…The Days of the Upright…

The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. Psalm 37:18-19

This is one of the most comforting and encouraging of the one hundred fifty Psalms.

While we know that the LORD is all knowing (Omniscient), it is great to know that He cares for those who are His even in, and especially in times of darkness of evil.

I will share today from Spurgeon’s  TREASURY OF DAVID…

“The Lord knoweth the days of the upright.” His foreknowledge made him laugh at the proud, but in the case of the upright he sees a brighter future, and treats them as heirs of salvation. Ever is this our comfort, that all events are known to our God, and that nothing in our future can take him at unawares. No arrow can pierce us by accident, no dagger smite us by stealth; neither in time nor in eternity can any unforeseen ill occur to us. Futurity shall be but a continual development of the good things which the Lord has laid up in store for us. “And their inheritance shall be for ever.” Their inheritance fades not away. It is entailed, so that none can deprive them of it, and preserved, so that none shall destroy it. Eternity is the peculiar attribute of the believer’s portion: what they have on earth is safe enough, but what they shall have in heaven is theirs without end.

“They shall not be ashamed in the evil time.” Calamities will come, but deliverances will come also. As the righteous never reckoned upon immunity from trouble, they will not be disappointed when they are called to take their share of it, but the rather they will cast themselves anew upon their God, and prove again his faithfulness and love. God is not a friend in the sunshine only, he is a friend indeed and a friend in need. “And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.” Their barrel of meal and cruse of oil shall last out the day of distress, and if ravens do not bring them bread and meat, the supply of their needs shall come in some other way, for their bread shall be given them. Our Lord stayed himself upon this when he hungered in the wilderness, and by faith he repelled the tempter; we too may be enabled not to fret ourselves in any wise to do evil by the same consideration. If God’s providence is our inheritance, we need not worry about the price of wheat. Mildew, and smut, and bent, are all in the Lord’s hands. Unbelief cannot save a single ear from being blasted, but faith, if it do not preserve the crop, can do what is better, namely, preserve our joy in the Lord.

I pray you know the All Knowing, All Present, All Powerful One through His Holy, Righteous Son Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and He rose again, proving the word of God to be true including every word He has spoken. Jesus is the Son of God, God the Son.

Peace

“These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, ‘I go away, and come again unto you.’ If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice, because I said, ‘I go unto the Father:’ for My Father is greater than I.”                          John 14:25-28

There is a peace that this world system knows nothing about. The god of this world (Satan) has deceived, and distracted the hearts and minds of the intelligent, highly educated, the wealthy, the middle income, and many a poor man and woman on the streets and poverty inflicted areas with lies. And they have no peace.

Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, and through Him all can be at peace with Him, with the Father, and be able to sleep at night no matter what this world may do. Peace is not always thee absence of conflict. It is also resting in the midst of conflict. This is the peace that God gives through His Son Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit residing, abiding in those who are His.

Paul the apostle wrote, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1. He also wrote, “…And the peace of God, which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7.

If you do not have this peace it is available to you by calling out to Him in repentance and faith. He will hear you and give you peace.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17

To give assurance of deliverance from the “Day of the Lord” [which is a day or darkness]; and that we should not be troubled by the trials we go through.

INTRODUCTION:
Just how are we to know when the “Great Tribulation” or “The time of Jacob’s trouble” begins? There are some distinguishing signs which show us. There are some who teach that the Church will go through the ‘tribulation’. If so, why did Paul write verses one and two of this chapter? There were teachers [false teachers] teaching that the Church would go through this time of trouble, even then, and were even saying they were already in it. Not only was their teaching bad enough, but they were signing (forging) Paul’s name to the letters saying this was his teaching.
In this chapter Paul tells how we can know, and if the lost would pay attention, even how they can recognize the “Day of the Lord”. There must be something that begins the “Time of sorrow”. Paul says there will first of all be a great apostasy [falling way]. This will happen among many who profess Christ as Savior, but have only joined a club (Church membership). There has never been any relationship with Christ, no joy of salvation, no hope for life, and no exciting expectation of Jesus Christ return. The falling away will occur – I believe – because the Church will endure a time of purification [persecution] and the reprobate Church members will flee from the fire.
Of course there is not much need for the Church to know, because the “Day of the Lord” will begin the day Jesus calls out to us from the clouds (the heavens), “Come up here.” If you know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior you need not fear the “Day of the Lord”.

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (KJV)

There is going to be a gathering of the Church. It is stated quite clearly in verse one.
The Church was clearly troubled. They had been troubled by false teachers, and false letters from those teachers, by forging Paul’s name. In doing so they were confusing the people in the Church, and hoping to gain something for themselves. These teachers, and letters were telling the people that the “Day of the Lord” had already come, and they were living in it.
This false message contradicted what Paul was teaching. Paul’s clear teaching, and the Bible’s teaching is that the “Day of the Lord” is a time of great trouble, sorrow on the earth. The day is marked by a sudden disappearance of a certain group of people – namely the Church. Those fundamental, Bible believing, Jesus worshiping, “Blessed hope” watching, born again people will be taken out of the way in order for the progressive way of thought to prevail, and lawlessness to have its way.
The word of “Christ” in verse two is literally the “Day of the Lord.” Though Paul is not saying it was at hand, but that the false teachers were saying it.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” vv. 3-4

