Thursday, January 18, 2018

It's All About Jesus

This morning I read this quote while scrolling through my social media newsfeed:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn 

Although I wasn’t sure I agreed with the statement, it did get me thinking about who did I spend time with? I also decided to do a little research and see what the Bible had to say about this. 

Some of the Bible verses I found were these: 

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20 

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 1 Corinthians 15:33 

Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. Proverbs 9:6 

Then I thought about who were the five people that I spent the most time with. I immediately thought of those who I lived with. My husband and three sons. 

Have they affected who I am? 

 Yes. 

Because of my husband, I have become a more logical, levelheaded thinker. I want to say smarter too, just because I do believe and like the fact that he is very intelligent and I hope that some of that intelligence rubbed off on me! Also, I know for a fact, that in the eleven years we’ve been married I’ve become a much better communicator. I remember when we were first married and had a disagreement about something I would just shut down. I would walk away from the problem, try to bury my thoughts and emotions and refuse to talk about them. (Now if that’s you too, just know that, that kind of behavior gets you absolutely nowhere.) But overtime, I learned from Jason to articulate my feelings and frustrations and discuss them calmly, which was much more likely to lead to a quick resolution.

Jayden our oldest son is a deep thinker with a tender heart. I know that his sweet deepness has made a big difference in my life. 

We sometimes call Justin, our middle son, “Opa.” He’s the super responsible, little old man in a five year olds' body, making sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. I see a lot of myself in him. 

Alexander is a tiny, cheerful boy with a zest for life that far surpasses his diminutive stature. Every morning I smile in anticipation as I crack open his bedroom door because I know I will be greeted by a belly laugh or an exuberant shout of joy. He makes my day brighter. 

But then I thought about Who really had the greatest influence on my life and I realized it wasn’t my husband or my kids or my friends. 

It was JESUS. 

The Lamb of God (John 1:29), the Saviour of the World (John 4:42), the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), our Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), our High Priest (Hebrews 4:15), our Friend (John 15:15) 

The One whose feet I sit at every morning, (Luke 10:39) whose Spirit abides in me (1 Corinthians 3:16) who is always with me (Matthew 28:20) and who never leaves or forsakes me (Deut 31:6). 

The One who transforms me by the renewing of my mind. (Romans 12:2) And the One into whose image we are being changed into. (2 Corinthians 3:18) 

 The One who gives me the water of life that becomes a well of water in me springing up into everlasting life. (John 14:4) 

The One who lights my candle and enlightens my darkness. (Psalm 18:28) And then, in turn, HE makes me the light that not only gives light to all who are in the house but also gives light to the world. (Matthew 5:14-15) 

Jesus. 

Is that who you are spending your time with? 

 It matters. 

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Resolution Worth Keeping:

Ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil I have loved writing. From age five onwards I filled papers and notebooks with thoughts and ideas and stories and poems and even recipes. I also kept diaries and journals and for many years wrote New Year’s resolutions. These included drinking more water, eating less chocolate, not fighting so much with my sister and being kinder; but inevitably, a week into the New Year I would have broken them all. 

As I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions these past few weeks, there was one that I decided was really worthwhile keeping and I had been doing it for ten years now. 

Time with God. 

Sitting at His feet. 

Praying to Him and then listening as He spoke to Me through His Word and by His Spirit. 

Our wedding texts was Matthew 6:33 
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you

If you only make one resolution this year, chose that one. 

When I started ten years ago during our first months in Haiti, I simply found an old tattered notebook and began to write down Bible verses that I had memorized as a child and as a teenager. Then I would read them over and over again until they were very clear again in my mind and in my heart. 

Psalm 119:11 says: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee

Over time more and more verses or snippets of verses came to mind and I would type them into Google and find the references and copy them down correctly. Over time I started reading books of the Bible and writing down any verses that stood out to me. So I filled journal after journal. 

When I shared them with a friend in Haiti she encouraged me by saying: “If the God of the universe is speaking to you, should you not take notes?” 

Did you know that reading the word of God is more important/worthwhile than eating food? Job says in Job 23:12b: “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” And Jesus said: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4b 

And did you know this about the Word of God? 
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 40:8 

I think it's definitely worth spending our time reading the eternal Word of God.

