Daily Devotional; formerly Chaplains Corner

Discussion in 'Religious Discussions' started by ampaterry, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    2 Chronicles 7 13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

    Friends, I know we have been praying for the United States, but just now we need to focus our prayers on this election. I believe it is one of the most crucial elections ever in the history of this great land.

    Our prayers need to start with confession and repentance, humbling ourselves before God, admitting our own sin, as well as the sin of our nation.

    We need to purpose to turn ourselves around to be God’s people, to do what He wants us to do, to say what He wants us to say.

    We need to ask God to hear us because He is gracious, and merciful, and He loves us.

    We need to appeal to God to turn us and this nation around for His Name’s sake, because this nation used to be known as a Christian nation. It was founded on the principles of God’s Word by people who revered God.

    We need to ask God to restore His reputation in this country, and restore His ways in this country, for His Name’s Sake, so that people around the world would see and think of Him when they look to this country.

    I am posting another thread here today, Prayer for Our Nation, which includes Daniel’s prayer as he prayed for the restoration of Israel.
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  2. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    One of the hallmarks of this election season has been money. People with fortunes have been there in the background playing a powerful part in trying to get the candidates of their choice elected. After the election those same people with all that money will continue to use it to try to impose their views on the rest of the world. They trust their fortunes to get their way, to protect them from harm, to leave a lasting memorial for themselves.

    The very simple response to that is what the man said when asked how much the rich man left behind when he died. He said “all of it”. Yes, these people who have spent their lives building financial empires for themselves will leave it all behind when they die and their influence will die with them. They will no longer have control over their wealth because they won’t be here to control it.

    Jesus said we shouldn’t worry about building financial empires for ourselves the way these people do. Instead He said to seek His kingdom and His righteousness first and foremost and all these other things would be provided for us in Matthew 6:33.

    God never said that money in itself was evil. He did say that the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil in 1 Timothy 6:10.

    Let’s take a look at Psalm 49
    Hear this, all peoples; Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
    2 Both low and high, Rich and poor together.
    3 My mouth will speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart will be understanding.
    4 I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will express my riddle on the harp.

    Listen up, everyone. I have news for you which you may or may not be able to understand.

    5 Why should I fear in days of adversity, When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me,
    6 Even those who trust in their wealth And boast in the abundance of their riches?

    Some people use their money as a weapon to try to intimidate others.

    7 No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give to God a ransom for him—
    8 For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever—
    9 That he should live on eternally, That he should not undergo decay.

    The Beatles’ song talks about how money can’t buy love. Money can’t buy salvation either. Religions have tried to tell us that, and are still trying to say that if we give enough money to the church we can buy our way out of hell, and even redeem a good friend or relative.

    The redemption of a man’s soul is costly. It costs more than anyone can pay in money. God says the redemption of a man’s soul can only be paid by the blood of Jesus on the cross. That’s what Ephesians 1 says: 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us.

    10 For he sees that even wise men die; The stupid and the senseless alike perish
    And leave their wealth to others.
    11 Their inner thought is that their houses are forever And their dwelling places to all generations; They have called their lands after their own names.
    12 But man in his pomp will not endure; He is like the beasts that perish.

    13 This is the way of those who are foolish, And of those after them who approve their words. Selah.

    14 As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd;
    And the upright shall rule over them in the morning,
    And their form shall be for Sheol to consume So that they have no habitation.

    Do you remember the story Jesus told in Luke 12 about the farmer who had a bumper harvest and decided he was going to enjoy his wealth? He won the agricultural lottery and was going to enjoy life from then on. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21 So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

    Sooner or later everyone dies. And when they do, they leave everything they have worked for behind. Our bodies die, our souls live on for eternity, in heaven or in hell.

    Jesus was blunt about the choice we have. We can follow Him or chase money. He said in Matthew 16 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Well, here’s the answer. We can’t give anything in exchange for our souls. Only God can give something for our soul, and He has done that. He has given His Son in to buy our eternal life.

    15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, For He will receive me. Selah.

    16 Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased;
    17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away; His glory will not descend after him.
    18 Though while he lives he congratulates himself—
    And though men praise you when you do well for yourself—
    19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They will never see the light.
    20 Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, Is like the beasts that perish.

    So when we are faced with people who have the awesome power of wealth and political power, just look ahead. These powerful, wealthy people will all reside in a casket some day. Their bodies will decay, they will stink, they will be infested with maggots; the flesh will rot off their bones and even their bones will turn to dust. As for their souls? Remember the rich man and Lazarus that Jesus talked about in Luke 16.
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  3. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    I stared at it in amazement, uncomprehending. I just could not figure out what that verse was saying. Then I burst out laughing.

    I was reading a passage in a daily devotional book. This section started out with a fragment of Isaiah 9:6…The Everlasting Father. That gave the topic for this set of verses. It followed up with Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. There were some other verses describing how God is our Father and we are His children.

    Then it jumped to how God is eternal with Revelation 1:4. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

    Then John 8:58 says Before Abraham was, I am. The section concluded with three more verses: Hebrews 1:8 Unto the Son [he saith], Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever; Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and by him all things consist; and Colossians 2:9 In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

    But nestled in there was Exodus 3:14 with the totally confusing statement: God said unto Moses, I MORNING THAT I MORNING: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I MORNING hath sent me unto you.

    I stared at that verse for a while before I figured it out. Someone had used a computer to digitize this book, and that smart computer had made the logical (to it) correction. The correct wording is God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

    The smart, unthinking computer had corrected I AM to I MORNING!! That’s what made me laugh.

    Now a couple of things jumped out at me from that.

    First, we can get into a habit of letting our eyes wander over the words in the Bible and say we are reading the Bible, but our minds are elsewhere. Reading God’s Word can become a mechanical thing to do, but the things God is saying to us never penetrate our thinking, our minds, our lives. Like that computer correction, we can make some pretty hilarious or stupid decisions.

