Monthly Archives: September 2014

Miracles

Jesus performed a multitude of miracles. So many, in fact, the Apostle John concluded in the closing verse of his book, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”

A miracle is an event that takes place outside of the normal laws of nature: Jesus feeding 5,000 men, besides women and children, with five loaves and two fishes from a boy’s lunch; calming a storm on the Sea of Galilee as the disciple’s boat was about to sink; turning water into wine; healing the blind; causing the lame to walk; cleansing the lepers. Any miracle Jesus did was something only He could do. No mere man walking the earth could do what Jesus did during His three years of earthly ministry.

And no one since Jesus’ time to today have been capable of performing any of the miracles Jesus did because there was a most important reason for those miraculous events recorded in Scripture. The raising of Lazarus from the dead, Jesus walking on the water and allowing Peter to do so, healing the paralytic man lowered through the roof by his friends to get to Jesus… all these miracles were given to prove to the world that this truly was the Son of God, the Promised Messiah foretold of in the Old Testament that had long been awaited. There had been others come before Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem claiming to be The Christ, but none had been able to perform miracles as Jesus had done. Jesus performed all the miracles He did to authenticate His coming in the flesh as John wrote in the first chapter of his book, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

“Whom say ye that I am?

Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The Lifter of My Head

After many years of being chased by King Saul seeking David’s death, King David again finds himself fleeing, this time from his own son Absalom who is jealous for his father’s throne (II Samuel 15). It is under these circumstances David pens Psalm 3, “LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.”  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing the words of David’s Psalm with special emphasis on verse 3, But Thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”

   

Sin in the Camp

The walls of Jericho had fallen. The Children of Israel were celebrating the victory and anxious to move on to the next conquest in their return to the Promised Land after being slaves in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40). The Canaanite city of Ai was scouted out and it was determined a small band of two to three thousand men was all that would be needed to take it. The others could remain in the camp resting from their seven days of marching around Jericho prior to its destruction.

The day of battle came when the inhabitants of Ai defended themselves and sent the Israelites running from the battle back towards their encampment. Thirty-six men of Israel lost their lives that day. The victory celebration over Jericho became the lamentation of a lost battle. Joshua 7 tells us Joshua tore his clothes, fell to the earth with his face on the ground before the Ark of the Covenant containing the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments until evening, he and the elders of Israel putting dust upon their heads in abject defeat. What one day was a mountaintop experience in Jericho became a valley of despair throughout the camp.

In response to Joshua’s prayer of agony to the Lord concerning their defeat at Ai and the loss of life, the LORD told Joshua to get up off the ground and deal with the sin that was in the camp. Through the process of elimination led by God it was determined Achan of the tribe of Judah had been the one to sin. Achan confessed to Joshua that it was indeed he who had sinned against the LORD God of Israel in taking a Babylonish garment from the ruins of Jericho, along with several pieces of silver and gold which God had specifically commanded before the Battle of Jericho to be collected from the destroyed city and put into the treasury of the LORD (Joshua 6:17-19). Because of one man’s sin in disobeying God’s well-defined command prior to battle the entire Israelite nation experienced defeat. Once Achan’s sin was dealt with, victory over Ai was achieved.

With God sin is not a little thing to be laughed at or mocked. It is very serious and can result in defeat in one’s life, let alone the life of a nation. There are no big sins and little sins with God. All sin is equally deplorable in His sight because of His holiness. For those who desire to achieve victory in life it is imperative to follow the admonition of Moses to the new generation of wanderers in the wilderness before their entrance into the Promised Land, “Thou shalt keep therefore His statutes, and His commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee,” (Deuteronomy 6:40).

Not My Will, But Thine Be Done

How difficult it is to surrender the will and walk by faith, not by sight. Even Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of His crucifixion struggled to surrender His will to the will of the Father, sweating as it were great drops of blood (Luke 22). But for those who do great things follow, abundantly above anything that is ever thought or dreamed.

God called Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees in present day southern Iraq (Genesis 12) and move his family and possessions to a land which he had never been to before, eight to nine hundred miles distant as he traveled northward along the Euphrates River before turning southwest, with only a promise from God to make him a great nation if he did. In Hebrews 11 it tells us by faith Abraham surrendered his will to the will of the Father, and today we see God’s promise to Abraham fulfilled in the Nation of Israel.

Ruth surrendered to God’s will by leaving her family in Moab, present day Jordan, and following Naomi, her mother-in-law, back to Bethlehem from whence Naomi, her husband and three sons had moved to find refuge in Moab from a famine (Ruth 1). Ruth had married one of Naomi’s sons but upon his death and the death of Naomi’s husband and remaining two sons within 10 years of their arrival, the women were left alone. Ruth chose to leave the land of her birth, a land of idol worship, and relocate with Naomi to the Promised Land, becoming a follower of the One True God. As a result of her surrender to God’s will, Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David after her marriage to Boaz in Israel.

It was on the road to Damascus in present day Lebanon the Apostle Paul surrendered to God’s will when a bright light shone from heaven blinding him and took him to his knees. He was on a mission to arrest Christians and return them bound to Jerusalem for believing in the risen Christ (Acts 9). His surrender to the will of God when his sight was restored put Paul on the path to become the greatest missionary there has ever been and the writer of more than a dozen Books of the New Testament.

Surrendering to God’s will can sometimes be like Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, wrestling with God all night (Genesis 32). But when we are finally able to lay down our will and follow God’s by faith, humbly praying “Not my will, but Thine be done,” God is able to use us in ways never imagined.

I surrender all

All to Thee, my Blessed Savior,

I surrender all.

Finding Faith

These Scriptures point out our sinfulness, our need for the Savior, and the necessity of His death on the cross to pay for the penalty of our sin. The sinless Lamb of God was slain for our sin.

Our Condition “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)

“The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psalm 14:2-3)

“Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

“Jesus… said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her… And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one.” (John 8:7,9)

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

   “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” (Romans 1:18)

“For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a)

 

The Sacrifice – “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)

“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.” (I Peter 3:18)

   “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)

   “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

 

Our Remedy “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

“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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

“But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:18-19a)

   “For by grace are you saved through faith: and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

   “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)

 

A New Life in Christ – “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:11-13)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.” (II Corinthians 5:17-18)

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:6-8)

 

 

Lord, You’re Holy

This video of “Lord, You’re Holy” by the Thomas Road Baptist Church orchestra & choir will have you singing with them midway through it, lifting up praise to our Lord & Savior for all He is to us.

“Wonderful, Glorious, Holy and Righteous,
Victorious, Conqueror, Triumphant and Mighty,
Healer, Deliverer, Shield and Defense, Strong Tower and My Best Friend,
Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Soon Coming King,
Alpha, Omega, Lord of Everything
Holy, Holy, Holy is Your Name.”