MICHAEL’S MEDITATIONS, TUESDAY, 9/29/2015
MORE ON TRUTH
Excerpt from William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour, Vol II
You must live by your own faith, not someone else’s. Look as long and as hard as necessary to see truth with your own eyes. A building propped up by a neighbor’s house is too weak to stand very long. So do not let authority from man, but rather evidence from the Word, decide your judgment. Man’s conclusions are no stronger than a piece of scrap-wood bracing a building, but truth stands on the eternal foundation of solid rock — God’s Word!
Quote scripture instead of man. Yet in doing this, be careful not to lean so far this way that you lose the proper balance. We must not condemn the judgment of an elder whose wisdom and learning command reverence. Surely God has placed the true path in this matter squarely between defying men and deifying them. Adoration of persons conceives the traitor to truth which makes the crowd cry ‘hosanna’ to error and ‘crucify’ to truth. Herod’s silver robe dazzled the eyes of spectators while he made an eloquent oration, but when the flatterers shouted, ‘It is the voice of a god, and not of man, he was eaten of worms immediately (Acts 12:21-23).
The glittering varnish which some speakers use blinds the judgment of their admirers to the point that they conclude their speech is divine in origin. It is hard, then, to love and esteem man as a man, and to reverence him, and not be in danger of loving his errors also. This is why God would have His children call no one father on earth — to despise none and adore none (Matt. 23:9).
Now, my words — friends, consider what Mr. Gurnall implores for us using God’s Word as the baseline — especially with all the hoopla of this past week in Washington DC and elsewhere. How important it is for each one of us to keep God the Father first in our lives and love Him first and foremost, and realize that mortal, fallible man is just that — mortal and fallible — no matter who that man is in the eyes of the world. But God is perfect and infallible! God bless you as you go about your week!
Do Decisions for Jesus Christ Count?
A major problem today with people doing evangelism and even churches in general is that they are making such a huge deal of tracking numbers of people they say they have converted. That temptation is always there to do this, because it makes us feel that we are truly doing God’s work and we are successful, it is an ego thing. It would be a wise choose not to do this practice, not because knowing is bad, but because only God knows those individuals who have truly repented and come to Him. We just do not have access to the Book of Life, although many act as if they do. This type of numbering reveals a lack of understanding of the nature of true and false conversion. Making a decision to follow Christ by walking an aisle, or raising a hand does not tell whether someone truly repents and trusts in the Savior. Our job is only to be obedient to God and spread His Word and plant the seed of the Word of God, this is success in evangelism. The rest is up to God.
With God Nothing is Impossible
At one point when Jesus was speaking He said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23
There now those who are out there calling themselves Christians and teaching the Word of God that have taken on slogan from the secular self-help movement: “If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it!” This is crazy, it says if you can see yourself as an astronaut or a star player in the NBA, and believe it with all your heart, you will get that! Do you really think this is true?
The answer for most adults is “No.”
There is something good in this thought and that is it encourages us not to limit ourselves or God. The thing that’s wrong with this approach is that it misapplies the words of Jesus. For example, a corollary of Jesus’ words in Mark 9:23 is that “all things are possible for (God)”—words Jesus spoke on the night of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:36). Jesus believed it was possible for Him not to go to the cross, and He also believed it was possible for God to keep Him from that suffering. Yet He went to the cross anyway.
Our desires and wants need to be in line with the will of God. The closer you get to God the more your desires and wants will line up with His, and that is when you can see the impossible happen. That’s how Jesus lived His life and how He taught His disciples to live (John 5:30).
If God tells you something will be or to follow a certain path, don’t hesitate because it will be. God will usually give you things you must do, but don’t worry it is not your doing that will make it happen or make it fail, God is in control and our part is about growth for us. If you want something first check the Bible to make sure it lines up with Biblical teaching and the pray and ask God if this is something that He approves of? He will let you know, but you must be willing to accept an answer that you may not want. When our lives are lived in obedience to God’s will, nothing is impossible. Dream big—but dream biblically!
The Love of God Never Fails
When Jesus Christ walked on this earth as a man the government of His day turned its back on Him. The Jews repudiated Him. Those who were at His crucifixion on the cross jeered Him, and His friends followers, who had been with Him for three years of ministry, left Him and ran; going into hiding after His arrest. Only John followed Him to the cross.
Do not be surprised that Satan is still at work in our world, seeking to deceive and to draw men and women away from the only One who can provide the hope they so desperately need.
Rejecting Jesus can be a subtle slow thing. Someone who is a “good” person may say, “I am a Christian because I was raised in a Christian family, but I just don’t want to get too serious about church or the Bible.” Another person may mistakenly believe he can live any way he chooses, and God will still save his soul. God is not the one who condemns us. We are the ones who condemn ourselves when we reject God’s love and gift of salvation, we are saying that we do not want God in our life’s and in the end God grants us our final prayer, and that is total separation from Him.
Don’t forget God want none to perish but He wants everyone to come to Him, when we are sinning against God, Jesus remains faithful. When we yield to temptation, He continues to love us, and when we seek His forgiveness, He becomes our strong advocate of mercy and grace before the throne of God.
God is your dearest friend, your father, your Lord, Your Master, your savior, the one and only true God. The One who will never abandon you. At the cross, He died for you, knowing that He was your only hope for Truth and eternal life.
