Another Pearl of Wisdom…

1 Peter 3:7

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Husbands, this is not a suggestion. The Lord commands husbands to learn their wives. When I first heard the explanation of this verse, I thought it was phenomenal. As wives, we get so frustrated at being misunderstoood, or simply feeling like our husbands do not try to understand us at all. The Lord goes on to say that understanding and learning your wife helps to get your prayers answered. My, how good would marriages be if every husband thought to himself that the Lord would not answer his prayer if he had not spent any time trying to get to know his wife!

 

This is not to bash husbands, please understand. But the divorce rate is so high, and there are so many women living in unhappy marriages until something has to be said and something needs to be done. The main thing that needs to happen is that we surrender our will to the Lord Jesus Christ and do everything we can to please Him.

A Pearl of Wisdom…

1 Timothy 2:11-14

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

 

Ladies, this is not coming from an overbearing man who dislikes your gender.  This direction comes straight from God.  Women need to learn their God-given roles in the church and stay in their own lanes.  They have so much to do already without burdening themselves with something that God did not design for them anyway! 

I am so happy that God made me a woman.  I had the pleasure of experiencing pregnancy, childbirth, rearing children, and now I am looking forward to playing with my grandchildren.  I have had the pleasure of supporting and encouraging my husband, keeping our home as pleasant as possible, and keeping myself appealing to my husband.  I have been nurturer, a counselor, a helpmeet, and a source of comfort.  For those things, I am eternally grateful to God.  Never would I nor should I desire the role that the Lord designed for my husband and the other men that He has called into leadership.

Thank you Lord, for my role as a woman.

 

In the beginning, God…

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth.


A couple of months ago, I completed a nine-month study of the book of Genesis.  As I meditated on the majesty and the power of Almighty God, I began to think how wonderful it is that I, worm that I am, have the privilege of being loved and blessed by the God of the universe.  He is the One Who spoke the heavens and the earth into existence, and at the same time, He pays close attention to me.  He is ruler over everything that is and was and will be, and He is keenly aware of all the nuances that are my life.  He knows my thoughts before I think them, He knows my feelings before I feel them.  He knows when a tragedy will strike, or when I will be blessed.  The thought is greater than my mind’s eye has room to comprehend…


In the beginning, God had a plan.  His plan was to create a world and a people who could enjoy the perfection that He had in mind.  He had planned for man to have dominion over every living thing.  He had planned for man to enjoy all the plants that He created.  He gave the world beautiful sunlight to rule over the day and beautiful stars to light up the night sky.  He had a plan in mind.


Unfortunately, man ruined it.  He fell prey to the plan that the enemy had in mind, and he lost his fellowship with the Holy God.  He sinned.  He brought shame upon himself and death into the world.  From that time until this, man has had to deal with the effects of sin and death and the fallen nature that comes in every person born into this world.


In the beginning, God knew that man would sin.  He knew that man would need a Savior to come into the world and reconcile him back to God.  God knew that man would go after his own way, and that he would not have the means to restore himself back to God.  God knew, even back in the beginning.


Thank God for Jesus.  Thank God that He sent His Only begotten Son to the world to reconcile sinful man back to the Holy God.  Thank God that He did not leave us in our sinful state.  Thank God that we can be free from the burden and the penalty of sin.  Thank God that Jesus bore our weight of sin on His body, that we might once again have the right to the tree of life.


He did all of this for you and for me, in the beginning…

Qualifications for Pastoral Leadership

Timothy 3:1-7

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Titus 1:5b-11

…ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake…

This issue has stirred up my spirit more than once in the year 2012. I have watched the sacred desk be disgraced by more than one person who says that he is “called” by God to pastor, but then I have watched his life exemplify everything except a calling from God.

I cannot understand how anyone does not see that God made it very clear in His Word who was to shepherd His people. He said through Paul to Timothy that if any man desired this work, he desired a good work. Shepherding is a good work for those who are called and qualified. God loves for us to have pastors because He said “And I will give you pastors according to Mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15). God gave the pastoral qualifications in accordance with His Word and His will for us. He knew that leading his people would be an influential  task, and He only wanted the influence of someone who exemplified His leadership to be in that role. We have, however, followed and tolerated men who do not exemplify these qualities at all. In the last two years alone, the news has been full of so-called pastors who have been caught in all kinds of scandals, from extra-marital affairs to financial impropriety. Paul warned us that this would come. Now it is here.

