Tuesday, March 31, 2020

What Manner of Persons Should We Be?

Christians should be the most loving and kindest of all people on earth. We should always strive to see the best in others and be willing to work out our differences in a spirit of love for our souls. We all want to go to heaven and in order to go there we must care for others as God has cared for us. In 1 Peter 5:7 it says "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." Therefore we can learn from scripture what manner of persons we ought to be.

We Ought To Be....
Attentive (Hebrews 2:1), Obedient (Matthew 23:23), One who imitates Christ (2 Thessalonians 3:7), Holy (2 Peter 3:11), Pleasing to God (1 Thessalonians 4:1), Helpful (Acts 20:35), Godly (2 Peter 3:11), Prayerful (Luke 18:1), Peaceable (2 Peter 3:14), Humble (John 13:14), Blameless (2 Peter 3:14), Loving (1 John 3:16), and Faithful (Matthew 25:14-27) to name just a few.

Why Should We Be This Way?
We should strive to be this manner of person because we know that “all things will be dissolved” someday (2 Peter 3:11). Christ is going to come again (2 Peter 3:12), and we want to gain a home in heaven with Him (2 Peter 3:13). Let us strive to live a godly Christian life here on earth so we can live with our Father forever (Revelation 2:10; 2 Peter 3:8-9). Keep the faith and stay the course because if we do, our heavenly home will be our reward!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Love the Lord Your God

If every Christian’s true goal in life is to ensure eternal life, then we would be focused to make the right decisions here on earth. We can have the proper focus in life when and if we truly receive and impart the kind of training that Moses instructed for the Israelites. Listen carefully to his words: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

 If we receive this kind of training and then in turn train our children this way, then we would develop in our lives affections set toward heaven. No matter what we do during the course of a day we would make sure that it would not interfere with receiving our eternal citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 11:13). Paul wrote to the Colossians, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). No matter what we might accomplish and gain here on earth it will mean absolutely nothing if we miss heaven! We must be willing to make whatever sacrifices we have to in order to hear Jesus say to us on the great judgment day “.....Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

We must live in such a way that we are literally reaching for the ultimate prize. It would be good to possess the same kind of attitude that the apostle Paul had when he said, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). We have been so very blessed by our heavenly Father. We can now show our love, loyalty, and dedication to Him by living our lives in such a way that will show Him that we truly love the Lord our God and have our affections set toward heaven!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Testing of Things

The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 "Test all things; hold fast what is good." The Christian's daily walk should be a walk where "testing" is continually done. We find in scripture where God tests man "But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts" (1 Thessalonians 2:4). In addition, man is to test himself; "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless indeed you are disqualified" (2 Corinthians 13:5). God tests our hearts to know if we are in fact loyal to Him (Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:1-2). We are to continually test ourselves to ensure that we are in "the faith."

What Is To Be Tested?
We have learned from 1 Thessalonians 2:4 that our hearts are to be tested because God certainly does. But what else can we learn that should be "tested" in our Christian walk? In 1 John 4:1 it says: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." This certainly is good advice for all of us. Test the teachings of man to make sure that those things being taught are in fact from God's Holy inspired Word and not something that man has made up on his own. Our faith is tested on a daily basis. How should we respond when our faith is tested? With JOY! Why? Because it produces endurance within us when we overcome. Each and every test of faith that we confront and overcome, we become a much stronger Christian (James 1:2-4). Our works must also stand the test before God. Paul wrote: "each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is" (1 Corinthians 3:13) and "But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and  not in another" Galatians 6:4). How does our work stand up for Christ?

One thing that is for sure, it will be tested on the day of judgment and each one of us will give an account of our deeds, good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Why Test Things?
As stated in our opening scripture, things should be tested so that we will know whether those things are good or evil. We want to hold fast to those that are good and discard the evil. Another reason we should test all things is to make sure that we do not become deceived. In 1 John 4:1-6 it says: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." The Bible tells us plainly why we should test things. It is only through our testing of things that we can be glorified. Peter writes: "that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Let's make sure that we test all things to ensure that we are doing ALL to the glory of God!

By What Are Things Tested?
Before you and I can test something we must first know what the standard is that we should test these things by. The Word of God is THE standard in which all things must be tested by (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:15-16). Human standards do not cut it. After all, who will we be judged by in eternity? The answer is GOD not man! Paul wrote: "For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" (2 Corinthians 10:12). The wise thing to do is to "Test all things; hold fast what is good," because our eternal destiny depends upon it!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Potter and His Vessels

There is a song we sing from time to time entitled "Have Thine Own Way". The first stanza of the song says "Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the Potter; I am the clay. Mold me and make me After Thy will, While I am waiting, Yielded and still." What a beautiful song this is and when we as God's creation fully realize and understand that we are simply God's vessels and that He is the Potter (our maker), then we can humble ourselves to the point of doing whatever service we have been molded to do for the Lord!