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Fight the Good Fight, Be Obedient
If you are out doing your part in spreading the Word of God and witnessing to people, there may be times when you feel that you are just not making any progress and that no one is listening to you. This can be frustrating! You know you are planting seeds in the hearts of people but it still seems that no one is getting the message. If that is the case, consider this verse:
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Keep up what you are doing, we are not the ones who save, that is God’s doing, ours is to be obedient and develop our relationship with God. Whatever you do don’t compromise your message and start using the methods of modern evangelism to get “decisions for Christ.” That may make you feel good and feel like you are saving lost souls, but keep in mind that while we may rejoice over “decisions,” Heaven reserves its rejoicing for sinners who repent, and repentance is God-given. Trust in the Lord and in His timing, be obedient and the seeds you plant will grow. In God’s perfect time.
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Are You Producing the Fruits of Your Faith?
Have you ever heard the phrase “catch-22”? It usually means there is a problem that has a solution that is prohibited by the problem itself. An example of this would be, if you need glasses to see, and you lose your glasses, now you can’t find them because you need you need your glasses to look for them
Not exactly in the same vain as a “catch-22”, but a puzzle nonetheless, is this theological problem: We cannot be saved with good works, but neither can we be saved without good works. How can this even be possible? The Bible clearly says we are saved by grace through faith, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is true, but it also says that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). So how can this be, is this just one of those contradictions people say are in the Bible? Not at all, there are no contradictions in the Bible. Actually, we can be saved without good works—we saw this example when Jesus was on the cross and the thief on the cross who died immediately after placing his faith in Christ (Luke 23:43). As a rule, good works are evidence of our faith. If you are a true Christian then when you became a born again true Christian, you were given a new heart and that heart has the desire to do as Jesus did and to love others, to produce the fruit of the Spirit. If you are not living this life style and producing these fruits, then this is where you need to take a good look in the mirror and evaluate whether you truly are saved or you are just saying you are? This work and lifestyle is a sign that our faith is alive and well (Ephesians 2:10).
We should look regularly—examine ourselves—for the fruits of our faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5)
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MICHAEL’S MONDAY MEDITATIONS, MON., 9/21/2015
(excerpt from The Christian in Complete Armour, by William Gurnall, circa 1655) The Christian’s Spiritual Girdle —
“ESTABLISHED JUDGMENT IN THE TRUTHS OF CHRIST
Since Satan comes as a serpent concealed in false teachers and tries to deceive us with error for truth, every Christian needs an established judgment in the truths of Christ. The Bereans studied Scripture to satisfy their judgments concerning the doctrine Paul preached. They refused to believe anything he had said before they ‘searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so’ (Acts 17:11). They took the preacher’s doctrine straight to the written word and compared it to that; and the result was ‘therefore many of them believed’ (v. 12). As the Bereans dared not believe before, they could not help but believe now.
Tertullian described the preaching of heretics like this: ‘They teach by persuading, and do not by teaching persuade.’ That is, they court the emotions of their hearers without convincing their judgment. For instance, it would be hard for an adulterer to convince his companion that her prostitution is lawful. Instead, he works another way: by romantic overtones and appeal to the flesh. The question of law is soon forgotten. Judgment is easily and quickly absorbed by burning lust.
Thus error, like a thief, comes in through the window; yet truth, like the owner of the house, enters at the door of understanding, and from there moves into the conscience, will and affections. The man who finds and professes truth before he understands its excellency and beauty cannot fully appreciate the worth of its heavenly birth and descent. A prince travelling in disguise is not honored because people do not realize who he is. Truth is loved and prized only by those who recognize it and know it personally.
If we do not desire to know truth we have already rejected it. It is hard to cheat a person out of truth if he does not know what he has. Truth and error are all the same to the ignorant man and so he call everything truth. Have you heard about the covetous man who constantly hugged his many bags of gold? He never opened them or used the treasure, and thus when a thief stole the gold and left his bags full of pebbles in his room, he was as happy as when he still had the gold.”
Are You Worried About Things in Your Life?
Worry can lead to stress and being easily angered which then lead to many other bad physical and mental situations. But what effect does it have on your spirit and your relationship with God? If you look at the Bible you will find that worry is considered to be quite serious and when we put together all these points in the Bible we find that worry results in a serious conclusion: That conclusion is that worry is viewed as sin; sin is not pleasing to God; sin separates us from God and from being able to grow in our relationship with Him, it can keep God from working in our life.
Many times throughout the Bible Jesus addressed this issue of worry and doubt, “O you of little faith: to describe people who were worried about the future: their physical needs (Matthew 6:30), their physical safety (Matthew 8:26), their inability to find a solution to a problem (Matthew 14:31), and their lack of resources for ministry (Matthew 16:8). Every time Jesus would address this and saw that people were worried about their circumstances, Jesus linked their worry to a lack of faith. In Hebrews we see the writer say that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), Paul also wrote that “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Worry is not from faith, so a lifestyle of worry is certainly not pleasing to God. It is sin and shows that we really do not trust God. Let me assure you we can trust God, He has proven His integrity and trustworthiness time and time again.
If you tend to worry about things, go to God and confess your sin to God and ask Him to help you and put your faith in Him (Philippians 4:6-7).
Find more truth and answers throughout The Stand Project