September 16, 2018

Two Men Try To Worship – Bill Hall

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Worship under the best of conditions can sometimes be difficult. Distractions, human error, and sometimes funny situations can occur to take one’s attention away from the Lord. Attitudes, however, can prove to be a major factor in acceptable (or non-acceptable) worship.

For instance …

Two men sincerely try to worship. The first man, though, is frustrated throughout. His frustrations begin with the opening announcements when the man in charge takes ten minutes to say what any normal man could say in three. He is hardly over that when the song leader adds to his frustrations, selecting a song he is sure contains an unscriptural phrase. The man who presides at the table doesn’t help when he uses the term “loaf” instead of “bread,” and then the man who is called on to “give thanks for the bread” gives thanks for everything but the bread. The preacher makes a major contribution by totally misapplying a passage of scripture (“He probably didn’t spend enough time on that one,” the man thinks). When the worship period is finally dismissed, he tries to share his frustrations with those around him, but no one seems to care.

The second man observes many of the mistakes the first man observes. In fact, without fanfare he just doesn’t sing the questionable phrase in the song and he silently thanks God for the bread when he realizes the leader’s failure to do so. But while observing mistakes, he focuses attention on the good sentiments of the songs that are used, and on the death of his Savior during the Lord’s Supper. He makes the prayer that is led his own and appreciates the good thoughts presented in the lesson. He has come to worship God. He makes allowances for human frailty on the part of the leaders in worship, appreciates their sincere efforts, and refuses to let their mistakes keep him from his purpose.

The first man is to be pitied. His ability to “worship” is dependent on the ability of the leaders in the worship period, and any half-observant person knows how inept that leadership can be at times. He comes to worship, but spends the hour criticizing. He blames others for that which is really his own problem. Consequently, his problem with worship becomes a problem also with his brethren; but one cannot have a problem with his worship and his brethren without having a problem in his relationship with God.

The second man, by maintaining a positive attitude toward his brethren, even when they make mistakes, is able to worship acceptably and is drawn closer to God by his worship. We are not condoning sloppily conducted worship periods. Leaders in worship should seek to avoid mistakes and to do their work effectively. But acceptable worship depends far more on the heart and attitude of the worshiper than on the abilities of leaders. Our first man may point the finger of blame at others, but his real need is a total change of attitude within himself.

(It is obvious to me that that the attitude of the “second worshiper” is the prevailing attitude of the brethren here at Hot Springs. We are thankful for, and deeply appreciate that. Nevertheless, all of us are tempted to drift from time to time. Please consider the insightful thoughts by brother Hall, examine our own hearts and renew our resolve to worship acceptably, with reverence and awe. DRP)

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1)           

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;…Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach…”(Philippians 2:1-3,14-15)

 

 

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September 9, 2018

Make IT As Sure As You Can – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Pilate said to them, “Take a guard of soldiers. Go and make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the soldiers of the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.” (Matt. 27:65-66)

Pilate had endured many different, disturbing experiences leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. Both he and some close to him had wanted to release Him, finding no fault in Him.

“As he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent a message to him: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream about him today.” (Matt. 27:19)

“He asked, ‘Why? What wrong has he done?’ But they shouted more insistently, ‘Crucify him!’” (Matt. 27:23)

We wonder about the inner struggles of Pilate. His own wife had interrupted his judicial proceedings with an urgent, conscious appeal. He was the proud representative of Roman justice. He listened to the shameful accusations and was likely very aware they stemmed from envy.

But, the mob was unhappy. They were shouting their displeasure. (sound familiar?) “Come let us reason together” is crushed by “survival of the loudest.” Noble Roman justice folded. Known injustice prevailed. Political expediency ruled. Pilate determined to pacify the Jewish leaders and quell a riot, ignobly agreeing to the execution of an innocent man.

But once Christ was dead and in the grave, Pilate’s tormenting troubles did not end. I would like to know what he was thinking when said, “make it as sure as you can.” I wonder.

Fear of the promised resurrection? Would prove his injustice.

Maybe a guard could prevent his fears from becoming reality.

Fear the promise would appear to be fulfilled by theft of the body?

