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Monday, December 26, 2011

A Poem

I read this at Wills Mountain Church of Christ and wanted to share it.

Making God Second Best

I'm always prompt to punch the clock;
     I never miss a date.
But when I go to worship God,
     I'm always late.

I would never dream of missing work, 
     To visit my brother Fred.
I usually just wait until Sunday,
     And forsake the church instead.

I never miss a day at work,
     Perfection is what I seek.
But I miss the worship of my God,
     Once or twice a week.

I talk with people daily,
     Of many subject rife.
But never mention Jesus,
     Nor show Him in my life.

I spend extra on my family,
     For things I can not afford.
But I don't remember ever
     Giving extra to the Lord.

When you life on earth is over
     And they lay you down to rest.
How can He say to you, "Well done"
     If you have made Him second best?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Movin' On Up...

Regrettably, I will not be blogging a devotional for awhile.  I am moving to be the Evangelist at another congregation very soon.  I will begin with the devotionals again after the New Year.  Thank you for reading and God Bless!  See you soon! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So we read of another study between God and Abram.  Last post we discussed the fourfold command that had a great promise attached to it.  This post we will see a little different conversation. We will see that God basically reassures the promise of the “great nation.” 

1. “After these things” Chapters 13 & 14 are packed full of things.  Abram separated from Lot, went into war, was tempted with possessions, and met Melchezadek.  That is what is meant by “after these things” 
          “Word of the Lord” This statement often meant that it was a prophetic statement.  This word is in the OT over 1500 times and it is translated at least 85 different ways, but it is usually in reference to words, speech, saying, news, command, promise, etc  This is the same word that is used it the 10 Commandments.  Ex 20:1 
        The point is that, like in our New Testament, God reveals himself to us through His Word, may we never lose sight of that.  If we do not know His Word, we have no chance of knowing God or His will!
        A. “I am your shield”  I like this because when we look at the events leading up to this we know Abram doesn’t know where they were going.  He gave up all the things that have shaped his life.  He has just been involved in a war.  After all this God reminds Abram that He is Abrams shield!  We a provided a shield today as well in Eph 6:16!  We too must have the same kind of faith that Abram displayed when he left all to go to an unannounced place.  We must study God's Word so our shield of faith will be strong.

        B. “your exceedingly great reward”  The greatest thing in all of life is having a relationship with God!!!  There is no bigger reward! 
        reward” literally means benefit, wages, reward.  It comes from the word that means payment of contract.  Abram entered into a covenant with God and the payment is a relationship with him!  Today we have a similar thing in the Holy Spirit. Eph 1:13,14 says we are sealed on the Holy Spirit and he is our “gurantee” of our inheritance.  The Holy Spirit is the down payment, or reward, of what it come to us in our covenant with God.  Which is our inheritance, or the resurrection!  Have you ever felt like not going to a worship service, but you went anyway?  On the way home, you're filled with joy, take a deep breath, exhale it aloud, and say, "Boy, I'm glad I went."  That feeling is just a down payment of what it will feel like when we receive our resurrection in heaven.

Abram responds
 Later we learn that Abram had six sons by a concubine named Keturah. Gen 25:1–6 That relationship with Keturah must have occurred after the events of this chapter.  We also see the affects or results of getting ahead of the Lord.  Ps 27:14 tells us to be patient and wait on the Lord.  This is a great lesson.   
        This is significant because remember the promise of last week. Gen 12:1,2 

Today we read of an Abram that is childless and landless.  It’s a reminder that earthly things are not our shield and reward, God is!!!

        Eliezer of Damascus?”  It was customary that a man who was childless would adopt someone, perhaps a slave, to be his principal heir. If the man later had a child, then the natural child would replace the adopted son as the principal heir.

4. Eliezer was not a physical son of Abram; God promised that Abram himself would father a child, even in his advanced age.  

5. Only God can count the stars. Ps 147:4     What is said here that the descendants of Abram would be innumerable.  
        “So shall your descendants be” Some try to make a big deal of the first Illustration God used was dust on the earth, and now he uses stars in the sky.  They say this is illustrating to “descendants” or “Israels.”  The former being fleshy and of the earth.  (Adam was formed from the dirt) and the latter being spiritual and in heaven.  Ancient times the word sky didn’t exist.  They called in heaven!

