Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In HIS Time...

Mary and Martha stood by the grave,
And they wondered why the Master had delayed;
For they knew if He'd been there in answer to their cry,
Their dear brother Lazarus would not have died.

In His time He'll answer
In His time He will heed
It may be today He'll walk through your Bethany.
So, don't lose your faith, though your patience be tried
Your answer may seem delayed
But your prayer's not denied.

It was four days before Jesus through Bethany passed by.
And there He found them, with tears in their eyes,
And with a tender, compassionate sound from His voice,
He commanded the stone away, and Lazarus came forth.

The trial you're facing may be a child who's gone astray,
Or it could be a loved one, who's never found the way.
Or it could be a problem that matters just to you;
God will hear the prayer you pray, and here's what he'll do - (chorus)
—Author Unknown

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Just imagine that you are one of the good friends of Jesus; one that you know He respects and loves... And then, when you get into a troublesome situation, he seems to ignore and desert you. How would you feel? You have seen him heal beggars, Samaritans, and lepers, yet when your respectable brother gets ill, the Master just tarries in Jerusalem. Can't you just feel her heartache? "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." John 11:21. Yet look at her faith shining through those adverse circumstances: “But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” John 11:22

Can we have that kind of trusting faith in the Lord? Remember, “Your answer may seem delayed, but your prayer is not denied.”

Keep on looking up to Jesus... You will get an answer if you are patient!

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“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, May 25, 2006

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 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. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Matthew 7:21-29

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"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne."

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What are you building on?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Six Characteristics of a Diamond...

"There are six outstanding characteristics of a Diamond. I should like to find real, honest-to-goodness people who could stand the same tests our diamonds are put through.

Number one: They are the hardest substance known, eighty-five times harder than any other known substance.
I should like to discover persons who instead of easily being grooved by elements that contact them, would rather be hard enough to impress others. Popular opinion and dictates of fashion deeply groove most people; but my diamonds should be able to not only withstand this influence, but to impress others instead.

Number Two: They are unspoiled by alkalis or acids.
A true gem should be able to mix with the sordid business world, social circles, and centres of learning without contamination. How many come out unspoiled , unspotted, or untarnished by flatteries or frowns, praise, or blame?

Number Three: A diamond can stand intense heat, and still be uninjured.
Talk about a furnace of affliction! We can't stand an ordinary shift on a hot day without complaining. How easily people are turned aside from some purpose because of adversity. A diamond can stand terrific heat, and still be unharmed.

Number Four: A diamond disperses light.
This is an unusual quality, and is what makes this gem so beautiful. Taking light, which to the human eye looks white, it breaks it up and then disperses it in all the colours of the rainbow. Give me a human gem who can take the simple duties of life, and simple pleasures, and because of an inner quality of soul make them appear more than simple—beautiful, glowing with all the colours of the rainbow.

Number Five: A diamond refracts.
This too, makes it beautiful. It has power to take light, bent it toward the centre and then send it back out. I've put this test over and over again—Invariably people take in light, but they don't bother sending it back out because they don't possess number six.

Number Six: A diamond is pure.
If a diamond has what we call 'inclusion' it is rejected and used for industrial purposes. Only as a diamond is pure can it send the light back out in unspoiled beauty. Selfishness mars so many otherwise beautiful characters."
—This is an excerpt from a book entitled "The King's Diamond" written by Lillian Harvey—

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May we all strive to shine as Gems for our Master!

"When He cometh, when He cometh to make up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels, His loved and His own!
Like the stars of the morning, His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in His beauty, bright gems for His crown."
—William Orcutt Cushing

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Why, God? Why? (continued)

4. Joseph
Joseph is another sterling example of utter devotion to the will and purposes of God. Joseph starts out just fine... Except for the fact that his father is partial to him. Then things start to deteriorate rapidly:
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.” —Genesis 37:3-8
Notice in the next passage that he was willing to go out, find his brothers, and bring back word to his father; knowing full well that they hated him for his dreams: “And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.” —Genesis 37:13
After that point, nothing seemed to go well for the poor lad... They threw him into a well, and then drug him back out and sold him... Now let's follow that Ishmeelite camel-train: Imagine the long, dusty, hot days of travel, and the incredible gnawing fear of the unknown! He was only 17! Then he got sold to a fairly wealthy officer in Pharaoh's court. Things are beginning to look a little better! God is with him, and everything he is doing is prospering! His boss is impressed, sets him up over all the affairs of his house, and then... Down in the dumps of a dungeon. Just because he wanted to retain his own integrity, he was rewarded with a long stay in prison. Now follow him as he is there; again, watch everything prosper under his hand. The jailer promotes him to the highest position that a prisoner can hold. Then two of the king's officers are cast into prison with him. Imagine the hope that rose within his heart when he told the king's butler to put in a good word for him to the king!
“But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.” —Genesis 40:14, 15

