Archive for the ‘Exhortation’ Category

106. “Bring them here to Me”

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Matthew 14:18

5 loaves.

5,000 men.

5 words*.

“Bring them here to Me.”

“Lord, what are five loaves and two small fish among so many? Feed everyone? Impossible!”

“Bring them here to Me.”

“Lord, You might as well say we don’t have anything at all in comparison to this great task.”

“Bring them here to Me.”

“Lord, I can’t do this.”

“Bring them here to Me.”

***

I wonder how many times I have sighed beneath the load, trying to do something for the Lord, feeling helpless, fruitless, failure. Am I trying to feed over 5,000 with 5 loaves?

Are we trying to do the growing for that little seed we sowed, or are we giving that seed to God and watering it with prayer?

Yes, we need to supply those few loaves and fish. God notices the “insignificant.” But how many more would be blessed, and how much more glory would we bring to God, if we truly realized it was His work, His miracle, not ours?

“Bring them here to Me.”

***

*4 in Greek

103. He must increase

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

What a ministry John the baptist had! What was his job? Why was he here? His purpose was to exult Christ as much as he possibly could. And his whole ministry was devoted to pointing others away from himself — to Christ. When others asked him who he was, he simply replied, “I am a voice….” He was to be unseen; he was to prepare the way for the Messiah, the Savior.  He was to ignite repentance and faith in the hearts of those who heard him, a longing for righteousness and God’s Lamb. John’s purpose was being fulfilled when his own disciples left following him to follow Jesus, and he rejoiced in it (3:29). He would say that he was unworthy to do the lowest servile work for the Lord Jesus– to untie His sandals. What humility, what lowliness is seen in God’s messenger!

I wonder how I would do if that were my job.

But wait… it is!

***

Note: The Lord said of John that “none greater” had been born before him. Perhaps the Lord was speaking of his character, for meekness is greatness with God. As well, this could mean that John’s privilege was greater than any other before him: his ministry was not only to foretell the coming of the Messiah, but actually to proclaim that the Messiah was here! However, the Lord said that the one who is least in the kingdom would be greater than he; to be included in the reign of Christ would be a greater position than to proclaim His coming. What a privilege is ours to be linked with the coming King of kings!

85. Lessons from vineyards

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Rejected from the vineyard

  • So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others.  (Luke 20:15-16)
  • The Lord Jesus came into a world He had created. That world should have received Him and given Him the fruit of righteousness, obedience and worship. But that world crucified the Son of God.

Respect for God’s vineyard.  

  • “Give me thy vineyard”  (1 Kings 21:2).
  • Naboth was willing to die for what was right. He was unwilling to give away the inheritance he had received from God. Am I willing to hold to the truth that God has given me?

Project of the vineyard. 

  • “She planteth a vineyard” (Prov. 31:16)
  • Am I using the abilities God has given me?

Neglect of the vineyard

  • I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. (Prov. 24:30-31)
  • God would not have us to be lazy! How is my vineyard?

Prospect through the vineyard: “Go work today in my vineyard.”

  • And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?  They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive…. These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.  (Matthew 20:1-16)
    • This is the passage that got me thinking about this topic. I appreciated William MacDonald’s comments on Matthew 20:
      • “The first bargained for a denarius a day and got the wage agreed on. The others cast themselves on the farmer’s grace and got grace. Grace is better than justice. It is better to leave our rewards up to the Lord than to strike a bargain with Him.”
      • Many of us have to admit that it seems a bit unfair to us, too. This only proves that in the kingdom of heaven we must adopt an entirely new kind of thinking. We must abandon our greedy, competitive spirit, and think like the Lord. The farmer knew that all these men needed money, so he paid them according to need rather than greed. No one received less than he deserved, but all received what they needed for themselves and their families.
  • Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? (1Cor. 9:7)
    • The farmer is worthy to receive the fruit of his labor, and our toil is not for nothing in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58).

“Son, go work today in my vineyard.” (Matthew 21:28)

78. Giving

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

I have appreciated and been challenged by a few thoughts about giving recently from 2 Corinthians.

  1. God desires for giving to begin in the heart before it is seed in the hand. It is first God-ward: we give to God and then give to others.
    • “that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” 2 Cor. 8:2-5 NASB
    • “God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor. 9:7 NASB
  2. God intends that those who have more than they need help to supply those who have need. It may well be that, down the road, the very ones you gave to will be God’s means of bringing blessing into your own life.
    • “At this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality;” 2 Cor. 8:14 NASB
  3. The benefits and results of our giving are in proportion to how much we give.
    • “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 2 Cor. 9:6 NASB
    • Note: this is not to say that a little seed dropped along the wayside cannot be used of God to bring about great blessing.
  4. God abundantly supplies seed to those who wish to sow for His glory and the blessing of others.
    • “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.” 2 Cor. 9:10-11 NASB
  5. God is the first and greatest Giver.
    • “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor. 8:9 NASB
    • “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Cor. 9:15 NASB

 

58. What is my life?

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Bethany Beckett, missionary to Mexico, died from a heart attack on October 25, 2010, one day before her 24th birthday. Nine days before she died, she wrote, “All the pleasure we can have in this world won’t even compare to what God has in store for us in Heaven. This life is short, eternity is long. When we get to Heaven, I’m pretty sure we won’t remember the things we thought we were missing out on, or even the things we thought were so great….”