    We can be like that man James 1 describes: 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

    He looks in the mirror, sees but doesn’t see the piece of lettuce stuck on his teeth, or the big black smudge of dirt on his cheek and goes around all day looking stupid. Or we can be like the man who looks long and carefully into the mirror of God’s Word, sees the lettuce and the smudges of dirt, of sin, in his life, and does something about them.

    I found I was starting to do this a number of years ago. The words of the Bible became familiar terms to me and my mind just kind of glossed over them. I figured I needed to find a new way of studying God’s Word, extracting what He was saying to me so I could act on it, and that helped.

    And when we start looking intently at God’s perfect law and living by it, not just letting it go in one eye and out the other, in one ear and out the other, God says He will bless us in what we do.

    It’s a lot like what God told Joshua in Joshua 1:8. 8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

    Joshua was getting ready to take over the leadership of Israel. God was giving him the blueprint for how to be a successful leader.

    I stumbled across another verse just like that the other day. David was the outgoing king of Israel, and he was talking to the new king, his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 22:13. He was giving Solomon the best advice a dad can give his son, and the best advice an outgoing leader can give his successor.

    "Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged."

    Friends, we have a new president as of today. For that we can fervently thank God. God has done a wonderful thing for the United States. The new president will have almost as much opposition keeping his promise to “Make America Great Again” as Joshua had fighting the Canaanites to take the land for Israel.

    We need to pray that our new president would somehow do just what David wanted Solomon to do and that God wanted Joshua to do: to follow His blueprint for success in leading and building the nation.

    Don’t just leave it at political leaders. These are God’s commands for each one of us. We need to look carefully, long and hard, into the mirror of God’s Word, and see and understand what He is saying to us, and do something about it.

    We never got to the other thing that stood out to me about those verses. We’ll have to come back to that tomorrow.

    Meantime, may God bless us as we do more than let our eyes wander over words in the Bible. May God help us to dig down into His Word, to chew it over carefully and thoughtfully to extract from it the nourishment He has for us.
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  4. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    After I deciphered that verse we looked at yesterday and stopped laughing, I began thinking about the implications of Exodus 3:4-- God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

    God calls Himself I AM. And that is all there is to it. He simply is. He has always been, He is, and He always will be.

    It means He has no beginning, and no end. He said in Revelation 1 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

    When I go outside at night I can stand in a certain place, look up, and see the North Star. It is always in the same place. I can count on it being there. Even when there are clouds obscuring the sky I know that that star will be there. Before I was born, that North Star was there, guiding mariners over uncharted seas and travelers through vast unmapped lands. Long after I die it will still be there. The planets are wanderers; the other stars move around the skies depending on the hour of the day and the season of the year. But that North Star stays in the same place, never moving.

    God is always there, never moving; always the same. That’s what He says in Hebrews 13: 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. And then again in Hebrews 1: 10 And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands;
    11 They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment,
    12 And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed.
    But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.”
    (That’s a direct quote from Psalm 102.)

    Our clothes become worn. The cuffs on my shirt are fraying, my collar is wearing through; the elbows get holes worn in them; it gets stained. My trousers get thin on the seat, holes in the knees and holes in the pockets. So I roll them up and get rid of them, or maybe save them for some project in the distant future. So will the universe wear out, become ragged, worn, creased, and stained. But God is the same. He doesn’t wear out. He doesn’t get old or tired or faded. He is always there, never changing, always the same. He is the just, holy, wise, powerful, creative, loving God He always has been, and always will be. He never forgets, becomes crotchety, or moody. His eye is always on us and His ears are always open to our prayers. His generosity never runs short of things to provide for our needs.

    We’ve just had a peaceful revolution in the US, as the people voted in a new President. In four years we will vote again and we will either continue with the same administration or have a new one. Our government changes, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Governments come and go. People come and go. Cultures come and go. Nations come and go. Banks and corporations come and go. Things wear out and break beyond repair.

    The face of the earth changes through earthquakes and floods and erosion.

    We change. We grow old, grow fat, lose weight, lose hair; our hearing and eyesight start to go and our joints start to creak and stop working as well as they used to. Our ideas and ways of living change.

    But God says I AM. In all this world of change, He is the only constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

    James 1 says 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

    Psalm 90 starts out Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
    2 Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
    Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

    God said I AM. So if there is anything we can count on to stay the same in this changing world, it is Him. He has always been here for us, He is here for us, and He will always be here for us.

    May God bless us as we continue to anchor our lives to Him because He is a solid Rock that will never be moved.
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  5. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    None of us likes to be taken for a fool. We laugh, or we wince in sympathy when we see some of the things people will fall for. There are tons of email scams, internet scams, phone calls, cold calls at your door...all too often it's someone who wants to part you from your hard earned cash to get nothing in return. One of the biggest scams, of course, is this artificial climate change crisis that the whole world seems to have fallen for, but there are also the social engineering efforts to redefine marriage, educate children to be good politically correct citizens and the list goes on and on. People jump on whatever bandwagon is popular without really thinking about it. Just follow the crowd. If everyone is doing it, it must be right. All the sheeple fall in line and follow the social engineers. Go along to get along. Go with the flow. George Orwell’s 1984 tells us all how it’s done.

    In contrast, God says in Ephesians 4:14-15 "14As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,"

    If I'm going to make a stand for something I want to make sure I'm standing on solid ground. There have been a number of times I've posted something on this forum, passed on from a source I thought I could trust, only to discover, through another helpful member of the forum that it is an internet fable. It's embarrassing. It's an ongoing lesson: Check my sources. Fortunately those things are not life or death items to me. But when it comes to serious matters of things like whether to honor God, I need to know that I'm standing for something that will stand examination.

