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Showing posts from February, 2011

THE OVERLOOKED. THE STORY OF JEPHTHAH.

THE STORY OF JEPHTHAH A. Brother
Text:Judges 10:6-12:7
Here is a powerful story about an overlooked man of God.Having lived most of a long life in the churches, I’ve only heard once or twice about this leader of Israel, and have recently come across him again, but this time with the Lord’s urging.
He is one of the men listed in Hebrews 11 as an example of faith for us.Why don’t we hear about him?
Jephthah’s life was tough.He was born of a prostitute’s liaison with Gilead, the head of a large clan of Isreal.He lived as an illegitimate son, and finally his own brothers drove him out of the house and he had to flee.They refused him an inheritance.He settled in the “land of Tob”, which means a good land, in fact, equates to wording for the promised land in Hebrew.
Here was a man “despised and rejected of men” like our Lord Jesus.His own family didn’t believe in him.His own clan, his own people, rejected him.He was thrown out on the trash heap.Yet, in the end, God used Jephthah to save them all.

WHEN DOES A CHURCH CEASE TO BE GOD'S HOUSEHOLD?

"And we are His house, if we hold onto our courage and hope of which we boast."
Heb. 3:6


There are several important times in this passage when the word IF comes into play.  Many times we who claim Christ as Lord want to ignore the "IF" word in Scripture.  Here is one place that defines why our churches are often dormant, dying or dead.


IF we hold onto our courage, and IF we hold onto the hope we have only in Christ, then we are God's Household, His own People, a Holy Nation, a Body for Christ.  And in these days, many of our so-called Christian churches are weak and afraid, compromising with the world around them in order to avoid conflict.  Many are "weak and sickly, and some have fallen asleep" as Paul says about what had happened to the churches in Corinth, that great center of commerce in his day.


Many of our churches are not only cowardly, but they have left our One and Only Hope, who is Christ the Lord, and have chased after many other "spirit…

BE CAREFUL TO ENTER CHRIST'S REST

One of the greatest truths we miss is that rest is the result of faith.  Today, we must remember the example God gives us of two contrasting outcomes.


First, the Israelites.  In Joshua 21:43-45 we see the end result of God's work in their lives after He delivered them from Egypt.  They received rest on every side. They were protected from their enemies, and they were living in the good land God had promised them.  So God fulfilled every good promise to them He had made.


But in Hebrews 4, we are reminded by the writer of Scripture that there were many Israelites who never made it that far.  They never got to God's resting place.  Their bodies were buried in the deserts that came before the Promised Land.  Why?  Because they didn't accept God's Way of fulfilling His promises.


So for many today.  Their bodies will be strewn about the deserts of disobedience that come from lack of faith.  They will never enter God's rest, it says in this passage in Hebrews, because, like …

WE HAD THE SENTENCE OF DEATH IN OURSELVES

We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)


You know that those who are not the Lord’s people are not alive to the fact that they are dead. Death is not the great reality to them until they come to their body dying. But in their ordinary life when things are going on and there is health and provision, death is no reality to them. But death is brought home to the child of God. Immediately we get into God’s hands this thing begins to be brought home to us — that we are not much good, we cannot stand up to things, we cannot go through. Our natural life and resources do not count here. The course of a true Christian life in the hands of God is that of being more and more brought to the experience of helplessness. Is that not true? Yes, of helplessness, of the impossibility of everything. Do not think things have gone wrong if that is becoming your consciousness. You may take it that you are in an immat…

THE ONLY THINGS THAT MATTER: PAUL'S FINAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR US

THE ONLY THINGS THAT MATTER: PAUL’S FINAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR US A. Brother
PART ONE.
“Finally, my brothers….” Phil. 3:1
Paul is close to the end of his life and knows it.He is writing some of his favorite, dearest friends in Christ—those brothers and sisters he’s known in the City of Philippi—and giving them final instructions.Paul is under guard in Rome, under house arrest, and living in his own rented apartment there.
This letter is marked with sadness and joy.Paul is sad that he may never see any of his beloved brothers and sisters again, and joy that he will soon be with Christ, his first love.  He knows he is going to die, and this letter holds that knowledge close, and so Paul is writing only the most essential, the most important things, the things that matter.
So he says, getting down to business, “Finally, my brothers…”, which means “Ok, now that we’ve caught up on other matters, and talked in generalities, I’m going to give you the essentials.I’m going to give you the most important t…

A VISION SEALED IN A SCROLL

"For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll."
Isaiah 29:11


Isaiah 29 is a powerful Word from the Lord about His people Israel.  We are those people.  