6. This is one of those verses that is always taught incorrectly. Many today teach this verse says we are justified by faith alone!  They say you do not have to do a single thing to receive justification, a mere convincing of the mind and heart is sufficient. 

They use as a proof text. Rom 4:1-6 
          KEEP IN MIND PAUL IS REFERRING TO “WORKS” OF THE LAW  He is making an argument that the Old Testament law does not save you!  He is not making an argument in favor of faith only!!! 
        I agree that this justification was prior to the law being given.  The Bible says that from the promise to the Law is 430 years in Gal 3:17!  I do not argue that.  What I argue is justification without OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S CAMMONDS!!!!!

The last post we said God COMMANDED him to do four things!  This “justification” here DOES NOT happen until Abram obeyed them all!  No more land of idolatry, no more kindred, no more father’s house (lifestyle), and he is on his way (go)!  Abram has now obeyed God’s commands of Chapter 12 and now he is justified!  JUSTIFICATION & FAITH CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM PERSONAL WORKS!!  Jas 2:17;26 faith without works is dead!   Jas 2:21 

You see in Gen 15:6 his belief was “accounted to him as righteousness.”  Which means it was stored up for him.  When Isaac was to be offered is where this belief is put into action and then “God knows you fear Him”  GE 22:12 
fear” here comes from a root word that means reverent fear that is displayed in worship.  When we obey God at all costs that is worshiping from a Holy Fear!!!

Today, are you ready to obey God?  Many people say, "Accept Jesus" I really do not like that saying.  Today I am asking you to submit to Jesus and He will accept you!


Hear The Word-  Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4

We Must Believe or Have Faith-  Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31

We Must Repent-  Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30

We Must Confess Christ Before Others-  Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37

We Must Be Immersed Into Christ (Baptized)-  1Pe 3:21; Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38  

We Must Remain Faithful-  Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Promise Is A Promise!

Today we will take a quick look at the promise that God made to Abram.   I had a post that was titled "A Christian Life Is Found In The Commands And Promises Of God" a while ago and this falls directly into that category.  It is important we remember that this promise to Abram has commands from God attached to it!

We see a four-fold command here.  Far too often, people want to focus on God's promises and forget His commands.  This will always lead one to to not trust God as they feel He has not kept His promises, but it us who have not met His commands!
          COMMAND 1. Abram must renounce his country.  
Abram was from Ur of  Chaldean.  It is an idol worshiping city.  I always say that the meanings of these word are always significant.  Abram is called from an idol worshiping city whose names mean fire and destruction.  Ur = fire & Chaldean = destruction.  Today, the Lord is calling us from the same thing!!!

We see that Abram listens to God and leaves in verse 4.  Notice the city he leaves, Haran.  This too, is an idol worshiping city.  It means fruitless or parched in a mountain.  God not only calls us from fire and destruction; he calls us from a fruitless place!

          COMMAND 2.  Abram must renounce his relatives.
Leaving his country wasn’t enough he must also leave his family.  The word used here for relatives or kindred is significant.  Lot, Abram’s nephew of Abram’s dead brother was like a son to him, was with them in Haran.  The Hebrew word for son is BEN which is not used here.  That means child of an intimate relationship.  Lot is not his son.  God says "relatives or kindred" as a direct reference to Lot.

We know that Abraham ends up in two bad situations over Lot. In chapter 13, Satan tries to tempt the two to fight with Lot over land as they were abundantly blessed.  In chapter 14, Lot is taken captive in the War of the Kings.  Abram attacks in  the night and rescues Lot.
So, how many battles are we fighting today because we didn’t obey God completely yesterday?

          COMMAND 3.  Abram must renounce his father's house.
At this point, his father is dead.  This is a reference to all the idolatry and his father's lifestyle.  

Did you happen to notice what Abram is told to leave.  His country, relatives, and his father's lifestyle.  THESE ARE THINGS THAT USUALLY SHAPE AND FORM ONE'S LIFE!!    Jesus teaches a similar thing thin the New Testament in Lk 14:26,27 

          COMMAND 4. Abram must GO!
Just like all God’s other commissions.  He must go!  Isaiah 6, Mt 10, and Mt 28 all commissions and were told to GO!  This is actually the first thing God says to Abram, but I decided to address it last.  