I am reminded of a situation in the national news where a certain pastor was crowned in his church pulpit. I know of another situation where a pastor verbally threatened a blogger who called him out for fleecing the sheep in his church. Another nationally known pastor was thrown off of a commercial flight for his behavior and language. Another nationally known pastor got married and within three years of getting married, he fathered two children with young women in his congregation, and one of them was a minor! Yet another nationally known pastor renounced the gospel, began teaching that there is no real hell, and that we are all saved by the blood of Jesus. He said that gospel made him feel better about his unsaved grandparents who died without a relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Locally, a pastor killed his wife, went to church and lied in the pulpit about her whereabouts. Another pastor was involved in an extramarital affair, and while he was with his mistress in another state, he had some health problems that prevented him from getting home on his own. He actually had to call someone from the church he pastored to come and get him and take him home! Another pastor began an affair and left his wife and children while still pastoring his church. Another pastor’s teenage son got his girlfriend pregnant, and instead of being ashamed, he and his wife flaunted the fact that they were going to be grandparents. They forced the young man and his girlfriend to get married, and then the young man left the church and joined the nation of islam.

I will not even touch the subject of women pastors.

All of the above-mentioned men have disqualified themselves from pastoral leadership. The Bible says that the bishop must be blameless. If I know about an affair that you are having, then you are not blameless! I don’t even think we consider the blameless quality because everyone is so defensive about someone falsely accusing them. Being falsely accused and being blameless are two totally different things…

The pastor is to be the husband of one wife. Every man who involves himself sexually with another woman has joined himself spiritually to a harlot (1 Corinthians 6:16). When a man enters a sexual relationship with a woman, he is joined to her spiritually, which is why God reserved the sexual relationship for a husband and his wife. It is a covenant relationship, and when he breaks that covenant, he is disqualified from pastoral leadership. (Bible scholars differ on how long he is disqualified. In my opinion, he is disqualified forever. Others suggest that if he is repentant and has lived a number of years as a Godly example, then he can be restored.) How can he lead men in marital relationships that honor the Lord when he cannot keep honor the Lord with his own marriage?

The pastor must be one of good behavior. Remember the pastor I told you about earlier who got thrown off of the commercial flight because of his language and attitude? That was not good behavior. Remember the pastor who was crowned in his church? He was also accused of taking indecent liberties with several young men in his church. That is not good behavior. Remember the pastor who left his wife and his children while still pastoring his church? That same pastor tried to destroy his wife and ruin her reputation in the community. That is not good behavior. Remember the pastor who fathered two children with women in his congregation within three years of getting married? He had the audacity to go into the pulpit and use David’s indiscretion as his excuse to tell the congregation “I am STILL the man!” while the congregation clapped and cheered him on.

We have tolerated this kind of behavior in the church far too long. No one is willing to call the pastor out on his behavior.  The church has replaced the worship of the Lord Jesus and replaced it with worshiping the pastor. But you better hear me, church of the Living GOD! This nonsense has got to stop. You have got to stand on the Word of God. God’s Word is truth and there is no one or nothing that is excused from obeying God’s law. James even went so far as to say that people ought to be careful in taking these teaching positions in the church, because they come with greater condemnation for those who take them lightly. I guess the church thinks that God does not mean what He says. I think we have gotten comfortable here in this world.

Jesus is coming back sooner than we think. When He returns, all of this nonsense that the church is “getting away with” right now is going to stop. The Bible says that He is coming back for a people that are without spot or blameless (2 Peter 3:14). The church today is not only spotted, but we are not without blame and neither are our leaders.

I will continue to pray for pastors, teachers and leaders within the body of Christ. I pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will capture their hearts and draw them back to God’s Word, where I am sure they all started.

Dear Lord,

Please draw your people back unto Yourself. Please fill our pastors and teachers with Your Spirit and give them the desire to shepherd Your people to the best of their ability. Fill Your church with Your people who live by Your standard and are ready to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the lost people of the world. Help the pastors live a life that shows the love and holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ, because You said in Your Word that without holiness, no man shall see the Lord…

We thank You and praise you In Jesus’ Name…

Irreconcilable Differences

 

Genesis 2:24

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

 

Matthew 19:5-6

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

 

Mark 10:7-8

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

 

Ephesians 5:31, 33

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

 

Of course you have heard this phrase. Every time a marriage ends for no apparent reason, the divorce papers read “irreconcilable differences”. Every time a relationship of any kind ends for reasons other than those involving death, irreconcilable differences can be used as the excuse. Let’s examine exactly what irreconcilable differences are…

 

According the Dictionary.com, the word irreconcilable means “incapable of being brought into harmony or adjustment; incompatible”. It is an adjective that is derived from the root word reconcile, which means “to bring into agreement or harmony; to make compatible or consistent”.

