December 07, 2017

JERUSALEM/ISRAEL - THE FINAL WORLD SUPERPOWER


SOMEDAY, when Jesus is King in Jerusalem, having defeated all Israel's enemies (Yes, ultimately only He can do that. The USA with all it military will not be able to accomplish this.), Jerusalem will be capital of the world's final and everlasting super-power, ISRAEL. Hear the Scriptures:

Isa 66:10 — Isa 66:12

Joy in Jerusalem’s Future

“Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her;
Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her,
That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts,
That you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom.”
For thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees.' "

Later in this passage Jesus' defeat of all the nations comes to the fore (this is right after the 7 year Tribulation period)... "For the Lord will execute judgment by fire and by His sword on all flesh, and those slain by the Lord will be many. 'Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens, Following one in the center, Who eat swine’s flesh, detestable things and mice, Will come to an end altogether,' declares the Lord" (vv 16,17).

November 30, 2017

HOW TO PRAY ALL NIGHT OR IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE...


The science of Bible interpretation is known as hermeneutics. There are laws of interpretation that lead to a better understanding of what Scripture is saying. One such principle is to take into consideration certain cultural matters when trying to understand the Word.

One phrase in Jesus’ life that has always caused guilt in my life is this: …”It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God”  (Luke 6:12).

An entire night in prayer? This has often shamed me. While challenging me it often shames me because I have never done that. And, furthermore, I can hardly manage an entire hour let a whole night praying. I try to imagine myself out on a mountain trying to be Christ-like and praying, praying, praying. Honestly, I could not do it.

However, upon reflection, I realize Jesus’ prayer with the Father was a two-sided affair. Unlike us, Jesus could audibly talk back and forth with His Father. He didn’t need the Bible to know what the Father said. They simply talked with one another. Being one in essence and being they were omniscient except that Jesus in his humanity seems unknowing in some instances. But two-sidedness of their fellowship is noteworthy. When I learned this I realized that I COULD spend a night in prayer because I would take my Bible to a mountain spot (or that comfortable quiet room at the far side of the house) read it and ponder it, address the Father, read some more, talk to my dear heavenly Father, read and pray, read and pray, grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and then go back to reading the Word (God talking to me) and praying (I talking to God). Yes, I can see myself doing that if I was on good terms with the Lord. I might well have to take a nap sometime the next day, but I think such an experience would prove to be a rich blessing, especially in times of great need or urgency. It would be quiet and uninterrupted. What endearing fellowship with my Maker and Savior that would be.

In a similar vein, sometimes the point is made that Jesus and great saints through the years arose a great while before day to pray. This too easily convicts of shallowness in prayer.  But it is wise to stop and realize a cultural element to be considered. The old timers had no electricity and probably 'turned in' to sleep at a much earlier time than many do nowadays. Those oil lamps could annoyingly  flicker and be rather dim. After awhile one would readily shut off the lamp and head for bed. It was far too bothersome to stay up too late.  This makes a huge difference. If I go to bed later I will need to sleep later to get an acceptable amount of sleep. Therefore, getting up too early isn’t always such an acceptable habit in the twenty-first century. Of course, at the same time, it wouldn’t hurt some of us to turn in earlier in order to get up earlier for an uninterrupted time and the quiet needed for a quality time with our dear Father. But in today’s busy world it may well be more suitable to designate another time in the day for a meaningful prayer time, especially for someone on a night shift.

I share the above ideas that have helped me not to be unnecessarily troubled when I don’t or can’t comply with the examples of Jesus and the great saints of history.

None of the above should be construed to minimize the need for much time and discipline in prayer and in the Word. I merely want us to avoid unnecessary guilt trips which can be used of the evil one to frustrate us.

dc


November 26, 2017

A CURIOUS ASPECT OF PRAYER...



A CURIOUS ASPECT OF PRAYER... "You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; And give Him no rest..." (Is. 62:6,7)

Does God need reminding? Prayer apparently "reminds" God of whatever we may previously have brought
 to Him, but not that He ever forgets anything. He can't. God never learns anything new or forgets anything old. Everything is an eternal 'present' to Him. But perhaps we remind Him in this sense: that our request brings a matter to the forefront of His mind for His special consideration and response. If this be the case is this not an additional incentive for prayer? When Samson was in deep trouble he "called to the Lord and said, 'O Lord God, please remember me and strengthen me just this time..." (Judges 16:28). And God did!