Solomon writes in Proverbs 2:1-6 
My son, (My daughter) if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 

And I’m not writing this so that you feel guilty that you don’t spend time at the feet of Jesus, but rather to encourage you - for in His presence is fullness of joy at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore! 

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11 

Ernest Boyer, Jr says: “God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, “Do you believe there is a God?” you may find yourself answering, “No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.”

For I know Whom I have believed, (2 Timothy 1:12b) 

Mary also knew the value of sitting at the feet of Jesus: 
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:39-42 

Just to know Him and to make Him known – It is enough. 

But they, when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country. Matthew 9:31

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Secure in His Promises and Love

I woke up sick yesterday morning. There’s nothing like feeling fragile and vulnerable when you have three little people dependent on you and your better half is somewhere far away. Thankfully the two older ones were able to go to school so I just had their younger brother to take care of, and he didn’t get sick till later that night when I was starting to feel a little better. 

That night as I was laying in bed scrolling through my facebook newsfeed I came across an article from John Piper that said: “If you wake up feeling fragile, read the Bible until you find a promise strong enough to carry you through the day. God is always faithful and He will come through for you again.” 

Now, if you’re going to have a social media account at all, at least follow whatsoever things are good, true, lovely and of a good report and un-follow the rest. (Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil 4:8) 

As I lay there alone in the dark, I thought about some of the promises I had memorized in the past and suddenly the Holy Spirit flooded my mind and heart with God’s Word. (But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26) 

The first verse He reminded me of was Psalm 138:8a: 
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: 

What a beautiful promise. 

Next was Psalm 18:30a 
As for God, His way is perfect: 

What a comfort! Even when we don’t understand what’s happening, to know that God’s way is perfect brings incredible peace! 

Then Psalm 36:5-6 
Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast. 

God is so great that all we can comprehend of Him is but a small whisper. What comfort and joy and awe we can find in the greatness of God. 

I then spent some time just thinking about God. Isn’t it great that our God never gets sick or hungry or tired? 

Psalm 121:3 says: 
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. 

Psalm 121:5 says: 
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand

and Psalm 121:7 says: 
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul. 

Then He reminded me of 2 Cor 12:9a: And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. 

And Psalm 29:11: The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace

And so I fell asleep. Secure in His promises and love. 

The next morning when I was feeling quite a bit better I thought about what Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 

Don’t wait for the storms to come before realizing your house is built on sand, don’t wait for the bridegroom to arrive before realizing you don’t have oil in your lamp! 

Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 

 Matthew 25:1-13 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh

Psalm 95:7b-8 Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

No Time To Waste

Some days I wake up and my heart feels heavy.  Then I say with Paul: Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. Romans 10:1 

Just like Paul, I have lots of family and friends and loved ones who refuse to obey the gospel. The devil has so blinded them that they have become complacent to the death sentence hanging over their heads. “Because, really, they remind themselves, there’s nothing I can do.” 

If we reject God’s promises and refuse to obey the gospel, who is to blame? 

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17 

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Thes 1:8 

Proverbs 1:22-33 
22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 
23 Turn you at My reproof: behold, I will pour out My spirit unto you, I will make known My words unto you. 
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 
25 But ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: 
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 
28 Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find me: 
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: 
30 They would none of My counsel: they despised all My reproof. 
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 
32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 
33 But whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. 

Don’t be simple, don’t be a fool, listen to God, obey His Word, believe the gospel and live! 

And don’t just take my word for it. Be like the people of Berea, who received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily, to see if these things were so. 
And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:10-11 

 There is no time to waste, your eternal destiny is at stake.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Light of the World

These past weeks the days have been getting shorter and darker not unlike the spiritual darkness before the birth of Jesus. The people had waited so long for the promised Saviour, (since God made the promise in the garden of Eden), that it was almost like they had given up hope. 

But then Jesus came and it changed everything! 

In Isaiah it says: The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:2) 

And in Matthew it says: The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (Matthew 4:16) 

Jesus is the light of the world! 

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12) 

And as we follow Him closely, we reflect His light. 