    I decided many years ago that I wasn't going to accept teachings about God just because someone said it was so. Some people have a better confidence rating in my opinion than others, but by and large if someone makes an assertion I wanted to check it out for myself. I guess I want to be a little like the Christians at Berea in Acts 17, who "11 ... were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

    But not going along with the flow makes us different from the rest of the world. We will stand out, become targets, because we are different. Daniel was targeted, when the other officials became jealous of his success because of his faith in God. So were Ezekiel, Isaiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, and countless others throughout the Old Testament. Then we come to the New Testament, where Jesus came under attack because He wouldn't fall in line with the PC brigade. Consequently so did the disciples. So did the Christians in the churches in Corinth, Ephesus, Pergamum, and countless other places throughout the New Testament. In fact Jesus said in John 15 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

    Countless other Christians have followed in their footsteps around the world throughout history since. We see Christians who have made a commitment to follow Christ regardless of the cost in the Middle East and other countries around the world, and in the courts in the western world today. These people have been told to go with the flow and they have refused to compromise their convictions.

    These Christians in the Old and New Testaments and on through today have found something in their relationship with Christ that is so important they are willing to suffer and die for it. Christians today are being put under pressure to compromise, to be pushed around by whatever wind of doctrine the PC brigade is currently pushing.

    Convictions or preferences. Convictions are worth giving up everything for. Preferences are things that don't have a solid base in Scripture and can be negotiated. Wisdom is knowing the difference. Conviction, as Jesus said in Luke 6:46-49, is built on a solid foundation. Conviction was what made Job say in Job 19:24, through gritted teeth, "“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth"

    Those Christians in the middle east have that same choice. Is their relationship with Christ a choice, or a conviction? The owners of Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-a, the bakers in Washington and in Ireland that have been sued for standing by their convictions, and other businesses across the western world have had to make similar decisions. Is their business built on principles of convenience or on conviction?

    The Christians in the church as Smyrna showed the backbone of living by their convictions, refusing to compromise their relationship with Christ. In contrast the church in Laodicea showed signs of "going along to get along". That church made God want to vomit if she didn't start developing some backbone.

    May God bless us with the backbone to stand, alone if need be, for our convictions. May God help us to discern the convictions He wants us to have.
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  6. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    We want a strong nation.

    One of the hallmark slogans of this last election was “Make America Great Again”. Is that the right statement? Do we want a great nation, a strong nation, or a nation that God blesses?

    I think we need to become a nation that God blesses, and then, with His blessing, the nation will become great.

    We elected someone who promised he would do what he could to make America great again. But one man working from the top down can never hope to do that. Even with a great team of advisors and legislative and judiciary branches of government, that won’t happen. There are far too many selfish people in the US who want to pursue their own small empires. There are far too many selfish people who want to feed off of government handouts, who demand their rights but refuse to recognize their responsibilities. There are far too many people who refuse to change their self destructive lifestyles and opinions and attitudes, who weaken the nation as a whole.

    Making America great again means everyone will need to catch that vision and work together to make America great. The people need to change from the inside out.

    We’ve had Political Correctness thrown at us for many years now; an entire generation has grown up thinking political correctness is the way to be. Political correctness puts man as the final authority. Whatever someone says is the way we ought to think, to behave, becomes the law of the land if he can make it sound plausible enough and get enough people to follow his lead. Then someone else comes along with another strain of political correctness and people flock to that banner. They become people pushed around by the winds of hot air emanating from these so-called leaders of popular thought.

    The people need an absolute foundation to anchor themselves to so they won’t be blown around. God talks about that in Ephesians 4 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

    Instead of bouncing around from one opinion to another we as individuals and as a nation need to anchor ourselves to the Truth of God’s Word. Psalm 33 tells a little of why we need to anchor ourselves to God’s Truth.

    10 The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
    11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.
    12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

    Case in point: The counsel of the nations: the Climate Change conferences have dreamed up lots of rules to hamstring the prosperity of the nations that sign up to their agreements. These are based on the fallacy that man-made emissions cause changes in the world’s climate. The problem is that their predictions never work out. First, years ago, it was an ice age. Then it was global warming. Now they can’t decide what’s going to happen so they say the weather in general will be affected. At every turn, God has frustrated the counsel of the nations because God controls the weather, not man. The same thing is true about psychology and rearing children, and family relationships, finances, business dealings, and every other aspect of life we can think of. Man comes up with what he thinks is a brilliant idea that excludes God, and God may let it run a while before it dies an ugly catastrophic death of its own accord, or God intervenes.

    Do you want a picture of a strong nation, a prosperous nation, a great nation? Look at Psalm 144
    12 Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants,
    And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;
    13 Let our garners be full, furnishing every kind of produce,
    And our flocks bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;
    14 Let our cattle bear Without mishap and without loss,
    Let there be no outcry in our streets!
    15 How blessed are the people who are so situated;
    How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!

    The youth of the nation are people to be proud of. They are upright, good, healthy minded, and admirable. The nation itself is prosperous. The land produces bumper crops, the livestock multiply. In today’s world industry would be going at full production without a hitch. The nation is at peace. There are no riots or noisy demonstrations. People are contented with what they have and don’t have any quarrels against government or any other authority. Crime doesn't exist.

    And at the heart of this prosperity and peace and strength and greatness? How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord. The people may make the nation great, but it takes great people to do that. Only God can make great people. God has experience making a nation great again, and He starts with the people. Check out Ezekiel 11

    17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”’ 18 When they come there, they will remove all its detestable things and all its abominations from it. 19 And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.

    When the people make God their Lord, then He blesses not only the individual people, but the nation made up of these people. He unifies them, makes them all pull together instead of trying to build their own individual empires.

    Friends, that means we need to see our families and neighbors and friends and associates at work make God their Lord. May God bless us as we communicate His Gospel to the people of this nation, and may God cause them to respond to it and make Jesus Lord in their lives, so that God can make this nation great.
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  7. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    Remembrance Day

    11 November is Veterans’ Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in the UK. It’s essentially the same thing in both countries. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the armistice was signed by the Allies and Germany, signaling the end of World War 1, supposedly the war to end all wars. It has come to be remembered with parades throughout the US, and with solemn ceremonies throughout the UK as people lay poppy wreaths at the foot of the war memorials commemorating those who were killed in action during not only WW1, but during subsequent wars.

