Monthly Archives: December 2016

Our Job as Ambassadors

interactive-worldmap December 30, 2016
Our Job as Ambassadors
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Christ has made each of us His ambassadors here on Earth. He is no longer here in the flesh, and so now He expects us to faithfully and effectively represent Him. As His ambassadors or representatives, He has given us two basic tasks to perform.

First of all, we are to spread the good news of salvation in such a way that unbelievers will be drawn to the light and out of their darkness. “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:18). To do this, an ambassador must live a life of conformity to His life and teachings. “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:15), adequately representing Him.

Secondly, we are to saturate ourselves totally with the knowledge of His will and His Word so that we will be enabled to encourage other Christians, strengthening them for their duties as ambassadors as well. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), applying our attention to His directives. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

It has rightly been said that the only two things that will last for eternity are people and the Word of God. These things must occupy our attention if we are to be effective “ambassadors for Christ.” JDM

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Absolute Trust

1195427763386030199jonadab_paul_of_tarsus_svg_med December 29, 2016
Absolute Trust
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.” (Job 13:15-16)

The patriarch Job was, according to God’s own testimony, the most perfect and upright man in all the earth (Job 1:8), yet he was subjected to the most severe testings that anyone (except Christ Himself) ever had to endure. He lost all his great possessions and his large family in a single day, then was afflicted for months on end with a most loathsome and painful disease. He lost the respect of all who had once honored and followed him, and was even accused by his closest friends of being a wicked sinner and arrogant hypocrite. Worst of all, the God whom he had loved and faithfully served all his life had apparently completely ignored his prayers for deliverance or even for understanding of what was happening to him. Finally, a presumptuous young religionist related what he (falsely) claimed was a divine message that even God had accused Job of sin and hypocrisy.

Yet, despite all this, Job never once lost his faith! “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” he insisted. “For I know that my redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25), and “he also shall be my salvation” (today’s verse).

What an example has been provided us by this ancient patriarch, whose knowledge of God’s Word, God’s love, and God’s great salvation through faith in Christ was only a small fraction of what we know now, with God’s complete revelation before us. The apostle James well reminds us of “the patience of Job,” probably the greatest example of all “the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience” (James 5:10-11). We can, like Job, know that He who created us deserves absolute trust. HMM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Time of Old Age

j0435886.jpg December 28, 2016
The Time of Old Age
“Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” (Psalm 71:18)

One tends to grow resentful against the limitations and increasing infirmities associated with aging, even complaining to God and others about growing old—at least until one considers the alternative! We need to remember that as long as the Lord preserves our lives, He has some ministry for us to perform for “this generation” and “to every one that is to come.”

The Scriptures abound with promises of blessing in old age, so growing old should be an occasion for rejoicing and deepened commitment to whatever the Lord enables one to do. “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: . . . Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age” (Psalm 92:12-14). But if there develops a tendency to grow spiritually cold with age, the admonition of Paul is appropriate. “Aged men [should] be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, . . . teachers of good things” (Titus 2:2-3).

Thus, the heartfelt prayer of the psalmist in our text is still appropriate today, for all who will, sooner than they think, enter the time of old age. Note also the following prayer: “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth” (Psalm 71:9). That God will answer such a prayer, offered in faith and sincerity, was affirmed by David when he said: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). The time of old age can be a time of happy harvest if we have sowed the seeds of good fruit. HMM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Lord Will Provide

Unknown  December 27, 2016
The Lord Will Provide
“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (Genesis 22:14)

Abraham had just passed the most severe of tests. He had been willing to offer up his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. He must have wondered why God had asked him to slay the son of promise, through whom many descendants were promised, but he didn’t refuse or even question God. He was convinced that “God was able to raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). Yet, he must have been greatly relieved when God stopped him from slaying his son, and thankful indeed when he found that God had already provided a ram to be used as “a burnt offering in the stead of his son” (Genesis 22:13).

While journeying to the place of sacrifice, Abraham had said that “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (v. 8). Appropriately, after the incident, Abraham named the mountain Jehovah [the Lord] Jireh [will provide].

