Monday, September 20, 2010


And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

While at work a few weeks ago I got hurt (this all by God’s plan in my life). I was putting a fairly heavy part into one of the rattlers that we have to knock the core out of the casting. As I was doing that I managed to get hurt. I am not one of those guys who likes to say, “I am hurt.” My pride was getting in the way, which as I write this I now see that it is a pride issue. But in this case I had to. This was done to protect the company and myself. It did actually hurt and I wanted to make sure that it was not anything really serious.

So I reported it to my supervisor and went to urgent care. The report came back as a lower right abdominal strain, nothing too serious, right? I was put on light duty until the end of the week. Which I thought was a good thing.

The next week I went back to my job as directed by the doctor. It was not long after I got back to work that the pain came back. I reported it again, went and saw another doctor and got the same report. The only thing different was the pain remained. So I reported that and I was told that I could see another doctor, which I eventually did. During that time I had the privilege of sweeping the floors and some other light duty things. This was very humbling. While I was sweeping the floors I was reminded of these words in Psalm 84:10, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” I am grateful to God for the privilege and responsibility of sweeping. I did get to do my job, but just the light side of it, which is another thing that I am grateful for.

I finally went to the doctor a third time, while I was there I was praying, like usual doing all the talking and not doing much listening. But, as I was listening, God reminded me of this passage in II Corinthians. My eyes well up with tears now as I think about our wonderful Lord, and in a sense hearing Him say, “My grace is sufficient for thee”. It is not that I went to the doctor three times and the Apostle Paul implored the Lord to take this thorn in the flesh from him, but it did play apart in reminding me of this passage. It is the resounding word of, “My grace is sufficient for thee”. I had to ask the question, “Is God’s grace sufficient for me? Am I satisfied with His grace?” After all is said and done, “Yes! God’s grace is sufficient for me and I am satisfied with it.” I do not know that if this discomfort will completely go away, but God does. I would rather that the discomfort would come and go as God see fit for me, to remind me of His undeserved grace and that His grace is sufficient for me.

I hope that this is an encouragement to you, the reader, that no matter what you are going through it is there by God’s design and that His grace is sufficient for you. May we praise God for His grace.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meditation on the Throne

Picture this; I was in this great room, and as I was looking around this room there is nothing in it but a throne that comes into my vision. This throne is a great throne. The throne was an elevated place of honor. I can only imagine what the real throne of God will look like.
As I am there gazing at this throne there is a rainbow around it going in all directions, as if to make a sphere. My Lord comes into view with His Shekinah glory, looking like jasper (which has various colors like blue, green, and brass), and sardine (pinkish) stone. His voice was like the sound of many waters, a voice with much authority. Immediately I fall to the ground at the sight of my Lord. As I lay prostrate on the ground before my Master I think to myself, “I am so undeserving to be here in His presence. He is a holy, righteous, and just Master, and I, I am a wretched sinner that does not ever deserve to be in His presence.”
Then in the twinkling of an eye I am changed from the rags that I wear and being a sinner to being in a glorified state where I am no longer a wretched sinner. I have this new body and have this white robe that is unblemished that my Master has given me.
In some way that is unfathomable to me, I am before God’s throne and yet there is this sea of glass that has the appearance like crystal before His throne. Also before His throne there is a crown on its side as if it were cast before Him as an act of worship and humility.
I begin to say with the twenty-four elders, “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
O how I long to be before my Master in my glorified body—in the complete absence of sin, and as a result to have no hindrance or interruptions in my worship and service to Him for all of eternity. WHAT A PREVILIGE! Praise God for His marvelous Grace!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

John 10:1-21

In preparing for this coming Sunday’s service I was reading John chapter 10:1-21. This section of Scripture references back to Psalm 23 and Ezekiel 34. I am only going to touch on the first four verses of John 10. Here we get this wonderful portrait painted for us:

1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

The first two verses here give us a comparison between the thief and a robber to the Shepard. They enter in two different ways. I want us to focus on the Shepard. The True Shepard enters by the door. Now in verse three the doorkeeper opens the door for Him. Why? Because He is the Shepard, and the doorkeeper has been placed there by Him. When the Shepard of the sheep enters in, “he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” Notice what He does, He calls them by name. What do the sheep do? Jesus’ sheep follow Him because He has enabled them to know His voice and obey His Word (v. 4). The other wonderful thing here is the True Shepard goes before His sheep; He leads them along the way.