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Two whole years go by! Joseph is STILL in prison, dutifully performing his day to day tasks... No glory, no pride, nothing! For two years! By then, I'd have been screaming "GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS TREATMENT?" He didn't do anything to deserve getting sold away from home, he didn't do anything to deserve getting cast into prison, and look at the thank-you that he received from the butler! "Oops, well, I guess I forgot about you. Sure has been nice to be out of that hole for these two years!" But God knew what he was doing! God can't use a vessel that is puffed up in pride. God knew the heady work that he needed Joseph for, and without the "prison training," Joseph would have been useless to God.
“...but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” Isaiah 66:2b

5. Noah
Just imagine, God asks you to start building a rocket that will go to planet Xtargaer. He says that the Earth will be destroyed, and he wants to save your family—alone. The only catch there, is that you don't even know that Xtargaer exists! Dutifully, you start the plans, exactly how God has specified... This spaceship is in the works for almost one hundred years! You are telling all your friends and neighbors that the earth will explode, and that they should get right with God, and build a spaceship to get to Xtargaer with you. "Are you cracked?" they ask, incredulously. "What has gotten into your head? What and where is Xtargaer, anyway? You are just wasting your life! Look at you! You are already almost a hundred-years-old, and you are still not done! The earth hasn't blown up yet! Get a grip, man! Come live your life a little! Have some fun! Eat, drink, and be merry!" You sadly shake your head, and continue the seemingly interminable task of putting rivets into this spacecraft...
I know that seems a little bit far-fetched, but think about it. In Noah's day, there was no need for a ship. Man was on land, and everyone was together. It wasn't until after the flood that the people of Babel were scattered across the face of the earth. Beside that, I don't even know if they had ever heard of "rain" until that time! I know that I would grow weary after a few years, and ask God "Why are you having me do this? Maybe everyone else is right! Why am I wasting my life pounding nails into a boat that is beached in the middle of my yard?" I admire his dogged perseverance... Sticking to the task that is set in front of him without questioning. Can we do the same thing with the task of the great commission?

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In conclusion, I want you to notice that most all the men listed here are also listed in the "Heroes of Faith" from Hebrews 11. I think the absence of the "Why" question in their lives has a lot to do with that listing there too... Think about it: You trust and love your heavenly Father SO much that you don't need to ask "why?" when he does something in your life. You trust Him implicitly, and there is no need for worry! It is like the verse in 1 John 4:18:
“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.”
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Why, God? Why?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? Something happened that you thought was not "in the will of God" for you, when actually it was not in your will... Let's take a look at a few dear saints that could have asked why:

1. Job
Dear Job would have had full rights to ask God why he had suffering, would he not have? It says in Job 1:1 that “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” Can you get much better than that? No, that verse is not saying that Job had no sin, but it is strongly intimating that he lived a pure life before God and man. And yet, when stripped of all this earth had to offer, even his children, the bible records that:
“...Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Job 1:20-22

When the devil realized that he could not shake Job from his secure resting-place in God's will by taking 'stuff' away, he came to the conclusion that he must touch his body. Now, I don't know about you, but I know that if everything I had was taken away, and then I got sick, I would not be blessing the Lord for his prior benefits... I tend to look on the present, and forget the past when things like that happen.
“So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Job 2:7-10
“In all this did not Job sin with his lips...”

2. Abraham
Here we have a man that was promised by God to have an heir... Then just as the promised son was about the right age, his Father's pride and joy, God asked him to sacrifice the lad. Talk about a hard task! Here Abraham has waited 80+ years for a son, and now God was asking him to KILL him! Just think about it for a little while. We know the end result of the story, but Abraham did not... He had a three-day journey to get to Mount Moriah. Can you just imagine the terrible turmoil that must have been coursing through his head as they journeyed? Here your son is oblivious to all of it, talking along with his father... He must have wondered about Abraham's unwonted melancholia. Think of how hard it would have been to answer your boy when he asked this simple question:
“And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, ‘Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:’ so they went both of them together.” Genesis 22:7, 8

God, WHY!!! You PROMISED ME! -- But no, he just went on, knowing that God was in control.... And because of the faith and obedience, it was through his line that all the nations of the earth are blessed — through Jesus Christ our Lord.

3. David
Another man after God's own heart... Did he just attain that status because he was better than us? No! He suffered, and submitted to the suffering! Because of that, his heart was bent toward the Lord's. How would you like to be anointed as a king, and then get put back out to feeding sheep? And then after you are promoted to a captain of Israel's army, the king tries to kill you! You are a vagabond and fugitive in your OWN kingdom! Imagine him in the cave overlooking the armies of Saul that are in an all-out attempt to eradicate the 'renegade' king. He could have looked out over that throng, and said: "God, WHY? What is the purpose of this evil man chasing me all over Israel, humiliating and disgracing both your name and mine?" But he rather chose to let it make him a better man. Look at the outpouring of his heart:
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.” Psalms 27:1-5

......to be continued......