This letter was written partly to warn them against the deceivers. Deceivers have a way of robbing people of their hope, joy and peace. Do not let anyone deceive you.
The “Day of the Lord” is not the “Rapture of the Church”. “The day of the Lord” will not begin until after the rapture, or the “Catching away of the Church”; the “falling way” apostasy (which could occur before the rapture) due to persecution; and the revealing of the “Man of sin” (or Anti-christ) which will follow the rapture.
The apostasy is a rebellion against all that is godly. It will even involve professing Christians who do not know Jesus. They are Christians only because their parents were, or they were “Born in a Christian home”; not due to the new birth in Christ Jesus. These will see Jesus as any other religious leader. This christianity to them is only a religion of choice just as the others. Being a Christian is in fact a personal relationship into which one is called in – chosen by God; the Living God, and it is the only way to eternal life in Heaven.
The apostasy is in affect a militant uprising against all that is pure and for all things that are against God, Jesus and His Church. There is even today, an attempt to silence the Church and the Word of God; especially in the public forum; private owner businesses, and in political debate.
There is also, “the man of sin”, also called the “Son of perdition” who will be revealed, probably, very near to either side of the rapture. Jesus mentions “The son of perdition” in John 17:12. He was in the person of Judas Iscariot the betrayer. This man who will come on the scene will exalt himself, call himself “God”, and will sit in the temple of God – this in the city of Jerusalem. This man will be revealed as the Evil one when he breaks his covenant with Israel three and one half years into the tribulation period. His first introduction will be as a man of peace, and seeming ability to end world economic, religious, and environmental problems (See Revelation 6:1-2). He will be a world ruler.

“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” v. 5

These were things Paul had spoken to them about when he was with them. This is only a gentle nudge to call to remembrance what they had heard.

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way.” vv. 6-7

It is not yet time for the “Son of perdition” to be revealed. Really, only God knows when that time will be. When God removes the restraints, then and only then can this deceiver who is also the “Anti-christ” have a free hand.
That raises a question. Who or what is the restraint? Whoever or whatever it is must be the greatest power in all the Universe. He is like the wind; unseen, but you can hear Him at work; you can feel Him touch the cheeks of your soul; you hear His still, small, sweet voice, and you can see His effects upon the lives of people. It is a Person who is restraining. Yes! It is the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God.
There is already, and has been since the garden of Eden; the working of iniquity. When the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is gone iniquity will have a free hand for a while. The Holy Spirit is present and powerful in the Church which is being sanctified by Him for the glory of Christ Jesus. Since Jesus said, “I will not leave you Comfortless” (John 14:18), then He will not leave the Church here without His Spirit (the Comforter). The restraining of the Holy Spirit will continue until the Church is stolen away from this earth, “As a thief in the night.”

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming…” v. 8

After the Spirit of God is removed with the Church, the son of perdition the Antichrist, who is the devil incarnate (counterfeiting what Jesus did), will be revealed.
Notice, though, Paul’s encouraging words, “…Whom the Lord will consume…” (See Revelation 1:16; 19:11-21). This, of course, will take place after he deceives the people of the earth; the ones who had rejected the truth of the Lord Jesus.
Out of the Lord’s mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword. The two-edged sword is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). The “Breath of His mouth” referring to the work of the Spirit and the Word. The glory of the Lord is His brightness at His coming.

“…Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” vv. 9-10

The son of perdition will come in the power of Satan. Remember Satan is only a created being, a creature. He will use signs, and miracles to deceive the nations (Revelation 13:13-14). These “Miracles” will have the influence to deceive only “Those who are perishing”. These are people who will have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but had no use for God, His Spirit, or His Word. They are people who are independent of God, and depend solely on themselves.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” vv. 11-12

Because they refuse to love the truth God will cause them to believe the lie. Even today when someone hears the message of the gospel, and rejects it just one time; his/her heart will grow a little harder toward the gospel. Each time they hear and reject it the chances of their being saved grows weaker. To say again: That is so even in this day of grace.
God can at any point in the Christ rejecters life harden the heart. When God hardens the heart it is late, very late for saving grace, and very near to judgment. Do not harden your heart. Believe and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior before it is too late.
This seems – in its context – to apply to those who have rejected “the truth” after the requirement of the “Mark”. Only those receiving the “Mark”, ie. rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will receive this “Strong delusion” believing “the lie”.
These are also those who, “Had pleasure in unrighteousness” (See Romans 1:18-32). They worshiped and served the creature [self] rather than the Creator.

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” vv. 13-14

We should all be thankful for God choosing us for salvaation – if indeed we have been chosen. How we are chosen, just as all believers are: 1.) Set apart by the work of the Spirit; and 2.) Believing the truth.
It is done by the gospel, and for the purpose of obtaining the glory of Jesus.
These messages to the Thessalonians are as much a part of the gospel as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Receive, and believe the whole gospel or perish.