Now we will look at the promise that is attached to these commands.  In verse 2 we see a three-fold promise.

          PROMISE 1. It was a national promise.
God said “I will make you a great nation!  Where do we see this fulfilled?  ISRAELITES!

          PROMISE 2. It was a personal promise.
God said "I will bless you."   There is no doubt we are so very blessed as God's children.

          PROMISE 3. It was an international promise.
In verse 3 God says, " you all families of the earth will be blessed."

This promise is amazing.  I love the way this promise, and Gen 3:15 shapes our Bible today!  If we look at the order of the books of the Bible we see the following:

In Gen we read about how Abram was blessed.

In EX, LEV, NUM, AND DEUT we see the great nation! 

In JOS, JUD, AND SO ON we see the land that was given. 
Then they get kicked out of that land. 

In EZR & NEH they come back. 


Finally in the New Testament we see the seed bless all nations.  

Also, consider the promise of a great name!  Three major religious Books or religions claim and have Abraham as a great person in their Books.  Those are JEWS, MUSLIMS, AND CHRISTIANITY 


God is faithful to keep His promises.  Are faithful to obey Hos commands?


Hear The Word-  Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4

We Must Believe or Have Faith-  Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31

We Must Repent-  Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30

We Must Confess Christ Before Others-  Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37

We Must Be Immersed Into Christ (Baptized)-  1Pe 3:21; Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38  

We Must Remain Faithful-  Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22

Friday, December 9, 2011

Is The Altar Calling?

We have all heard or seen how this thing works.  You have an articulate, well dressed, and good looking guy preaching a feel good message.  After this message, that was intended to get at your feelings and emotions rather than equipping you for work and edifying the body, (Eph 4:11,12) he tells people to come forward and pray at the altar for their salvation.  He may ask them to repeat the "Sinner's Prayer" to receive Jesus into their hearts.  Some people do not even follow the man in prayer.  Many are told after praying at the altar if they didn't feel the Holy Spirit in them they are not ready to receive salvation and they should try again another time.  Sounds good, but this process is not found in our Bible.  It is a man made tradition of receiving salvation. 

So what about this altar that many people pray at to begin their salvation. Consider today's text.  One word you do not see is “alone.”  Therefore, there are other criteria to salvation!

confess with your mouth  Early Christians were told to verbally denounce Jesus or they will be killed.  This verbal confession could be a death wish.  It carried much more weight than it does today! B. W. Johnson says it was a “a trial of faith of the severest kind.”  You never hear of promise made in the Bible to a person with concealed faith!

believe in your heart” That is, with all the heart. The belief must not be only a mental assent, but a belief that brings the whole man into loving trust and obedience to Christ. Such a faith is referred to in Rom 1:5, where the "obedience of faith" is described.

The Greek word in the New Testament that is translated altar comes from the root word “to sacrifice.”  This word is always used when the Father is involved.
There is another word translated “altar” in the New Testament.  Bomos (bow-moss) This word is referring to a pagan altar and literally means “an elevated place.”  Acts 17:23   The original altar never was meant for a person to pray for salvation.  It was used as and is defined as “a sacrifice.”  If people today are praying at an altar IT IS NOT THE ALTAR OF THE LORD.  IT IS A “BOMOS” ALTAR!!    

People try to use Mt 5:23,24 to say there was an altar in New Testament.  We must remember the dispensation that is in.  When Jesus says that it is still the Old Covenant or the Mosaic Dispensation.  That goes for Mark, Luke, and John as well.  We come to Acts, which is telling us of the early church.  In the early Church, New Covenant, or Christian Dispensation the first time we see the word altar is in Acts 17:23 and we already said that is a pagan altar.  Later we read the mention of another altar in Heb 13:10 “We have an altar”  this is said in reference to the Temple altar.  The author of Hebrews is saying there is no need for that temple altar as we have Christ as our sacrifice!  

The Greek word for altar is basically non-existence in the New Testament books pertaining to the Church.  We said the physical altar was not needed in the New Testament Church.  Now we will see why they are not needed!  