My child may ask and ask for something he dearly wants. I have that firmly in mind but let it slide to the back of my mind because now is not the time for a wise response. Then one day he asks and now is the right time and so I respond. But I may not have except that once again he brought it to my readied attention. 

All this reminds us that prayer is answered in God's time, not ours. Spurgeon remarked, "Let your fleece lie on the threshing floor of supplication till it is wet with the dew of heaven." 

"You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves."


dc

November 18, 2017

JESUS' ARDENT PRAYER LIFE....NO MATTER HOW BUSY!


Without a doubt, today's church needs more agonizing (in prayer) and less organizing (in yet more programming).

Here's a verse about Jesus' prayer life: "It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12).

Was Jesus busy? Certainly. Just a cursory reading of His life tells us that. He was famous. The crowds were always coming at Him. But, "at that time" He went off to pray. This was an INTENTIONAL prayer time. Do I intend to pray each day? Do I have seasons of prayer scheduled in?

Did Jesus have a prayer closet? He didn't even have a house. And so, He found a place - "off to the mountain."
It was quiet. He was uninterruptedly alone with His Father. He was INSISTENT in pursuing a quality place for prayer. 

Was Jesus satisfied with merely occasional and quick prayers? We call such ejaculatory praying. It's praying on the run or in the midst of busyness. And such brief praying is surely acceptable and to be engaged in. Paul may have had such in mind when he admonished us to pray without ceasing. Nehemiah prayed this way and often. The renowned Rowland Hill liked this kind of prayer because, as he said, "it reached heaven before the Devil could shoot it down." But Jesus didn't stop with this (and probably Nehemiah didn't either). However, on this occasion, and probably often, "He spent the whole night in prayer." While a drop of prayer can bring an ocean of mercy, an entire night in prayer allows an ocean of fellowship with one's heavenly Father. Such is INDEFATIGABLE or resolute prayer. Martin Luther said "Prayer is the sweat of the soul." 

A preacher with the unusual name of Christmas Evans colorfully remarked: "Prayer is the rope up in the belfry; we pull it, and it rings the bell up in heaven." Jesus' concept of prayer was deep in the conviction that therein He laid hold of His Father in heaven. He prayed often, long and fervently. 

Do I? Do we? 

dc




October 24, 2017

DID JESUS ACTUALLY SWEAT BLOOD?



READING THE ARTICLE BELOW, WILL I NOW BELIEVE LUKE 22:44? IN DESCRIBING JESUS' AGONY IN THE GARDEN IT SAYS: 

"And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." 

SHOULDN'T WE HAVE BELIEVED THIS WITHOUT A NEWS STORY? AND THIS, JUST BECAUSE THE AUTHORITATIVE WORD OF GOD SAID SO. 

I REMEMBER STUDYING THIS VERSE YEARS AGO AND LEARNING THAT SUCH A DISEASE DESCRIBED BELOW DID INDEED EXIST. NOW THIS SENSATIONAL STORY APPEARS. IT DOESN'T PROVE THE FACT THAT JESUS INDEED BLED IN THE GARDEN, IT RATHER AFFIRMS WHAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN TRUE. 

JUST THINK HOW DEEPLY JESUS AGONIZED FOR US. THIS POINTS UP HOW GREAT A LOVE WITH WHICH HE LOVES US, AND ALSO, JUST HOW GREAT OUR SIN WHICH NECESSITATES SUCH A LOVE. "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are" (1 John 3:1).


HERE'S THE FOX STORY:

"Italian doctors were left bewildered when a woman was admitted to the hospital for 'sweating blood' from her face and hands, a new case published in a medical journal on Monday revealed.

The woman, 21, would spontaneously bleed with no visible lesions on her skin, according to the case report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The woman has been suffering from the mysterious disorder for three years and would start bleeding spontaneously in her sleep or while she was physically active.


The women told doctors she suffered major depression and panic disorder because of the condition and became 'socially isolated.' She has no history of psychosis, the report said.