Sarcasm ridicule? Now He is dead. What could a dead man do?

Sarcastic fear of the inevitable? Guard the tomb if you want.

From our perspective, however, we can see divine irony in these words. Satan had seemingly won a great victory at the cross, for the Heir had been slain. Therefore, the one thing Satan had to prevent to secure his victory was the resurrection. The purpose Christ’s coming depended on His victory over death. This is the keystone. Without it, all fails. With it all is proven true.

Note the limitation in the words “as sure as you can.” How tightly sealed and well-guarded must a tomb be to contain the Creator of all things? If His purpose was to die and rise from the dead, would man’s or Satan’s efforts be able to thwart it? “As sure as you can” was surely not sure enough!

Today we know that the tomb’s sealed entrance was breached, not so much to allow Him out (walked through closed doors, John 20:19) but to allow us to see the empty inside. Satan’s henchmen still deny the resurrection, but their efforts are just as futile as those who tried to keep Him inside. The fact remains, He left the tomb, triumphantly proving and offering eternal life.

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

 

 

September 2, 2018

“You Must Memorize It” By Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

That Joshua had a big job on his shoulders is a huge understatement. The momentous job of leading God’s people into the divinely chosen land of promise (full of giants and walled cities) had now fallen on Joshua’s shoulders.

 

The typical modern-day reporter, trained in humanistic philosophy would ask, “Joshua, how do you feel about that? Do you feel intimidated? Do you feel adequate for the job?” Most reporters are oblivious to the fact that it doesn’t matter how he felt about it. When God said do it, feelings are immaterial. It’s time to “Get ‘er done.” Three times in three verses God commands Joshua…

“Be strong and courageous.”

(Joshua 1:6, 7, 9.)

That should be clear enough, but how do you do that? How do you fearlessly succeed (where Moses had failed) in accomplishing a task that seems impossible? It is typical of God’s always practical directions to include “how to” instructions. God instructs…

“This law scroll must not leave your lips! You must memorize it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful…” (Joshua 1:8 NET)

This divine directive contains the first use of the Hebrew verb for “memorize,” (hagah), often translated “meditate.”

The Theological Lexicon Of the Old Testament says the word translated “memorize” or “meditate” means:

“to remember,” is the basic meaning… memory, mention, name”

Joshua is commanded to “remember,” to “memorize,” “meditate” on the Scriptures. The word has nothing to do with daydreaming, or contemplating your navel, but is remembering with a purpose…“so you can carefully obey all that is written in it.

David got it. Using the same word he says:

“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,” (Psa. 63:6)

“I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:” (Psa. 77:6)

“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands. (Psa. 143:5)

Memorizing or meditation to show off or as an end in itself is often useless or even harmful. Witness the Western proliferation of Eastern “meditation cults” (T.M., etc.) in recent years, which lead their devotees into pantheism and occultism.

God’s prophet warns against those who…“Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” (same word). Then he admonishes, “should not a people consult their God?” (Isaiah 8:19). It’s not about how it makes you feel. It’s about filling ourselves with God’s word, His wisdom.

David condemns those who “…imagine [same word again] a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1). He understands that the blessed man is the one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2).

In other words, if we fill ourselves with and are continually guided by the Holy Scriptures will we be happy and successful.

In the New Testament, the Greek word for meditate” (melatao) is used only twice. Once, it is translated “imagine” (Acts 4:25) and is in a quotation of Psalm 2, as above. The last time it is used, however, its emphasis reverts back to the context of its first usage, as in our text above. Paul instructs (according to the NKJV)…

“Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. …Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” (I Timothy 4:13, 15 NKJV)

Or…

“Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. …Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” (I Timothy 4:13, 15 NLT).

The modern fad promises wonderful benefits from the goal of meditation to, “clear our minds of things,” but God wants us to “meditate on or to memorize these things,” the life-giving, life-directing doctrines of His Word. The world’s humanistic, temporally centered counsel is worse than useless. God’s divine wisdom is different and is accompanied by God’s realistic promise…“for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:8.