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” vv. 15-17

“Stand fast” or do not be shaken from – do not be moved from your stand of faith.
“Hold the traditions” is not speaking of religious man made traditions, but truths of God’s Word. Paul is here saying to pass along what I have written to you as being from God – it is Scripture. Pass in on from your generation to the next generation, and on to the next, and the next.
Man made tradition most often goes against the Spirit’s intent of Scripture, and we are to shun those. Many times though we want to hold to these and forsake the Scriptural tradition. God forbid.
There is comfort in heeding the Word of God. We find comfort in His grace, knowing that in Him we have everlasting life.
Our lives are to be established in good words and works; established in God and His grace.
Are your works done to glorify Jesus, and to reflect His image to a condemned, dying, and lost world? Does the lost world look at you and me and see comfort peace, or fear and torment?
May the words of this hymn be also our lives:
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
May the lost, condemned world see Christ, and His love, peace, joy, and all the fruit of the Spirit of God in us and know that something is missing in their hearts and lives…
The “Day of the Lord” is not for those who believe, but for those who do not believe. In this is comfort. Believe!

1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

To show that since the coming of the Lord is a certain event those who are born again will not be surprised at that coming, but will be prepared and ready, by being prepared by God for that great day.
INTRODUCTION:
In the last chapter, the final six verses, we saw the blessing of being in Christ, whether we are alive at His coming or dead.
It is exciting thinking of our Lord’s certain return. There may be many who name the name of Jesus, but call this teaching myth, or someones wild imagination run wild. Jesus, our Savior said that He was returning or “I will come again…” (John 14:3). If He lied about this how can we trust Him for salvation; because this event is a part of our redemption/salvation. We would not be able to trust Him if He does not return. His coming again is further evidence of His bodily resurrection; especially when He raises those who have died as His followers. The only way He would not return is if He did not rise bodily from the grave. He will come again, just as He said.
In this chapter, and the final chapter of Second Thessalonians we find more encouragement for the born again child of God, but it is also a warning to those who do not know Jesus. Verses 1 – 11 tell us of the “Day of the Lord”. The “Day of the Lord” is also mentioned in the Old Testament books of Joel 2:1, 2ff.; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Isaiah 2:12-21. It is also called “The time of Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7. This is a day of darkess for the reprobate, unbelievers alive in that day. A day of struggle, catastrophe, chaos, torment, and sorrow; unlike any event ever seen on earth.
In verses 12 – 22 we are instructed in our daily lives, how we ought to live. It involves respect to our spiritual leaders, warning those who reject authority, beiing thankful, rejoicing, praying, our responses to the preaching [prophecy] of the Word and other such things.
Verses 23 – 38 is the conclusion of the letter. There is much to this conclusion – our sanctification; the faithfulness of God (v. 24; see also Philippians 1:6), a request for prayer, and the way we are to greet one another.

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 (KJV)

Paul had evidently spoken to the Church concerning times and seasons before he was ran out of town, but here is a friendly reminder.
Why should the teaching of the rapture of the Church and “The day of the Lord” be preached and taught? 1.) For comfort and encouragement to Believers; 2.) For the purity of the Believer (2 Peter 3:14); 3.) For a zeal in the hearts of Believers for those who are lost (2 Peter 3:9, 10); 2 Corinthians 5:11); 4.) “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).
Jesus will come like a thief when He comes in the clouds. Only those who know HIm will rise to meet Him in the air. When people suddenly realize a co-worker, a wife, or husband, son or daughter, a friend, the driver of an automobile, the pilot of an airplane (Private or Commercial), the pastor, the deacon, or a Sunday School/Bible Study teacher is missing there will be such chaos as the world has never seen. There are people unaware. These people who are still in darkness.

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” vv. 3-4

The world is longing for peace. We are hungry for it. We can almost taste it. When it appears there is peace; when it appears that economic peace and recovery is here, that there is peace from war and strife; that is when the people will be at ease. Nothing destructive will happen, people believe all is well. Who would dare upset our progress? Jesus will come, and the unprepared “Shall not escape”.
This day will not came “As a thief” for the prepared (See Matthew 25:1-13). This word “Darkness” is used in reference to those who are outside of Jesus. Therefore, if one is in the light he is not in darkness.

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” vv. 5-8

Sleeping is one of the times in our lives when we are unaware. When we are asleep we could almost care less for what goes on around us. It is a dangerous time.
This sleep is of the spiritual sort. Unaware of the darkness. Unaware of the peril that is in the path ahead. It means satisfied with the way things are – COMPLACENCY. Indifferent, uncaring, about what is ahead – you know, bur you are unwilling to act upon it – APATHY.
“Let us not sleep”, but let us be aware, able to control ourselves, watching, waiting for the Lord’s appearing, which is the “Blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Those who are watching are those “Who love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). Jesus commands us to watch (Matthew 24:42-43; Luke 12:35-40). The person (The Believer) who is watching is an alert Believer. We are to be “Watchmen” sounding an alarm to the populace (See Ezekiel 33:1-6). The Watchmen must remain awake.
There are all kinds of evil wickedness going on in the darkness. People doing their evil, hate for light to expose it (John 3:19). The ones who participate in the darkness are not people of light. They too need the light.
The”Breastplate of faith” is to turn the fiery darts of Satan, which is constantly hurled at the children of light. The “Helmet of Salvation” is on our head where we have most of our sense – sight, smell, sound, and taste; and the head is also the control centel for the body. We reason with our head. Is it any wonder we must have the Helmet of Salvation”.