The doctors floated different theories on what caused the condition, including factitious disorder, when someone would deceive others by appearing sick. However, she continued to spontaneously bleed after she was prescribed paroxetine and clonazepam for her depression and anxiety order.


They ultimately concluded she had hematohidrosis, an uncommon disease that would cause 'spontaneous discharge of 'blood sweat’ through intact skin.' Blood can also come out of areas that don’t have sweat glands.

It’s still unclear what causes the 'blood sweat.' Dr. Michelle Sholzberg, co-director of the Hemophilia Comprehensive Care program at St. Michael's Hospital, told CBC News the case is the 'most unusual.'

'I can say with clarity that I've never seen a case like this — ever,' Sholzberg told CBC News. 'And I can say that I've seen some of the worst bleeding disorders, and I've never seen them sweat blood.'

'I think this person has a very bizarre anatomical defect on a microscopic level that is resulting in this very unusual symptom,' the Canadian hematologist said."

-Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. 

October 21, 2017

A. W. PINK TELLS THE TRUTH ABOUT US!



"THE DRAWING & COMPELLING OF GOD"

"Here is the truth: God has spread the feast but the fact is that NOBODY is hungry, and NOBODY wants to come to the feast, and EVERYBODY makes an excuse to keep away from the feast. and when they are bidden to come they say, “No, we do not want to”, or “We are not ready yet.”

Now God knew that from the beginning, and if God had done nothing more than spread the feast every seat at His table would have been vacant for all eternity! I have no hesitation in saying there is not one man or woman in this church tonight, but who made excuses time after time before you first came to Christ.

You are just like the rest. You made excuses, so did I, and if God had done nothing more than just spread the feast every chair would have been vacant, therefore what do you read in that parable in Luke 14? Because the feast was not furnished with guests God sent forth His “servants”. Oh, put your glasses on. It does not say “servants”, it says God sent forth His “servant” and told Him to “COMPEL” them to come in that His feast might be furnished with guests. And there is not a man or a woman in this church tonight or in any other church that would ever sit down at the marriage-supper of the Lamb unless you had been COMPELLED TO COME IN, and COMPELLED BY GOD!

Well, you say, what do you mean by “compelled?” I mean this, that God had to overcome the resistance of your will, God had to overcome the reluctance of your heart, God had to overcome your loving of pleasure more than loving of God, your love of the things of this world more than Christ. I mean that God had to put forth His power and draw you, and if any of you know anything of the Greek or have a Strong’s Concordance, look up that Greek verb for “draw” in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” —

It means “use violence”. It means to drag by force. There is not a Greek scholar on earth that can challenge that statement—I mean—and back it up with proof. It’s the same Greek word that is used in John 21 when they drew the net to the land full of fishes. They had to pull with all their might for it was full of fishes. They had to drag it!

Yes, my friend, and THAT is how you were brought to Christ. You may not have been conscious of it. You may not have known inside yourself what was taking place, but every last one of us was a rebel against God, fighting against Christ, resisting His Holy Spirit, and God had to put forth almighty power and overcome that resistance and bring us to our knees, and if any of you object to that strong language, then I am here to tell you, you do not believe in the teaching of this Book on the ABSOLUTE DEPRAVITY OF MAN.

Man is lost, and man is dead in trespasses and sins by nature. Listen, it is not simply that man is sick and needs a little medicine: it is not simply that man is ignorant and needs a little teaching: it is not simply that man is weak and needs a little hope: man is dead, dead in trespasses and sins, and only almighty power from heaven can ever resurrect him and bring him from death unto life.

THAT is the gospel I believe in and I do not preach the gospel because I believe the sinner has power in himself to respond to it. Well, you say, then what is the use of preaching the gospel if men are dead? What is the use of preaching it? I will tell you. Listen! Here was a man with a withered hand, paralyzed, and Christ says. “Stretch forth thine hand!” It was the one thing that he could not do! Christ told him to do a thing that was impossible in himself. Well then you say why did Christ tell him to stretch forth his hand? Because Divine power went with the very word that commanded him to do it! Divine power enabled him to. The man could not do it of himself. If you think that he could you are ready for the lunatic asylum, I don’t not care who you are. Any man or woman here who thinks that that man was able to stretch forth his paralyzed arm by an effort of his own will is ready for the lunatic asylum! How can paralysis move?

Well, I will give you something stronger than that. You need something strong today, you need something more than SKIM-MILK, you need STRONG MEAT if ever you are going to be built up and grow and become strong in the Lord and the power of His might—

Here is a man who is dead and buried and his body has already begun to corrupt so that it stank. There he was in the grave and someone came to that graveside and said, “Lazarus. come forth”, and if that someone had been anyone else than God Himself manifest in flesh. He might have stood there till now calling, “Come forth”. What on earth was the use of telling a dead man to come forth? None at all, unless the One Who spoke that word had the power to make that word good.

Now then my friends, I preach the gospel to sinners, not because I believe the sinner has any power at all in himself to respond to it: I do not believe that any sinner has any capacity in himself whatever. But Christ said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life”, and by God’s grace I go forth preaching this Word because it is a word of power, a word of spirit, a word of life.

THE POWER IS NOT IN THE SINNER, IT IS IN THE WORD WHEN GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT IS PLEASED TO USE IT.

And my friends, I say in all reverence; if God told me in this Book to go out and preach to the trees. I would go! Yes sir. God once told one of His servants to go and preach to bones and he went. I wonder if YOU would have gone! Yes, that has a local application as well as a future interpretation prophetically."

[From a sermon Arthur Pink preached in Sydney, during his Australian ministry in the 1920’s.]

October 19, 2017

THE BIBLE PLUS THE HOLY SPIRIT PLUS MY TIME = MEDITATION


     Learn to meditate in Scripture ALONE with no devotionals, study notes/guides, etc. Such supplementary aides may well prove helpful, but best after pure meditation. Read tbis verse which underscores the enlightening power of the Holy Spirit in any believer's life: "As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him" (1 John 2:27). In the Bible God has meaning for you alone at any given moment. Don't miss it.
     The “anointing” every Christian has is the Holy Spirit. He indwells each believer and shines light on the pages of the Bible. St. Augustine said that before his conversion to Christ, he read the Bible but couldn’t understand it. When he was born from on high, he read and it was like light shining over his shoulder. 
     We need to spend time (there’s ‘the catch’ in busy times) to prayerfully read the Bible ALONE, ponder it and experience the tutelage of the Spirit. He will reveal rich meaning for you today from the depth of any given passage. 
     The purest form of a group Bible study is to ponder, as described above, and allow any who wish to briefly share what is revealed to him/her in a given verse. Then, move on to another verse. Again, no foot notes are permitted, no previous study and lists of questions are allowed. Just God’s people, the Bible and a belief that the Holy Spirit indwells and will make the meaning known. Of course, there is a time for study, the usage of guides and books, and even devotional guides, but these are not substitutes for PURE MEDIATATION. 
     St. Augustine remarked, “The hearer of God’s Word ought to be like those animals that chew the cud; he ought not only to feed upon it, but to ruminate.”
     Meditation has a digesting power and turns special truth into nourishment.
dc

October 12, 2017

NEBUCHADNEZZAR.....SAVED BY GRASS?


SAVED BY GRASS? YES, OLD KING NEBBY WAS SAVED FROM INSOLENCE AND PRIDE...... Dan 4:31-35

King Nebuchadnezzar was King of Babylon when God's people, because of their persistent sin, were horrendously taken into captivity by him. Jerusalem was destroyed and many, many taken from their homeland. Daniel was one of them. Nebuchadnezzar was most proud and God decided to uniquely humble him. Immediately, after a boastful spat of self-extolling, we read this in Scripture:

"While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. YOU WILL BE GIVEN GRASS to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’ Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws." 

Then, after the ordeal, Nebuchadnezzar gives his testimony:

“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’"

When God truly moves into a life He effects radical change. He specializes in that! He makes saints out of sinners. He humbles the proud. He puts repentance in an unbelieving heart. God dynamically does such! He most certainly did it to a boastful and arrogant Babylonian king. 

Perhaps after his humbling episode Nebuchadnezzar had a saying, like, "There go I except for the GRASS of God." He needed this experience to humble him and bring him to the place of fully realizing his need for God and God's GRACE. Some believe that he was saved. At the very least, he sure came to an acknowledgment of Who the true God is.

