Sunday, December 30, 2012
What a small, easy step it is from doubting a father's love to taking matters into our own hands. But what a tragic one!
The moment you force things according to your will, you expose your heart to an avalanche of evil.
The first thing that changed in Joseph's brothers after they began to doubt their father’s love was the way they talked.
Listen to them: "Come, let's kill him. No, cast him into a pit. Better yet, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and make a little money!"
Their hearts swelled with contempt and betrayal and out of those corrupted hearts burst a stream of wicked words—the language of the world.
Unholy speech is a sure sign of a hardened heart.
Joseph's brothers became insensitive to sin and their corrupted conversation led to criminal behavior.
First they talked like the wicked and then they began to act like them.
Before long, they became cold, calculating criminals.
Not only did they sin, they covered it up and then went about their business of tending sheep as though nothing had happened.
How low we go when once we doubt our Father's love.
How corrupt and insensitive we become. Malachi the prophet warned the children of Israel concerning the hardness of their hearts. Like Joseph's brothers, the Israelites had fallen prey to doubt and had wound up calloused to their sin.
The book of Malachi begins, "The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?" (Malachi 1:1-2).
Incredible! They dared to tell God, "We see no evidence in our lives that You love or care for us."
Show me a Christian who begins to doubt God's love and decides to take matters into his own hands, and I will show you a Christian whose conversation is becoming corrupted.
Almost overnight there will be a noticeable change.
The more he doubts, the more unholy his speech will become.
Their words betray what is in their hearts: fear, unbelief, and despair.
Throw off all evil, unbelieving thoughts.
Do not continue to doubt God’s great love!
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Do you think it makes God sound too human and vulnerable to say that He cries? Then ask yourself how a God of love could not cry when His own people doubt His very nature. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, and according to the book of John He wept when those closest to Him doubted His love and concern. That was God incarnate at the tomb of Lazarus, crying over friends who failed to recognize who He was.
Time and time again Christ's dearest associates on this earth doubted His love for them.
Think of the disciples in a storm-tossed boat that was taking on water. Jesus was in the stern of the boat, sound asleep. Fearing for their lives, His followers shook Him awake and then accused Him of outright unconcern. Master, carest thou not that we perish? (Mark 4:38).
How their accusation must have grieved the Lord! That was God Almighty in their boat! How could He not care?
But whenever men take their eyes off the Lord and concentrate instead on their circumstances, doubt always takes over.
Jesus was astounded!"How can you be afraid when I am with you? How can you question My love and care?"
Christians today grieve the Lord in this matter even more.
Our unbelief is a greater affront to Him than the unbelief of Mary, Martha, and all the disciples, for our sin is committed against greater light.
We stand on a higher mountain and see more than they could ever see. We have a completed Bible with a full and detailed record of God's trustworthiness. We have the written testimonies of almost twenty centuries of Christians, generation after generation of godly fathers who have passed down to us unshakable proofs of God's love. And we have countless personal experiences that testify to God's tender love and affection for us.
Let us look for His exceeding mercy and love, admit the sinfulness of our unbelief, and recognize who He is!
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Jesus prayed to the Father: "All mine are thine, and thine are mine; I am glorified in them" (John 17:10). "The love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (verse 26).
Jesus makes it very clear: When we are one with Him, we enjoy the very same love of the Father that He enjoys. God delights in us as much as He does in His own Son.
The Bible also tells us God is our Father, just as He is Christ's Father. Jesus testified: "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17).
So, how hard are you striving to please God? Do you go through seasons in which you feel you are delighting Him? And do you have "low" seasons when you feel you are displeasing Him?
Beloved, you have to put facts ahead of your feelings. And the fact is, God's pleasure in you has nothing to do with your strivings, intensity, good intentions or actions. No, it all has to do with your faith.
I believe God wants us to have what I call a "focused faith" that says, "All your faith may be focused on the principle that if you wish to stand holy before God, you must come to Him in Christ."
The writer of Hebrews warns against having ". . . an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God" (Hebrews 3:12). This is an issue of faith! When we move away from the foundational doctrine of being accepted by God through Christ, we are turning back to the law, the flesh and spiritual bondage!
We which have believed do enter into rest . . . For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his (4:3,10). Scripture makes it clear: The evidence of faith is rest.
The only way to bring your striving, sweating, troubled soul into peace is to convince yourself, "I am in Christ and I am accepted by God. He delights in me, regardless of whether I am up or down. No matter how I feel, I know my position in Christ—that I am seated with Him in heavenly places!"
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Heb 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
That heavenly calling is never negative, never neutral, never passive, but always positive. You may not have very much in your daily life to make the calling seem positive.