He goeth before them.” [John 10:4] This is the place ever assigned to Him in the Old Testament. “He leadeth me by the still waters.” [Psalm 23:2] “Thou leadest thy people like a flock.” [Psalm 77:20] He permits none of His own to go along a path which He has not trodden, and in which He has not had previous experience. There is only one exception to this –the experience of sin. With this single exception, “He was tempted in all points like as we are.” [Hebrews 4:15] Take heart, O trembling believer! However strange and hard your path seems to you, if you look closely at it you will detect in its dust the footprints of the Shepherd; and where He has preceded you, you need not fear to follow.” Pg. 169 F.B. Meyer Commentary on the book of John. Brackets are mine.

To borrow the words of F.B. Meyer, “Take heart, O trembling sheep!” Jesus is the great Shepard: He has laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:15); those of us who hear His voice. I do not know about you, but I long to hear more of my Shepard’s voice. I want to be lead by Him. I long to walk and talk with my Shepard along the narrow path (Matthew 7:14) that He has marked out for me, and to chose His personal agenda rather than my own. I look forward to have that fellowship with the Shepard and share in that fellowship with other sheep. There is a desired when other sheep are calling out for help or that are struggling to pray with them and for them, to guide and direct them, and to come along side and bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The High Calling of God

The High Calling of God was an encouraging paperback book by Abe C. Van Der Puy. In this book Abe C. Van Der Puy takes us through theses six topics: 1. Preparation for Service, 2. Principle of Service, 3. Promise for Service, 4. Provision for Service, 5. Purpose of Service, and 6. Prospect of Service. Though out this book, Abe C. Van Der Puy points us to the Word of God, and shows us that we need to trust in The One and True Living God. In this book the author reminds us of the great responsibility and privilege of serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Even if you do not read this little book, let us be reminded of what God did for us, and that we need to serve Him.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation -James 1:12

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. -James 1:12

As we look at James 1:12 there is a paragraph break in our Bibles, but I believe that this verse still needs to be kept in the context of trials. First let us look at the word blessed. What does this word blessed mean? This can be defined as inner joy that is shown in outer happiness. This is a joy that only the Lord can give. Another way of defining blessed is privileged in the sense of divine favor.
I Peter 1:6-7 reads:
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
This verse should encourage us to endure trials all the more. The trials that come are a blessing to us. We need to view them in a way that brings glory to Jesus Christ. There needs to be faithfulness in the people of God to know that Christ will bring us through trials to the glory of His name. Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
In James 5:11 we read about the one who endures, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
This blessing is directed toward the man that endures. To endure means that you have been tried. As we have read in the previous pages, metals were tried or proved. Just as metals are tried we are tried. We are tried and we need to be found of sound faith.
The question needs to be asked, how does one endure trials? As noted in the previous pages on James 1:2-3 “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” The persevering man is the one who has been approved. Matthew Henry wrote, “We only bear the cross for a while, but we shall wear the crown of life for eternity.[1]
When this one has been approved, he will receive the crown of life. Here is even more of an encouragement to endure trials; we will receive the crown of life. This approval is not from men but from God. God’s approval is the only thing that counts.
The crown is used to give us a word picture here. They used crowns to show the victor in the athletic events that took place. We have something like that today, which is the Olympics. The winner of a particular event receives a crown. Paul says in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” This is what we must do.
The crown of life is eternal life. Paul wrote in II Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” This refers to Revelation 2:10, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Then in I Timothy 6:12 Paul writes, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” Peter wrote in I Peter 5:4, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The crown of life is freely given by the Lord.
Enduring should be associated with genuine love toward God. Endurance or perseverance is an evidence of love toward God. I John 4:8 reads, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Then in verse 16, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” I John 5:3 shows us genuine love toward God, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Every soul that truly loves God shall have its trials in this world fully recompensed on that world above where love is made perfect.[2]
[1] pg 970 of Matthew Henry’s Commentary vol. 6