Every believer in Jesus Christ says, often, "Apart from grace my heart would be estranged, wayward, rebellious, faithless and lost. But, oh, my God in grace has arranged to rescue my soul at infinite cost."

- Dick D. Christen


October 09, 2017

FOUR PIECES TO THE PEACE PUZZLE...



   FOUR PIECES TO THE PEACE PUZZLE

1. THE PEACE OF JUSTIFICATION (or PEACE WITH GOD – a judicial or courtroom peace)

KEY VERSES – Romans 5:1,9

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” 5:1
 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him…” 5:9

2. THE PEACE OF RELAXATION (or the PEACE OF GOD – a personal or living room peace) 

KEY VERSES – Romans 15:13; Philippians 4:6,7; Proverbs 3:5,6

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

3. THE PEACE OF PURIFICATION (or PEACE IN GOD - an experiential or woodshed peace)

KEY VERSES – Hebrews 12:11; Psalm 119:165; Proverbs 3:1,2

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).

4. THE PEACE OF CONSUMMATION (or PEACE BY GOD – a political or throne room peace)

KEY VERSES – Isaiah 9:6,7; Isaiah 11 (assorted verses)

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them…They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9).

- dick d christen 

October 04, 2017

DETERMINING THE DEITY OF JESUS, THE CHRIST .....



DETERMINING THE DEITY OF CHRIST…IN THE BIBLE

WE MAKE SUCH A DETERMINATION …..

BY HIS NAMES OF DEITY

          Hebrews 1:8; John 1:18; John 5:20; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13

             God the Father actually calls His Son, Jesus, GOD!
             “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…” - Hebrews 1:8

BY WORSHIP ORDERED AND ACCEPTED BY JESUS

          Hebrews 1:6; John 20: 26-29

              “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, 
              ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.’” -  Hebrews 1:6

BY THE DIVINE OFFICES HE OCCUPIED

          CREATOR – John 1:3; Colossians 1:16

                                    “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” -  John 1:3

           PRESERVER – Hebrews 1:3

                                     “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and  upholds all things by the word of His power.”  -Hebrews 1:3

            FORGIVER OF SINS – Mark 2:1-13

                                      “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’” Mark 2:10-11

             GIVER OF IMMORTAL AND ETERNAL LIFE – Philippians 3:21; John 5:25-31; 17:1-5

                                        “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.’” -  John 17:1-2

BY HIS ASSOCIATION WITH GOD THE FATHER  
             Matthew 28:19; John 14:1

                   “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” -  John 14:1

BY JESUS' GLORIOUS RESURRECTON
             Romans 1:1-4

                   “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus,  called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.” -  Romans 1:1-4

dc

September 25, 2017

THE CHRISTIAN: POSITIONALLY perfect IN Christ while PRACTICALLY growing BY Christ....



THE CHRISTIAN: POSITIONALLY perfect IN Christ while PRACTICALLY growing BY Christ....


Once saved, God intends for Christians to grow and become more and more like Christ. Tozer said, "Refuse to be average." But when we resolve to do so, it is good to remember there exists a world of difference between busy activity and meaningful progress. Mere busyness cannot serve as a substitute for productivity. 

Alarmingly, today's Church is like a rocking horse with lots of motion but not much genuine progress. 'How to' seminars are prolific, the same ones offered fifty year ago. The ecclesiastical world seems stuck and stale. But, God intends that His people "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). And let's be clear that what God looks for isn't necessarily 'bigness' and hype (the world would have us think so), but rather, like the mustard seed, that which may be imperceptible but nevertheless significant. Furthermore, God's kind of growth is not just corporately engendered (the local church), but, also personally wrought (daily with God). In fact, the corporate church is far too elevated in Christian experience, as if all we need to do to advance in Christian maturity is to go to church more often. At best, this results in very few hours at services. A personal walk with God can entail hours and hours, if so engaged. The corporate approach (ordered by the Lord and valuable in its own right), as a single means of Christian maturity, is more than refuted by mere observation. Anemic Christians abound, and often they are the ones 'at Church' the most. Christians must be encouraged to "walk and talk" with the Lord continually.