    Our village had its Remembrance Day ceremony today, and at 1100 representatives of the village community council, the British Legion, and the county council laid poppy wreaths at the foot of our own village war memorial. The schools had laid their wreaths on 11 November. As each wreath was laid, the bearer stood for a moment, looking at the names inscribed on the monument, set the wreath down, and bowed their head for a second or two in respect. The person representing the military snapped a sharp salute, laid the wreath, stepped back, snapped another salute, bowed her head a moment, executed a half left turn and marched back to her place.

    It’s right that we should remember those who have given their lives so we can be free. It is right that we should be fully aware of the cost of our freedom. Each of those names on that monument, and on the monuments scattered around the villages and towns and cities throughout Britain, and all across the US, represents a life that was given in a conflict somewhere in the world that was fought to preserve the freedoms we enjoy in our own countries.

    Each of those names had a story behind it. Each of those people had a family who received a telegram or notification to let them know that their son or brother or husband or father had been killed in action. Each of those families grieved at the loss. Each of those people has his name written in a book of remembrance held by the government.

    But we have other remembrances. God says we are to solemnly remember Jesus’ death on the cross when we take communion. 1 Corinthians 11 says 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

    He gave His life for us to give us not only physical freedom, but to give us freedom from being enslaved to sin. He gave us freedom from the eternal punishment for that sin that we deserve. By dying on the Cross, He gave us freedom from the burden of trying to keep the Law of God perfectly because we never can do that. John 8 says 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

    Then there are other people we should remember because they set an example for us to follow, or because they set a warning for us about things to avoid. The Bible contains one record after another, starting with Adam and Eve in Genesis. Hebrews 11 stands as a monument with the names of God’s heroes inscribed in that chapter the same way the names are inscribed on our village war memorial. These are people who have gone before us. Subsequent history is replete with the names of heroes who have also served Jesus faithfully. You can find the stories of some of them in Fox’s Book of Martyrs.

    But God has His own Book of Remembrance. He talked about it in Malachi 3. 16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. 17 “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” 18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

    And God will refer to those books. See what happens in Revelation 20 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

    Our names are written in God’s Book of Life when we receive His gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sin by believing on His Son, receiving Him into our lives and asking Him to take control of our lives.

    God will take note and remember us. Will He see your name in His Book of Life when the time comes? I pray that He does.
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  8. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    God says in 1 Peter 3 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

    Because we are Christians we are liable to get into heated discussions about any and every topic. People will pick on us because that is their nature. Evil hates good. We are especially liable to have arguments about the past election. We can answer those arguments in one of two ways: one will stir things up and create more hostility; the other will try to smooth things over, calm things down and pour oil on troubled waters and win them over. Proverbs 15:1 says A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

    Today I’m “borrowing” this from the Reformation Scotland website blog, posted 9 November 2016. I think this has some sound advice. (It’s a British site, so some words have the British spelling.:))

    Being Peaceably Principled in a Poisonous World

    The words most commonly used for the US presidential election campaign have been “toxic”, “venomous” and “poisonous”. Insults seemed to be the sound-bites of choice. Some fear that similar strains have blighted political discourse in the UK. It is not difficult to see that language can be not only divisive but degrading. In a polarised world, how should we respond to the invective directed against our views? How do we avoid worldly spite infecting our response? Disagreements among Christians also arise. Sometime there are necessary differences for the sake of truth, but is it possible to handle them peaceably?

    John Brown of Wamphray gives some answers to these questions in his comments on the wisdom that Paul expresses in Romans 12:17 “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest [Respect what is right] in the sight of all men”. He notes how helpful it is that Paul goes on to say in verse 18: live peaceably with all men” but qualifies this with “if it be possible”.

    1. You must expect to be treated badly

    A Christian should conduct himself as humbly as possible among his fellow brethren. Nevertheless, such is the strength of corruption in the best and the restless maliciousness of Satan (who is always blowing at the coal of strife and dissension) that they must expect bad treatment even at the hands of their fellow Christians. This is why he adds the following to his former exhortations: “Recompense no man evil for evil”. It supposes that even if the previous exhortations are followed, they will meet with bad treatment.

    2. It is not Christian to retaliate in the same way

    Whatever evil Christians may experience and whether from friends or foes, they ought to withstand their own heart corruptions (which are ready to seek private revenge) and forbear this unchristian retaliation. Men who are led by an evil spirit may count it their honour not to endure a wrong but to get even with any who injure them. Yet, it is a most unchristian thing and unseemly for the followers of Christ. “Recompense to no man evil for evil (see 1 Peter 3:9; Proverbs 20:22; Matthew 5:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:15).

    3. Christians must avoid stumbling any

    Christians ought not to be proud and vain nor scurrilous and dishonourable in their behaviour. Instead they ought to conduct themselves honestly. This means being careful to walk so as we may not stumble any but rather best win them over and in a way best suited to their position and our relation to them. Christians should “provide for things honest” (see 2 Corinthians 8:21). [I would also add 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

    4. Christians must show respect to all

    Christian behaviour means not only avoiding stumbling fellow Christians but also having respect to strangers and seeking not to stumble them in outward things. “Provide for things honest in the sight of all men” (see 2 Corinthians 8:21 and Matthew 5:16).

    5. Christians should seek to live peaceably with all

    It is not seemly for Christians to be quarrelsome and keeping up arguments among themselves. It is also not becoming for Christians to be striving and contending with the wicked and those who are strangers to Christ; it creates a stumbling block. They should “live peaceably with all men”.

    6. The ungodly will not allow the godly to live in peace

    The wicked malicious disposition of some (the seed of the serpent) is so great that they will never allow the godly to live in rest and peace no matter what they may do. The apostle therefore adds this clause: “If it be possible, live peaceably with all men”.

    7. There are some with whom peace is impossible

    There is great difficulty in conquering our own corruptions in order to join in peace with others. It may also be impossible to achieve peace and quietness with some. Despite this, it is nevertheless, the duty of Christians to be serious and earnest in using all possible or imaginable means to attain peace. [I would add, “Do this without compromising God’s standards”.] They must be gracious in forgiving the injuries they have received and recompense good for evil (1 Peter 3:9). We must do as much as lies in us to live peaceably with all men (see 1 Peter 3:11; Hebrews 12:14).