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Matthew 5:14-16 

The birth of Jesus is really good tidings of great joy! 

 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 

And it’s not just great news for the shepherds then, it’s still great news for us today. For it is written: Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (Luke 2:10) 

And not only was He born for us, He also came to die for us. 

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 1 Peter 3:18 

And in the book of John, Jesus expounds to us how He will save us: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 

And now having fulfilled His promises of being born and dying to save us, we wait with eager anticipation for the fulfilling of His final promise: 

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Rev 22:20

Monday, November 20, 2017

The God Who Sees

I remember during one of our first years in Haiti reading through the book of Genesis and reading this verse: And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after Him that seeth me? Gen 16:13 Knowing that even there, in a foreign land, far from family and friends, God was the God who sees, gave me incredible comfort and peace. 

But does knowing God is the God who sees bring you comfort and peace? 

In Proverbs it says: The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. Prov 15:3 And in Jeremiah it says: For Mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from My face, neither is their iniquity hid from Mine eyes. Jeremiah 17:17 

God is love. (1 John 4:8b) But God is also holy and righteous. (Psalm 145:17) and it says in Psalms: God is angry with the wicked every day. Psalm 7:11b 

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7 

And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke Me? and how long will it be ere they believe Me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? Numbers 14:11 

And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and His anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. Number 11:1 

By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. Job 4:9 

For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29 

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. Lam 3:22-23 

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 

Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7 

For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen. 2 Cor 1:20a 

Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 33:11 

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:14-15 

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:14-16 

Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. Isaiah 13:9 

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Thes 1:8 

And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, Gen 6:3a 

Now will I shortly pour out My fury upon thee, and accomplish Mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations. Ezekial 7:8 

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Rev 21:8 

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; Hebrews 2:3a

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Standing on the Promises

When we moved to Haiti nine years ago I often struggled with fear. There was so much to be afraid of: natural disasters, riots, tropical diseases, violence, rats, tarantulas, cockroaches, and in the back of my mind the fear that any day Jason could have an engine failure on the single engine aircrafts he flew and crash. Knowing I could not live in a constant state of fear I asked God to take away my fear and by His Holy Spirit He directed me to the following Bible verses: 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. Isaiah 26:3 

Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but 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. Phil 4:6-7 

So I memorized these verses and whenever I felt fear threatening to overtake me I prayed and held onto the promises of God and He gave me perfect peace, just like He promised. 

Even after the terrible earthquake in 2010. 

After experiencing the quake and seeing all the devastation, I remember thinking how I could possibly sleep with a 10 feet concrete wall looming over my head, knowing it could crumble and crush me in my sleep, but God directed me to Psalm 4:8: 
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. 

 Did that mean that I believed that nothing bad would ever happen to me or my family? 

No. 

 Jesus said: 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 

And we had our share of tribulation. In our first week in Haiti Jason came down with Malaria, later I nearly died from a serious case of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. We were caught in the middle of riots, and Jason was once attacked by a mob after hitting a pedestrian while driving. He was imprisoned and after his release attacked by a family member of the pedestrian. Later he was attacked in flight during a medical evacuation flight.  

When our oldest son was three years old he ran into a twirling propeller during a preflight check which slit open his throat and threw him backwards through the air. He still carries the scar. 

One day, I unknowingly drove through a mob that were just in the process of stoning a thief to death. Another day, two men tried to force open the window and remove me bodily from the vehicle when I was driving Jason through the capital city to find treatment for his excruciating back pain. 

In Canada, Jason was pinned under an atv where he broke three vertebrates in his back. In the US a Jason Krull died of a similar atv accident. 

When our middle son was a newborn I almost burned the house down by falling asleep and forgetting a pot on the stove. Only by God prompting Jason to come home early did our two boys and I live to see another day. 

Only a year ago, Jason was involved in a serious mini-bus rollover accident in Haiti.

 Yet, through it all, I’ve learned to say with Job. Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: Job 13:15 

Our times are in God’s hands. 
But I trusted in Thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in Thy hand: Psalm 31:14-15a 

God is trustworthy. 
God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good? Numbers 23:19 

God gave us His Word so we could read it and learn it and hide it in our hearts and obey it. 
"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." (Jesus) John 13:17 

And just like everything else in the Bible, His gospel promises are also trustworthy and true: 

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 

In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13 

"If the Lord is satisfied to save me through the merits of His dear Son, assuredly I may be satisfied to be so saved. If I take God at His word, the responsibility of fulfilling His promise does not lie with me, but with God, who made the promise. 

When enquirers accept the Bible as literally true, and see that Jesus is really given to all who trust Him, all the difficulty about understanding the way of salvation vanishes like the morning’s frost at the rising of the sun. “God bears testimony to His Son, that whosoever trusts in His Son is saved. Will you make Him a liar now, or will you believe His Word? 

The change which comes over the heart when the understanding grasps the gospel is often reflected in the face, and shines there like the light of heaven. Such newly enlightened souls often exclaim, “Why, sir, it is so plain; how is it I have not seen it before this? I understand all I have read in the Bible now, though I could not make it out before. It has all come in a minute, and now I see what I could never understand before.” 

The fact is, the truth was always plain, but they were looking for signs and wonders, and therefore did not see what was nigh them. 

Faith will not long seem a difficulty to you; nor ought it to be so, for it is simple." (C. Spurgeon) 

He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32 

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto Thee; and my soul, which Thou hast redeemed. Psalm 71:23

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Infinite God

When I was younger I used to believe that because God is sovereign and the Bible talks about Him drawing, choosing and electing His people, it meant that the gospel actually said this: 

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever (the elect) believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, (the elect) that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (the elect) believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:14-16 

Since then, by the grace of God, I have learned to take God at His word and not to tamper with it. 

God is so incredibly great that everything we know about Him is only a mere whisper; the fringe of His garment; and the edges of His ways. 

Lo, these are parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him? but the thunder of his power who can understand? Job 26:14 

The same God who appeared to Job out of the whirl wind, appeared to Elijah in a still small voice. (Job 38:1a, 1 Kings 19:11-12) 

Now, just because we believe one truth about God and His word it should never cancel out or change another truth. 

For I am the Lord, I change not; Malachi 3:6a

Can our finite minds understand and infinite God? 

No. 

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 

To try to explain how much higher His thoughts are God uses the biggest distance we know about; the distance between heaven and earth. And if we take a moment to think about it can we really fathom that distance? 

Just because in our minds God’s sovereignty contradicts the free invitations of the gospel, doesn’t mean it does. 

"Great mysteries are in the Book of God of necessity; for how can the infinite God so speak that all His thoughts can be grasped by finite man? I know many very decent people who seem to have resolved never to come to Christ till they can understand how the doctrine of election is consistent with the free invitations of the gospel. I might just as well determine never to eat a morsel of bread till it has been explained to me how it is that God keeps me alive, and yet I must eat to live. 

Here let me add a warning against tampering with the Word of God. No habit can be more ruinous to the soul. It is cool, contemptuous impertinence to sit down and correct your Maker, and it tends to make the heart harder than the nether millstone." C. Spurgeon 

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: Revelations 22:18 

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. Deut 4:2 

The gospel is glad tidings of great joy, which is for us and for our children and should be shared with all who we come in contact with. 

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 

And He (Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:15-16

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Fear to Believe

"If men were afraid to disbelieve, there would be good sense in the fear; but to be afraid to trust their God is at best an absurdity, and in very deed it is a deceitful way of refusing to the Lord the honour that is due to His faithfulness and truth. 

How unprofitable is the diligence which busies itself in finding out reasons why faith in our case should not be saving! We have God’s word for it, that whosoever believeth in Jesus shall not perish, and we search for arguments why we should perish if we did believe. 

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:14-17

If the Lord is satisfied to save me through the merits of His dear Son, assuredly I may be satisfied to be so saved. If I take God at His word, the responsibility of fulfilling His promise does not lie with me, but with God, who made the promise."  (C. Spurgeon) 

God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good? Numbers 23:19

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

O Lord our Lord, how Excellent is Thy Name in all the Earth!

God is not a God of confusion. 

In His infinite wisdom and majesty He has made a way whereby we can be saved. 

Jesus. 