In Hebrew there is not a specific verb form to designate the future tense, and so the word Jireh could easily be translated “is providing.” Actually, where the Lord’s provision is concerned, the tense makes little difference. The Creator of time (Genesis 1:1) stands outside of time. We may sometimes be frustrated and disturbed because we see only the present, and we don’t even see that very clearly. But God sees and answers in the proper time, perhaps later than we have asked, or perhaps, as in Abraham’s case, beforehand, providing the ram already caught in the thicket.

How often have we received an answer to prayer only to realize events had been set in motion long before we prayed? We should be aware of and thankful for God’s anticipation of our needs. “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer” (Isaiah 65:24). JDM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

keep going

keep going or moving don’t quit or stop continue don’t give up sign

December 26, 2016
The Goal of Teaching
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1 Timothy 1:5)

As Paul begins his instruction to his disciple Timothy, his “own son in the faith” (v. 2), he warns him about false doctrine (v. 3) and petty, fruitless arguments (v. 4). He contrasts such false teaching with his own teaching, the goal or “end” of which is threefold:

First, Paul would like to see his ministry produce “charity [i.e., agape love] out of a pure heart.” This is God’s kind of love that He has bestowed upon us, undeserving as we are. Once He has purified our hearts and taken up residence there through the power of His Spirit, we can love with such a love.

Second, proper teaching should lead us to “a good conscience.” Our lives must be free of unconfessed sin and uncluttered by wrongs not made right with others. The false teachings and improper attitudes and actions Paul is condemning (vv. 3-4) frequently lead to strife and fabrications. The response to these must be strong, yet proper.

Third, “unfeigned faith,” a sincere faith without hypocrisy, should result. It must be our own faith and not that of others, not even family members (2 Timothy 1:5). We have a reasonable faith shored up by a great weight of evidence and logic, and proper teaching should strengthen and confirm it.

May God continue to gift the church with godly teachers like Timothy, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13). JDM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Babe in Bethlehem

bible_02 December 24, 2016
The Babe in Bethlehem
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

This is a very remarkable prophecy, explicitly predicting that the future King of Israel would be born in the little village of Bethlehem some 700 years before He finally came. Then, to assure its fulfillment, the great Emperor Augustus had to decree a comprehensive census, compelling Joseph to take Mary with him to Bethlehem for her child to be born.

That the prophecy involves an actual birth is clear, not only from the phrase “come forth,” but also from the succeeding verse that warns God will “give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth” (v. 3). The preceding verse had also predicted that “they shall smite [this coming ruler] the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek” (v. 1), speaking of His initial rejection and execution.

But the prophecy not only foresees His birth in Bethlehem, His repudiation by His own people, and His eventual installation as King over all Israel (not merely Judah), but also that this same remarkable person was none other than God Himself! His “goings forth” had been “from everlasting.” That is, He is eternally proceeding forth from His Father. He did not become God’s Son when He was born in Bethlehem; He has been coming forth eternally.

There is still another truth implied in the Hebrew word for “goings forth.” It is also used for such things as the flowing of water from a fountain or the radiations from the sun. Thus, the never-ending flowing forth of power from God through the Son is nothing less than the sustaining energy for the whole creation, as He is “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). And this was the Babe in Bethlehem! HMM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Peace of Christ

Unknown  December 23, 2016
The Peace of Christ
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

The peace of Christ is not the peace of the world. If history is any criterion, the search for world peace always will be futile, for there have been wars going on somewhere in the world practically every day throughout history.

But even if world leaders could bring peace to the world, it would not be true peace. “My peace,” said Jesus, “is not as the world giveth.” Peace is internal, not external. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” (James 4:1).

The true Christian will never be left at peace in the world, even when there are brief respites of peace between the nations of the world. Only in Christ is there real peace. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The Lord Jesus Christ alone can give true peace, for only “he is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). He is the true peacemaker, for He “made peace through the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20). Before there can ever be genuine peace between man and man on Earth, there must be peace between man on Earth and God in heaven.

Once a person has been “justified by faith,” however, he has eternal “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Then, for daily peace, he can simply appropriate this truth in his life. “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). HMM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized