GOD’S WORD TRIUMPHS

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:11

Some of you may wonder why we are devoting our time to this ministry at this stage of our lives, and I understand completely why such thoughts traverse your brain. After all, at 85 years of age, I should be satisfied to “cool it”.

When God called me into the ministry, I determined to “die with my boots on”. Through my family and others, I have been encouraged to write in my practical, down to earth style. Our grand-daughter, Crista, works building commercial websites, and our daughter, Cathy, tries to catch all of my “goofs” in advance. We try to do this in dedication of my beloved, Patsy, (at home with the Lord).

Isaiah said in the 55th chapter, beginning at verse 11, “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (NASB)

We do not look for great numbers, but are hopeful that God will take what has been presented and perused and make it meaningful to someone reading. Do us a favor and take a moment or two and reflect on what God has for you personally.

God made a promise through Isaiah that we just quoted, and now I anticipate that He has something of this nature to make real in your life: v12, “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace…”

Allow His Word to be meaningful!

GUARD YOURSELVES

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. ”

1 John 2:15-17

As I came to the conclusion of the Epistle of First John, I noticed these words: “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” It seems like an abrupt end to an Epistle that has been filled with the understanding of “love” and its practice. From a human understanding I might have expected something that incorporated the word “love”. Did John let me down? I think not.

First he addresses his Epistle to those he refers to as “children”. That in itself knocks out any thought that these may be mature Christians with which he is dealing. It also gives the idea that they might be his “children” in the Lord. He sees thru the immaturity and clearly addresses them from that standpoint, feeling he has a right and a responsibility to say something to them.

When he uses the words, “guard yourselves”, you sense that he sees a weakness in their armor or attitude that warrants attention. Paul uses a similar idea in Ephesians 6. Neither would have included such thinking had they not been cognizant of something that needed attention.

It is then that he draws this letter to an end that some would think to be blatantly frank, “from idols”. This is the “apostle of love” shooting with both barrels. Surely he could have utilized a little more diplomacy than imply, or even make a guarded implication, that they are involved in idolatry.

How we need discernment when these little time bombs or “tag- on’s” penetrate our armor. Do we see them as idols? In our quest to be on an equal with our friends and family, we can find an array of “needs”, that are in actuality greed. Our “homes”, “TOYS”, attire, plus, plus, plus…” from idolatry”!

AND IT CAME TO PASS

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

Reading the Gospel of Luke on one occasion I’ve noted that phrase used more than one hundred times. It became extra important because it was written by a Doctor. It felt as though he was displaying his “log” of appointments and what had occurred in a very orderly sequence. He had noted initially that others had sought to relate the story of Jesus, and now he felt compelled to research and authenticate when, what, and how things had transpired.

The phrase “and it came to pass” reminds us of the Apostle Paul writing to the church at Galatia, “in the fullness of time” (4:4). The world was under the rule of Rome. The language of that day was Greek, and it was possible for communication to spread like wildfire. Though Jesus limited His ministry to a miniscule section of our world, in three short years He imprinted indelibly His message to such an extent that each activity, each parable, each recorded word of healing, each occasion of silence, blended harmoniously in those words: “and it came to pass”.

God, who alone rules and reigns, does not allow a haphazard existence to this planet or people! He has observed our choices, and knowing that we could not rescue ourselves from the pit into which we had fallen, presented to us a means of salvation and security in the perfect atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus…no more or less… and He did it in perfect timing. Hear again: “For God so loved the world, (you and me) that He gave His only begotten Son, (Jesus) that whosoever believeth in HIM, should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

His schedule is always… It came to pass… in the fullness of time!!! His time is your time.

FRIENDS

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly,

But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. “

Proverbs 18:24

The efforts of local media to attract us to people in need, (local, national or international) is momentous, especially because it is continuous, and by all appearance without bias. They deserve our THANKS!

On reflection of those who have need, or those who respond to such needs of others, I was attracted to the story recorded by Dr. Luke. Recall with me how he purposed to write with accuracy the life of Jesus!

As the Savior of mankind had retreated to a home, the crowd gathered outside for multiplied reasons. (To listen to his teaching, to be healed,– perhaps to do a little boasting later as to having “touched” Him, or in some way of even having manipulated an autograph. I imagine there was a unique style of paparazzi of that day also!)

Some men, having heard of Jesus, came carrying a paralyzed man on a stretcher. The crowd was so massive that they could not gain entrance in a normal way- hence they carried him to the roof, removed tiles, and placed him in front of our Lord waiting for the expected results – Healing! Seeing their faith, He healed that man.

Let us focus on the men who brought that paralyzed man to be healed. They had to be FRIENDS! The man had nothing to offer for the friendship that developed between them. How the paralysis developed we know not, and why it continued we know not. What we do know is that these men were prodded inwardly to do something outwardly that eventuated in his healing. They were the “stick to it” friends!

The lists of friends that have stuck with you in the past and continue to stick with you through the difficulties of life and expect nothing in return, are usually few. We experience different levels of friendship, some deeply and some not so deep. These men were as solid as a rock… a real “friend sticks closer than a brother”. I would be remiss if I did not say I have some like that.

Perhaps the previous thoughts from Proverbs 18:24 and Luke 5:19 will prod your action. In dealing with this man, and those who had brought him there, are the explanatory words -”Seeing their faith”. This confirms their confidence in Jesus and their devotion to the man who was physically confined. They knew in their hearts that their friends problem was worthy of our Lord’s attention. They felt the compassion and concern that the future held something special for this individual. Jesus responded, first with the spiritual—“Thy sins be forgiven thee!” The reasoning in the hearts of the Pharisees and Sadducees thought it blasphemy because He was asserting His deity. In reality He was asserting both His deity and humanity. When told to “get up, pick up your stretcher and go home”, the man obeyed. You would think it was the end of the story, and in a way it is, but there is one word here in Luke 5:20 that I have saved until now: “Friend”

The Lord clearly said He is a Friend of sinners. He has more, much more for the man who has been “paralyzed” with sin. Come to Him, leave your sin where it belongs, at the feet of Jesus, but let all see and hear that you have been healed, and you have another FRIEND, whose name is Jesus.

AMEN

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. “

Revelation 22:20-21

It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful words in Holy Writ. It is used throughout the Scriptures with the thought of “so be it”. It also has reference to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the “Alpha and Omega”, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Rev. 22)  Further, it is the final word of Scripture.  While it seals up the Revelation, it is a sacred seal to all things written in the Word of God.  It is testimony that vouches for the soon return of Jesus Christ, and that right quickly.

Frustratingly, I hear it repeated as a “tag on” to some of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard.  Some feel that the prayer has not concluded unless there is an “Amen!” at the end.  I would have to admit that some of those Amen’s are most beautiful, while others make one feel as though, “I am glad that is over with”.

If there is ever a song I love to hear sung, it is the Spiritual, Amen!  If it does not stir your soul, you probably are lying in the morgue or you are a walking corpse.  I have heard Amen’s so loud that I was of the persuasion that the individual must have thought God needed hearing aids.  I have also heard them so soft and meaningful that it brought tears to my eyes.

It is not my responsibility to tell you exactly how to say, “Amen!”  It is our responsibility to remember 1) We are speaking to our Heavenly Father; 2) Our need should not involve our greed;   3) It should echo our desire to please and GLORIFY Him and Him alone.

AMEN!

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