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” vv. 9-11

It is pretty evident by verse nine that God has not intended for His Church to go through the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” which we call “The great tribulation period”. It does not stand on the one verse alone though (See Revelation 3:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:7). It stands on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The comfort of these words are not empty. Where would the comfort be if we had to endure “Great tribulation”? We endure tribulation already, but nothing the like of which awaits the “Day of the Lord”, when all living unbelievers will be tried and “They shall not escape”; except through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and very likeable persecution death.

“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” vv. 12-22

Here is listed some things which seem to indicate those who are awake, aware, and ready for the Lord’s return.
vv. 12-13 – Having respect for your pastor, deacon(s), teachers, the ones who are responsible for your spiritual well being. Hold them up in prayer for boldness, love, and encouragement.
This is certainly not an excuse for overlooking a false preacher or teacher, but one who teaches and believes the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, Holy Spirit inspired Word of God.
PEACE = Not constantly squabbling, quarelling, but working in unity for the same cause and purpose. If the Church cannot be at peace with one another there is little hope for the world to be at peace.
v. 14 – The word “Unruly” means insubordinate (in religious matters) which is an unwillingness to submit to authority. We are told to warn such, and not to be in such a case ourselves.
Encouragement is always needed. When others encourage us we are motivated to serve the Lord in a greater capacity. We can minister to others with encouragement.
v. 15 – Always pursue the good. Do good to others even when they treat you wickedly.
v. 16 – Rejoicing is a sign of no fear, a sign of peace and contentment. When we rejoice in our Lord there is also a witness to those around us.
v. 17 – Pray for perseverance. Keep on bringing your requests to the Lord until He answers – He will either give what you ask, or He willl say “No!” or He might say “Wait!”
v. 18 – When others around are complaining, whether about their work, home, family, sickness, or Church, we are to be thankful “In everything” knowing that God is in control of the circumstances and He is using themto make us stronger and better Christians.
v. 19 – The Holy Spirit is likened unto fire. To quench a fire we often dump water on it – we put the fire out. To “Quench the Spirit” is to hear Him speak to us, but determine we will not heed His leading, and do our own rebellous act. This is sin, and one that is very often committed by all of us. We do not have time, or not right now, or somebody else can do it are words often expressed that quenches the fire of the Spirit.
v. 20 – Prophecy is the “Foretelling” of the future and/or the “Forthtelling” of the Word of God. All the prophets of the Bible “Foretold” the future – but even more important they were “Forthtellers” of God’s Word. Many, many times when God’s prophet told of some future event it was confirmed as the Word of the Lord by a present or imminent sign. Today the prophet of God only foretells by the written Word of God, and it is confirmed in that same word. He also forthtells by that same word.
The word “Despised” means contemptible, least esteemed – to have no delight in. It means you may like music in the worship, but you cannot stand the preaching of the word. It makes you uncomfortable, you want to get out as quickly as possible. Ask yourself “Why?” You are uncomfortable in the presence of God, and His holy Word. That is why. Proverbs 13:13 states, “He who despises the Word will be destroyed.”
v. 21 – Goes along with verse twenty. When a man stands to deliver God’s message there is to be a test. Does it come from God, or does it contradict His Word? If it goes against the Bible; it is not a message from God.
v. 22 – Staying away from every form of evil is the Christians calling, ife we are prepared for His coming. If it shows up, and you are tempted by it flee from it; run with all the strength you have – run from it.

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” vv. 23-24

God Himself is the One who sets us apart from all others, and He preserves us blameless for the coming of Jesus His Son.
God is faithful. He started the work, and He has never left His work undone. The work He has began in you He will complete (Philippians 1:6).

“Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” vv. 25-28

A request for prayer, greeting and a charge or challenge to read this epistle to all Christians is given by Paul in closing.
His request for prayer was not just empty words. Paul knew the importance of prayer.
Never short on grace he always left it with others. So ought we as well.
WORD STUDY:
1. Despised = Contemptible, least esteemed (v. 20);
2. Unruly = [Greek At-ak-tos] = Insubordinate, unwilling to submit to authority (v. 14);
3. Complacency = Satisfied with the present situation;
4. Apathy = Knowing the way things are, able to do something about it, but unwilling to act.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-18

As Christians we are to grow in the faith, live a life that honors God and show forth His holiness working in our livs; we are to love one another, and to comfort one another with the words of hope concerning the Lord’s return.
In the Christian life growth occurs as one is obedient to the principles of God’s Word. To participate in the demeaning, immoral activities of the world system, as a Christian is to rob one’s self of spiritual growth.
Verses one through twelve have to do with a Christians growth. The same man who [under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit] wrote about our freedom [liberty] in Christ, also writes about abstaining from certain activities. Paul is here concerned abou their sanctification, as he would be ours as well. Our being separate, peculiar, different, is to be a distinction even others can notice. In the first chapter verse four, Paul recognized some individuals as being, “The elect of God”. He knew this by the way they lived, and so did “those who are outside”. Their lives were different, certainly in the way they loved (v. 9). There had been changes wrought in their lives; dramatic changes.
The growing Christian is changing daily. Each day he is more like Jesus than the day before, at least that is how it should be. Yielding to the Father; trusting Him with lifes ups and downs, ministering to others needs, never taking advantage of a brother’s weakness(es) to profit himself. Paul warned that, “The Lord is the avenger of all such” (v. 6).
The people at Thessalonica were concerned about their deceased loved ones, who had died in Christ and verses thirteen through eighteen handle that teaching for us. These fit together real well, because a clean and holy life is the only one God will accept into His Kingdom (Psalm 15). We can only live that life in the power of God’s Spirit, and that through faith in the shed blood of Jesus and His finished work. Our redemption finished when the bodies of the Saints shall all be redeemed by Jesus’s coming in the clouds.