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31 

“To many faith seems a hard thing. The truth is, it is only hard because it is easy. Naaman thought it hard that he should have to wash in Jordan; but if it had been some great thing, he would have done it right cheerfully. 

People think that salvation must be the result of some act or feeling, very mysterious, and very difficult; but God’s thought are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways." (C. Spurgeon)

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 

"In order that the feeblest and the most ignorant may be saved, He has made the way of salvation as easy as the A,B,C. There is nothing about it to puzzle anyone; only, as everybody expects to be puzzled by it, many are quite bewildered when they find it to be so exceedingly simple. 

The fact is, we do not believe that God means what He is saying; we act as if it could not be true. When the Lord uplifts His dear Son before a sinner, that sinner should take Him without hesitation. If you take Him, you have Him; and none can take Him from you. Out with your hand, man, and take Him at once." (C. Spurgeon) 

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:14-16 

Amazing Grace! 

O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! Psalm 8:9

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Brazen Serpent

A snake! Eliana froze in the opening of her tent. The creature stared at her for a moment and then slithered away, its red and black colors blending together. Just then a scream split the air, then another and another, Eliana shaded her eyes for a better look and gasped. They were everywhere! 

She hurried back inside to check on her baby daughter sleeping on a small mat on the floor but it was already too late. A snake was there, poising to strike. She grabbed a stick to flip it away, but the snake was quicker than her. Baby Leah screamed when the snake bit her; and then just as suddenly as it appeared, it was gone.  Outside the screams and cries of the people continued to escalate. 

Suddenly the tent opening was pushed aside and her sister Meira burst through. “Oh Eliana.” she cried. “The snakes are everywhere and their venom is poisonous! Oh, if only we hadn’t complained against God and Moses. What are we going to do?” 

“Meira,” Eliana wept. “Leah has been bitten.” 

Suddenly Eliana’s ten year old son, Ariel, burst through the tent opening. “Grandma and Dad have been bitten Mom!” Tears poured down his dirty face and his eyes were filled with terror. “What are we going to do?” 

Seeing Leah’s writhing form in his mother’s arms he turned even paler. “Did she get bitten too Mom?” 

 “Yes she did, son.” 

Working quickly the two sisters made makeshift beds ready so that Eliana’s husband Itamar and mother-in-law Meira could be carried inside. Then they sat and waited. There was really nothing they could do. Eliana could slowly see the life draining from the bodies of her husband, daughter and mother-in-law and her heart filled with despair. If only there was a way for them to be saved! 

Suddenly there was a commotion outside. The ever-curious Ariel quickly ducked his head out through the tent flap and then disappeared completely. Within a few minutes he was back. “Mom” he said excitedly. “God has made a way for us to be saved! He commanded Moses to build a brazen serpent and put it on a pole and anyone who looks at it will live!” 

Eliana’s heart filled with hope. “Help me bring everyone outside,” she directed her sister and son. One by one they lifted their dying family members and brought them outside so they could look at the brazen serpent on the pole. Itamar was so far gone he could barely open his eyes, yet the moment he fastened his eyes on the gleaming serpent on the pole he could feel the healing begin in his broken body. Meira, who seemed the least affected of the three at first protested, saying, “How could just looking at a serpent on a pole heal her?” but when Eliana convinced her that she had nothing to lose she also looked and moments later exclaimed in amazement how she too felt the healing effects in her old body. 

And then there was Leah. Leah, too small to understand, yet her small body too was struggling with the effects of their sin. Eliana lovingly cradled her in her arms and then turned her so she too faced the brazen serpent. “Look over there,” Leah, she urged softly. Her eyes open, she too looked, and with great joy and wonder Eliana felt her infant daughter’s tense body finally relax in her arms. She too was healed! 

Now this story and it’s characters are fictional but it is based on the true events recorded in Numbers 21:5-9: 

And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. 

Do you know what’s really remarkable? Of all the example Jesus could have used, He chose to compare Himself to the brazen serpent on the pole in this story. 

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:14-17 

This is the good news! This is the gospel. 

We have sinned and are all condemned to death, but God out of His great grace and mercy has made a way whereby we can be saved!  