Therefore, it must be deduced that if there is no need for a sacrifice today as the perfect, unblemished, and final sacrifice has been made through Christ THERE IS NO NEED FOR AN ALTAR!  CLAIMING THE NEED FOR AN ALTAR IS DISRESPECTFUL TO CHRIST AND WHAT HE ACCOMPLISHED IN THE CROSS! 

The common thought behind the altar call is that the person is giving their life as a sacrifice to God at that moment.  THAT SOUNDS WONDERFUL, but it isn’t biblical!!!  Consider  1Pe 2:5  This verse doesn't say we are to offer a onetime sacrifice to God, rather that we are to “offer up spiritual sacrifices.”  The sacrifices of the Christian are prayer, praise, good deeds, the consecration of our bodies and substance to God's service. “Acceptable to God” When offered in the name of Christ.

We are saved by grace through faith.  We must have a working faith in order to receive salvation not begging at an altar.  Consider Acts 16:31 Mere mental assent is not intended by “believe” here.  Jn 12:42,43   These had belief, but it was hidden without a public confession of the Christ being God's Son.  That is a dead faith with no works.  That is grace without faith and it doesn't save!!  Jas 2:26 says “faith without works is dead”  PAUL DID NOT MEAN FOR THE JAILER TO HAVE A DEAD FAITH OR A BELIEF LIKE THE CHIEF PRIESTS!
This conversion, like all the others, ends with the new convert being immersed for the forgiveness of sin and to rise to walk in the newness of life!  NO BEGGING AT AN ALTAR

Acts 17:30,31 This would have been a marvelous opportunity for Paul to expound salvation "by faith only" if he had ever believed or taught such a thing; but here he used "repent" in exactly the same manner as he often used "believe," that is, as a synecdoche for all of the things required of the alien sinner, namely, faith, repentance and baptism. Note too, that in the very strongest language possible repentance is set forth as invariably demanded and required of "all men everywhere."  NO BEGGING AT AN ALTAR

Acts 8:37 Philip putting this confession in the Eunuch’s mouth show this was a common practice to him!   NO BEGGING AT AN ALTAR

Acts 2:38 This verse shows the two fold reason for baptism or immersion.  NO BEGGING AT AN ALTAR

Acts 14:22 Paul teaches the disciples that they must remain faithful “Through much tribulations” in order to enter the Kingdom of God.  Paul taught them that they must expect trials and persecutions. We all have to bear the cross.  HOW MANY PULPITS COMMUNICATE THAT TRUTH TODAY?  NOT MANY! NO BEGGING AT AN ALTAR

It is plain to see that in this Christian Dispensation there is no need for an altar, where we beg for forgiveness of our sins.  We all have sinned Rom 3:23 and forgiveness was provided for us through Jesus Rom 5:28  There is no need to beg at an altar for our forgiveness today.  All we must do is submit to Jesus and his ways.  Obey his words and be saved God's way that is laid out in our Bible, not the way a man says we must be saved! 


Hear The Word-  Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4

We Must Believe or Have Faith-  Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31

We Must Repent-  Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30

We Must Confess Christ Before Others-  Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37

We Must Be Immersed Into Christ (Baptized)-  1Pe 3:21; Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38  

We Must Remain Faithful-  Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Faith or Belief

When I was younger every year my Mom and I made it a point to watch The Wizard of Oz together.  So many great memories. Do you remember the scene in the "haunted forest" when the cowardly lion was scared?  He began to chant something like this, "I do believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do believe in spooks."  I mention this because a lot of people today erroneously think faith and belief are one in the same.  Today people think if they say what the cowardly lion said in the forest that constitutes as having faith.  Look at what Scripture says.  

Our text today says "faith" is how we walk.  Faith is a conduct.  Faith dictates things we do in life.  If we have no actions to our faith we have a dead faith (Jas 2:17,26) that will not get us to the place where we will receive our inheritance.  That is why Paul says "faith comes by hearing" in Rom 10:17.  As we hear the Word of God correctly taught it should change the way we do things.  That is faith.  

Belief is a mental assertion and is necessary to achieve faith.   Jn 1:12  Belief gives us a right to become a child of God.  It doesn't make us a child of God.  Belief, according to Vine's dictionary, means to be persuaded.  We can be persuaded of something and yet it will not dictate action in my life.  Belief will lead to faith, but faith will dictate conduct in your life.  You can not separate faith and actions.  When we separate the two we no longer have faith, rather we have belief.  