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. vv. 1-2.

Pleasing God, to even professing Christians is often as difficult as walking a narrow pole across the Grand Canyon. It is not that difficult if one is born-again through Christ Jesus. It is a matter of trusting Him to carry you across the canyon.
This leader (Paul) is calling on them to get nearer to Jesus. The life of a Christian is to be lived as an example to others, keeping the commandments, and being pleasing to God. We are not being saved by keeping the commandments, but being saved we keep the commandments.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. vv. 3-6.

Knowing the will of God is at times difficult, especially when we get confused about what is important, confused about what should take top priority in life, and when we are not giving to God what we already know to be His will.
The Word of God tells us God’s will for our lives. If we shun His Word why should we expect Him to show us His will in what boy or girl to marry, which house to buy, or which job to take? If we keep His commandments, because we love Him (Not for salvation), we will know His will, and can then, seek His counsel in every day questions.
There must be holiness in the Christian’s life. “This is the will of God”. It means abstaining from all forms of immorality, having self-control and knowing how to treat your spouse, caring for the weaker brother, and even the stronger. It means loving the Lord Jesus. Paul warns that the Lord is the one who avenges in such cases.

For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit. vv. 7-8.

God has called us to be holy. Holiness is being clean for this Person of purity [the Holy Spirit] to live in and use for God’s glory. Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart [belly] shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). How can the water be clean if the vessel is dirty? If you are living in sin who is going to believe you when you say, “Jesus can set you free. Look what He has done for me!”? No one will. You can count on it.
To reject is to wreak havoc upon your life. These are God’s words, God’s instructions to His people. If you will not believe His Word at this point you do not believe it at any place, therefore, you are lost and condemned to the fires of Hell.

But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. vv. 9-12.

The lack of love was not a problem, yet Paul says, “We urge you…increase more and more”. In what? In love. You cannot love, with God’s love, too much.
It is because of love we are to work, and not meddle in other’s lives, and to take care of our own business. Out of love our work life is to be just as good a witness to the condemned world as our faithfulness to attend worship. Others are watching. Those who do these things will live a life of joy, peace, and lack no good thing.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. for this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. vv. 13-17.

These verses speak of the “Blessed hope…”, which Paul writes of in Titus 2:13, and says, “Looking for that blessed hope…”. Paul was looking for it then, why are we not “Looking for that blessed hope” today?
A proper walk with God is not only conducive as a witness to the condemned, but also in preparation for the coming of Jesus.
The Thessalonian Christians were uncertain about their dead loved ones in Christ. What would become of them? For some reason the church – or at least many of them – were afraid that their loved ones who had died in Jesus would miss “the victories and glories” of Jesus’s return. It is made clear that, that just is not true. The word sleep is used in reference to the body, not the soul and/or spirit. “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
There was some ignorance concerning those who “Slept”. Some, evidently thinking it was over for the dead; no hope, no glory, no eternal life.
Verse fourteen clarifies that those who are dead will be with Him [Jesus] when He comes for His Church. Their spirit and soul will be united with a new resurrected body. It will be a body like that of Jesus’s resurrected body.
Verses fifteen and sixteen make it clear the living believers will not go before or without the dead in Christ. The dead will rise first (v. 17); then, the living will rise with them to meet the Lord Jesus; the Lamb of God; the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words. v. 18.

We need this kind of comfort. Knowing Jesus is coming back should cause us to be comforted. Notice though who is to be the comforter – we are to one another; “With these words…”. There is comfort in reading the Scriptures of prophecy in the prophets, Moses, the apostle John, and in Matthew chapter 13, and 24-25. These should be encouraging words for the Christian, and real motivation to warn those who are condemned by sin.

In conclusion of these verses, our lives should be lived for Jesus. This is certainly a world in desparate need, but the child of God can live in comfort and peace by taking heed to God’s Word. We need each others encouragement if we are to live in this “Modern World”. We need to be encouraged to abstain from things that displease God. We need to be encouraged to live clean lives. We need to be encouraged about the return of Jesus.
Not only the people of the world, but the earth itself is in a state of madness. Earthquakes where they have never been before – in recorded history. The weather odd and unseasonal, breaking into storms that cause multi-billions of dollars of damage; thousands and thousands of peoples lives destroyed by death and destruction. Today, in 2020 a pestilence [COVID-19] that is plaguing the world with hundreds of thousands dead from it.
The Christian can live in peace. She/He can live, because they know God has their life in His hands, and we encourage one another to this extent.
THE WALK WHICH PLEASES GOD is when we walk with Jesus Christ our sin-bearer, Redeemer, and expecting His soon return. “Even so, come Lord Jesus”.