[2] pg 970 of Matthew Henry’s Commentary vol. 6

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rich Man -James 1:10-11

But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. -James 1:10-11

On the other hand the rich, in that he is made low. The rich man’s possessions do not get help in times of trials or troubles. The rich man cannot buy his way out of trials. Money cannot give him joy, but can give him happiness. These material riches will not give this man inner and satisfactory help, especially help in the area that is most necessary, spiritual help.
This rich man should rejoice that he is made low. That is if the rich man is a child of God. He rejoices not in his material wealth but in his identification with Jesus Christ. In Luke 14:11 we read how the exhausted are humbled and visa-versa, “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
I do want to show some of the negative side of the rich. First we will start with Jeremiah 9:23, 24:
Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
Luke writes about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31:
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Jesus said in Matthew 19:24, "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Do not get me wrong, rich people can go to heaven, God does save all people the same way. Look at Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10:
And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

John Calvin wrote, “… that glorying in riches is foolish and preposterous, because they pass away in a moment.[1]
[B]ecause as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. Not only will the rich man pass away as the flower of the grass, but all of his possessions.

For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. -James 1:11

Isaiah 40:6-8 reads:
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Then in I Peter 1:24 we read, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away”. This is a picture of Israel. In February the flowering grass is flourishing, but by may the grass in drying up because of the east Sirocco winds. Jonah 4:8 also shows us the picture of the scorching heat and the wind, “And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
This loss of the material possessions are meant to bring the rich to the Lord. When the rich and the poor are before God, they are both on the same level. These two are equals, both having to have faith in Him, this is not to say that their faith is the same. They also have the same position of having to trust in the Lord. Trials are to put everyone on the same playing field. They bringing all God’s heirs to depend on Him.

As a point of encouragement to you the reader, Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Then Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” God will supply all of our needs. That is great comfort there in times of trials. Finally I want to encourage you to identify yourself with believers. They are the ones that can encourage you to seek the face of God while you are in your times of trials, and you can point them to Christ.
[1] John Calvin’s commentary on James

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Basis of Christian Unity

by: Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

MLJ works through the reason for Christian Unity in the book. As MLJ looks at Christian unity he answers the question of church unity. MLJ works through John 17:21 and he makes the point of taking this verse in the contest and setting. In doing so MLJ goes back to the beginning of chapter 17 and gives us a brief overview of the chapter and then explains this verse. Toward the end of this chapter MLJ states:
It is not even a matter of friendship. It is deeper than that. It is like a family relationship. You have no choice about it and what it involves. You are born into a family. Though you may disagree with members of your family you cannot get rid of the relationship. It is a matter of blood and essence. So is the unity of the church. It must never be thought of, therefore, as something voluntary. It is something which is inevitable because it is the result of being born into a given family. Christians are brothers and not merely an association of friends.[1]
The next scripture text that he uses is Ephesians chapter 4:1-16. After a short introduction to this chapter MLJ asks a very important question, “Does Fellowship or Doctrine Come First?[2] Doctrine has to come first or you will have no real and true fellowship. At the end of these to chapters in this book MLJ puts a summary at the end. Then he puts in the last chapter a summary of the whole book, which is very helpful.

This book has encouraged me to pray even more for God’s church and for the unity of it. Let us pray in like manner as Jesus did in John 17:11-23:
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. {sanctified...: or, truly sanctified} Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

[1] The Basis of Christian Unity. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. pg. 13
[2] The Basis of Christian Unity. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. pg. 15