Wednesday, March 30, 2022

I'm Just One

Have you ever thought: “I’m just one. I don’t have great talents. There are so many others. Someone else can do better than me. My work, my efforts, my contributions aren’t that significant?” Have you imagined that no one will notice if you aren’t there and don’t get involved?

If you have ever felt that “I’m just one”, perhaps you need to spend time remembering some familiar Bible stories. Consider the importance of one person (or just a few) when:

Noah saved the human race from total annilation in the global flood.

Joseph overcame being sold as a slave, rose to high office in Egypt, and ultimately helped his entire family in the midst of a terrible famine.

Moses stood up to Pharaoh and delivered the children of Israel from bondage.

Joshua (and Caleb) brought back a good report on the promised land.

Gideon (and his 300 men) won a battle against a huge army.

David defeated Goliath, and in the process encouraged the army of Israel to a major victory over the Philistines.

Elijah withstood the 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel and felt he alone was left (1 Kings 19:11-14). God said: “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (Romans 11:4).

The prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc.) steadfastly proclaimed God’s Word even though they were opposed and persecuted.

Queen Esther saved the Jews from Haman’s plot to have them all killed.

Nehemiah single-handedly motivated and led the people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

And the ultimate example: Jesus – who suffered and died alone so that you and I could be forgiven of our sins and have the hope of heaven in eternity.

The next time that you start thinking “I’m just one. My work doesn’t matter”, remember, that the history of God’s people is the history of a faithful few who did what they could to serve Him. I suggest that we all get busy and remain busy for God and His kingdom while we have the opportunity to do so on this earth. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Importance of Knowledge

Knowledge is a very important aspect of life itself. Knowledge of life makes it easier to make right choices. Knowledge of our jobs will allow us to progress. Knowledge of the Word of God will help us gain eternity with Him. As we live day by day we are ever learning and gaining more knowledge.

In the religious realm, if we reject knowledge then we too will be rejected. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4:6). The Bible tells us that those who do not retain God in their knowledge will be rejected and will pursue worldly things. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28-32).

Knowledge is something that must be gained, applied, and passed on. “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered” (Luke 11:52). It is very important that we increase in the knowledge of God and be able to translate that knowledge into the wisdom we need to please Him. “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10). May we all strive to constantly gain as much knowledge of God as we can. Through knowledge and proper application we can gain access into His eternal kingdom. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Flee from the Wrath to Come

Early one morning fire broke out in a house on a narrow street. The alarm was sounded by a policeman on duty. Before the fire engines could get to the scene, flames were leaping high into the air. Suddenly a young man appeared at an upper window in his pajamas. Firemen quickly placed a ladder against the burning building. But to the dismay of all, he refused to come down, shouting back that he had to get dressed first. The firemen pleaded, “Come as you are! Come as you are!” but to no avail. From below they tried to ascend the stairs, but were turned back as the wind fanned the flames into fury. When a rescuer tried to enter through a window, the heat and smoke forced him away. Suddenly the stairs gave way and the roof fell in. The man had waited too long and was buried beneath the ruins. (Author Unknown).

This short story should remind us of how much greater tragedy awaits all who fail to “flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7). There is a great day of wrath coming. “But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7). A hard and impenitent heart will destroy us. The apostle Paul wrote these words in Romans 2:4-5: “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”

If you are not a Christian, I want to encourage you to “flee from the wrath to come” by obeying the Lord and be saved before it is everlastingly too late. Jesus does not make you obey Him, but he does invite you. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). He also says “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Do not delay. Your delay could cost you your soul. Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins. “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). It is unfortunate that some Christians are negligent in their service to the Lord. Once one becomes a Christian one must remain faithful to the Lord. “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away...” (Hebrews 2:1-2).

Jesus requires of everyone to bring forth fruits to show true repentance. “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance...” (Luke 3:8). Jesus is pleading for you to obey Him and come to Him now, before the fire of the evil one engulfs you forever!

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Deeds of Denial

“They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16). If We Profess with Our Words That We Know God, We must Also Confess Him with Our Works. The apostle Paul wrote of individuals who claimed to know God but denied Him by their deeds.

This is one of the most serious mistakes that anyone can make. In a sense, it would be better to declare ourselves as opponents of God than to claim friendship and then betray Him by our way of life. As unfortunate as it would be to live in open defiance of God, at least there is some consistency in such a life. Speaking of certain Christians who were living licentiously, Peter wrote: “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2 Peter 2:20-21). There is no worse denial of Christ than DEEDS of denial.

Our adversary would like us not even to acknowledge verbally the lordship of Christ. From his perspective, there is always the danger that at some point we might start taking it seriously. But even though it’s “dangerous,” he knows that all is not lost if we profess Christ. He is willing for us to do that — as long as we don’t practice our profession. But if we ever begin seeking God DILIGENTLY, then it is much less likely that he will ever get us back. He certainly doesn’t give up on us even then, but those Christians who confess with their lives what they profess with their lips are the toughest cases for him to crack.

It is not, however, just to worry our adversary that we ought to practice our principles. The more important reason is that this is how we glorify our Heavenly Father. Our neighbors have a right to look for evidence in us as stated in the Philippian letter: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:12-15). Whatever we may SAY, it is our DEEDS that demonstrate that God really can redeem lost souls like our own and remake them in His image.

“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Champion Marksman

Matt Emmons, Olympic gold medalist in rifle shooting in 2004, was set to win another event at Athens. He had a commanding lead and hoped to make a direct bull’s eye on his last shot. But something went wrong – he hit the target, but he was aiming at the wrong one! That wrong focus dropped him to eighth place and cost him another medal.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he expressed the importance of focusing on the right target in our Christian life. Please take a moment and meditate on these words of God delivered by the apostle Paul: “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 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 3:7-14).

Paul used the term “goal” in an illustration of an athlete running a race. The same word was also used of a target for shooting arrows. In both cases, the prospect of winning depends on being focused. For the believer, that focus should be a lifetime pursuit of becoming more like our Savior Jesus Christ. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:28-29). “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

What is your focus today? The believer’s target to be focused on should be Jesus – to be more like Him everyday. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). May we all ensure that we are aiming at the right target – Following Jesus!