Monday, October 21, 2019

WHY THE FAITHFUL FALTER!


Monday, October 21, 2019

WHY THE FAITHFUL FALTER!

Hos 4:6
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

I have had the privilege of pastoring one group of people for a significant number of years. Many of them are very faithful in their commitments and yet I have seen some of them falter during times of difficulty. It is puzzling to watch someone who has a long record of steadiness suddenly falter during times of trial. Perhaps they will return to habits long abandoned or they may surrender a Sunday school class they have taught for a very long time. 

Dr. Charles Stanley said: “A spiritual relationship heavy on emotion but light on facts falters in a valley. Believers must know how Scripture applies to life. Unless you have a belief system that can withstand pressure, pain, and criticism, you are at risk.” Our text in Hosea does not say “my people are destroyed for lack of passion” but for lack of knowledge.

1. KNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE REVEALS GOD AND HIS NATURE!

John 5:39
39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

James 1:17
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Ps 95:6-7
6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture,

II. WHEN EMOTION REPLACES KNOWLEDGE FAILURE IS THE RESULT!

Matt 13:3-7
Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

Believers without a disciplined knowledge of the Bible will seek advice from secular counselors who may offer only a temporary relief.

Isa 26:3
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

III. FAITH IS PRODUCED BY KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORD!

Rom 10:17
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Ps 119:15-18
15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Great God, today there will be many challenges to my faith. Let me not do battle with my emotions but with the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. AMEN

Sunday, October 20, 2019

THE PROPHET’S MANTLE


Sunday, October 20, 2019

THE PROPHET’S MANTLE

2 Kings 2:13-14
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

A mantle (from mantellum, the Latin term for a cloak) is a type of loose garment usually worn over indoor clothing to serve the same purpose as an overcoat. Elijah's solemn, silent act was sufficiently clear and eloquent to Elisha. When a great teacher dies, says Sir John Malcolm in his History of Persia, he bequeaths his patched mantle to the disciple that he most esteems. And the moment the elect disciple puts on the holy mantle he is vested with the whole power and sanctity of his predecessor. The mantles which were used by ascetics and saints have always been the objects of religions veneration in the East. The holy man's power is founded upon his sacred character, and that rests upon his poverty and contempt of worldly goods. His mantle is his all, and its transfer marks out his heir. (Alex. Whyte, D. D.)

           I’ll soon have the opportunity to spend time with a very young student body of a distant Bible College. These young Elisha’s await some word of wisdom from a collection of grey heads like myself. If I can remember myself as young, I might be able to help them avoid some disaster or give them a shortcut through trouble. Experience is a good teacher if it is someone else’s experiences.

           Mentoring necessitates a blending of generations. It does not happen without cooperation and understanding between the teacher and the student. One needs respect and the other must exercise patience.

           Are you an anxious youth eager for service? The ways of your aged teachers may seem frustratingly slow to you but observe them carefully. They will instruct you and protect you.

           Are you a seasoned veteran of many spiritual battles? Patiently instruct and warn those young cadets that basic training will not cover every circumstance. Teach them to think. Teach them to trust God. Model dedication and commitment for them. They won’t do it your way but they may smite the waters with your patched mantle – and cross over.

2 Tim 2:2-3
2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord, if you are going to delay your return, raise up another generation to reach the lost. AMEN

Saturday, October 19, 2019

PROMINENT OR PREEMINENT?


Saturday, October 19, 2019

PROMINENT OR PREEMINENT?

Col 1:18
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

How did I get here? Where has He gone? I remember climbing up into His lap for comfort and solace. I buried my face in his chest and he dried my tears with the folds of His robe. I looked around and the view from here was magnificent. I could see so clearly. I slid from his lap but did not want to leave this place, so I nudged Him over and sat beside Him. After awhile it seemed cramped, so I nudged Him even more and he rose and let me have the seat. Now I can’t find Him, and I need His advice. His throne has become very uncomfortable without the cushion of His lap!

PROMINENT! The word is one of honor and means “important.” In fact, Jesus is very important to many people these days. His name is called, and His presence is invoked in many public places. It has become expedient to be familiar with Him. He opens doors that would otherwise be closed and is the key to political and public advancement. He is lucky to have around!

PREEMENT! The word simply means “to be first.” Our text indicates that God the Father designed that Jesus should be the head of the church, the firstborn (literally first to rise from the dead). In all things He is to be first. He is to be first in our present engagements and not simply to have a prominent place among them. He is to be first in our finances and first in our relationships. He is to be first in any consideration of future plans. He is first!

He is first because He made himself last, made himself subject to the horrific death of the cross. As a consequence, God restored Him to his highly exalted position, replaced Him on His throne, and decreed that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow to acknowledge that He is preeminent.

Phil 2:5-11
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Dear Jesus, please return to your throne and rule my life. AMEN