Do you long to see the glory of God? Moses is one example of a man who did see the glory of God. This phrase, “Thus did Moses; just as the Lord had commanded him” is recorded 8 times when Moses was erecting the tabernacle…. then “the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Often we think of the glory of God as a result of some emotional experience. Here it results from obedience.
“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Matthew 6:27
So it is useless to worry! A short person cannot, by any amount of anxiety, make himself an inch taller. Why, therefore, should he waste his energy and fret his life away–in wishing he were taller?
One worries because he is too short–another because he is too tall; one worries because he too lean–another because he is too heavy; one worries because he has a lame foot–another because he has a mole on his face. No amount of fretting will change any of these things!
People worry, too, over their circumstances. (more…)
It is always a blessing to find examples of men who finished well. David Livingstone is one of those men. The year before he died, his heart was still burning to obey Christ. On his 59th birthday, this great missionary to Africa made this entry in his journal:
19th March, 1872. Birthday. Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any ties save the tie that binds me to Thy heart. My Jesus, my King, my life, my all, I again dedicate my whole self to Thee.
Inscription: “This Engraving, for which I supplied the materials, represents my meeting with Dr. Livingstone at Ujiji, Lake Tanganyika; and is as correct as if the scene had been photographed.” – Henry Morton Stanley
In Matthew 5, Jesus contrasts two voices, “You have heard that it was said” vs. “But, I say to you.” When Jesus says, “You have heard it said” (Matt 5:27-32), He is referring to those vain add-ons and short sighted simplifications to the law. These sayings had made the Old Testament law a concoction of human imagination and invention rather than the revealed nature and character of God. Jesus gives the remedy with the statement, “But, I say to you.” With this statement, the Son of God offers an accurate exposition on the law. He offers the true antithesis to false teaching and exposes how a proper understanding of the law regarding adultery is actually a focus on the desires of the heart and not on the works of man. This true understanding shows how every law of God unleashes and promotes love and reveals that it is a true treasure profitable for our soul. Listen here.
After many years of ministry to men, it is clear to me how simple men are. They all struggle with the same basic things. That’s one thing I like about working with men. Men are not complex. I have come across several summaries of the things that kill men off. I know a law enforcement professional who identifies these: Lying, Liquor, Lust, and Loyalty as the top four mankillers in his profession. They see these common denominators on the street all the time. I know an attorney who categorized them this way: Greed, Sex, and Power. Here is my list: Fear, Lust, Anger, Feminism, and Abdication. (more…)
In a piece called The Acceptable Sacrifice, John Bunyan delivers several warnings on living the Christian life. Here is one of those warnings:
Take heed of evil examples among the godly; learn of no man to do that which the word of God forbids. Sometimes Satan makes use of a good man’s bad ways, to spoil and harden the heart of them that come after. Peter’s false doing had like to have spoiled Barnabas, yea, and several others more. Wherefore take heed of men, of good men’s ways, and measure both theirs and thine own by no other rule but the holy Word of God (Gal 2:11–13).
 Bunyan, J. (2006). Vol. 1: The Acceptable Sacrifice (712–714). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Lust! From it, I’ve seen joy evaporate; men unable to pray anymore; men destroyed; marriages broken; churches wrecked.
Cotton Mather writes with passion and clarity in Magnalia Christi Americana about the devastating thundering of God’s judgment upon lust running free. In an amazing section of this magnificent work, Mather says:
Wherefore, when it thunders, the voice of God in it is, “Put out the unclean fires of lust in your souls, lest I set you on fire by my dreadful thunders.” Again, there was Nadab and Abihu, who offered strange fire to God, and God punished them with a killing fire from heaven, in a hideous thunder-storm; so, then, when it thunders, the voice of God in it is, “Look well to all your sacrifices, lest my fire make you a sacrifice: See that you duly attend my worship, lest my thunder fall upon you.” Once more, there was Uzziah, who fell into an error in his management about the ark of God; and it seems as if a thunder-storm, suddenly coming up, kill’d him for it: Hence, then, when it thunders, the voice of God in it is, “Look to it that my ark and my word find no contempt with you, lest my thunder chastise you for your contempt.” What shall I say more? Corah was destroyed by thunder for his rebellion against God and Moses. Wherefore the voice of the thunder is, “Take heed of all rebellion against God and Jesus.” The Egyptians, the Philistines, the Assyrians, were confounded with desolating thunders, because they invaded and injured the
people of God. It is then the voice of the thunder, “See that you do no wrong unto an holy people, that have this artillery of heaven to defend them.” They that are such witnesses for God and reformation as Elijah was, have, as he had, the fires of lightnings to devour those that hurt them.
Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, has posted a helpful blog on how we work through times of uncertainty. He proposes seven questions:
1. What if this isn’t the end but a new beginning?
2. What if the answer to my prayer is just over the next hill?
3. What if this is necessary in order for me to be prepared for the next important chapter in my life?
4. What if God knows exactly what I need at this particular time?
5. What if God is speaking to me through means I would not have chosen for a blessing I cannot see?
6. What does this experience make possible?
7. What will I be telling my grandchildren that I learned was so valuable in this season of my life?
Same Journey – Different Results. They left at the same time, but one would return and the other would perish. This is the story of personal life, family life, church life, and business life. It matters how you proceed. Here is a dramatic example: the 1911 Antarctic expedition led by Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott. The destination of both men was the South Pole, but the results of their two journeys were radically different. (more…)
God has been so clear in His communication with us that He desires that we offer our requests to Him. It is a good thing to bring them to Him, and we are deprived of something very wonderful when we go through seasons of neglecting to ask.
It is interesting to notice that John Calvin’s Institutes longest section is on the subject of prayer. It is in this section that he makes it sure we know God’s desire for us is that we bring our requests:
Otherwise, to know God as the master and bestower of all good things, who invites us to request them of him, and still not go to him and not ask of him-this would be of as little profit as for a man to neglect a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to him (Book 3, Chapter 20, Section 1).
We want nothing but to behold the glory of God and to see him exalted by all, and everywhere, to be happy. When I read the descriptions of the heavenly world, I see nothing so prominent as these two great truths: Man abased and God exalted….Behold! ‘what hath God wrought?’ – Gardiner Spring, quoted in Iain Murray, Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858, p. 345
God is kind to give us a foretaste of His eternal rest through the weekly sabbath rest:
Gracious word of a gracious Savior, on which the soul may confidingly repose, and be at peace forever! It is a present rest—the rest of grace as well as the rest of glory. Not only are there signals of peace hung out from the walls of heaven—the lights of Home glimmering in the distance to cheer our footsteps; but we have the shadow of this great Rock! in a present weary land. Before the Throne alone is there the sea of glass, without one rippling wave; but there is a haven even on earth for the tempest-tossed—We who have believed DO enter into rest.
Reader, have you found this blessed repose in the blood and work of Immanuel? Long going about seeking rest and finding none, does this word sound like music in your ears—”Come unto Me”? All other peace is counterfeit, shadowy, unreal. The soul’s immortal aspirations can be satisfied with nothing short of the possession of God’s favor and love in Jesus.
How unqualified is the invitation! (more…)
The Bible teaches much about affliction, and it is there that we find our greatest wisdom in navigating the rough waters that often come upon us. Here are a few things that can be concluded from Matthew 8:14-27, where we encounter Peter’s sick mother-in-law and the raging winds and seas that terrified the disciples:
The presence of your afflictions are not according to chance.
The timing of your afflictions are all part of God’s pre-ordained plan to sum up all things in Christ.
The weight of your afflictions are carefully measured, to bring you forth as gold.
The number of your afflictions are strategically appointed, to buffet you enough to change you.
The length of your afflictions will be no shorter or longer than what pleases God, in order to enlarge your patience.
The outcome of your afflictions are designed to address a God-glorifying end.
The arms which brought the afflictions will hold you through them.
I preached on Matthew 8:14-27. You listen to the message here.
The above statements I made during the application portion of the sermon.
D.A. Carson states a critical matter in an article where he asks, What is it in the Christian faith that excites you? He continues:
Today there are endless subgroups of confessing Christians who invest enormous quantities of time and energy in one issue or another: abortion, pornography, home schooling, women’s ordination (for or against), economic justice, a certain style of worship, the defense of a particular Bible version, and countries have a full agenda of urgent, peripheral demands. Not for a moment am I suggesting we should not think about such matters or throw our weight behind some of them. But when such matters devour most of our time and passion, each of us must ask: In what fashion am I confessing the centrality of the gospel? (more…)