Daily Devotional; formerly Chaplains Corner

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

  1. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Unknown, but known

    1 John 3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

    You’ve heard of blind spots. When you are driving you look in the mirror to see what’s behind you; you look out the side window to see what’s beside you before changing lanes. But there are places around the vehicle where your mirrors just can’t see. Those are blind spots.

    People have “blind spots”. Those may be in their character. They think they are perfect, but they have some terrible habits or character or physical shortfalls that they simply don’t recognize. It could be a habit, it could be personal hygiene or some other trait. They are completely unaware of it but it is blatantly obvious to others and may be annoying or offensive.

    The world has a blind spot when it comes to God. Oh sure, there are many people in the world that think they know about God. In their arrogance they “create” a god out of their own imagination. But when it comes to knowing God, there is a complete blank place in their lives, a blind spot. When they try to describe people who belong to God, they completely miss the mark.

    I’ve seen that when I talk about guns with the police and others. They wonder how I as a Christian can tolerate the idea of having a lethal weapon around me. When they found out I was on the police force as a volunteer chaplain, and qualified at the range that really throws them into a tizzy.

    They have their own image of what a Christian should be and do and say, based on their definition of whatever god they have created in their minds. Their god is all loving and all forgiving and would let unrepentant mass murderers and unrepentant child molesters into heaven. They have no idea of God’s justice and righteousness and holiness. They are completely blind to that.

    We see that blind spot coming out as governments completely disregard God’s Law when they are making laws to govern the nation. They try to run roughshod over our convictions as Christians. They don’t see us because we are Christians, living by God’s Law.

    If the world does see us, it sees that we don’t fit into its mold; we don’t conform to it. Jesus warned us about that in Matthew 5 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    He 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.

    As Christians, we know God. We have a new relationship with Him. He is our Father and we are His children. We become aware of His justice and righteousness and holiness as we get to know Him. We should become more like Him as we mature in our relationship with Him. You know the saying…”like father, like son”.

    The world does not recognize us because it does not recognize God for who He is.

    Now the big question. Who would you rather be known by?

    The world? The world is passing away. The world’s opinion changes like the wind, and he who is popular today will be castigated tomorrow.

    God? He never changes. We are in a permanent relationship with Him. We are His children. He showers us with love. Count how many times the Bible says “It is His great pleasure to do this or that for us, His children.” Sometimes He has to correct us, but He does that because He wants to make us into better people.

    Sometimes the road He has for us to travel involves a valley of the shadow of death, but He is building us up, making us stronger, just as the elite military forces go through extreme training to toughen them up for the work ahead. And through the trials of that training, He is right there beside us.

    While the world ignores or doesn’t see us because we are Christians, God knows us better than we know ourselves. We are unknown by the world, but known by God.

    That is another evidence that we are Christians.
     
    reflex1 likes this.
  2. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Loving in deed and in truth

    Love and faith and works are all mixed up together. Love, agape (ἀγαπη) means sticking our necks out, taking a risk, in faith. God certainly stuck His neck out when He sent Jesus to earth to die on the cross for our sins. John 3 says it was love for us that moved God to take this drastic step. 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

    Then God follows that initial burst of love for us with an ongoing demonstration of love for us. Romans 8: 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

    Now God gives us another evidence by which we can know we are Christians, as we become like Him, as we take on His character, His love. We should see ourselves loving other Christians especially, but also other people in the world in general, with God’s kind of love, His agape love.

    1 John 3 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren…18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.

    We see that happening all over the world, particularly after some crisis has hit an area. Who are the first to respond to a major tragedy like a flood or earthquake? Churches and Christians are in the vanguard to jump in and help, although the media refuses to cover those acts of God’s love. They donate clothes and food and medicine. They comfort and encourage the victims.

    Who were the first to explore “deepest, darkest Africa”? Missionaries, who brought not only the Gospel, but lifesaving treatments to the people they ministered to. Mission Aviation Fellowship airplanes not only carry Bibles to unreachable peoples, they bring medicine and food and medical personnel. They airlift medical emergencies from remote locations to hospitals.

    These demonstrations of God’s agape love for others are an evidence of our faith in God. James 2 says 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

    1 Corinthians 13 shows the other side of the coin. There are some people who are great philanthropists, but if God’s love for others is not at the heart of their efforts, well…3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

    If they are depending on works to get them in God’s good books, all their efforts are a waste of time.