    8. We must not pursue peace on sinful or dishonourable terms

    In pursuing peace with others, we ought not to descend to sinful, dishonourable or dishonest terms. Even in pursuing peace we should be careful to behave with honesty as befits a Christian. These two duties may and should be aimed at together: “Provide things honest [Respect what is right] in the sight of all men” and "if it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men”.
    FreshP and reflex1 like this.
  9. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    Cover up or confession?

    What happens when someone does something wrong? We’ve been treated to some spectacular examples of what not to do in this past few months. We’ve seen one person who broke the law come under scrutiny. First they tried to cover it up, make it as if it had not happened. Then they lied about it. Then they tried to brazen it out by prevaricating, trying to confuse the issue by arguing over the meaning of words: it wasn’t their intention to break the law. Obfuscate by trying to destroy evidence. Pretend ignorance: they didn’t know it was wrong. Shift the blame: someone else said it was OK to do this. Then finally it was “we thought we could get away with it”. In the end they probably used their influence and money to bully their way out of prosecution.

    People tend to do these things to try to get out of taking the blame for wrongdoing. But in business, and community circles, we see it as a good thing, a sign of character when someone who has done something wrong holds his hand up and says “Yes, I messed up. I did wrong. I’m sorry and I’ll try to not do it again”, and if necessary tries to make it right.

    That’s what we would like to see. That is what God wants also. So when a prominent politician in Old Testament times was caught red-handed doing something wrong, that’s exactly what he did. David, the successful conquering king of Israel had done many things to consolidate the kingdom; he had beaten the enemies into submission and then he fell into that age-old trap. He saw Bathsheba, the wife of an officer in his army, bathing one day, and took her. She became pregnant, so he tried to cover it up. He tried to have her husband come back from the war for a night of passion with Bathsheba. The officer, Uriah, was honorable enough that he said in effect, “My men are fighting out in the field. Why should I enjoy the comforts of home while my men are out there?” So David had him killed. You can read the whole story in 2 Samuel 11.

    Nathan the prophet indicted him in the next chapter, and this is where the David’s character comes to the surface. Instead of making excuses or trying to weasel out of it, he holds his hand up and says, “Yes, I did it.”.

    Now, we would normally try to keep this hush-hush, just between ourselves and God. But David was a public figure, and he made his confession public because he was setting the example for Israel as its leader. He wrote Psalm 51. Yes, this was his confession to God; a conversation between him and God. But notice that first comment, before verse 1 even starts: For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. It’s for the choir director. He is writing out his confession and giving it to someone who will take it and lead the entire choir in singing this before the congregation at church!!!

    He doesn’t go into all the sordid details here. No need for that. We don’t need to make public confession an education in how to sin. He just tells God…what exactly?

    Look at the first four verses. He asks God for forgiveness first of all. He and God know the details. He has first and foremost sinned against God. You know, that’s the same thing Joseph understood when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him in Genesis 39. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”

    First and foremost, regardless of how we have wronged someone else, we have sinned against God, broken His Law, and that needs to be cleared up before anything else can be done. And the only way to fix that is for God to fix us. We can’t hope to be good enough ourselves to merit God’s favor or forgiveness. David says 9 Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

    That confession needs to be accompanied by real repentance, from the inside out. If we don’t repent it’s going to affect all of our relationships. It will affect our relationship with God most of all.

    David says 16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

    We can’t hope to do enough good things to make up for the bad we have done. In fact, if we try to sacrifice to make up for our sins, that just makes God more angry with us. He says to an unrepentant, sacrificing Israel in Isaiah 1 11 “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord.
    “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.
    God goes on for another few verses telling these people that their sacrifices basically make him sick and He wants nothing to do with them.

    What God wants is for us to have a broken and contrite heart. That means we see our sins and all their repulsiveness through God’s eyes. We see how they degrade us, make us ugly and dirty and detestable, and we get so sick of them we want nothing more to do with them. We see how far down we have fallen, and ask God to give us a new heart, because we don’t have it in us to fix ourselves.

    Friends, we can try to weasel out of ‘fessing up to our sins. That’s what some prominent politicians and other prominent people are doing today. Or we can man up, hold up our hands and say with David, “yes, God I did it. I’m sorry. I’m devastated. It makes me sick to see what a mess I’ve made. Will You please give me a new heart that will want to do the things You want me to do and reject the things you don’t want me to do?”

    You know what? Guilt breaks us down in so many ways. Having a clear conscience from doing what David did here, confessing our sins, takes a real weight off our lives.

    Cover up or confession? It should be a no-brainer.
    reflex1 likes this.
  10. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    God’s Building Blocks

    Lego’s. Those little colorful plastic blocks that, your kids leave on the floor to create waves of agony as you step on them in your bare feet at night in the dark. But they are wonderful toys, with which children of all ages can build all kinds of interesting creations.

    Did you ever think that we are God’s Lego’s, God’s building blocks? We are a whole lot more than plastic building blocks, however. Check out 1 Peter 2: 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. We are living stones that God picks up and places where He wants us to be. Like Lego’s, we come in all different shapes and sizes and colors, but God has a plan in His head and He fits us together into the building He has designed.

    God is using us, living stones, to build us into a kind of spiritual house.

    Look a little at how the Temple in Jerusalem was built. 1 Kings 5 17 Then the king commanded, and they quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house with cut stones…1 Kings 6 7 The house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built.

    Each stone was pre-measured and pre-cut so the workers could drag and drop them into place. Each stone slotted into its position. It had been prepared for that place, and the place had been prepared for it.

    Now, God does a lot of preparation on us so we will fit into the place He has prepared for us. Check out Ephesians 210 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

    As living stones in God’s House, we don’t just sit in one place and do nothing but look pretty. God has a purpose for us in His House, in His Kingdom and He has shaped us very carefully to fit in just right. That preparation includes our heritage, our family background, our aptitudes and skills and abilities, our experiences, who we are, and who He is making us into. God also uses other people to transform us into what He wants us to be.