The reason that relationships are incapable of being brought into harmony is that “…every way of a man is right in his own eyes…”(Proverbs 21:2). Everyone thinks that he or she is right. Whatever he or she wants to do is right. Never should he or she settle for being uncomfortable in the marriage. Never should there be a struggle. No one thinks that he or she should put up with the behavior or attitude of a partner who does not do exactly what he or she thinks that partner should do. As soon as disagreements arise over money, children, material things, outside relationships, etc., partners tend to forget the promises that they made, and they rationalize their need to be out of the relationship. Hence, the failing marriage rate in the world, and the rise of the couples choosing to live together without the benefit of marriage.

 

This is not God’s plan. Genesis 2:24 says “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This is the marriage union. This is how God designed it from the beginning of time. Matthew 19:6 says “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” “Let not man put asunder” includes the two in the marriage. It is not God’s intention, husband, for you to wake up one morning and decide that you just don’t want to be married anymore, pack up your things, and leave your wife. It is also displeasing to God, wife, for you to end your marriage because of anything other than the death of your husband. However, in the 21st century, we treat a marriage partner like a pair of socks: wear them a while and then change them.

 

I could name a thousand famous people in this country who have had multiple marriage partners. But I will not even deal with the world while addressing this issue. I want to deal strictly with the church. It pains me to see how many marriages in the body of Christ are falling apart. This is not just an issue within the lay people of the church: leaders are divorcing also. Pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, you name it…they are leaving their wives just like the men in the world. I am reminded of a well-known pastor who had a physical altercation with his wife in public. I do not know if this was something that had happened in their home on a regular basis, but one time is one time too many. Nothing should have driven a man who is filled with the Spirit of God to behave that way with the world looking on. I am thinking of another pastor who was accused of having inappropriate relationships with young men. Eventually, the pressure of the scandal got to his wife and she left him. Although I understand that she had biblical grounds based on the fact that he was unfaithful in the marriage, I believe that if he came to her in repentance, and I do not know that he did, she should have forgiven him and continued on with the marriage to protect the integrity of the ministry in which they had started and the reputation of the body of Christ in front of the world. It is not like these people are in rural areas where there is no television reception; these people are in metropolitan cities where you can barely sneeze without a news vehicle parking across the street from your church. I can think of another young pastor who started a church, which grew to be an enormous church in a short amount of time. He had a powerful testimony of overcoming several obstacles by the help of the Lord. He met and married a beautiful young woman and they started a family of three children. Shortly after giving birth to their last child, this wife found out that her pastor-husband had fathered two other children outside of their marriage, within the church.  Instead of resigning immediately, he arrogantly announced to his congregation that, just like David, he had made mistakes, but he was still “the man”. He is still pastoring that church today. As a matter of fact, all of the aforementioned pastors are still in their pulpits, with the full support of their congregations. I know another pastor who left his wife for another woman, and when confronted about her husband’s actions, the elders of his church supported him and refused to take any action. He openly flaunted his relationships with other women, and the body of Christ stood by and watched this happen. He, too, continued to stand in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday and teach error to the people who came to the church.

 

Each one of these marriages had a foundation that should have been built on the Word, but the divorce papers in each of these situations will read “irreconcilable differences”. Why? There is no reason that two people who truly love the Lord and want to please Him cannot work out whatever problems that they are having. If a Christian goes to the doctor and gets a diagnosis of cancer, they will immediately ask for prayer from other Christians because they trust that God can heal them of whatever malady that they have. If a Christian gets laid off from his or her job, they will immediately ask for prayer from other Christians because they trust that God can provide for them either another job or a means to support themselves while they are waiting. Christians trust God when they are looking for a job or a house or a car or a promotion or a church or a position or whatever the case may be, but for some reason, we do not trust that God can fix “irreconcilable differences”.