 

 

 

 

August 19, 2018

Is Everything We Do Worship? By Harold Hancock

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

A Christian should try to please God in everything he does, but everything a Christian does is not worship. For instance, a Christian may travel, work, rest, and sleep with God’s approval, but he is not worshipping God when he does these things.

In the New Testament, the Greek word proskuneo is most frequently translated worship. Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines it as “to make obeisance; do reverence to,” and says, “it is used of an act of homage or reverence.” There are several other Greek words used in the New Testament which are sometimes translated worship and at other times translated service. One should study the context of these words before concluding all service is worship.

Many Bible passages make it clear that not everything that we do that is pleasing to God is worship. On one occasion Abraham told his servants, “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you” (Gensis.22:5). Abraham and Isaac went into the mountain, worshipped God and returned to the servants. Going to and returning from the mountain was not worship. When David learned of the death of his son, he “arose from the earth, and washed, and changed his apparel; and he came into the house of Jehovah and worshipped” (2 Samuel 12:20). What David did before entering the house of the Lord on this occasion was not considered to be worship. The Ethiopian eunuch “had come to Jerusalem to worship” (Acts 8:27), and Paul “went up to worship at Jerusalem” (Acts 24:11). It is obvious that both the eunuch and Paul had come to Jerusalem to perform specific acts as worship. Worship and service may be closely associated with one another (Matthew 4:9-10). Naturally, we desire to serve the one whom we worship. Service, however, is broader than worship. All worship is service, but not all service is worship. We are right, therefore, to determine that worship is specific acts done with humility and with reverence and separated from the normal activities of the day.

 

 

August 5, 2018

Homosexuality Has Consequences – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Homosexuality Has Consequences

Now And Forever

Don R. Patton

Many are influenced by the drumbeat of our liberal media, continually preaching their interpretation of morality (allowed if against the Bible). They militantly demand that the public accept their false claim that the practice of homosexuality is a natural, inborn, genetically determined, un-chosen behavior.

The journal Science has reported, “But many genetic screens have failed to turn up genes that are responsible for sexual orientation….why someone is attracted to a person of the same sex is a question for which science may never fill in all the blanks.” (December 11, 2012)

Of course, particular fleshly temptations are stronger in some individuals than in others, but the obligation to resist and control is shared by all.

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples. We need to be reminded that James, the brother of Jesus, wrote:

“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy;…” (James 4:12)

The apostle Paul told the Athenian philosophers that God …

“…has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)

Jesus himself said…

the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” (John 21:48)

That word was divinely revealed and recorded by the authorized ambassadors of Jesus. (II Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:20). They made the will of The Judge very clear.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Corinthians 6:9-10)

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,… For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” (Romans 1:18, 26-27)

The last phrase in Paul’s inspired warning is intriguing. These individuals will receive a “due penalty.” He doesn’t describe the nature of the consequence but says it will be “in their own [physical] persons.”

Physical consequences do not compare with eternal, but the fulfilled predictions of Scripture may serve to validate our conviction that the Bible reveals divine wisdom. In spite of powerful, brutal opposition from those supporting the homosexual agenda, reluctant reporting of the physical consequences of homosexuality is leaking out. The following revelations from the scientific community are sobering.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)…

“In 2015, MSM [Men who have Sex with Men] had 68% of all new HIV infections, even though they made up only around 2% of the population.”

MEDICAL PRESS -August 1, 2018,

One in three youths who break the law identify as LGBTQ

Report on Study By University of California, San Francisco

Adolescents who identified as non-heterosexual are significantly over-represented among first-time offenders, according to a new study …

The study also found that depression, self-harm, and drug and alcohol use were more prevalent among youth who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer (LGBTQ) or other sexual minorities, as compared with straight youth. …

… the sexual-minority group, whose ages averaged 14, 46.6 percent had used alcohol, versus 26.6 percent of the heterosexual group. They were also approximately twice as likely to use drugs, including synthetic cannabis, cocaine and injection drugs as the heterosexual group—20.2 percent and 10.3 percent respectively.

The study publishes in the Journal of Adolescent Health on Aug.1, 2018.