    We need to love in deed, and in truth. God’s love flowing through us into the world around us will show up in actions, and it also needs to show up in truth.

    Those medical missionaries of yesteryear met real physical needs with physical medicines and healed many physical people, but they never let their eyes get off their real purpose for being where they were…to spread the truth of God’s Good News, the Gospel. And they are still doing that.

    One mission group I know of has a ministry with prostitutes in the city. They provide hot drinks, places to warm up, and an opportunity to talk about whatever they want to discuss, but the real goal is to rescue these girls and bring them to Christ.

    Some churches today get stuck into social justice issues and good works, and they forget that their reason for existence is to be God’s ambassadors to the world. They are loving in deed, but not in truth. They are like that man in 1 Corinthians 13, doing lots of good works, but they don’t have the love for these people they are helping that causes them to care for the whole person. They fail to meet the spiritual needs of these people. They give the cup of cold water, but forget to give it in Jesus’ name.

    When we love in truth, it means exposing people to “inconvenient truths” about themselves, and showing how God can fix those problems. We need to be ready to pass on the Gospel along with that cup of cold water.

    As we see God opening up opportunities to share the Gospel with others through practical acts of kindness, we can assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.
     
    reflex1 and One Shot like this.

  3. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Confessing

    Homologeo (ὁμολογέω). It means literally to “say the same thing”. Practically it means to confess publicly, acknowledge openly, profess. We’ve seen that word before in 1 John. Remember 1 John 1:9? 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    That means that when God points out an area of our lives or action we have done that falls short of His standards, when we have done something He says is wrong, we say “OK, You are right, I am wrong. I'm sorry. Will You please forgive me?”

    Now this word shows up again in 1 John 4 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

    God used the same word in 1 John 2 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

    And there is the stark contrast between a Christian and someone who is not a Christian. Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father.

    Denies the Son what? This person refuses to admit that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came to earth as a human being, lived here for 33 years without sinning once, died on the cross to take the penalty for our sins on Himself, and then rose from the dead on the third day. This person denies the Gospel. He refuses to admit that Jesus is Lord, King of kings, Lord of lords.

    But. Anyone who confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who publicly admits the Gospel, has the Father. God abides in him and he abides in God. Whoever agrees wholeheartedly with God that this is the best news ever for the world, and isn’t afraid to tell the world about it, to profess this publicly, is a Christian.

    Isn’t that what God says in 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.

    Now, if we tell the world that Jesus is Lord, and really believe that in our heart of hearts, it will mean a change in our attitude toward the world.

    Who have we pledged our allegiance to? Check out Ephesians 1: 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,

    With a Lord like that, we are always on the winning side, whatever is happening around us and to us.

    And that is another evidence that we are Christians: we have the boldness to admit, to confess that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is the Son of God to a world that is in rebellion against Him.
     
    reflex1 and One Shot like this.
  4. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Love one another

    We’ve touched on this before, but God says it again here: Another evidence that we are Christians is that we love one another.

    1 John 4 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

    What this says to me is that our first and primary focus of love is toward each other who are Christians. That love is the agape love. It’s one-sided, unilateral.

    Remember when Peter had that conversation with Jesus in the last chapter of John? Jesus asked Peter if he agape’d Him. Peter used a different term—phileo. Phileo carries the idea of mutual friendship. If you are nice to me, I’ll be nice back to you. If you are friends with me, I’ll be friends with you. I’ll care for you, unless you cross me. Then all bets are off.

    But God’s unilateral love toward us means He decided, regardless of how we behave toward Him, that He would love us anyway. You can see that in what happened to Paul. He was on that road to Damascus, breathing out hate and fury for the Christians, when Jesus stopped him dead in his tracks and turned him around. God loved Paul even though Paul hated Christians and Jesus, and God’s Love won the struggle. It took some dramatic action—Paul was blind for three days—but when the scales fell off Paul’s eyes, he saw the light and became one of the strongest proponents for Christianity ever.

    So God has loved us with this unilateral love. He sent His only begotten son into the world so that we might live through Him. Jesus died on the cross so we could have eternal life with God the Father and His Son Jesus. He wants what is best for us, and will literally move heaven and earth to make that happen. Remember Romans 8:28.

    And if this God is alive and well and working in us, that same love should flow out of our lives toward others around us, especially Christians.