 

Guess what? There are lots of things that are irreconcilable. Day is full of light and night is dark. The two shall never reconcile that. Winter is cold, and summer is hot. There will never be reconciliation between the two. My husband is a night owl and I am a morning person. He likes to get there “on time”, but I like to be thirty minutes early. Those things will probably never change. God’s nature is holy and man’s nature is sinful. That is never going to change. But God reconciled man back to Himself by sending His darling Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. He became the curse of sin for us, in that He bore our weight of sin on His body while He hung on the cross, that way, the irreconcilable difference between us and God was bridged and no more did we have to die in our sins and go to a burning hell for all eternity. We could place our faith in Jesus and instantly have a relationship with the Father because of His loving kindness and tender mercy. The difference between us and Him can indeed be reconciled…

 

The burden of my heart is still to see marriages healed and strengthened. I pray for those married couples that I know every single day. I pray for the marriages that are in good shape, those that are struggling and those that are in between. I pray for the marriages of pastors, particularly my pastor, because it would break my heart and vex my spirit if I knew that he was living in a continuous state of sin. I pray for them because I know that there are no differences that are totally irreconcilable.

Come Lord Jesus, Come!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

 

What a comforting thought to know that one day that Lord is going to return and take His children home to be with Him forever! Sometimes when the cares of the world get me down, when those who are closest to me let me down, when I am weary and worn and fearful and despondent, when the news is bad and money is tight and the report is dreary, I think on the fact that all of this is temporary. I remember Paul’s description of the coming of the Lord. He said the Lord shall “descend from heaven with a shout”. I sometimes wonder if I will be shouting too, because I know I will be excited if I am one of those who are “alive and remain” until the coming of the Lord Jesus. I long for His coming. I long to meet Him face to face. I want to live in the splendor of heaven forever, leaving behind the world of agony in which we presently live.

 

I think of all the of the saints who have gone before and have already met the Lord. I think about people like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Joshua, and Caleb, Samuel, Isaiah, Elijah and David. I have often thought of Jeremiah, and how my heart is burdened like his for the people of God and for the lost people that I know. I think of Habakkuk and how he wondered how long the Lord would allow the unrighteous to seemingly get away with their wickedness. I think of Godly Bible teachers and church leaders who have gone before, like Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon, like Adrian Rogers and J. Vernon McGee. I also think of loved ones that I know are resting at the feet of Jesus, like my grandmother and one of my friends. I will be glad when I can see them all.

 

I will certainly be glad to meet the Father. I hope I get a private moment with Him. I want to talk to Him about so much. I hope I get to chat with Him about how His Word sustained me during some difficult times. I hope I get to tell Him how much His encouragement and peace meant to me while I was here on earth.

 

I do not claim to know when the Lord will return, but I do know that it will be a glorious day for all those who know Him. If you do not know Him, do not let this moment pass. Tomorrow is not promised.

Great is Thy Faithfulness

 

Lamentations 3:22-26

It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him.
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

 

This week, an acquaintance of mine had to bury one of their children. My heart has been so very heavy for this family all week. I cannot imagine what they must be going through. The loss of a child, my grandmother used to say, is one of the things that one never gets over. It is a wound that is never healed.

 

As I thought of this bereaved family, and talked to the Lord about their plight, I wondered how on earth this could have happened. I know I, as well as others, had prayed diligently this situation to turn out differently. I wondered what was God doing while this child lay dying.

 

One evening, in my quiet time with the Lord, God reminded me, as He does ever so faithfully, that even when we think that He is not there, He is right there, ever so lovingly being in control of the situation. As bad as the situation may be, He reminded me that things could always be worse, and the only reason that they are not is because of the restraining power of the Holy Spirit.

 

The Father also reminded me that Matthew 19:14 says “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” This child, who will be so desperately missed by family and friends, is at this millisecond seated at the feet of Jesus, enjoying all the splendor of heaven, witnessing the ultimate choir made up of angels, and suffering no more.

 

God is faithful. He is faithful when I understand Him and when I don’t. He is faithful when I like what He does and when I don’t. He is good and righteous and just and holy and pure and sovereign and powerful and merciful and beyond description. His compassion never fails. He is merciful beyond measure. As painful as it is to be physically separated from one’s child, even in that, God is faithful.

The Only Way

Romans 10:9-10

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Luke 13:3,5

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Acts 2:38

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 4:12

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.