Think back on the story of the brazen serpent. Was anyone excluded? Was there anyone too young or too old or too sick or not sick enough? No. Did Moses go around and say: “Here is the brazen serpent and it can save you but only if you are elect or chosen or your name is written in the Book of Life. And since we can’t be sure of that, just wait around, maybe God will heal you or reveal Himself to you somehow and save you in a different way?" 

No, he did not say that. 

He only did what God directed him to do. He made the serpent, put it on a pole for all to see and told people to look at it and they would live. 

And this my friend is the gospel: Believe in Jesus and live! 

And no one is left out of the “whomsoever believeth” that God promiseth. Not even the smallest baby. When they’re too little to understand their lost condition or their need for a Saviour, we bring them to Jesus. 

And you know what Jesus says about that? But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:14 

If you refuse to believe in Jesus is there a problem with God? No. 

There is however a problem with you because you refuse to obey what God commands. 

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Thes 1:8 

Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekial 33:11 

Because, really, only a stubborn fool would refuse to believe the gospel and instead chose to die in their sins and spend an eternity in hell. 

Deceived people may blame others for their deception, but ultimately they will have to suffer the consequences: Everlasting death. 

“Souls by hundreds come to faith in Jesus under a ministry which sets Him forth clearly and constantly. Few remain unbelieving under a preacher whose great subject is Christ crucified. Hear no minister of any other sort.” C. Spurgeon 

Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: 
for I am God, 
and there is none else. Isaiah 45:22

Monday, October 30, 2017

"I Can't Just Believe"

Now the moment I hear the words “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” (Acts 16:31) I can hear my old self protest: “But I can’t just believe.”  Or maybe you are sharing the gospel with someone and that is their response. How do you respond? 

 “It may be that the reader feels a difficulty in believing. Let him consider. We cannot believe by an immediate act. The state of mind which we describe as believing is a result, following upon certain former states of mind. We come to faith by degrees. There may be such a thing as faith at first sight; but usually we reach faith by stages: we become interested, we consider, we hear evidence, we are convinced, and so led to believe. If, then, I wish to believe, but for some reason or other find that I cannot attain to faith, what shall I do? Shall I stand like a cow staring at a new gate; or shall I, like an intelligent being, use the proper means? 

If I wish to believe anything, what shall I do? We will answer according to the rules of common sense. Evidence weighed and knowledge obtained lead up to faith. It is true that faith in Jesus is the gift of God: but yet He usually bestows it in accordance with the laws of mind, and hence we are told that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”. (Romans 10:17) 

If you want to believe in Jesus, hear about Him, read about Him, think about Him, know about Him, and so you will find faith springing up in your heart, like the wheat which comes up through the moisture and the heat operating upon the seed which has been sown. 

If you would know Jesus, get as near to Him as you can by studying His character, and appealing to His love. Be much in reading about the Lord Jesus. The books of Scripture are the lilies among which He feedeth. The Bible is the window through which we may look and see our Lord. Read over the story of His sufferings and death with devout attention, and before long the Lord will cause faith secretly to enter your soul. 

Be much in hearing concerning Jesus. Souls by hundreds come to faith in Jesus under a ministry which sets Him forth clearly and constantly. Few remain unbelieving under a preacher whose great subject is Christ crucified. Hear no minister of any other sort. Go to the place of worship to see Jesus; and if you cannot even hear the mention of His name, take yourself off to another place where He is more thought of, and is therefore more likely to be present. 

If hearing and reading suffice not, then deliberately set your mind to work to overhaul the matter, and have it out. Either believe, or know the reason why you do not believe. See the matter through to the utmost of your ability, and pray God to help you to make a thorough investigation, and to come to an honest decision one way or the other. Consider who Jesus was, and whether the constitution of His Person does not entitle Him to confidence. Consider what He did, and whether this also must not be good ground for trust. Consider Him as dying, rising from the dead, ascending, and ever living to intercede for transgressors; and see whether this does not entitle Him to be relied on by you. Then cry to Him, and see if He does not hear you. 