    How does that work out?

    We can’t reach out and meet the needs of all the Christians in our communities, let alone around the world. But we can pray for them, that God would meet their needs and encourage them and give them wisdom and heal them when we hear of specific needs. And as God gives us opportunity, we can be the channel of His practical love into their lives.

    Then there is the way we can encourage each other, challenge each other, build one another up. David and Jonathan had a close friendship and one of the last times they talked together, 1 Samuel 23, it says 16 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God. Jonathan knew his family was on the way out and that God had selected David to be king of Israel. But Jonathan, instead of being jealous, prayed God’s blessings on David.

    Churches fall apart over petty differences. Denominations argue with each other over things they think are important, but are actually differences of opinion and interpretation about what God says in His Word, and they lose sight of God’s directive that we are His body here on earth. Sure we are different.

    Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ…21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”… 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

    But even if we have different ministries, we are all part of the same body, Christ’s body here on earth, and we have all been given the same task—to carry God’s good news to the world around us.

    Now, one of the things that happens is what happened with Apollos in Acts 18. He was in Ephesus, preaching for all he was worth. He had most of the Gospel down right, but was missing out on a few things. So it says 26 and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

    Instead of wiping the floor with him, these two took him into a quiet corner and helped him get a fuller grasp of the Gospel. Paul touched on this in 1 Corinthians 3. People were talking about the Apollos denomination, and the Paul denomination and Paul hit that over the head. 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? 5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.

    So instead of causing conflicts among Christians, we need to show God’s love for each other. That is the mark of the Christian.
     
    reflex1 likes this.
  5. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Condition Yellow

    That’s what God tells us to be in 1 Peter 5: 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

    One of the things we can expect, as Christians, is to come under attack from the enemy. That attack can be a direct frontal attack from demons or people who hate Jesus, or temptation, or it can be a subtle insinuation from false teachers. These latter had wormed their way into some of the churches Jesus wrote His letters to in Revelation 2-3, and He warned those churches to weed them out, get rid of them.

    Those churches needed to do what God says to do in 1 John 4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

    Whenever we hear someone who calls himself a teacher, we need to test the spirits; we need to listen to what he says and see how it measures up against God’s Word. That’s what the Christians in Berea did in Acts 17: 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

    These Berean Christians were testing the spirits of Paul and Silas, checking what they said against God’s Word. They didn’t just take what they said at face value. God gives us the criterion by which to evaluate these teachers in 1 John4: 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God;

    Pay attention to who these teachers listen to, where they get their information. Billy Graham was constantly thundering “The Bible Says…” and then elaborating on that verse or passage.

    False teachers and church leaders use themselves or other people as authorities. 1 John 4 again: 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

    People come to church, or they listen to Christian broadcasts on radio or TV; we read books, and expect to be fed spiritually through these means. Satan would love to poison the spiritual food people are “eating” when they come to hear God’s Word.

    I know from other threads on this forum that there are “sheepdogs” in some congregations, ready to defend the lives of those in the church if it ever comes under physical armed attack. These sheepdogs are in condition yellow watching out for physical danger. We also need to stay in condition yellow watching out for spiritual attack, especially in church and on religious broadcasts. We need to be like the Berean Christians.

    We need to stay in a spiritual condition yellow, testing the spirits using God’s criteria as we are reading or listening to teachers until we have checked them out.
     
    reflex1 and Alaska444 like this.
  6. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    That you may know

    1 John 5 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

    There it is. In black and white. Nothing wishy-washy about this statement. It’s like being pregnant. There is no “kinda” or “sorta” about being a Christian or being pregnant. You either are, or you are not.

    We use “Go-No go” gauges to measure the rounds we reload. Either the round fits, or it doesn’t. So it is with being a Christian. He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have life—eternal life.

    When you hand an envelope to someone, he receives not just the envelope, he receives the contents of the envelope. Jesus is the envelope. Eternal life is the contents of the envelope.

    And becoming a Christian is simply receiving that envelope from God. John 1: says 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 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,

    God is standing there with an envelope just for you. It’s your choice. Will you receive that envelope from God, or not? Jesus came to earth to be with us and to die on the cross to atone for our sins, and there were two responses to His being here.