From the outset, I want to clearly establish the gospel of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote to the Gentiles on his way to Rome the gospel that he had been preaching the previous twenty-five years. He made it clear that one who confessed with his mouth that Jesus indeed was the Christ, the Messiah, the One whom the Jews had anticipated for generations, one who believed in his heart that God the Father raised Jesus from the grave, where He was indeed dead and buried, that one would be saved. He was clear that salvation began in the heart, where the initial confession would be made.

Luke agreed with the gospel that Paul preached. Luke, who was not born into Jewish lineage, converted to Christianity and was led by the Holy Spirit to write a letter to a fellow Christian named Theophilus. In this letter, he would explain the roots of Christianity. He would begin with Jesus’ birth, and explain the events following, up to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God at Jerusalem, which ultimately led to the establishment of the first church. Luke warned Theophilus and the fellow church members to repent of their sins, and turn their lives over to the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew that there was no other name under heaven that could give men the salvation that they so desperately needed.

Jesus’ beloved disciple, the apostle John, said it plainly in his letter that there is no other way to the Father except through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

If I could stand on the rooftop of the State Capital Building and shout through a bull horn at the top of my lungs that unsaved men need to repent, I would do it! If I thought even one soul would be saved by doing so, I would do it in an instant. That is just how burdened I have become in the last few months for the lost. I know, for 30 years I have been walking with the Lord, but have not always been as sensitive to the plight of those who do not know Him as their Savior as I am now. I realize now that all of sickness, crime, poverty, desperation, depression, and every other negative thing that we face in life today is based on the fact that we have turned away from the belief that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. I am not implying that belief will make all of those things go away, but I am saying that the fact that we have turned from the Lord has drawn these things into our society as a consequence of our unbelief. We are living as they were living in the days of Noah. Genesis 6:11 says “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” The same thing is happening now. Any kind of sin you want, you can find in the world. Never before in my lifetime has the world been so corrupt. Never before in my lifetime has there been so much sickness and disease. So many people are afflicted with cancer. AIDS has spread like wildfire throughout the world. Now, the flu is killing people!

It does not have to be this way. There is a way out. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God gave us a way out of all of the horrific things that are going on in the earth right now. He said “If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2nd Chronicles 7:14) God said that if we would turn from our pride, pray, seek Him, and repent, He would heal the land in which we live. How simple is that?

Fortunately, it is not only about the life that we live here on earth. After this life, we are going to continue to live. We will live in heaven with Jesus or we will live in hell in torment. The life that we live here on earth is only the place of preparation for where we choose to go after this life. The decision is totally ours. I have heard it said so many times that a loving God would never send anyone to hell. You know what? That statement is absolutely correct. Our God is so loving that He does not send anyone anywhere. They choose the place where they want to spend all eternity. He is so gracious until He does not force Himself on anyone. To serve Him or not to serve Him is absolutely and completely every man’s choice. How much more gracious can we expect Him to be?

By the same token, He is just. God created a perfect earth with no sin and no imperfection. Then one fallen angel, who allowed himself to stray away from the fold of God and decided that he wanted to BE God, led the first man into sin, and the rest is history. Here we are today.

I heard recently that Oprah is not a Christian because she does not like the idea of a jealous God. I heard also that Larry King cannot reconcile the fact that there is so much suffering in the world with the fact that God is sovereign and loving. A former co-worker of mine said that she believes that Jesus was a prophet, and He was probably a very nice man. Another gentleman acquaintance said that there is no way on earth anyone will ever convince him that Jesus is the Son of God. I told him that he has the freedom to believe what he chooses, but whatever he chooses to believe, when Jesus returns, I sure hope he is right. At that time, there will be no changing your mind.

Jesus died for the sins of men. He loves you and want you to spend eternity with him. Will you give your life to Him today?

…He Saw Their Faith…

Mark 2:1-5

And again, He entered into Capernaum, after some days, it was noised that He was in the house.

And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, not so much as about the door: and He preached the Word unto them.

And they came unto Him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was bourne of four.

And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

I am sure that you have heard this story. There are these five friends, and one of them has the palsy. I didn’t know what the palsy was, so I looked it up in the dictionary, and it is defined as “any of a variety of atonal muscular conditions characterized by tremors of the body parts, such as the hands, arms, legs, or the entire body”. So, this guy had some kind of ailment that did not allow him normal muscular function, and we can assume it was in his legs, since he was lying down on a mat, unable to walk. Anyway, his four friends were good friends. Probably every morning, they went by his house to pick him up and take him where he needed to go, and then every afternoon, they probably picked him back up and took him back home. They were dedicated to him, obviously, because that kind of friendship is not normal these days.