    God takes a meaningless lump of stone and shapes us into what He wants us to be, for a specific purpose in His House. 2 Corinthians 5 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

    God gives us a new shape, a new life, a new purpose in life that is far different from what we could have been without God’s work in our lives. Think of that lump of marble that would have always been just a lump of rock until Michelangelo got his hands on it and started carving, chipping away, shaping, until he had made that statue of David that so many people admire. That statue is just rock. But we are living stones, and when God starts chipping and carving and shaping us, He makes us into something much more magnificent than that statue. It’s this difference God talks about in 2 Corinthians 5 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

    As God fits us together into His building, we start getting an identity. You’ve seen building sites. First there are just piles of dirt and building materials. Then they lay the foundation and start taking those building materials—the builders start making the piles of wood into walls; the frame of the house starts taking shape; floors go in and windows and doors go on; the piles of pipe and wire start getting put into place and the outside walls start going on. The sheetrock goes up. Some place in there the roof goes on and that pile of shingles gets put on. What was once a pile of meaningless building material has taken shape into a nice house.

    Look at 1 Peter 2 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. We once were a pile of meaningless human flotsam and jetsam, but God has taken us and put each of us into the right place to make us a unified People of God, His House.

    See what God says in Ephesians 2: 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

    But it takes a builder who has a plan to take all that building material and put it together. God is the ultimate builder, but just like the builder who constructs that house, God has workers. As I said, He uses other people to build us, to shape us. And in turn, He uses us to shape, to build other people.

    We are living stones, and God has more for us to do than just sit in one place and look pretty as part of His house. He has a task for us to do, and that includes building other people into His House.

    1 Corinthians 3 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

    May God bless us as we cooperate with Him, fit into the place He has for us in His House, and in turn build into the lives of others using His high quality materials, the gold, silver, precious stones of His Word that will stand the test of time and trial by fire, rather than the wood, hay, stubble of popular ideas that are easy to come by but will be destroyed.
    reflex1 likes this.
  11. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    Citizens of God’s Kingdom

    I’m a US citizen, and proud of it, although that pride has taken a beating during the last eight years. I’m a US citizen because my parents are US citizens. I’m also a citizen of the United Kingdom because I was born over here. But I have a third citizenship, one I share with people all over the world. Many of you share this citizenship, if you are Christians the way the Bible describes Christians.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Just because a person calls himself a Christian, just because a person tries to do religious things, just because a person is not some other religion does not make him a Christian. The thing that makes a person a Christian is to obey what God says in the Bible: Acts 16 31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    Romans 10 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    Our background and nationality and race and position in society and education and whatever else we are makes no difference at all. The only thing that’s important is that we believe with our whole lives that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins for us, and God raised Jesus from the dead. That invitation to believe is open to anyone and everyone on the face of this earth.

    That citizenship in God’s Kingdom gives us an elite status. Check out Ephesians 2: 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,

    Over here, not many people become part of the Royal household. They generally are born into it, or marry into it. That status carries many privileges and responsibilities. But becoming part of God’s household is open to “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord”. We share the same citizenship in God’s Kingdom as leaders like Moses, as kings like David and Solomon, as prophets like Elijah and Isaiah; as evangelists like Paul and Timothy, as martyrs like Stephen and Antipas.

    When I open up the pages of this forum, I am among friends. Even though I haven’t met you personally, I have come to know you through your posts. We have an easy familiarity with each other as we chat and laugh together. We have that same relationship with “the saints” of God’s household. We are not strangers and aliens to each other. We are friends, members of God’s forum, and someday we’ll meet, greet, and eat together.

    Hebrews 12 gives a picture of what that will be like. 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

    Now, that will be some magnificent meet, greet, and eat. We’ll find friends we never knew we had. We’ll be rubbing shoulders with some very distinguished people, and angels. And at the head of the table is God Himself. And the surroundings will be superb. We’ll be in the city of the Living God. Revelation 21 and 22 describes that city.

    So we are first and foremost citizens of God’s Kingdom. Just now we are mere humans living here on earth. But look at Philippians 3. This is what’s coming: 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

    God talks about how a seed is planted and grows up into a plant. The plant does not look at all like that seed. It is larger, a different color, a different shape, has much different characteristics than that seed had, but it came from the seed. We’ll be planted in the earth some day, and Jesus will transform us into something as different from our physical bodies as that plant is different from that seed. I can’t even begin to imagine what that will be like, but it will be marvelous.

    Now, there are a couple of things we need to do while we are still here on this earth.

    First, we thank God for what He has done for us, to us, just like He says to do in Colossians 1: 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

    Second, just as citizenship in any country in this world has responsibilities as well as rights and privileges, citizenship in God’s Kingdom has rights, privileges, and also responsibilities. We are representatives, ambassadors, of God’s Kingdom to the rest of the world. I remember being in a large restaurant in Switzerland years ago. A party of people from another country came in, were loud, friendly, and boisterous. The reserved Swiss tolerated them. We were vacationing in Cyprus one year. Some Russian holidaymakers had been in the same area shortly before us and had left a very bad taste because of their arrogance. On the other hand, they liked the Brits for the most part, because they were courteous.

    So 1 Peter 2 describes how we should live on this earth as representatives of God’s Kingdom. 11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

    So guys, regardless of what happens to the countries where we live and have our citizenships (and there are many reasons to feel like our countries are on shaky ground), we have citizenship in a Kingdom that will never be shaken. The head of that Kingdom is the Judge of all.
  12. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011

    Psalm 52 describes David’s reaction when he was betrayed by a slimeball named Doeg the Edomite.