    Some refused the gift. They prefer to try to work their way into heaven, depending on their own good deeds and lifestyle, hoping in vain that the “good will outweigh the bad” and that God will look kindly on their hard efforts to lead a good life. Trouble with that is that nobody is perfect and God requires 100% perfection, or righteousness. God says in Romans 3: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    And anyone who depends on his own righteousness? Well…Ezekiel 33 says 12 And you, son of man, say to your fellow citizens, ‘The righteousness of a righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression,

    Others may try to evade, ignore, or close their eyes to the truth that God is, and that He rewards those who seek Him and punishes those who reject Him.

    Others received Jesus. Those who received Jesus, who believe on His name, become the children of God. That means we receive God’s forgiveness for our sins. He takes the record of our sin, tears it up and throws it away.

    It means He becomes our Father, and we have His protection, His love, His grace, His mercy, His provision for the rest of our lives here on earth and on into eternity with Him.

    And receiving Jesus is just a matter of prayer, talking to God. Something like, “Father in Heaven, I’m sorry for my sins. Will you please forgive me? Will You please come into my life and take over my life? Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

    Now, that promise God made in 1 John 5 is real. That means we don’t need to depend on our feelings or on circumstances. Regardless of how we feel, of what’s happening to us, what’s happening in the world around us, we have God’s life in us. We are His children.

    Job knew this. He had just lost his wealth, his family, and his health. He was sitting on an ash heap, scraping the boils on his body with a piece of broken pottery. “Friends” were playing mind games with him. His response? Job 19 25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. 26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God;

    1 John 5 again: 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
     
    reflex1 and One Shot like this.
  7. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Confidence

    At work I have a pass card that lets me roam around the building at will. The little electronic chip inside it unlocks any doors I want to go through. I have the authority and confidence to go anywhere in the building.

    We as Christians have an authorization to do something much greater than to wander around a building at will.

    You remember what happened at the Temple in Jerusalem when Jesus died on the Cross, don’t you? The curtain that separated the general public from the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. For centuries that curtain had separated the place where the High Priest met with God from the rest of the world. Any unauthorized person who went in or even looked in was subject to death.

    Man didn’t tear it from the bottom to the top; God tore it from top to bottom. God opened the way for people to come into His presence directly, without the need of a High Priest. So we have the confidence, the authority to go directly to God. Before Jesus died on the cross, God was accessible only through the High Priest. Now He we all have direct access to Him. We don’t need to go through a High Priest, or any priest or clergy or saint. We can go directly to God Himself and He welcomes us.

    1 John 5 14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

    You know how it is. If you want to see the governor of your state or some other important official, you have to go through a regiment of secretaries and officials just to get an appointment. Then you are ushered into his office for a brief interview, he shakes your hand, you talk, he nods his head and acts as he is listening, and then you are ushered out again.

    But his children…they can come to him almost any time. They don’t need to go through secretaries or set up appointments. They simply open the door and walk in and they can talk to him and he actually listens and talks with them.

    We are God’s children if we have received Jesus into our lives. Our sins are forgiven and we no longer are held guilty for them. We don’t have to cringe in fear of an angry God and His judgment on us. As God’s children, we have confidence to go directly into God’s presence. He is our Father in Heaven. We have His ear. We can know He listens to us, and if we ask for something that is good, according to His will, He will grant it.

    Hebrews 4 says 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

    That confidence, that boldness to speak freely to God about whatever is on our minds, is another evidence that we are Christians.

    Now, if we have confidence to go into God’s presence, how much more confident should we be in the presence of mere mortals, regardless of how important they may be?
     
    One Shot and reflex1 like this.
  8. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Receiving Answers

    We’ve all seen it. That child having a very noisy and embarrassing meltdown because mom won’t get that latest whizz-bang toy in the store. Maybe she knows it will break the moment it’s out of the package; maybe she just doesn’t have the money; maybe she knows the child already has so many toys he’ll never be able to play with them all; or maybe it’s just a wrong toy. Now, if that child in the store had asked for the “right” thing, mom would probably have sprung for it.

    God says that we don’t always get what we want when we ask God for something. James 4 says 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

    But then again, God says in 1 John 5 14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

    We need to ask according to His will. That means we need to know now what He wants for us. We can only know that by abiding in Him and in His Word. As we abide in Him, and His Word abides in us we can learn the kinds of things God wants to give us.

    Check these out:

    Psalm 91 14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. 15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.

    If we love God first and foremost, He will protect us.