It may be you go to business in the morning and fulfill your daily work, the trivial round, the common task, as we say, with very little variety entering into it. It is the same round day after day, week after week, month after month; the same people, the same surroundings, the same activities very largely.
Only on the rarest occasion does something especially interesting come into the daily course. It would be so easy in a situation like that to say: "Well, in my sphere of life there is not much of the glamor of a heavenly calling! My work is plain and simple. I have just to get on with it every day, and I see very little else beyond it." Remember that at all times, in all circumstances, the calling is positive.
Every day will provide some opportunity for you to learn spiritual ascendancy; some occasion for you to bring in the value of your relationship with the Lord; to put to the test the resources which you have in Christ; to grow in grace; to know victories.
How do you know but that in that very uninteresting, perhaps unpromising sphere of life you are on test on some of those great matters, such as faith, patience, or patient endurance?
It would be interesting to know exactly what the throne of the Lord is made of. When we come to that throne, I wonder whether we shall find a throne of gold in a literal sense, or whether we shall find it made up of many things?
When we come to analyze the throne we may find that it is made up of patience, faith, endurance, and all such moral elements, and that these elements constitute the power by which He governs.
It is sharing the patience of Jesus Christ which is sharing the throne. There is something mighty in the ultimate outworking of the patience of Jesus, the faith of Jesus Christ, the endurance. These are the constituents of His throne. He is working throne elements into us now in the drab, uninteresting life day by day.
You may be on test for the throne.
There may be bound up with the least interesting course of life some very, very real intention of the Lord.
Let us remember that the heavenly calling is always positive, in all circumstances, in all places. We are on test for the throne, as to whether it shall function through us both here and hereafter.
~T. Austin Sparks~
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The burden of hidden sin King David carried for an entire year cost him dearly. It broke his health, plagued his mind and wounded his spirit. It created havoc in his home,disillusionment in God's people, mockery among the godless. Finally, he cried out, "I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me" (Psalm 38:17). The Hebrew word for halt here means "fall." He was saying, "I am about to fall from this heavy load of sorrow."
Some Christians might look at David in his time of turmoil and think, "What a tragedy Satan was able to bring upon David. How could this once-tender psalmist come to the brink of a fall? God must have been terribly angry with him."
No! It was not the devil who made David's sin so heavy, it was God. In His great mercy, God allowed this man to sink to the depths, because He wanted him to see the magnitude of his sin. He made David's unconfessed sin so heavy, he could no longer bear it and he was driven to repentance.
The truth is, only a righteous man like David could be so powerfully affected by his sin. You see, his conscience was still tender and he felt the sharp pains of every arrow of conviction God thrust into his heart. That's why David could say, "My sorrow is continually before me."
That is the secret of this whole story: David had a godly sorrow, a deep and precious fear of God. He could admit, "I see the Lord's disciplining hand in this, pressing me down to my knees, and I acknowledge that my sin deserves His wrath.”
The writer of Lamentations says, "I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. He hath broken my bones. He hath builded against me. He hath set me in dark places as they that be dead of old. He hath hedged me about that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. He hath enclosed my ways with hewn stone" (Lamentations 3:1-9).
The writer's point is clear: When we live with hidden sin, God Himself makes our chains so heavy, chaotic and terrifying, we are driven to open confession and deep repentance.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
If you can go about your daily life facing all sorts of interruptions and demands, and yet not spend ten minutes in God's presence, your love is dying.
Think about it: If you love someone exclusively above all others, you will make that person feel he is the most important being on earth. Everything else will pale in comparison to him.
Is this not how you first loved your spouse when you were courting? If she called while you were busy, you dropped everything just to talk to her. If anyone intruded on your time alone together, you resented it. Everything else took second place in your efforts to develop the love between you.
Many Christians today go for weeks, even months, without spending quality time with Jesus.
How can they love Jesus with a whole heart when they neglect Him for days on end?
In Song of Solomon, the bride could not sleep because her beloved ". . . had withdrawn himself . . ." (Song of Solomon 5:6). This woman arose in the middle of the night, saying, "My soul failed . . . I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer" (same verse). So she quickly ran
into the streets, looking everywhere for her lover, crying out, "Have you seen my beloved?"
Why was this such a serious matter to her? Because, as she said, "This is my beloved, and this is my friend" (verse 16). "I am sick of love [faint with desire for him]" (verse 8). She could not be without her beloved.
How does Jesus feel when He spreads the table and anxiously awaits our company,yet we never show up? The Bible calls us His bride, His beloved, His one great love. It says we were created for fellowship with Him.
So, what kind of rejection must He feel when we continually put others before Him?