These friends must have heard that Jesus was in the area. He was at a home in Capernaum, teaching the gospel to a standing-room-only crowd. Jesus’ reputation for teaching the Word with power and authority had preceded Him to the town, and many there wanted to get close to Him. These five friends were no different. The four able-bodied friends must have known that if they could get their one disabled friend to the Lord, He could heal him of his ailment.

So, they arrive at the house. Maybe they knocked on the front door and there was no answer. We do not know. Maybe they knocked on the door and did get an answer. Someone may have told them that they may as well go away, because there was no way in the world that five more people were going to fit into that house, much less one on a gurney. We do not know this either. We do know that they were determined to get their friend into that house.

I have never been to Israel, so I have no idea what the houses in Israel look like. I have heard that in the first century, the houses had flat roofs, and they were made out of stuff that was not like the roofs of our twenty-first century homes here in America. I have heard that they were made out of some stuff that may have felt like coal-tar pitch, therefore giving the four friends the ability to tear the roof off of the house to get in. That is exactly what they did. They went up on the roof, lifted their friend down into the house so that that Jesus could heal his malady. Luke 5:19 says “…they went upon the housetop, and let him down throught the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.”

Jesus must have been moved by their dedication to their friend and their determination to get to Him. He knew that they knew if they could only get to the Master, their friend could get the healing that he needed. The Bible says that He saw their faith.

Does the Lord see your faith? Are you in a trial and you have tried everything else that you could think of? Are you surrounding yourself with people who have enough faith to help you to get to the Master? Does your circle of friends include people who care enough for you to carry your burdens for you?

Be encouraged. The Lord sees your needs, and He hears your prayers. He is there holding you up and meeting those needs whether you feel His presence or not. On your good days, He is there. On your not-as-good days, He is there. He sees your faith.

And The Waiting Continues…

How long will Thou forget me O Lord? Forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him: and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because He hath dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13

When I pray a sincere, heartfelt prayer that reflects a desperate need in my life, I guess I feel like the psalmist did when he wrote the 13th Psalm. Sometimes it feels like the Lord has forgotten me. Sometimes I wonder if He hears my prayer at all. I know, however, that when I feel that way, I have surrendered to my flesh, and I have to come to myself, as the prodigal son did when he realized that his father’s servants were eating better than he (Luke 15). I have to remember that God’s time is not my time, and the way He thinks is not the way I think (Isaiah 55:8-9). I know He hears my prayers (Matthew 21:22). So I have to keep trusting Him, because I know that He knows what He is doing.

I encourage myself in this way because my heart is so heavy. I “…take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily…” It is interesting how sometimes things just are the way they are and there is nothing that a human can do to change them. But I know that God can. I know He is able to change the hearts and minds of men in a way that we will never understand. So we have to turn these necessary changes over to Him and let Him do the thing that He does best: be the sovereign God!

I trust in His mercy. I depend on His grace. I long for His salvation. God is faithful to do all that He has promised. Never do we have to concern ourselves with His recollection of all that He has said. He will never be less than trustworthy. He has earned more than our respect and admiration. He has earned our worship and our faith. He sent His darling Son to die for our sins. He did not leave us to our own devices even after we sinned against Him. He loved us so much that He came to earth as a helpless baby. Our God is beyond description.

I sing His praises because He has dealt bountifully with me. He has been good to me throughout my life. I think of my track record with Him, and it stinks. I have been unfaithful to Him, I have not kept His statutes, I have dishonored His Name. But then, I think of His track record with me. He has been so faithful to me until I cannot describe it. His statutes are in place for my well-being. He thinks of me when I am not thinking of Him. He is loving and kind, even to a sinner like me. And if you do not have a relationship with Him as you are reading these words, please do not let this moment pass without confessing your sins to Him and asking Him to become Lord of your life. You do not have to get “ready” for Him; He is ready and waiting for you. There is nothing that you can do to prepare yourself for Him. He has prepared a place for you already (John 14:3). You cannot clean yourself up enough for Him. Your sins are as scarlet, but He can make them as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Do not let this moment pass you by. Tomorrow is not promised…

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…

Romans 10:9