In The Day Of Trouble

“I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and He gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
Will the Lord cast off for ever and will He be favourable no more? Is His mercy clean gone for ever? Doth His promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah.”  Psalm 77:1-9  (KJB)

Patience and Comfort of the Scriptures

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 (KJB)

I will let another speak today. the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown…

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning — “instruction”
through, etc. — “through the comfort and the patience of the Scriptures”
might have hope — that is, “Think not that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ’s sufferings, as a Savior, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted them, the spirit in which they were endured, and the general principle involved in His whole work – self-sacrifice for the good of others – furnish our most perfect and beautiful model; and so all Scripture relating to these is for our instruction; and since the duty of forbearance, the strong with the weak, requires ‘patience,’ and this again needs ‘comfort,’ all those Scriptures which tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ, and of the consolation which sustained Him under it, are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, ministering to us ‘hope’ of that blessed day when these shall no more be needed.” See on Rom_4:25, Note 7. (For the same connection between “patience and hope” see on Rom_12:12, and see on 1Th_1:3).” From the JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY

 

The Power By The Spirit

“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” Micah 3:8 (KJB)

The prophet of God is called to give the  “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) whether that be good and positive, bad and negative. The preacher of today if called by God is called to do the same.

At times the preacher is given a message of comfort, hope, encouragement, and strengthening of faith. At other times he is given a message of judgment, and can cause, by the Spirit of the LORD, great fear and trembling and should lead the people to repentance, and faith toward Jesus Christ.

Micah’s message seems to be a doom and gloom message at the beginning, but as you read on into the message there is hope, blessing, encouragement, and words to strengthen one’s faith.

If the prophet is only defying the truth of God’s word, leaving out the warnings, the judgments, the negatives; then that prophet/preacher is not worth listening to; and you better go somewhere else. They are not a man of God.

We can certainly judge what the preacher says and/or does not say when we read the Scriptures. The Bible is our guide; our only source for judging what is true and right; or what is lies and deceiving.

When in doubt you can trust the words  of the Lord Jesus when He said, “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

Hope In The End

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.’

Thus saith the LORD; ‘Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.’ ” Jeremiah 31:15-17 (KJB)

The prophecy of Jeremiah of the children after the birth of the Messiah, the Christ; and according to Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 2:16-18) is verse 15. It also may have been of near events of the prophecy as the taking of the young to Babylon, and the slaughter of innocents.  Consider Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and probably others.

There is a promise that these children would come again to their own borders.  The borders of the land of Judah and Israel. The borders of their tribes.  At any rate to the borders God would give them.  They would return.

We are all expected to have an end. This life is only temporary.  There is, however, much hope for those who are in Christ Jesus. This hope is built not upon wishful thinking, positive thinking, or the dreams of dreamers.

This hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’s blood and His righteousness.  He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose again.  Because of this marvelous gift of God we now have access to the very throne of God. We are redeemed, bought with a price. We are promised eternal life by grace through faith in Him.

It has been said, “All good things must come to an end”; but eternity never ends. The promises of God have no end. They are eternal. Be a part of the promises of God by coming to Him through Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Leaven and Bread

“Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.  And He charged them, saying, ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.’ And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And when Jesus knew it, He saith unto them, ‘Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Have ye your heart yet hardened?  Having eyes, see ye not?, and having ears, hear ye not?, and do ye not remember?
When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’
They say unto Him, ‘Twelve.’  ‘And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ And they said, ‘Seven.’  And He said unto them, ‘How is it that ye do not understand?’” Mark 8:14-21  (KJB)

Leaven is an ingredient which causes bread to rise giving the appearance of being more than what it is.  It is puffed up.  It is often used in Scripture as representative of evil and its influence in people, and doctrines of religion and men.

The leaven of the Pharisees, Sadducees, the Herodians which the Sadducees were part of and was more political than religious.  The Pharisees were always twisting Scripture to fit their own understanding to keep the people in bondage to them, and their understanding of Scripture.  They put burdens on others that they would not do themselves.

I realize there is more to understand in the above verses than of leaven, but it was the words of Jesus ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.’ which aroused my attention this morning.

Using Scripture to control others as did the Pharisees, and they tried to control Jesus too but could not; is an evil beyond description.  The preacher, the messenger of the word of God is to proclaim the truth of the word of God [Scripture] with clarity, understanding, and love letting the word and the Holy Spirit convict, comfort, encourage, and draw the lost, condemned soul to God.

Having a “Must do” list in order to be saved is leaven to the Scripture.  Salvation, sanctification, and glorification is solely the work of God.  Let us leave it there.

You Are Not In Darkness

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you.  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety;’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do.  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, be patient toward all.  See that none render evil for evil unto any, but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all.
Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit.
Despise not prophesyings.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do.
Brethren, pray for us.  Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

REFERENCES: Matthew 24:3, 43; Acts 1:7; Isaiah 13:6; 59:17; Hosea 13:13; Romans 9:22; 13:12; 14:8; 16:16; Luke 21:34; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2:11; 16:18; Leviticus 19:18; 2 Corinthians 6:10; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 4:3, 16

Stedfastly Set Your Hearts Unblameable

“Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; and sent Timothy, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: that no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.  For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.  For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.
But now when Timothy came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that you have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also you: therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: for now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.  For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
Now God Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.  And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all even as we toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”  1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 7:5; Acts 17:15; 18:1; 26:7; Philippians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 13:9; Zechariah 14:5

Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah (2)

As a Shepherd doth His Flock

“Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.”  Jeremiah 31:10-17 (KJV)

Serve the LORD Only

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from 1 Samuel 5 – 7…

“And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve Him only: and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’
Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.” 1 Samuel 7:3-4 (KJB)

When a people group or one person get away from God that group or person needs to return to the Lord.  The people of Israel had drifted away from God and worshiped false gods of the people of the land that they had won.