    1 Chronicles 4 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

    Jesus gave us much the same thing to pray in Matthew 6: 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

    2 Chronicles 1 7 In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you.”… 8 Solomon said to God, …10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?”

    Solomon didn’t ask for stuff for himself. He wanted to be able to rule Israel, God’s people, justly. And God granted that request. 1 Kings 4 29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.

    2 Chronicles 14 11 Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”

    King Asa was asking God to defend His own name and honor in the face of overwhelming odds. 12 So the Lord routed the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.

    When we pray for God to heal people, when we pray for elections, when we pray for things we think we need, when we pray about difficult situations, when we pray about and for other things, our first consideration needs to be “how will this glorify God, bring honor to his name?” We show our love for God by asking for things “according to His will”. And His will is always to glorify Himself, because only as people and things and events glorify Him will we see peace and satisfaction and fulfillment in life.

    God created us to glorify Him. We are created in His image.

    15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

    “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
     
    reflex1 and One Shot like this.
  9. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Loving through prayer

    One of the evidences of our love for God is our love for other Christians. We love God, we love others who are His children. We want God’s best for them, just as we want God’s best for us.

    Part of that will be doing what God says to do in Hebrews 10: 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

    Proverbs 27 says 17 Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. We should all be looking to “sharpen” each other in our relationship with God.

    Proverbs 27 also says 5 Better is open rebuke Than love that is concealed.
    6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.


    I have friends who hold me to account in my relationship with God. I have met in Bible Study with some guys, and part of that study was to make practical application of God’s Word to our lives. I would come up with a specific action plan and then ask Dean or Rich or Danny or Jack or Jim to check with me in a week to see if I had carried out that plan. They likewise would ask me to check on them. At the end of the week we would check on each other to see how we got on with our applications.

    By the same token, if any of them saw that I was doing something wrong, they would not hesitate to call me out on it. We were watching out for each other.

    Now, part of that watching out for each other can go deeper. If we see someone going off the rails, we should be ready to help guide them back. Galatians 6 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

    Loving one another means helping them to keep a good, vibrant relationship with Christ, not allowing them to fall away if we can help it. It may just involve a little “sharpening” one another; it may mean inflicting faithful wounds, rebuking a brother in Christ. A doctor inflicts pain when he cuts into the body to remove a malignant tumor. But he heals his patient.

    And a vital part of the process of restoring a brother in Christ is through prayer. Praying for others is an evidence of God’s love in us; another evidence that we are Christians. 1 John 5 16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

    Now, lots of books and discussions and arguments and debates have been conducted over what this “sin leading to death” means…the “unpardonable sin”. I don’t pretend to have the last word on that. But from what I’ve read, it seems that someone who is actively rejecting God’s grace and doing his best to cause others to do the same is committing that sin. They may be “false brethren”, “false prophets”, “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. We can pray that God would cause them to repent; we can pray that God would stop them dead in their tracks; but it seems from this passage that it is better to pray for other people.

    Praying for other Christians, that God would keep them close to Him, or bring them back to Him, are the kind of prayers God loves to answer. These are in line with His will… 1 John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
     
    reflex1 and One Shot like this.
  10. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Three things to know

    1 John 5 18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

    19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

    20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

    John is summarizing his letter in these three things we can know.

    Do you remember that Greek uses a couple of different words that we translate “know”? One of them is oida (οἴδα), which implies a kind of head knowledge, something learned, and that is the word God uses in these three verses when He says “We know”. In effect, John is saying “OK, boys and girls, let’s summarize what we have been talking about. We know…”

    Then there is “ginosko” (γινώσκω). That is knowledge from experience. You might say that ginosko is knowledge gained from putting “oida” to use. In my chemistry and physics and biology classes, we would learn the theory in lectures and from reading books. Then we would go to the lab and do an experiment to see how that theory works out in real life. We went from “oida” to “ginosko” in those labs.

    So the first thing we have learned is that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

    No one who is born of God sins? We are human. We can’t help but sin. Remember 1 John 1? 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

    Well, the Greek grammar helps us out. The word “sins” could be translated “goes on sinning on purpose”. We don’t make it a habit to go on sinning. There are times when we fall down. We repent, turn around, and agree with God that we have sinned, and ask His forgiveness. That’s what David did when Nathan confronted him over his sin with Bathsheba and her husband. You can read how he confessed and asked God’s forgiveness in Psalm 51.

