definitely want to have peace in my heart, so I must be thankful in every thing. Let's close with this passage from 1 Thessalonians 5:18,"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

                                                  The Chief Cornerstone                    

Today, I am going to talk about the parable of the Chief Cornerstone.  We are going to read this from Matthew 21:42,44, "Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
  In order to know what this means, we need to go back to when Solomon built the temple. All the stones that consisted of the temple's bulk were not hewn and shaped at the building site, but were hewn and shaped precisely at the quarry. One stone of unusual shape and size had been brought, and at the time, did not have a reserved place in the wall at the time, but when the time came to lay the corner they had to find a stone that  could endure an enormous amount of weight.  For a time, they ignored the long rejected stone; but they could not find a stone that could endure such crushing pressure. If they chose a stone that wouldn't be strong enough, the building would fall apart. They finally made the test trials on this stone and it endured them all. 
    This reminds me that we so often seek every other support before we, at the last resort, finally seek Jesus. Why don't we leave all of our problems to Jesus as soon as they occur? "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." 1 Peter 5:7.  If Jesus carried all the sins of the world, could he not carry our burden? Let's close with this text from Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
  I will write more on this subject later.  I am trying to write each blog more "bite sized". 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

                                 Success in Apparent Defeat

Today, I am going to share some thoughts from latter days of the apostle Paul's ministry.  When Paul traveled to Jerusalem and was imprisoned by the Romans, it seemed that Paul's ability to spread the Gospel was greatly hindered.  But as he was imprisoned, he was greatly privileged to have a commodious house with all his needs provided for, except he couldn't go anywhere. And you could be sure that if Paul was despondent or selfish, or constantly whining and railing accusations at those who had charge over him, he would definitely not have a nice place to stay in, and none of the people with whom he came in contact would respect him, or listen to his advice.  Instead, Paul was cheerful and positive, constantly trying to minster to all that came to him.  Many souls can be won to Christ, when God's people, treated to injustice and trial, are patient and happy. Even when they can not actively work for God just like Paul couldn't, they can witness for Him by simply radiating God's love and showing the peace that comes by casting all the cares upon the Savior.  When Paul was brought before the Caesar, it was not so much the words that he spoke that caused conviction , it was almost entirely caused by his remarkable  peacefulness and  holy calmness.            

    Many of Paul's churches were greatly discouraged that Paul was imprisoned and thinking that he could no longer minister to anyone. But Paul says in Philippians 1:12-14, "But I  would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that the bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." And Philippians 4:11,12 says," for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know how both to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."  I would like to close with this final passage from Romans 8:28,"And we know that all things work together for  to them that love God, to them who  are the called according to his purpose."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

                                           The Healing Stream          

   This a continuation of my last blog, this is taken from Ezekiel 47:6-12. This post will explain why I entitled this "The Healing Stream".  Let's read from Ezekiel 47:6-12. It says, "And said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.  Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.  And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto  Eneg-laim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be spread according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.  But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine."
    Like I said in my previous post, the river represents our relationship between us and our Heavenly Father. The angel is telling Ezekiel that these waters go through the desert, then finally flow into the sea. Along the way, the river brings everything around it, to life. Lots of green, healthy trees grow along the river bringing forth various fruits that heals everyone that eats them.
  What does the text mean when it says, " But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given over to salt."? Well, what do you think of when you think of a marsh or swamp? I think of stagnant, muddy water that doesn't move anywhere, that is perfectly satisfied with where it is.  Are we growing in the depth of our walk with Christ, or are we content to stay where we are? I hope that we are like the deep,moving river.  What are the consequences for being like a swamp? It says that they shall become salt marshes. That doesn't sound very good, does it? Salt stifles plant growth, or will even kill plant life, and if the water has enough salt it, it will have a detrimental effect on marine life. I pray that  we would be like the river that nourishes the thirsty, desert land,and turning it into a lush garden,and not like the salt marsh that refreshes no life whatsoever.  Let us keep moving toward the Heavenly Kingdom.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

                                             The Healing Stream

This is an interesting message that I heard from the Iowa-Missouri camp meeting. I have never heard a message based on this passage, Ezekiel 47:1-12. And I have often wondered what it meant. Let's start out by reading the passage. Ezekiel 47:1-5 says "Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and behold waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and behold, there ran out waters on the right side.  And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees.  Again he measured a thousand, and he brought me through; the waters were to the loins (waist).  Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that that could not be passed over. Let's stop there. The  water was flowing from under the temple much like a spring,and flowing eastward,which developed from a very thin layer of flowing water to a very deep river.  It got deeper and deeper as you went down the river not across it.  That point proves that the Christian walk doesn't end, in the way that you as a Christian could say, "I have now become perfect, and I'm now on the other side."  The Christian life is a step by step experience that gets deeper and deeper until it is only God's Holy Spirit that governs us.
   Let's think of this passage in literal terms.  If you go to a river that is only ankle deep, even though it may be flowing rather swiftly, it still has very little effect on your ability to stand still. But if the water depth comes to the knees, it is fairly difficult to stand still, but is still possible.  However, when the flowing water reaches the waist, it is nearly impossible to stand your ground; and it takes the most determined effort to stay where you are.  But when the flowing water goes much above the waist it is impossible, to stand or walk in the current, that is what the passage means when it says "it was a river that could not be crossed, ... waters to swim in".
      So this river represents our walk with the Lord.  It is up to us, as to how much influence the Christian life has on our daily lives.  When we first accept Jesus Christ into our lives, (if it is sincere), other people will see a noticeable difference in the way we carry our lives.   We can decide to continually go deeper and deeper into our walk with God until we never let "the old man" govern us, or we can decide to just do some Christian deeds, like going to church and paying tithe,  but we still are hanging on to some old sins, and we prefer to just stay where we are.  But 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,  "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
     So let us continue to grow deeper in our Christian life, and not be satisfied with where we are.  Hebrews 12:1b says, "let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"  I will post more about this subject from Ezekiel 47: 6:12 later, which will explain the title.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

                Trusting in God and Being Happy No Matter What

God bids His people to trust in Him even though it may seem that He is not with us, or not being as active in our lives as we would want Him to be.  Let me explain, If we have a problem, most of us would want Jesus to deal with it immediately. But Jesus may not always immediately relieve us of our problems.  God will sometimes use those problems or trials to strengthen our faith.  James 1:2-3 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing this that the trying of your faith produces patience." Did it say  to count a joy when you encounter problems? It certainly does! Our natural human nature shrinks from trials and problems, and is naturally unthankful and grouchy in such situations. But 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  Most of us, I think, have a lot of spiritual growing to do! But just think, that when ever have trials, we are becoming more and more patient, and becoming much stronger Christians, as long as we seek to be patient in the trial.  
    Sometimes I think that we just don't have enough finances to last us very long. But then I thought, "Blake, You aren't starving, or in want of hardly anything.  God has taken care of us every time we need Him."  I think it is good for us to not be able to see very far ahead, as far as our daily needs are concerned,and to get "stretched"a little. He wants us to wait until the time when need Him the most. 
When God lead the children of Israel in the wilderness, He gave them only enough manna to last them each day except the Sabbath.  And when Elijah went to the widow of Zarephath, God gave them only enough flour and oil to last them each day(See 1 Kings 17:8-24).  Matthew 6:30-34 says, "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying,'What shall we eat?' or 'what shall we drink?' or ' What shall we wear?'  For after these things the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father  knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
    So today, let us bring all of our cares and troubles to the great Burden-Bearer.  Hebrews 4:16 says, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."