 

 

 

 

July 29, 2018

With Authority and Power – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath; and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority, … And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out. (Lk. 4:31-32, 36)

The pompous Pharisees taught, but claimed the authority was from Moses. Jesus taught very differently. Again and again, dozens of times, Jesus is recorded validating His teaching with the words, “I say to you…” Then it really disturbed them when He substantiated His necessarily implied claim of authority with undeniable miracles.

He spoke and acted as God which is exactly who He was.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)

The Pharisees understood the implication when Jesus backed up His teaching with the weighty words, “I say to you…”

When He spoke, He was speaking with the authority and power of God. Of course, this is also true of words “breathed out by God” in Scripture. ” (II Timothy 3:16 ESV)

Consider how many and varied are the physical analogies used to characterize, illustrate and emphasize its power.

For example, the prophet Jeremiah says, “‘Is not My word like fire?’ declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?’” (Jeremiah 23:29)

The fire analogy is also stressed when the prophet became weary of the negative reaction against his preaching:

But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.” (Jeremiah 20:9)

God’s Word is called a sharp sword wielded by the Holy Spirit. As part of the Christian’s spiritual armor, we are exhorted to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:17)

The Hebrew writer describes it in a similar manner.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Perhaps even more authority and power is indicated when the word is compared to light, the most basic of all forms of energy, or power.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. …The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:105, 130)

The first spoken words of Christ our Creator were “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3)

But no earthly form of power can compare to the power in the words of the One who is Himself the living word of God the Lord Jesus Christ, for He actually “…upholds all things by the word of His power…” (Hebrews 1:3)

 

 

 

July 22, 2018

“Even If It Means …”-By Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Far too often, I am reminded that the earthly, temporal attitudes of the world exert a powerful influence, shaping and molding the thinking of those who should be guided by the light of God’s divine wisdom.

Perhaps most would recoil from the charge that they believe in “situation ethics,” but, just confront them with a situation where obeying God’s word means significant consequences, especially physical harm, and many feel confidently justified in disobedience.

Too many follow the cowardly example of the Apostle Peter, who folded under the threat of consequences he saw Jesus enduring.

“Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.” Matt. 26:74

Contrast the world’s wimpy waffling with the courageous declaration of Queen Esther, determined to risk her life in service to God and His people.

“Bring together all the Jews in Susa and tell them to go without eating for my sake! Don’t eat or drink for three days and nights. My servant girls and I will do the same. Then I will go in to see the king, even if it means I must die.” (Esther 4:16 Contemporary English Version)

It was a capital crime for anyone to intrude into the king’s throne room unbidden, but she was willing to face such a threat in order to do the will of God.

In the same spirit, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to endure the fiery furnace rather than worship as “everyone” worshiped in Babylon. They courageously said to the world’s monarch, Nebuchadnezzar…

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18).

God did deliver Esther and the three Jewish youths, but there have been many through the ages who have died for there have been many through the ages who have died for their faith. History indicates that Peter learned from his failure and together with all the apostles, save John, died as martyrs. So have countless others throughout bloody centuries. In the view of the world, that makes no sense. But from the perspective of eternity, it is perfectly understandable that, “…they did not love their life even when faced with death. ” (Revelation 12:11)

Recall that it was Peter who exhorted…

“…be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are perverse. For this finds God’s favor, if because of conscience toward God someone endures hardships in suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God. …In the same way, wives, be subject to your own husbands. Then, even if some are disobedient to the word…” (I Peter 2:18-20; 3:1 NET)

John urged the Christians in Asia Minor…

“Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown that is life itself.” NET

Believers in many nations around the world today are suffering such persecutions. If a similar choice confronts us, may God give us the grace to say with Paul…

“according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)

May we courageously say, as Esther said, I’ll serve God “even if it means I must die.”

 

 

 

July 15, 2018

Are You Sound In The Faith – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Are You Sound In The Faith

By Ken Weliever

Through the years, I have been asked regarding the “soundness” of a specific church, Christian, or a preacher. “Are they sound?” the question is raised.

Usually the definition of “soundness” was based on specific brotherhood issues regarding the work, worship, and organization of the church.