    No one born of God makes it a habit to go on sinning, going against God’s Law on a continuing basis. Instead, we have a kind of guard rail to keep us on the road… He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

    Do you remember how Jesus prayed for His disciples during His last hours on earth? John 17: 12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled… 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.

    Do you remember what Jesus said to Peter? Luke 22 31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

    And then God says in Hebrews 7 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

    That’s the first thing we need to get through our heads and into our lives. No one born of God makes it a habit to go on sinning.

    We can look around and see plenty of people who claim to be Christians who say “black is white and up is down” when it comes to sinful, immoral lifestyles. These people are not born of God. They are not real Christians. They have closed their eyes to God’s Word and use their own ideas (I can’t say their own wisdom—that would be an oxymoron).

    But as Christians, we have a relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ. Our first purpose in life is to love God with all our heart and soul and mind. We want to honor him, glorify Him, obey Him with our lives. That means we want to keep clear lines of communication between us and God, and not allow sin to get in the way.

    And Jesus keeps us, builds a fence around us to keep satan at bay. He helps us to overcome temptation and endure the testing times satan tries to throw at us.

    We’ll look at the other two things we know in the next couple of days.
     
    reflex1 and One Shot like this.
  11. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    The Second Thing to know

    1 John 5 19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

    One of dad’s friends was on the Bataan Death march during WWII. He managed to escape, and stayed in the Philippines. He managed to organize resistance groups who staged a gorilla campaign against the Japanese invaders until Eisenhower returned with the Allied forces to defeat the Japanese and re-take those islands. He was behind enemy lines the whole time, managing to stay alive and free and all that time working with the islanders to free their land from their oppressors.

    As Christians, we are behind enemy lines. We are surrounded by the enemy. We know what side we are on—we are of God. Because we are of God He keeps us. He takes care of us. We are on the winning side. Satan has been defeated. He is like a roaring lion that has been fatally shot and is still thrashing around in his death throes, doing as much damage as he can before he dies.

    And his end has been determined. John 12: 31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. The Book of Revelation describes in lurid detail how that will happen.

    We can do one of two things: We can crawl into a hole and hope to stay hidden, and cry “Oh woe is me because I am surrounded by the enemy.” the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. It is a bleak picture. Everywhere we look we see the fruit of the enemy’s work. Crime is up but the liberals want to take away our freedoms to speak out and to defend ourselves. Legislation keeps being passed that promotes immorality. I see the same things happening in the US and in Europe and other countries around the world. And the western world is trying to pressure other countries to follow in their footsteps. It seems as if there is a unified, concerted agenda that governments around the world are following. I guess they are…they are tools of the evil one, satan.

    The other option is that we can do what dad’s friend did and organize resistance. God has placed us in this world for a purpose. Do you remember how Jesus prayed for us in John 17? 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

    He has sent us into the world. You all remember how Jesus commissioned us in Matthew 28:18-20. Acts 1 says 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

    Dad’s friend started where he was, with the people he came into contact with and built a network of resistance throughout the Philippines. And that is the same strategy God gives us: start wherever our Jerusalem is—our own home neighborhood, or with people at work, or whoever we rub shoulders with. As we are faithful in that, God will expand our reach in expanding circles—all Judea—places with similar cultures and people. Then Samaria, slightly different culture; the uttermost part of the earth—God can open up our witness for Him to the entire world.

    Is this safe? Yes and no. It depends on how you define “safe”. Physical safety and comfort are not guaranteed. Hebrews 11 describes how God’s people suffered; Paul described how he despaired of life in 2 Corinthians 1:8 and in other places he describes the beatings and shipwrecks he went through, or rather, as he says, that God brought him through.

    But yes, we are safe. We are never out of God’s hands. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,

    Back to yesterday’s: 18 We know that…He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

    And then go back to 1 John 4: 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

    I seem to remember that during WWII one commander received word that he was completely surrounded by the enemy. His response was to this effect: “That’s great. We have them where we want them. No matter where we shoot we’ll be sure to hit some enemy.”

