Defiled, Destitute, Discouraged, and Desperate

October 3, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Posted in Luke | 1 Comment
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Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:1-2

How much of your time each week are you spending fighting demons, ministering to hurting people, and preaching the Kingdom of God? Jesus and His Disciples were focused on helping the types of people who tend to make us uncomfortable:

1. Defiled people: people who were considered “unclean.”
2. Destitute people: people who needed money.
3. Discouraged people: people who are just plain old depressed and depressing to be around.
4. Desperate people: the crazy ones.

Let’s get our hands dirty. We can’t fix everyone’s problems, but we can sure get involved in their problems and try to get them to the One Who can fix them.

And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place. But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.

Luke 9:12-13

Jesus was not the type of Person Who could just turn away hungry people. He had the ability to feed the hungry and He DID feed the hungry. When I am ministering to people with problems in their marriages, sometimes they say, “That’s not helpful coming from you. You’ve got a good marriage. You’re like the man finding a homeless person rifling through a garbage bin and telling him to trust God and glorify Him even when he’s hungry. He’s probably wondering why, if you’re worried about him being hungry, and you’ve got ten bucks in your pocket, don’t you just buy him something to eat.” The idea is that a person with a wonderful marriage is no help to the person with a terrible marriage, because he doesn’t know what it’s like. That’s a reasonable assertion, but it’s not really true, because, when I deal with folks who are having a rough time in marriage, I’m not saying that they need to trust God because trusting God works for me. I’m saying they need to trust God because the Bible says they need to trust God. Until someone in your same shoes comes along and starts telling you what the Bible says, those of us who are admittedly not in your same shoes still have the duty to do it. Perhaps it would mean more coming from somebody “who’s been there,” and, if you think so, be sure that, when God helps you, you find someone else going through it and speak to that person from your position of experience on top of telling him what the Bible says. God doesn’t give us victories or let us suffer just because He likes to be entertained. He’s pouring resources into your life – especially in your trials and struggles – that you can use to help others.

 

The Ancient of Days

December 3, 2015 at 11:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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There are two competing schools of thought about old age:

1. We need to give great deference to the elderly. Those that have lived long lives have acquired, through the mere passage of time if nothing else, great experience and therefore wisdom. They should be listened to, and even respected and revered.

2. Old people are doddering and confused. Biological studies show that the human brain starts to break down and malfunction with the onset of senior citizenry. Furthermore, they are old-fashioned and out of step with modern ways. Besides, time does not automatically equal wisdom, and younger people tend to be brighter, with newer fresher ideas. Old folks ought to be pitied and treated kindly and condescendingly, but not looked to as major sources of wisdom.

The truth is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, but personally I tend to skew much more toward the former view than the latter. Also, the first school of thought is much closer to the Bible’s teachings concerning the elderly.

For example, King David’s treatment of Barzillai in II Samuel 19:331-19 is a positive example of respect shown toward the elderly, and the fifth Word of the Decalogue, by extension, commands us to honor those who make up the preceding generations of our families and nation.

The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

Proverbs 16:31

The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.

Proverbs 20:29

One idea we need to be exceedingly clear about, however, is the reference to God Himself as the “Ancient of Days.”

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

Daniel 7:9

There is a sense in which the triune God is the “oldest” Being in all of existence. This is obvious, because He is the Creator of everything else, and nothing could exist before or apart from His sustaining and eternal power. In the case of God, we can make a clean break concerning our ideas of old age as a benefit or a detriment, because although God (as the saying goes) “has been around forever,” He is not getting any “older” or “aged” in the way we think of those terms, nor is it in anywise possible that any of His faculties, including His omniscience and wisdom, could ever be dulled or diminished in the slightest. It is especially important to remember these facts when we see God depicted as a white-bearded old man in popular Christian and religious art. Do not be deceived. God is the source of all wisdom, and He has gained none of this wisdom through experience, nor through the passage of time. He is as brilliant, smart, wise, knowledgeable, intelligent, timeless, eternal, and perfect now as He ever has been and ever will be. As one of my friends once told me, “Just because they call Him the Ancient of Days, it doesn’t mean He’s old.”

The Trap of Failing to Learn Lessons

May 3, 2013 at 9:40 am | Posted in Traps of Lawless Living | 5 Comments
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They say that the definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I don’t think that Samson was “insane” in the clinical sense, but we sure have to wonder about his tendency to repeat the same mistakes. They also say that those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Two times, with two different women, Samson was tricked into revealing a secret to his own detriment: Judges 14:16-18; 16:6-19. In fact, on the second occasion – with Delilah – he was fooled multiple times by the same ploy.

Where was Samson’s ability to gauge cause-and-effect? Where was his “nonsense” filter? Where was his aptitude to learn from his own mistakes? The same place yours and mine so often is: buried beneath a layer of sinful flesh.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Romans 7:18-19

If you are a Christian, then the Lord has set you free from the bondage of the Law by His love and grace. However, our march toward complete surrender to His will and total conformity to the image of Christ is more of an uphill climb over rocky terrain than a casual stroll though a peaceful park. Thankfully, God has given us His Spirit to indwell us, His Word to instruct us, and His body to influence us.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Galatians 5:16-17

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Psalm 119:11

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Colossians 3:16

Experience can be a valuable teacher, but it is in our nature – apart from God – to repeat our mistakes. Our best method for learning from our failures is: (1) to yield to the Lord’s Spirit, remembering that He has set us free from the power of sin; (2) to stay focused on the Bible with the intention of obeying it; (3) to find brothers and sisters in Christ in a local Bible-teaching and -believing church who will hold you accountable in love.

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

Romans 7:22

A Big Job

March 24, 2010 at 9:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Moses was 120 years old. He stood before all the people of Israel. As he did so he faced a group of people with a daunting task ahead of them. They were to go into the land of Canaan, drive out the giants, take on mighty enemy armies, and battle warriors who drove chariots of iron.

Moses could have tried to encourage the people with personal anecdotes, experiential wisdom, or an emotional pep rally. Thankfully, he obeyed the Lord instead, and inspired the people with the dependable Word of God.

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Deuteronomy 31:6

This promise applies to God’s people today. His blood-bought Church may rest assured that He will never leave it nor forsake it. However, faith involves putting this promise into action. When is the last time, dear Christian, that you, by faith, in keeping with Scripture, started something so big that only God could finish it?


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