Some would say a “sound” church spends their money in a certain way. A “sound” Christian would not attend a church that engages in “unsound” practices. And a “sound” preacher condemns all of the above, plus teaches the truth on baptism, music, and salvation. And does not read the books of certain authors who are “unsound.” This definition seriously limits the meaning of “sound.”

This morning I was struck by Paul’s usage of the word “sound” in Titus 2. To this young preacher, he exhorts to speak the things pertaining to “sound doctrine.” To use “sound speech” that is beyond reproach. And to admonish older men to be “sound in the faith.” Three times in 8 verses the word “sound” is used and not once is money mentioned.

In fact, the application of being “sound” in this text relates to the behavior of Believers. It has to do with their spiritual health and well being. Titus is to be aware of several groups of people and encourage them to be “sound in the faith” as he preaches “sound doctrine.” Older men. Younger men. Older women. Younger women. Bondservants. And Titus himself.

The older men and women who exhibit the characteristics of a sound life are to equip younger men and women to live a life that is “sound in the faith.” These qualities speak to the development of character and integrity. Living a life that is dignified, respected and temperate.

As the wise man expressed “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness” (Prov. 16:31). As we get older, not only chronologically, but in spiritual maturity, we should be able to offer wisdom, insight and sound counsel to younger men and women.

This text addresses issues of Christian conduct and attitudes that evidence a pure heart and a holy life. He specifically speaks to the domestic role of wives and mothers in the home. Teach them to “love their husbands” and to “love their children.” What does this mean? How is it applied?

Too often even ladies classes in the church are just another Bible class like Sunday or Wednesday with no application to their unique, God-given role. And more often than not, they are scheduled at a time when the majority of the young women who need them cannot attend. Sound teaching in the church addresses these needs. Older women by virtue of their years of experience can gently guide today’s modern mother and offer advice far superior than she’s receiving from secular sources.

Just the understanding of love and femininity has been perverted by the world. The virtues of purity, chastity, modesty and respectable behavior should be modeled by older women and taught to younger women.

Men need leadership training. How to be God’s man, which is so much different than the world portrays. How do you lead a home and love your wife? And understand her needs? What qualities must be developed to Shepherd God’s spiritual flock? A successful life is more than making money and providing for the family. It delves deeply into one’s inner being. His soul. His heart. His character.

It’s not too soon to begin in High School with separate classes for boys and girls with Biblical instruction relating to their lifestyles, future relationships, and spiritual growth. We are serious about preparing them for college and a career, what about equipping them to be “sound in the faith” when they leave home?

There is so much to be considered in the text that goes beyond our normal definition of “soundness.”

It’s possible to attend a “sound church,” refrain from engaging in unscriptural practices, yet never developing a sound and healthy spiritual life.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

 

 

 

July 8, 2018

Determine In Your Heart – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“10 Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10 Holman)

The original Hebrew word translated “determined” or “set” is defined by the lexicon, Brown Driver Briggs to mean…

be firm… 1. be set up, established, fixed:… securely determined;… be fixed aright, steadfast;

That which is to be “fixed” is the heart, often misunderstood in scripture. Of this Hebrew tern Brown Driver Briggs says…

inner man, mind, will, heart — The inner, middle,… 1. the inner man in contrast with the outer,… 2. the inner man, indef. the soul, comprehending mind, affections and will,… thinking, reflection,…conception of thoughts of mind;…set the mind, consider,

Our hearts do not easily conform to God’s holiness. Our finite understanding is understandably different from God’s infinite holiness. Contrary to what false teachers want you to think, “hearts” are not dependable guides to God’s viewpoint. Jeremiah reveals that, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Therefore, a prophet, a “man of God,” had to exert determined effort to fix his inner self to think differently. To accomplish this, Ezra had to study and that did not come naturally. He had to work at fixing his mind to study, and fix his mind to yield (“obey”) and fix his mind to teach, not his own ideas but God’s “statutes and ordinances.”

This is what Ezra did, even in the court of a foreign king, in the midst of the enemies of God’s people in a far country, and even surrounded by the backslidden people of his own nation. He prepared his heart, fixing it in firm faith on God’s thinking revealed in His laws.