    We are in a world under satan’s control. But we are under God’s control and care. Guess who wins?
     
    reflex1, One Shot and drymag like this.
  12. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    The Third thing to know

    1 John 5 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

    We know that the Son of God has come. We know this because we have heard it from reliable sources and read it in the Bible. (Remember οἴδα—head knowledge?) We celebrate that at Christmas. We celebrate His death and resurrection at Easter. Well, actually, we should celebrate that every day, because He said in Matthew 28 20 …and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The Greek word for come should be translated “is come”. He is here. He has arrived, He has never left us. He is with us.

    He has given us understanding. He doesn’t expect us to take a “blind leap of faith”. Jesus has given us an ability to think, to evaluate, to consider things from God’s point of view. Jesus prayed in John 17 7 Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.

    He assured us in John 14 25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

    Jesus teaches us through His Word, and His Holy Spirit helps us understand and remember what He has said to us. God doesn’t expect us to live out our lives as Christians in an intellectual vacuum. He gives us His instructions step by step through life.

    God said in Psalm 32 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. 9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.

    Now, this understanding Jesus gives us turns that οἴδα—head knowledge into ginosko (γινώσκω), life knowledge. We think. We meditate on His Word. We look at how He is working in the world around us, and in our lives. We consider and make decisions based on the head knowledge He has given us, and turn that knowledge into action. That understanding needs to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

    This understanding Jesus gives us makes us able to know, ginosko, Him who is true. It gives us the ability to tell the difference between the True Christ and the false christs, the false prophets and teachers, running around the world today. Jesus said in John 10 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

    The understanding Jesus give us makes us able to know His voice and follow Him and run away from phonies.

    So when religious leaders come out with statements questioning Jesus’ resurrection, we know to reject them. When they start coming out with statements questioning or outright rejecting God’s design for the family, we know to reject them. They are false. If what they say doesn’t line up with what Jesus said, they are liars, and they make God out to be a liar.

    Jesus has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

    We are in Him who is true. Jesus said in John 10 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

    John 8 31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

    If we “continue”…remain, live in it, make it our environment. If we live surrounding ourselves with His word, we are His disciples and we will know the truth. We will be able to discern the lies the world tries to brainwash us with through the media and education and government and entertainment, and social engineering and other things. We will be able to recognize God's Truth. God’s truth will free us from the chains of lies the world wants to use to enslave us and everyone else.

    If we remain in God’s Word, we will remain in Him who is true and nothing will be able to pull us out of God’s grasp.
     
    reflex1 and One Shot like this.
  13. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Mercy, one day at a time

    Manna. Back in Exodus, as the Israelites were marching out of Egypt, they realized they needed food for the journey.

    We prepare for disaster by stockpiling supplies including food and water, and by making contingency plans for when that food runs out. If we have to bug out, we like to have supplies we can take with us. The people of Israel were bugging out of Egypt. They had some supplies with them, but those had to be rationed. The food they had didn’t go very far among 600,000 people.

    Two and a half months into that journey that food began to run out. Naturally they complained to their leaders because they were getting hungry.

    Exodus 16: 2 The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

    God’s solution? He provided food for them, on His terms. 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”

    It would be a test: would the Israelites follow God’s instructions, or not? Sure enough, some people tried to hoard that God-given bread during the week, and it went off overnight. Others couldn’t be bothered to collect a double ration on Friday for the following Sabbath, and they had an involuntary fast. They learned quickly that God provided them food enough for each day.

    Now, that food, that manna, was one of God’s mercies that He provided for His people, one day at a time.

    Look at Lamentations 3: 22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

    God gives us mercy for each day’s trials and tribulations. Just as the manna appeared on the ground each day for the Israelites, so He provides mercy for us each day.

    The Israelites had to bow down to the ground to collect that manna to give them food and energy for the day; we need to bow down in prayer at the start of each day to ask God for His mercy to get us through the day.

    We can’t store up mercy for tomorrow. His mercies for us are new every morning.

    That’s what Jesus was getting at in Matthew 6. We can get all bent out of shape trying to figure out how we will survive the next day’s or the next week’s or the next year’s problems. We can lose sleep over a lot of “what if’s”…problems at work, finances, relationships, government, safety on the roads, and so on.

    So Jesus said 25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

    Then, you remember how He describes the way God takes care of the birds, and even the flowers in the fields. And He says 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

    34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    God gives us His mercies one day at a time, enough mercy for each day. As we are going through the wilderness of this life, we need to bow down in prayer and commit each day to God and ask Him to give us His mercies for today, one day at a time. But we too need to follow His instruction: He provides His mercy for us as we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

    We collect our manna—I mean mercy—each day.
     
    reflex1, gdmoody and cec2 like this.
  14. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    The slavery of comfort and security

    Something kind of jumped out at me yesterday, and I wonder if you saw it too.