God tells us here that He brings His people down to the dust with suffering, in order to lift them up to the heights with Him.  God tells us here that He allows us to be "brought low", so low that "out of the dust your speech will whisper."
In other words, we are face down in the dirt, unable to even speak out loud.  We are so down that the bottom looks like up, as the old saying goes. (vs. 1-4)


He allows our enemies to encircle us and to besiege us.  We are taken down by those who oppose us.  Shamed and hurt by those who should be our allies.  Abandoned by those who are supposed to love us.


During this time, we often lack faith, and stumble, and the Lord seems far away.  We are blind and deaf.  We lay in the dust and complain, like Job.
We don't understand.


Yet, in a "very short tim…

READ AND FEAST ON GOD'S WORD IN PAST POSTINGS

Today, brothers and sisters, I encourage you to go through the archives and choose one of the postings from past months, this past year, and take it to heart.  See what God will do.  Go into these articles and feast on whatever God gives you.

My prayers are with all of you, all over the world, who love Christ, and who want Him above all.

A. Brother

HAVING AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

IN these days, I'm having to work far longer and harder than I imaged I would at this age.  However, God's working in me the things He wants.  Nevertheless, not my will but yours, Lord.
That's our prayer every moment.  If I don't post with the same daily frequency as before, it is not because I don't want to, but because it is physically impossible.  Thank you for your faithfulness in reading and sharing the teachings God gives us here. A. Brother
HAVING AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD
By Zac Poonen
In Song of Solomon 4:12, The Bridegroom calls the bride “a locked garden”– an exclusive garden, exclusively for the Bridegroom. She doesn’t belong to anyone else. She belongs exclusively to her Lord.
Is your relationship with the Lord like that? Can the Lord say to you, “You are My private garden, exclusively Mine”? There are many things out in the world that can attract us like opportunities to make more money than we need, to get earthly power and fame and to earn a …

CHRIST WILL FINISH WHAT HE STARTS

CHRIST WILL FINISH WHAT HE STARTS T. AUSTIN-SPARKS
Looking to Jesus.... (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)
There is a real touch of Paul in this Letter to the Hebrews - "Looking off unto Jesus." Whoever actually wrote this Letter, the shadow of Paul is over it. His influence is everywhere. And certainly he was called upon to look off unto Jesus. Now that is a very vital lesson for us to learn. We have to do that again and again in our Christian life.
If we get our eyes upon anything but the Lord Jesus we just go to pieces.
Have all respect for God's saints. I am not saying that you have to eye every servant of God with suspicion and be saying all the time: "Well, of course, he is not perfect, you know." Give honor to whom honor is due, but never build your faith upon any man, however good he may be.
And as for ourselves - well, I think perhaps we are more tempted to look at ourselves than anything else! This is one of our real Christian exercises. We have continually to remove our…

THE PARADE. A PARABLE FOR TODAY'S AFFLUENT CHURCH.

 THE PARADE A. Brother
            Many of us have been taught a gospel that is no gospel at all.  Those of us who sit in the pews of our comfortable churches and live a life full of the fruits of self-indulgence and selfish goals and dreams.  Those of us who name the Name of Christ as if we are His people, yet who bear none of the fruit of His Spirit, show none of His power, exhibit little of His love and holiness.  We proclaim Christ and yet don’t live Christ.  We seek for Him and yet don’t find Him.  He is a foreigner to us, and a great mystery that we worship from afar, because we have been taught and followed no gospel at all.
            This gospel that is no gospel requires nothing.  It is an easy gospel, full of the desire for a good life, full of desire for happiness and security, and prosperity.  It is a gospel that says we are fine.  That gives us license to enjoy our affluence, and says that when we prosper it shows we are in favor with God and man. 
            This gospel …

OUR TRIALS DECLARE GOD'S WISDOM

GOD MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN THROUGH OUR TRIALS
T. AUSTIN-SPARKS


Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great... (1 Timothy 3:16 NIV)


Very often it may seem but poor comfort to us in times of suffering, times of trial, times of adversity, times when Satan is pressing hard, to be told that, while we can see nothing of the meaning of all this, God is instructing angels, and that principalities and powers are deriving the benefit of it all.