Prevalent thinking today is that Ezra’s course was fine for himself, as long as he kept his religion to himself, but he should not try to impose his views on others.

The fundamental flaw in such thinking is the confusing God’s laws with Ezra’s ideas. Have you noticed how slick that deceitful, bait and switch takes place? …from generous, respectful, honoring of religion to the slandering accusation of opinionated, bigoted meddling…all in the same sentence. Keep your guard up. Satan is “crafty” and effectively uses what appears to be righteous messengers (II Corinthians 11:14).

It’s not hard to imagine unfaithful, guilty Israel telling Ezra to keep his own meddlesome notions to himself. Instead, the Holy Spirit reveals the example of this righteous man resisting the temptation to fit in and determining “to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.”

In stark contrast, we read of King Rehoboam whose self-serving, sinful rebellion led to the dividing of Israel into two kingdoms and eventually into the captivity. The judgment of God came because, unlike Ezra, Rehoboam “he did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 12:14).

We have work to do. Like Ezra, we need to prepare, determine, fix our hearts to study, obey and teach. It’s not easy, because of the misleading of our own mundane perspectives and because these appealing ideas agree with the surrounding, deafening crowd. We need help. God will, if we humble our stubborn hearts and ask.

“LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear,” (Psalm 10:17 NKJV).

 

 

 

July 1, 2018

A Song From God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

A Song From God:

Great, Perfect, Just, Reliable, Fair

Israel finally finished their forty-year wilderness wandering. The children of the unfaithful were approaching the Promised Land, when God revealed to Moses that he would soon die. But first, God gave His law to Israel for a second time and renewed His covenant with them. He commanded Moses to write down the law in its entirety.

Then, God gave them a song.

“Now write down for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites. …So on that day Moses wrote down this song and taught it to the Israelites, …you must acknowledge the greatness of our God. …his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright.” (Deuteronomy 31:19, 22; 32:3, 4 NET)

God intended for these thoughts to be in their minds continually, as they thought about God’s law and were guided by it in years to come.

One of the most common excuses for rejecting or doubting the existence of the God of the Bible is the foolish opinion that His ways are unfair. Even Christians are prone to complain about the way God deals with them. When we stretch our feeble comprehension toward trying to understand who God is, we are forced to conclude that our understanding will not approach His, that our pitifully uninformed attempts to pass judgment on the ways of God are utterly foolish.

Again and again and again God reminds us in His Word that His way is perfect and expects us to be singing about it.

“Sing to him a new song! …. shout out your praises to him! For the LORD’s decrees are just, and everything he does is fair. The LORD promotes equity and justice; the LORD’s faithfulness extends throughout the earth.” (Psalms 33:3-5 NET)

“The law of the LORD is perfect and preserves one’s life. The rules set down by the LORD are reliable and impart wisdom to the inexperienced. The LORD’s precepts are fair and make one joyful. The LORD’s commands are pure and give insight for life. The commands to fear the LORD are right and endure forever. The judgments given by the LORD are trustworthy and absolutely just.” (Psalm 19:7-9 NET)

We need to settle in our hearts the unwavering conviction that God’s ways are always perfect, whether our feeble understanding appreciates them or not. Since our thinking, our sense of justice, does not approach His, His will be different from ours. Unless we think that we think like God, we should not be surprised. Reaching the same conclusions reached by the eternal, infinitely holy God, is not expected on the part of sinners. His ways are always in the context of eternity, but we leap to judgment in terms of present inconvenience. What He does is necessarily, absolutely right, and fair and just and pure. Whatever He says is perfect. The difference reveals our foolishness.

His perfect way is seen fully in Christ, and His truth is heard clearly in Christ, for “I am the way,” He said, and I am “the truth” (John 14:6). Yet, Christ’s way was through the cross, and His truth was opposed by the father of lies (John 8:44). God’s way for us may also lead us into suffering and great opposition, but His way is always perfect, and His Word is tried and true. If we trust Him through it all, He will be our buckler as He was for David. “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

Adapted from an article by Henry M. Morris

 

 

 

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