    Here’s what happened. The record is in 1 Samuel 21 and 22. David had just escaped from Saul’s court because that treacherous, paranoid king had tried to kill him, even though he was doing all he could to help Saul. He made tracks for a town called Nob, where he found the priest Ahimelech and asked for some food and weapons. He hadn’t had time to grab his bug-out bag. Ahimelech gave him some of the bread that had been brought as an offering to God, and Goliath’s sword. Standing there in the background watching all this was Doeg, who returned to Saul and told him everything that Ahimelech had done for David. Saul immediately sent for Ahimelech and his entire household of priests, accused them of treason, and ordered his guards to execute them on the spot. The guards refused, but Doeg carried out the orders and went on to destroy Nob. Sounds a little like how the Gestapo dealt with anti-Nazi activists, doesn’t it?

    One of Doeg’s sons managed to escape the slaughter and found sanctuary with David. When David heard the story it must have pierced him to the heart. Here’s what he said to the young man in 1 Samuel 22: “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have brought about the death of every person in your father’s household. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life, for you are safe with me.”

    What could David do? He was on the run and Saul was much more powerful than he was. He did what he always did. He prayed and Psalm 52 is his prayer.

    Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
    The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.
    2 Your tongue devises destruction, Like a sharp razor, O worker of deceit.
    3 You love evil more than good, Falsehood more than speaking what is right. Selah.
    4 You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.

    Doeg was on a power high. He had the king’s commission to destroy because he had turned David and Ahimelech in to Saul and was no doubt boasting about how great he was. That reminds me of how Haman bragged about how great he was in Esther 5 just before he was hanged on his own gallows.

    Bad people brag about themselves. It’s one of the signs of their pride. But God says so many times throughout His Word that He hates pride, and that He will destroy the proud person. They can talk all they want about how great they are , the wicked things they have done, and the evil plans they have for God’s people, but there is something out there greater, more powerful than they are. The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.

    Friends, when we are feeling intimidated by the ugly talk of evil people, we need to grab hold of that promise from God: His love for us goes on and on and on. It never stops, and we are the objects of His lovingkindness. We can say with David that God will take care of those people. See what David says next:

    5But God will break you down forever; He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent,
    And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah.
    6 The righteous will see and fear, And will laugh at him, saying,
    7 “Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge,
    But trusted in the abundance of his riches And was strong in his evil desire.”

    Doeg and people like him don’t stand a chance. We can watch from the sidelines as God breaks them completely. When God goes to work it is awesome and we can be thankful that God’s power is not turned against us. Seeing God’s destructive hand at work should make us fear, honor, God. Knowing this is God’s judgment makes us able to laugh, in derision, in relief, in joy at the objects of God’s justice.

    I’m sure you can easily think of several prominent people who fall into that category these days. They trust in their power, and in their wealth to carry out their evil plans. And even though they may seem to do well for a time, God will ultimately have the last word and the last laugh.

    But here we are, and this is how God sees us:

    8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
    I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.
    9 I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it,
    And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.

    While they are crashing and burning, we are like an olive tree in God’s house, watered, cared for, producing our fruit in our season. And we are there permanently, the objects of God’s lovingkindness that will never end.

    And because God has carried out this justice, we have a clean conscience and can thank God for the downfall of these people. We didn’t take the law into our own hands. We waited for God to do His work in His time in His way.

    You know, Psalm 52 is the last time Doeg is ever mentioned in the Bible. For all his power and all his wealth and all the bad things he did, he just seems to have crumbled to dust in the annals of history. Proverbs 10 says 7 The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.

    May God bless us with gratitude to Him as we watch His judgment carried out on those people who refuse to find sanctuary in Him. And may He bless us with His peace as we wait and watch for that to happen.
    reflex1 likes this.
  13. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    A few days ago we looked at how God is building us into His building. We are living stones that He dresses, or cuts and shapes to His specifications for our particular spot in His House, back in 1 Peter 2.

    Back when I was working for a construction company to get some money for college, we were building houses. The first thing we did after marking out the site, was to lay the foundation for the building. That foundation was critical. It had to be true, carefully measured out, and needed to be sound enough to bear the weight of the building. Ideally those foundations would have gone all the way down to bedrock. Practically we dug them to below the frost line. We reinforced them with rebar so they would stay strong as the weight of the building settled on them.

    Once that was in place, we laid several courses of blocks on that foundation, which helped form the shape of the rest of the house. We glanced at how Paul talked about “building” Christians in 1 Corinthians 3 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Paul laid the foundation in the lives of the people in Corinth: Jesus Christ. He made sure that they had as solid a foundation in Christ as he could lay. Then others came along to build on that foundation.

    He talked about the importance of that foundation of faith in Christ again in Ephesians 3 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

    Once the Christians in Ephesus had their foundation in Christ laid, then they would be able to understand, to know, the love of Christ for them.

    Now. Let’s take a look over the next few days, God willing, at the courses of building blocks God sets in place on that foundation of faith in Jesus. He describes them in 2 Peter 1

    5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence in your faith, supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

    Seven courses built on the foundation of faith. Today, let’s look a little more at that foundation.

    That foundation of faith is threefold.

    First, it is the faith that brings us to God. Hebrews 11 says 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

    Galatians 6 says 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

    John 1 says 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

    This was the foundation that Paul was taking such care with in Corinth. He wanted to make sure those new Christians knew beyond a shadow of any doubt that their salvation came from faith in Jesus alone.

    Back in Paul’s day, and today, there are people who say we can take shortcuts with that foundation of faith, or use other materials. See how Paul warned the Christians to be wary of that in 2 Corinthians 11 3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

    And again in Galatians 1 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

    These days we have churches preaching a gospel of good works—if you intend to do good, that should be enough to get you into heaven. Or that there are many ways to God and salvation. All faiths are equally valid. It doesn’t matter what you believe, just so long as you are sincere. That’s the broad way that leads to destruction Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:13-14. Faith in Jesus alone is the narrow gate and many pass it by.

    Second, that ongoing faith that trusts God to teach us, to protect us, to guide us, to provide for us every minute of every day. When the disciples were terrified during the storm out on that lake, Jesus talked to them about their lack of faith there in Matthew 8 25 And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” 26 He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.

    Jesus talked about how we need faith in God to provide for us in Luke 12 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! God provides our clothing, our food, and whatever else we need.