These were snares and thorns to their lives; from loving God the LORD, and being blessed by Him.  There is no mixing of…

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Avoiding Shipwreck

The following thoughts are not original with me.  I heard it from another preacher, teacher, and apply my own thoughts and words to it; with the exception of the verses of Scripture.

Avoiding tragedy is not always possible, but if we would keep our eyes open, and our ears attentive we could see the way God is working, and hear His words of warning.

If we, like the men on board, the captain of the ship as well as the crew, with Paul ignore the warning, we have put ourselves in great danger.  The danger these had gotten into was life threatening to all on board the ship.  Paul was on  his way to stand trial in Rome, and he was going there by ship through the Med.

There are some great spiritual, as well as practical truths we can learn from these verses in chapter 27, and the journey by ship through the Med Sea.

“Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, and said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west. And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.” Acts 27:9-14 (KJV)

From verse 9 we can learn that there is danger in being impatient.  Impatience can definitely endanger life.  As Christians it shows a lack of trust and unbelief in God’s providence, and His knowing what is best for His children.

See Proverbs 3:5-6 and Isaiah 40:31

Secondly we can learn that not all expert advice is godly or right (Acts 27:11).  The “Expert” may know the natural, but not the supernatural power of God.  The centurion was being a good soldier, and trusted the ship master and the owner, but did not believe the servant of God.  Check out 1 Corinthians 1:20-21.  Many an expert has been wrong.  God is never wrong.  See Luke 5:3-6.

Third, the places we may see of no comfort, may be a place of refuge (v. 12).  Comfort may be a peril of its own.  We Christians, especially in the U. S. of A.  are addicted to our comforts.  Comforts can draw us away from our faith which must be continually growing.  Killing our peace of heart and mind.  We must learn to be content with however God blesses us.  Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10.

Fourth, following majority opinion may not be the direction God would have us take (v. 12).  Sometimes, if there is even one who is in disagreement; that one individual may be the one who is being led by the Spirit of God.  To make life changing decisions, even life saving decisions, and for growth, there should be “All in one accord” within the body of Christ (Acts 2:1).

Fifth,  favorable circumstances may be a sign of worse to come (v. 13).  Such times are times to be aware, and alert to other possibilities.  There are times to remain where we are; to stay put and not weigh anchor.  We must learn that judging by circumstances; whether good or bad can be disastrous.  Read 2 Corinthians 6:1-10.

Sixth, the surest way to avoid shipwreck (v. 10).  Listen to God’s word, from God’s messenger.  Pay attention to the signs.  Delays in schedule.  Some of these may be “Closed doors”.  Remember that God knows what is best.

Though the ship master and owner did not listen to Paul, God’s servant, they made it to safety by the grace and providence of Almighty God.  The ship wrecked, but all were saved alive, by following the direction the apostle Paul gave through the Spirit of God (vv. 31, 43, 44). Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Reverence, Rest and Results

“Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” Acts 9:31 (KJV)

Chapter nine begins by telling us of Saul.  He is known as Saul of Tarsus a Pharisee, passionate about the Hebrew religion, and the death of any who spoke of the Christ as the Lord Jesus.

In his endeavors of religious lust he set out to kill, and destroy the Christian faith, and was very aggressive in doing so.  This chapter deals mostly with his glorious conversion to faith in Christ Jesus, believing in His death, burial and resurrection.

The early Church was fearful of Saul.  They fled from Jerusalem because of him; not knowing it was the will of God to scatter the Gospel of Christ into the world.  It is amazing and wonderful and marvelous how the Spirit of the Lord moves and works in our lives.

I have, for many years, found verse 31 of chapter 9 fascinating, and enlightening.  After Saul’s conversion the churches of Judea and Galilee and Samaria experienced “Rest” – the persecution had lightened up.

I want you to notice what happened, and this is a lesson for the Church of all ages;

  1.  They were walking (the Church was walking) in the fear of the Lord;
  2.   They were experiencing the comfort of the Holy Spirit;
  3.   The Church was multiplying in number – people were coming to faith in Jesus.

What does that mean for the Christian Church today?  We must walk in the Spirit of God; that means with reverence, fear of God, His Spirit and His Word; believing His Word, loving His Word, and applying it to our lives, in daily living.

If we are to experience the “Comfort of the Holy Spirit” that comes also loving God, and His Word.  How can a child of God through Jesus Christ grow in faith in Him without a daily diet of God’s Word?  We cannot.  Neither will their be any comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, the Christian Church today can only rightly increase in number as people come to Christ, not necessarily “To Church”, but to Christ Jesus through His death, burial and resurrection.

When the Church; which is the Body of Christ – has Reverence and Rest, then there will be Results.

