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."