    Third, that ongoing faith is a faith that looks at God’s Word, listens to what He is telling us, and acts on it. You all know the illustration Jesus gave in Luke 6. 47 Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”

    Compare that with Joshua 1:8.

    We’ll look at this more tomorrow.
  14. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    2 Peter 1 Moral Excellence

    5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence in your faith, supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

    Seven courses built on the foundation of faith that we looked at yesterday.

    The first course is moral excellence, or virtue.

    Jesus set the pace for this kind of moral excellence. When He was on trial before Pilate, the only conclusion Pilate could come to was in Luke 23: 4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”

    What does it mean to add this moral excellence, this virtue, to our faith?

    First of all, is it important? Yes. Check out what Jesus said in Matthew 5 20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    See what God says in Titus 2 6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

    This virtue means that we live in such a way that nobody can successfully or honestly accuse us of being hypocrites.

    It means we are people who keep our word. If we promise something, we’ll do it if it’s at all possible. We don’t go into an elaborate show of words; we keep our statements simple. Matthew 5 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.

    It means having self discipline, having good control over not only our bodies, but over our words, our thoughts, our attitudes, our actions. 2 Thessalonians 3 6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;

    Adding this virtue to our faith means being at peace with all men, so far as it depends on us. That does not mean compromising our convictions, but it means showing God's love and caring for those around us. Romans 12 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    Now, that just plain goes against our grain. If someone wrongs us, we want to get back at them, and do it in such a way that they won’t wrong us again. There is nothing wrong with self defense. That’s not what this is saying. It is saying that we need to do what Jesus said back in Luke 6 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

    Just keep in mind...our Father in Heaven has been merciful to us even though we didn’t deserve it. He expects us to show the same mercy to others that He showed to us, and to show by our actions as well as words, how God can show mercy on them. It might just be the thing they need to turn them around.

    We need to have the right mindset to be able to do this kind of thing. We need to feed our minds, our lives, on the right things. Remember the old term, garbage in, garbage out. It’s also true that if we put good things in our minds, good things will come out of our mouths and our actions. So look at Philippians 4

    8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

    Finally, have a look at a person who has virtue well established in his life. He had added to his faith this moral excellence. It’s the portrait David draws in Psalm 15.

    O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
    2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
    And speaks truth in his heart.
    3 He does not slander with his tongue,
    Nor does evil to his neighbor,
    Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
    4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
    But who honors those who fear the Lord;
    He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
    5 He does not put out his money at interest,
    Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
    He who does these things will never be shaken.

    May God bless us as we learn live out our faith by showing this kind of moral excellence, this virtue.
    reflex1 likes this.
  15. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    2 Peter 1 Knowledge

    5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence in your faith, supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

    We need to build on that foundation of faith, and God helps us build. It’s not enough to just “have faith”. We need to have moral excellence, to have lives that reflect God’s character. He is good to us; we need to be good to those around us. He is Holy; we need to be holy because He is living in us, shining Himself out through us. We are like headlights on a car. If the lens is covered in dirt, that light cannot shine out. We can’t see where we are going, and others can’t see us. We need to keep our lives clear of that sin that would cloud our moral excellence, our light into the world, that God talks about in Philippians 2; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

    Then onto that moral excellence we need to add knowledge. And it’s not just head knowledge. The Greek word is “gnowsis”, the knowledge that comes from experience. I know how to build a campfire because I learned how to do it when someone showed me how. But I have also built quite a few campfires myself. It takes head knowledge, but that head knowledge must be supplemented with practical knowledge. We learn the theory, but we put the theory into practice. We can learn the theory of ballistics and of reloading, but until we actually sit down at the press and start making ammunition, take those bullets to the range, and shoot them, we don’t really know reloading. The same thing is true for our walk with God.

    People learn a lot of things about God. Some become like the Dead Sea. They collect knowledge like the Dead Sea collects the water from the River Jordan, but there is no outlet. The water evaporates leaving all the minerals leached out of the soil and the water becomes so salty it is unpalatable. There is no life in it. Those people who collect knowledge about God without actually knowing God and acting on that knowledge become unpalatable, dead. God gives a heavy warning about these kinds of people in 2 Timothy 3: 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these… 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    We need to gather knowledge, put it to use in our own lives, and pass it on to others. That way we become more like the Sea of Galilee, which has an inlet, and an outlet, fresh water, and lots of life.

    We learn something about God; He teaches us something from His Word about us, about Himself, about other people, about nature, and we need to put that knowledge to use. Jesus told us to teach people how to be His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20. One of the best instructors I ever had was in the police department, instructing in self defense techniques. He had the black belts, but he also had the street smarts picked up from putting that knowledge to use in real life situations. He lived what he taught. We as Christians need to do the same.

    What kinds of things are we supposed to learn? What knowledge should we acquire?

    Start with Proverbs 1: 7 The fear[reverence, honor] of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    Go on to Psalm 19: 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
    The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
    8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
    The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
    9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
    The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.

    Learn His Law, His testimony, His precepts, His commandments, how to revere Him, learn from His judgments.

    Proverbs 13 says 16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool displays folly.
    The knowledge God gives us is useful in real life.

    Go on to 2 Timothy 2: 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

    Learn in such a way as to be able to teach others so that they in turn will pass on what they have learned…and keep the chain of students, disciples, going.

    Gather knowledge about God. Get to know God. Learn how He works in this world, in our lives, in history, in politics, in nations, in the lives of people. But don’t just leave it at gathering information. Make it living knowledge. Make it alive in you.

    Remember what God says in James 1: 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

    As we gather all these kinds of knowledge from God's Word, we will learn to see life from God’s perspective. That’s wisdom. Proverbs 23 says 23 Buy truth [facts knowledge], and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.

    If wisdom is seeing life from God’s perspective, understanding is knowing how to use that wisdom; how to apply it to situations we come into, how to apply it to people we meet. Proverbs 4 says 7 “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.

    May God bless us richly as we learn to look intently into His perfect law, and put it into practice.
    reflex1 likes this.
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