The Vessels of God
God is truly our Potter. We can read this in the book of Jeremiah 18 verses 1-12, and also in Romans 9:22 where Paul says "What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:" Here, Paul likens us to the vessels of God and that is truly what we are. Have you ever noticed a potter working with his clay, molding that clay into a fine vessel? There is a lot of time and patience that is involved in the potter's work. Likewise, God has spent much time and effort in the creation of His vessels, you and I. In the verses pointed out above in Jeremiah and in Romans we can read where God is long-suffering with His vessels and does the very best He can with them. It is through us (His vessels) that we can see the riches of God's glory. "And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory" (Romans 9:23).

There are all kinds of vessels out there. There are some vessels of wrath (Romans 9:22), and there are even dishonorable vessels. Paul says "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" (Romans 9:21). He echoes those same words in 2 Tim 2:20. But we can see from Romans 9:21 that there are also vessels of honour and of mercy in Romans 9:23.

We Are Individual Vessels Made By God
God has molded each one of us into a vessel. But he has given each of us a mind of our own to either respect our maker (The Potter), or reject Him. The choice is entirely left up to us. That is why it is so important for us to realize that had it not been for “The Potter,” we would not even be here today. Therefore, knowing this, why is it that so many still choose not to honour the very one who allowed us this opportunity to live and enjoy our short time on this beautiful earth that He also created. We can become honorable vessels unto the Lord by heeding the call. Paul says in Romans 9:23-24 "And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?" One heeds the call of God by simply obeying His commandments (John 14:15).

Characteristics of An Honorable Vessel
The characteristics of an honorable vessel is that one is sanctified, fit for use, and prepared for all good works. This is what the apostle Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:21 "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." One must purge themselves from evil and join himself with doing the things of honour, approved unto God almighty! Then when one proves himself to be a vessel of honour unto the Lord certain glory will result as Paul said in Romans 9:23. What is that glory? The same glory as Paul was sensing when he told Timothy "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8). When we prove ourselves a worthy vessel, one that is serving the purpose that God designed for us to do, then we can enjoy a life eternal with God our Potter. But when we decide to do our own thing and rebel against our maker then our end is certain destruction (Romans 9:22). Why not let "The Potter" (God) have His own way with His vessel (you and I)?

Monday, February 3, 2020

"They Have Forsaken the Right Way"

We read in 2 Peter 2:15 “They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.” How sad it is to see those that once walked in the ways of the Lord to abandon His love and go the way of Satan. Yet there are many that have not forsaken the way of the Lord and remain steadfast in His service. These are the ones that understand that the right way, the way leading to eternal life has been dedicated by Jesus Christ. The Hebrew writer wrote: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20).

Our Duty to the Right Way
The Christian’s duty is not to forsake the right way of the Lord (2 Peter 2:15). Earlier in verse 15 we can learn where we are not to even speak evil of it, and in Acts 13:10, not to pervert the right way of the Lord. We have a responsibility in this life and that is to FIND the right way and then enter into it. Jesus said: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Failure on our part to find and enter the right way will cost us our very soul! Let us be determined to know the right way (Acts 18:26), teach it (Luke 20:21), and then walk in it (Isaiah 35:8-9). Don’t forsake the right way.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Obeying the Truth

There are thousands of individuals in this country that have not obeyed the truth of God’s Word. Why is it that so many do not want to give their life to God and serve Him? After all, He did create us and expects us to follow the teaching that His Son Jesus came to give us (Matthew 28:18-20). If you are one of those thousands that have not yet obeyed God’s truth, please take a moment and examine your heart and search your soul to see if you can determine why it is that you haven’t.

Could it be that you don’t know the truth? Truth only comes through study (2 Timothy 2:15), and it is only God’s truth that will make you free (John 8:32). Could it be that you don’t believe the truth? If so, this is very serious because God says that the only way one can gain faith is by hearing His Word (Romans 10:17). But only you can make up your mind to believe or not believe. It is a matter of choice. But to go to heaven, you must believe! I encourage you to read God’s Word and believe in His truth today.

When the truth is believed then then you can have access to heaven through obedience to God's teaching. After believing in Him, you need to repent of your sins (Acts 17:30-31; Luke 13:3), confess Jesus as being the Son of God (Acts 8:37; Matthew 10:32-33), and then be baptized for the remission (forgiveness) of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21). God created us and gave His only Son to die for us. Therefore, we now need to live for Him -- being faithful until death (Revelation 2:10). What is really keeping you from obeying the truth?

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Pressing on Toward Heaven

All too often we have a tendency to look back and dwell on what we have done or haven’t done instead of concentrating on the future. "Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17:28-33). Lot’s wife had a longing for that which she had left. Consequently, she was overtaken and consumed. Her trust was not in her God but in the things of the world. She just could not bring herself to let go. Do we have this trouble today? Think about it. Sometimes "looking back" may simply be filling our lives up with "good" things to the degree that we cannot render to our God what is due Him. That is the point that Jesus made in Luke 9:62 when He said "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." So where should we be looking? Obviously not backwards. We should be looking forward and running toward God. Lot’s wife should have felt as if she were in a footrace away from Sodom and we should feel the same way. The Hebrew writer tells us to run with endurance the race that is set "before" us, looking to Jesus...(Hebrews 12:1-2). We must realize that everything we do as we follow Jesus is another step in our race toward our eternal victory. When you feel enticed by the world - remember Lot’s wife. Let’s all strive to keep "pressing on toward heaven!"