We do not draw a great deal of comfort from that, but if we understood I think we would realize that, while we may not at such times be fulfilling a very big ministry on the earth, there is a big ministry going on towards principalities and powers through our instrumentality.


Do not think that running about taking meetings, and doing work for the Lord, is the only kind of ministry that members of the Church can fulfill. Ministry may be equally being fulfilled when these things have been brought to a standstill, and all earthly activities for the Lor…

TRUE LEADERSHIP AMONG BELIEVERS

TRUE LEADERSHIP AMONG BELIEVERS A. Brother
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Cor. 10:33
This simple statement by Paul gives us the standard of true leadership within the Body of Christ.The people of God must be led by those who follow Christ’s example.
With this statement, Paul is capping off a long section of instruction, and explanation of why he does what he does in his ministry.
Starting in chapter 9, he teaches us that even though we have rights, (for instance the right to earn a living from the gospel if we preach the gospel), we have the privilege of giving up our rights for Christ. (9:11,12)
Even though he is a free man in Christ, and is the slave of no other man, he willingly gives up those rights to relate to Jews, to lawkeepers, to the Gentiles, to the weak.He will mirror those people, and live within their comfort zones, in order to win them.(9:19-23)Mind you, he does not compromise the truth of the gospel, but he sets aside his personal preferences in orde…

TURNING VICTORY INTO DEFEAT

Text:  Joshua 5:13-7:26


Here we read about ourselves, and our tendency to take a victory and turn it into future defeats!  Read this entire section of Scripture and ask the Spirit of God to illumine it.


Joshua and the children of Israel followed the angel of the Lord's command to encircle the city, march around it, and then to shout the walls down.  This bizarre behavior must have had the people in Jericho laughing at Israel, deriding them from the top of the wall each day.


But God delivered the city into the hands of Joshua and the people of God.  The only additional command that God gave was that the entire city was to be destroyed, and no spoils of victory were to be taken.  All was to be burned, except the gold, silver, bronze and iron, which were to be preserved for the Lord.


God called it "devoted".  All the spoils were to be devoted to the Lord and therefore destroyed.  "Devoted to destruction" was the phrase used.


Achan, just one man, fell to temptation, and…

THE POWER TO OBEY

THE POWER TO OBEY A. Brother
There is a power shortage among us.In this critical hour we need God’s power more than ever, and in increasing measure.So many are hungry for more, thirsty for revelation, anxious to know the Lord in some way that will bring reality, His reality, His Kingdom, into their lives with impact.
Here Paul lays out his desires for us.Here is his prayer for the Ephesians.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Eph. 4:14-16
Paul says to us through this prayer that we are part of a family, one that encompasses heaven and earth.He prays for power to come into us through the Spirit of God, giving us strength and the ability to have faith.
You see, we don’t even have the ability to have faith without the power of the Spirit of God doing it within…

CHRIST RULES YOUR SITUATION

CHRIST IS IN CHARGE: HE RULES THE INVISIBLE AND THE VISIBLE CREATION A. Brother
“For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” And He is the head of the body, the church… Col. 1:16-18
When we read Colossians with the “eyes of our understanding enlightened” we see Christ, exalted, supreme, and ruling the heavens, the earth, and all the “thrones or powers or rulers or authorities”.This means Christ rules today, not in the future.He is supreme, and all rulers and authorities, all powers of any kind, are in His hand.
What Paul tells us through the Holy Spirit, is that Christ, the risen Lord, is in charge, and that headship not only encompasses the church, His body on earth, but also includes all earthly kingdoms, all spiritual forces of darkness, and all created beings, whether they are visible or inv…