Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ephesians 2:1-10
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 
in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In Ephesians chapter 2 we see something critical about our salvation.  Verses 1-3 describe fallen humanity’s place before God as being: “Dead in Trespasses and sins.” 
We lived our lives according to three basic authorities:

 - the world system
 - The Power of the Devil,
 - And, The Sin Nature

This passage sums up our state saying: “we were by nature children of wrath.”
The words “But God” in verse 4 turn the corner.
         We learn about God’s possessions:  He has a wealth of mercy
         We learn His motivation: love
         Finally, We learn God’s method: He spiritually brought us “together with” Jesus Christ.

These three “together” statements are of special importance to every believer.

When Jesus was raised from the dead – So were you.
When Jesus was ascended to heaven - So were you.
And now that Jesus is seated in Heaven  - So are you.

We will spend all eternity growing in understanding and amazement of His grace and goodness towards us in Christ.  And that process doesn’t start later…it started the minute you trusted in Jesus.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Good Health!

In Titus 2:1 Paul is giving Titus instructions for establishing and encouraging churches.  He writes:

"But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine…"

Titus is told to teach them verbally (Speak to them), and the content is to be what is proper for sound doctrine.  The word translated “sound” translates the Greek word:

ὑγιαίνω (hygiano)

and is where we get our English word Hygiene – which we use to talk about cleanliness.
Hugiano, however, means “to be in good health”.  What we believe, teach and say is very important.  Those things in keeping with the word of God will bring spiritual health and vitality to those who hear.  By contrast, those things which are not in keeping with the truth of God’s word will bring spiritual malady upon the one who receives it.  Put another way, our words can be healthy, delicious spiritual fruits and veggies or spiritual cyanide.

As we consider the things that we say today we might ask ourselves – “Will saying this encourage others to good health in Christ?”

Monday, September 11, 2017

God's Best Creation

Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Proverbs 31:28-29

Oh, the blessed wife.  It is no mystery that the Proverbs so regularly defend marital fidelity and highlight the endless importance of the wife and the mother.  These are two of the most important and central offices in all of God’s created order.  While many in the modern culture will downplay the importance of the natural offices of a woman by suggesting that the only way a woman can be valuable is if she is fulfilling the natural offices given to men, the Bible will have none of that non-sense.  No person has more power to change the world than the woman who loves her husband and children with the Lord’s amazing love.  No accomplishment can be said to be greater and more important than to have raised up children who know the Lord.  No greater compliment can be given than that a person accurately lived out the love that is found between Jesus Christ and His church within their very marriage.  The sweetest praise of anyone will not be the praises of the masses, but of the very family which she loved taught and nurtured by God’s amazing and gracious provision.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tried, Tested, and Trustworthy

Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Do not add to His words
Or he will reprove you,
And you will be proved a liar.
Proverbs 30:5-6

My heart was beating so hard it was almost shaking my limbs.  It may have…had they not already been shaking from the fear.  Looking down from the makeshift rope bridge to the rocky canyon below was enough to drive every other thought out of my mind.  The only real comfort to be found was that there were many others who had crossed this shaky bridge before me.  It is easy to forget how many saints have gone before us.  How many people have lived full and amazing lives of submission to the Lord hand His word.  This is not some untested, new path on a road to nowhere.  Living in accordance with God’s word is walking a time-tested path.  Submitting our thoughts to God’s thoughts and our ways to His ways is not a 50-50 split.  It is a sure thing – and that fact is born witness by generations of well-known and unknown faithful men and women who placed their trust in the Lord’s ways and wisdom and walked that faith out day by day.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hasty Mistakes

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 29:20

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given came from a lovely lady named Gail Grimstone through my father.  “Never make a decision until you have to.”  While there may be some truth to the general idea that “He who hesitates has lost” my problem is more frequently the latter.  The snap judgment is the enemy of wisdom.  It is interesting that we often portray our “wise men” culturally as listening, taking long pauses, and responding thoughtfully and intentionally.  Our desire to get our opinion out there is rarely a wise.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Temper, Temper

A fool always loses his temper,
But a wise man holds it back.
Proverbs 29:11

There is an important biblical distinction between anger and “losing one’s temper.”  Just as there is a distinction between desire and lust.  In both cases the transition comes when the feeling moves from being present to one that controls our behavior.  Jesus himself grew angry at multiple points in his ministry, but that anger never cause Him to sin.  Things like anger and extreme desire are natural acceptable feelings for humanity.  When those become the driving influences on our thoughts, words and behaviors then we have a large problem.  It is at this point that we begin to act as the fool – the practical atheist – the one who seeks to be God of our own lives.  Wisdom, on the other hand, can consider the reality that our feelings are only a part of the equation of how we ought to behave.  A wise person is not lead by those strong emotions but by the Spirit of God within him – and thus has that much less to apologize for later.

Monday, August 14, 2017

How's your Heart?

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered.
Proverbs 28:26

This is an uncomfortable message. The world system is constantly at odds with the truth of the word of God, and this is an example.  The world puts forth hundreds of books, plays, essays, and movies about the person who “follows their heart.”  Heart, in this context, is a word that encompasses a person’s thoughts, will and emotions.  While the heart may be the best guide for the unbeliever, those who know the Lord have a far greater standard by which to walk.  We know that, as Jeremiah wrote: "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Far better than our own perception and intuition the believer has the privilege of walking by the Word of God, which is a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105) as illumined by the forever indwelling Holy Spirit of God.  We can heartily praise the Lord that we have so much more wisdom by which to walk than just our own thoughts, emotions and perceptions – we have His Light by which we may walk.