Look at Chapter 11 in the Book of Hebrews.  Here we see the best example of faith and actions.  The example of walking in faith.  When we see a person's name in this chapter we see faith dictating an action in their life.  Verse 4 faith made Abel offer.  Verse 7 faith made Noah move.  Verse 8 faith made Abraham obey.  Verse 9 faith made him dwell. Verse 11 says faith allowed Sarah receive strength.  Faith can not be separated from actions!  When we hear the Word of God we must believe, or be persuaded by, it.  That belief, or persuasion, in the Word will lead to an active faith in your life!  Jas 1:22

Today, will you walk by faith and allow the Word of God dictate the things you do and say or will you live by the belief that Word of God is true and do and say how you see faith?  I would love to hear, "By faith (Your Name Here)  (Verb) today.  God Bless


Hear The Word-  Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4

We Must Believe or Have Faith-  Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31

We Must Repent-  Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30

We Must Confess Christ Before Others-  Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37

We Must Be Immersed Into Christ (Baptized)-  1Pe 3:21; Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38  

We Must Remain Faithful-  Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Who Knows

In the late 80's Nike ran an advertising campaign that was focused on the saying "Bo knows."  The original "Bo Knows" ad opens with a shot of Jackson playing baseball and fellow ballplayer Kirk Gibson saying, "Bo knows baseball." The next scene shows Jackson on the gridiron, with quarterback Jim Everett explaining, "Bo knows football." Jackson then plays basketballtennis, and ice hockey and goes running, with Michael JordanJohn McEnroe, and Mary Decker vouching for Jackson's knowledge of their sports.  The ad concludes with Jackson trying to play the guitar--and failing badly—whereupon blues legend Bo Diddley exclaims, "Bo, you don't know diddley!"

Can Mr. Jackson really have claimed to "know" the other sports other than football and baseball? I don't know for sure, bit I do know that a lot of people claim to know The Lord but really don't.  Our above text says that Eternal life is in knowing God!  The word translated know in this verse is the Greek word "ginosko" which properly signifies to be taking in knowledge, to come to know, recognize, understand completely.  Vines says, "In the New Testament "ginosko" frequently indicates a relation between the person "knowing" and the object known; in this respect, what is "known" is of value or importance to the one who knows, and hence the establishment of the relationship."  

You see, knowing God is deeper than knowing He is God and He exists.  If we are going to claim to know God we better be in a relationship with Him through His Son.  Consider 1Co 8:3, we may claim to know God, but does God know us?  God knows us it is because of our love.  Now, love is used just like know.  Everybody says, "I love God" and "I know God."  We now understand that to know God a relationship must exist.  If we have no time for God during the week our claim to know God is in ignorance.

The same with love!  Love is not a feeling.  Relationships today, with man and God, are destroyed because of ignorance of love.  Love is a verb not a an emotion.  Lust is an emotion. We confuse lust and love.  Lust, the emotion, when out into action is sin that leads to death!  Jas 1:14,5 NASB  Love is a verb.  Jesus said it in Jn 14:15  Love is found in our obedience to the Word.  If we are not obedient we can not claim to love God.  I say all tghe time we do not have an obedience issue.  We have a love issue.  We don't love God like we should. Dt 6:5; Mk 12:30 He is not number one in our lives.  he may be important to us, but the most important.  That is not loving God.  That is not knowing God.  We must establish a relationship with Him and that is done in obedience to His Word!

God provided mercy and grace at Calvary on the cross through Jesus Christ.   I love the first verse and refrain of the old hymn that says, Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified, knowing not it was for me He died On Calvary. Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; There my burdened soul found liberty At Calvary.
Now we must partake of that provision and obey His commands.
Without obedience we can't claim to know or love God. 1Jn 2:4,5  Today, will you put God first, submit to His authority, and obey his Word?


Hear The Word-  Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4

We Must Believe or Have Faith-  Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31

We Must Repent-  Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30

We Must Confess Christ Before Others-  Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37

We Must Be Immersed Into Christ (Baptized)-  1Pe 3:21; Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38  

We Must Remain Faithful-  Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22