David Alves, missionary, commented, “Really, how important is that Hollywood movie, or who won the World Series? To live is Christ! To die is gain.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. ”

James 4:13-15 reminds us, “What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” My life: it’s brief.

Paul says (Galatians 2:20), “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me….” My life does not belong to me. As a believer in the Lord Jesus, I now am dead to the old sinful life, and have been brought into a new kind of life (1Cor. 6:19, 2Cor. 5:17). Without Christ, in our sins, we could not please God (Rom. 8:8), and even in Christ in our own strength we can do nothing (John 15:5). But “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV). He who gave me my life gives me the ability to live it (Rom. 8:4). Our life is now bound up in the life of God, and we live for and through Him who loved us and gave Himself for us (2Cor. 5:14-17). Is this new life a bondage? No! It is liberty from a life of sin. It is being brought in to share the heart and life of God. When He lives in and through us, we experience His life, which is truly living. Why would I want my own way when I can share in the life of God?

Romans 7:20 says, “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me…” My life is not bound. With a new nature, I am no longer under bondage to sin (Romans 6:14-18, Heb. 10:16). Though I am responsible for my actions (2Cor. 5:10), that old nature is no longer the real me, and it will one day be done away.

Finally, we learn from 1Cor. 15:10 that my life is not boastworthy: “But by the grace of God I am what I am… I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. ” You could see this verse as though Paul were saying, “Don’t look at me: I wasn’t the one doing the labor; the grace of God did the work.” I am only who I am by the grace of God.

So in summary,

If Christ lives in me, then it doesn’t matter about my abilities: I can be greatly used of God because it is His power. My part is but to have a surrendered will, a steadfast faith, a devoted heart.

If I no longer desire to live a life of sin, then I live in His perfection.

If my life is a result of God’s grace, then I enjoy His provision to make me who I am.

And if my life is so very brief, let me consider His purpose, that I might not lose out on what is truly living: the life of God.

43. Continue

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

From “Choice Gleanings” daily calendar,  March 12, 2011

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine: continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 1 Timothy 4:16

Sometimes, to act in accordance with God’s word can be embarrassing and painful. It can even affect our relationships with our closest family and friends, although naturally we do our utmost to avoid this. However, when it comes to the “crunch” the Lord must come first, and He has promised blessing to you and others if you honour His word.
-Brian Russell

Lord grant that we aright may learn,
The wisdom Thy word imparts,
And to its heavenly teaching turn,
With simple childlike hearts.
-B. Barton

Note:
The salvation in 1Timothy 4:16 is not talking about eternal life, but rather it includes preservation from evil, the world and its ways. Let us continue in truth, that our lives and the lives of those around us may be preserved.

40. The Word of Life (1 John 1:1)

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

The Word of Life

In some countries, Christians risk loosing their lives simply by owning a Bible. Why do they do it? Because the Word is Life to them. They are willing to risk death that they might take in more of the Word of Life. It has power in their lives, a grip in their heart, an effect on their walk. They witness boldly for their Saviour and take their energy from the true Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:1).

I wonder, is it that way with me, in a land where Bibles are abundant, but apathy in relation to the things of God is just as abundant?

Christ is the living “Word of Life” (1 John 1:1). To separate the Scriptures from Christ is to separate His Person from what He says– impossible.

Oh, may we hold fast to the Word of Life! (Philippians 2:16)

The Word of Truth

If I did not have the Scriptures of Truth, I would not know who or what to believe. There would be no firm foundation for faith. Without hearing, there can be no believing: it is through the Word of Truth that salvation comes (Ephesians 1:13, James 1:18). “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

John, the man who leaned upon Jesus’ breast, at the close of writing Revelation said, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:19). Certainly he placed emphasis on the written Word of God. Paul, the apostle of Christ who was dramatically changed on the Damascus road, said, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1Cor. 14:37), and, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2Timothy 3:16-17 ESV). Luke wrote “that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4 ESV). The Lord Jesus said, “I have given them Thy word… Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth” (John 17:14,17). See also 1John 2:7, Psalm 119 (to name a few).

The Word of God:

Our source of strength in temptation:
Luke 4:4-  “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
1Jn 2:14- “I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”

Our source of surety in salvation:  “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1Thes. 2:13).

Our source to stand in conflict:   “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

The powerful searcher of our hearts:  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The beautiful song of our heart:  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16)

The unseen source of the universe:  “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:3)

The unfailing, unending, incorruptible, unchangeable Seed that will abide forever:  “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1Peter 1:23)
The Lord Jesus said,  “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away.” (Luke 21:33)

May we not hesitate to bare record of the Word of God (John 1:1; Revelation 1:2, 19:13)

May we have the faith of a centurion who said simply, “Speak the word only” (Matthew 8:8).

From Genesis to Revelation, we see the importance of God’s eternal word impressed upon us. Though it be written with ink, it must be written upon our hearts to be effective.