Christmas Day Sixty Five

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want the family of my friend who passed away last Sunday to be comforted, encouraged and strengthened today as we go to his graveside service, and as God’s word is spoken, the gospel of Christ is proclaimed, and hearts and lives to be changed.

Last night at the visitation, hundreds of friends, and neighbors came in to honor Doyle, and to comfort and encourage the family.

Christmas Day 70

What do I want for Christmas today?

Those of us at the Cassville R-IV School District had a great work associate, and friend pass away suddenly yesterday.

I want for peace, comfort, encouragement, grace and mercy to permeate his family, that every need they have will be met in their loss; and want us all to pray for them in the days to come.

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Romans 12:15

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the people, the families of victims in the bombing in Brussels, Belgium to be comforted, strengthened, and to be drawn near to the Lord Jesus Christ through these horrible events.

Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3-5 (KJV)

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28

Day Three Hundred and Six

What do I want for Christmas?

I want everyone to know that Jesus must be coming really soon, because I am getting very uncomfortable, every passing day, with this world, and all that is going on in it; and I know other true followers of Jesus are growing more uncomfortable with it too.

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

On this LORD’S Day I want the presence of the Lord Jesus to be evident in our Church at Shiloah Baptist Church of Jenkins, Missouri; and for the Holy Spirit to move in conviction where it is needed, comfort in the hearts which need comfort, encouragement, and give all boldness and courage to be the witnesses for Him that we ought to be.

Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” Acts 9:31 (NKJV)

Vain Preaching versus Biblical Preaching

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise Me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” Jeremiah 23:16-17 (KJV)

The word of God was despised in Jeremiah’s day. They claimed to hear it. They claimed to believe it. The prophets of whom God is speaking through Jeremiah were those who went by their own visions and dreams; not the Word of God.

No visions of men or women can be trusted when they in fact go against what God has spoken and said through the written word. God says, “The words of the prophets… they make you vain…” These prophets spoke comfort, encouragement, and peace when the priests, and prophets were living in idolatry, and adultery, and lusts.

They were crying “Peace, peace”; and there was not peace. The enemy was all around. Most of the people were following the liars, deceivers, and frauds. God’s judgment through Babylon was just outside the gate.

It is vanity for the preacher to preach peace, love, encouragement, and comfort without dealing with sin, and pointing the lost, condemned and dying to Jesus Christ and His finished work of the cross – His death, burial and resurrection. Paul the apostle wrote by the Spirit of God,

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

The cross is the means of your salvation, and the salvation of the world; for those who will believe.

O people, the earth is in trouble; you are in trouble without Christ. Evil abounds. Grace still abounds more, but not to the neglect of dealing with our sins, through the cross of Jesus.

There will be no personal peace, no comfort, no encouragement, until Jesus is your personal Lord and Saviour.

Comfort for the Broken Hearted

“Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Psalm 69:20-21 (KJV)

You have experienced it I am sure. Those times when you think a friend or loved one will stand with you, and for you; and they do not. The Psalmist David was experiencing one of those times when this Psalm was written.

Within it are 5 verses which are quoted in the New Testament concerning the Messiah. He had one of those days too. They gave Jesus vinegar to drink, mixed with gall, but He did not drink it (Matthew 27:34). That was while He was dying on the cross.

Now, what is “Gall”? It is a poisonous, bitter herb. It has come to mean “bitterness” like from others. What is reproach? “To find fault with (a person, group, etc.); blame; censure.” from Dictionary.com.

These words “Reproach”, “Gall” and “Vinegar” show us that the Psalmist was hurting and no one was coming to his aid. We have all felt that way at one time or another. Let us remember our Saviour.

Jesus was a sinless, blameless, faithful Man of God, and Son of God, who did always those things that pleased the Father/God. He was accused of blasphemy against God. He was found guilty of sin, which He was not guilty of. He was given vinegar mixed with gall for “refreshment” while He was suffering. Do you still think you are having a bad day?

Not only all of that, but then, He was rejected by the Father, because He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Can you imagine the most heavenly man who ever walked on earth, being forsaken by all of heaven; when just hours before the angels of heaven were in attention awaiting His call to deliver Him; which did not come; and they now have turned their backs to Him?

If you think you have had it so bad; you have a lot of gall.

But Jesus said,

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus knows your broken heart, your every need, and He will not give you gall or vinegar to drink.

Speed Deliverance

“Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O LORD.” Psalm 70:1 (KJV)

Like the Psalmist most of us often feel the pressures of this life; work, home, family, friends, even society and culture; pushing us, crowding us, holding us, even destroying us.  At least that is how we feel at times.

It  is in these times we plead for help.  Many who know not God through His Son Jesus will seek out solace, and comfort from sources which will only lead to more problems, and addictions.

For the Christian, born again by the Spirit of God, it is always the right time to plead for God’s deliverance, His help, His strength, His comfort.

If you are an non believer, no follower of Christ Jesus, and you find yourself in a quandary; you realize you cannot solve the problem of life, you realize you are a condemned, dying, person; then is the right time for you to cry out to the Living God for deliverance.  He will with all speed come to your deliverance.

Christian brother and sister; never fear God makes haste to come to you aid.  You may call out to Him from what ever situation you may find yourself.  He hears, He comes, He delivers, and gives you peace.