When enquirers accept the Bible as literally true, and see that Jesus is really given to all who trust Him, all the difficulty about understanding the way of salvation vanishes like the morning’s frost at the rising of the sun. The change which comes over the heart when the understanding grasps the gospel is often reflected in the face, and shines there like the light of heaven. Such newly enlightened souls often exclaim, “Why, sir, it is so plain; how is it I have not seen it before this? I understand all I have read in the Bible now, though I could not make it out before. It has all come in a minute, and now I see what I could never understand before.” The fact is, the truth was always plain, but they were looking for signs and wonders, and therefore did not see what was nigh them. 

 How unprofitable is the diligence which busies itself in finding out reasons why faith in our case should not be saving! We have God’s word for it, that whosoever believeth in Jesus shall not perish, and we search for arguments why we should perish if we did believe. But you fear that you may not be one of those for whom the promise is intended. Do not be alarmed by that idle suspicion. No soul ever came to Jesus wrongly. No one can come at all unless the Father draw him; (John 6:44) and Jesus has said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37) 

No soul ever lays hold on Christ in a way of robbery; he that hath Him hath Him of right divine; for the Lord’s giving of Himself for us, and to us, is so free, that every soul that takes Him has a grace-given right to do so. If you lay hold on Jesus by the hem of His garment, without leave, and behind Him, yet virtue will flow from Him to you as surely as if He had called you out by name, and bidden you trust Him. 

Dismiss all fear when you trust the Saviour. Take Him and welcome, He that believeth in Jesus is one of God’s elect. 

Did you suggest that it would be a horrible thing if you were to trust in Jesus and yet perish? It would be so. But as you must perish if you do not trust, the risk at the worst is not very great. 

“I can but perish if I go; 
I am resolved to try; 
For if I stay away, 
I know I must for ever die.” 

 Now, troubled seeker, if it be so, that your minister, and many others in whom you confide, have found perfect peace and rest in the gospel, why should not you? Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? Do not His words do good to them that walk uprightly? Will not you also try their saving virtue? 

 Most true is the gospel, for God is its Author. Believe it. Most able is the Saviour, for He is the Son of God. Trust Him. Most powerful is His precious blood. Look to it for pardon. Most loving is His gracious heart. Run to it at once. 

Thus would I urge the reader to seek faith; but if he be unwilling, what more can I do? I have brought the horse to the water, but I cannot make him drink. This, however, be it remembered—unbelief is willful when evidence is put in a man’s way, and he refuses carefully to examine it. He that does not desire to know, and accept the truth, has himself to thank if he dies with a lie in his right hand. It is true that “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”: it is equally true that “he that believeth not shall be damned”." C.Spurgeon

One Way

There is only one way we can be saved. It is by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what God has decreed. It may not make sense to us and we may not understand it but God’s thoughts and ways are not ours. 

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 

This is the gospel: 

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  John 3:14-18 

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. John 1:14-15 

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. (Jesus) John 14:1 

And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this? (Jesus) John 11:26 

Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:30b-31 

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9 

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. Romans 10:11 

 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name. John 20:31 

 “Alas! There are many, many souls that say, “We are bidden to trust in Jesus, but instead of that we will attend the means of grace regularly." Attend public worship by all means, but not as a substitute for faith, or it will become a vain confidence. The command is, “Believe and live;” attend to that, whatever else you do. 

 “Well, I shall take to reading good books; perhaps I shall get good that way.” Read the good books by all means, but that is not the gospel: the gospel is “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” 

Suppose a physician has a patient under his care, and he says to him, “You are to take a bath in the morning; it will be of very great service to your disease.” But the man takes a cup of tea in the morning instead of the bath, and he says, “That will do as well, I have no doubt.” What does his physician say when he inquires – “Did you follow my rule?” “No, I did not.” “Then you do not expect, of course, that there will be any good result from my visits, since you take no notice of my directions.” 

So we, practically, say to Jesus Christ, when we are under searching of soul, “Lord, thou badest me trust Thee, but I would sooner do something else! Lord, I want to have horrible convictions; I want to be shaken over hell’s mouth; I want to be alarmed and distressed!” Yes, you want anything but what Christ prescribes for you, which is that you simply trust Him. Whether you feel or do not feel, cast yourself on Him, that, He may save you, and He alone.” C. Spurgeon.