    Exodus 16: 3 The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

    The Israelites were ready to throw it all in at the first little bit of struggle and strain. They were a little hungry. They were willing to give up their newfound freedom that God had miraculously provided so they could return to slavery and squalor in Egypt, with its comforts and steady supply of food and security. They had God’s promise that He would take them through to the Promised Land, but they were so focused on their empty stomachs that they forgot that God always keeps His promises.

    And that’s a common thing that keeps us from achieving all God would like us to do. The disciples all had secure jobs, steady incomes. It may have been hazardous; fishing for a living is never completely safe, but it was a form of security. And Jesus asked them to leave it all behind and follow Him so He could make them not fishers of fish, but fishers of men, a much higher calling. Fish will feed people for a day, or start rotting. The souls of people last for eternity. They did give it all up to follow Him.

    Later on they asked Jesus about leaving everything behind in Matthew 19: Would it be worth it? 27 Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?”

    Jesus’ answer: 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.

    Do people give it up? You can almost hear the disappointment in Paul’s voice as he says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica;

    Society is all too often willing to give up freedom to receive security from the government. We see that happening incrementally all around us. Government offers money to organizations, with strings attached. Government offers things to people if they will meet certain conditions.

    The mantra of the liberals is that “we need to take weapons off the streets to make you safe.” The government offers to take care of people over here from cradle to grave, but it costs…taxes for health care, then taxes on things the government decides are unhealthy for us. The government wants to control our lives more and more with each passing year.

    I like what Benjamin Franklin said: Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

    Those Israelites would have given up their liberty to follow God through the wilderness and into the Promised Land in exchange for safety and security…and slavery in Egypt.

    God throws down the challenge in Hebrews 10: 38 But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

    Then He launches into Hebrews 11, His hall of fame, the record of those who left it all behind to follow Him.

    We have a choice: We can go on living in the temporary security the world provides, or we can live in the eternal security and safety God provides as we follow His direction, obey Him.

    God says in Galatians 5 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
     
    reflex1 and One Shot like this.
  15. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    12,018
    Location:
    UK
    Ten out of Ten

    There’s nothing like taking your rifle to the range and hitting the X ring ten times out of ten. Everything is working just as it should. The weather is fine, no wind or rain; your rifle is almost a part of you as you feed round after round into the chamber, take careful aim, squeeze the trigger, hear the bang, feel the recoil, and see the hole appear dead center on the target. The action is as smooth as silk. Everything is working together perfectly for a great day at the range.

    That’s how God wants us to be with Him. He wants us to be one with Him, to work in complete harmony with Him, smoothly obeying His commands, and hitting the target He is aiming us at dead center every time.

    That’s what He was saying in Deuteronomy 5: 29 Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!

    God doesn’t want us to keep His commandments merely because He’s bigger or stronger or wiser than we are. He wants us to keep all His commandments because they are good for us. He gave us His commands for our good, not to feed His ego. When we are keeping His commands we are living our lives according to His design for us. He designed us; He knows our limitations and our strengths and abilities. So He gave us His commandments, His owner’s manual, His instructions on how we should live so that we can get the most out of life.

    If we disobey His commands, it’s like trying to make our gun do something it isn’t meant to do. Maybe we don’t keep it clean and the action becomes hard to work, rounds fail to feed or fire, or the barrel gets dirty and the gun loses its accuracy. Maybe we don’t load the ammunition correctly and get a hot load that damages the gun. Maybe we even try to fire the wrong caliber of ammunition!! Whatever it is, the gun stops working as it should, or breaks entirely.

    As long as we maintain our guns properly and feed them good ammo, they will keep hitting the X ring time after time and be a pleasure to shoot. As long as we keep God’s commands, we will hit the X ring in life and “it will be well with us”.

    God didn’t give us His commands to restrict our lifestyle. He gave them to us so that we could live life to the full, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!

    That’s what David wanted when He wrote in Psalm 119: 57 The Lord is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. 64 The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes.

    If we keep God’s commandments, we’ll hit life’s X ring ten out of ten times.
     
    reflex1, Aspeck and One Shot like this.