POSITIONALLY, when a sinner believes in Jesus Christ, he is at once perfect "IN Christ Jesus." The Bible clearly states, "But by His doing you are IN Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." God the Father always sees the believer "in Christ Jesus." What we are "in" is what we are surrounded by. If I'm in a pool of water I'm surrounded by that water. If I'm "in Christ" He is my perfect righteousness. Jesus IS 'righteousness' imputed (or charged) to the believer's account, thereby rendering every Christian positionally perfect IN Him. Hereby the thrice-holy God is rendered fully satisfied. God the Father always sees the believer "in Christ." If I look at something through rose-colored glasses, everything comes up rosey. God ever seeing us through Christ, everything comes up perfect.. Theologically, we say, God is thereby propitiated. John says, "We have an  Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:1-2).

Now, PRACTICALLY speaking, the saved person, positionally made perfect IN Jesus, must then day by day grow BY Christ Jesus, by His enabling grace. Like the caterpillar becoming a beautiful butterfly, an arduous process is involved requiring the believer to utilize all the provisions of grace designed for such change. It takes a lifetime of effort, patience and learning the ways of the Lord. Really it takes all the Biblical concepts of wrestling, running the race, fighting the good fight of faith, disciplining self, and even buffeting (beating) self (Ephesians 6; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27) to see it happen. But God is vitally interested in any such determined endeavor and supplies all that is needed to carry it out. We call these "all things" (see below) His means of sanctifying grace. The Apostle Paul reasons, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). Are not these "things" that whereby we fight the good fight of faith?

Therefore, let us rejoice being IN Christ Jesus but with a patient spirit proceed to "work out (our) salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in (us), both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).  Paul instructs us: "Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of (seize hold of what you have, hang on to it, prize it, hold it close) the eternal life to which you were called..." (1 Timothy 6:12). In other words, in order to grow into Christ-likeness, get off the rocking horse and climb on the walking/working horse. Or, to press the initial figure, see yourself in a cocoon becoming more and more in the likeness of Jesus. The grace that saves us is completely unmerited. It is all of God, through and through. But, it seems to me that sanctifying grace, or that whereby we grow in Jesus, meshes His enabling grace with our diligent upward desires and efforts. We can't live the Christ-life without Him; He can't do what He wants in us unless we strive by His grace to intently perfect holiness for Him. Of course, at the same time, He is ever at work to bring us to the point(s) of desiring to so strive. And so "we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18). Yes, it takes a life time of endeavor, moment by moment, day by day, year by year. This is Christian living! He is at work; we are at work. Praise God, that at the very moment of the new birth IN Jesus we are rendered justified before God (and positionally sanctified, redeemed, etc.) and fully accepted IN the Beloved (Jesus), and all this by His grace plus nothing of ourselves. But in the daily sense, we are being sanctified BY Christ and by His "freely given" means of grace, namely, the Bible, the Church, the Holy Spirit, the preaching and teaching of the Word and the daily consumption of the Word by reading and meditation. It is right at this juncture that we often fail because we somehow think that all this will somehow add up to a 'Christ-like life' in some kind of an automatic way. We become well-versed in the Bible but fail to put it into practice. This is where the "will" must become involved. The above list of "means" will be merely intellectual unless we take what we've learned and put it into practice. The struggle of which Paul often talks now comes into view. 

In dietary matters, if I'm obese and am offered a second piece of strawberry pie, it takes enormous "won't" power to refuse. "I know I should refuse but, oh, how I want it!" Here is where what I know about the dangers of over-eating must be put into practice and the tough decision of saying "no" made. And so the inward battle begins.  I say, "I just can't refuse that luscious piece of pie." But if I want to get at a healthier weight, I JUST SIMPLY MUST! I won't die if I don't have that extra pie. It'll be for my greater good if I refuse. And so the process of becoming healthier proves an excruciating process to make the tough choice. It's agony! It IS and Paul says the same when it comes to the Christian life. Listen to him: "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). And Peter adds: "Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2). Further, the writer of Hebrews intensifies all this by saying "let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus... You have not yet resisted  to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin..." It is most fashionable these days to extol "unmerited grace" and to apply it to Christian living. God's marvelous "unmerited grace" saves us. It completely saves us from the guilt and penalty of sin. It guarantees eternal life. All this is gloriously true! But when we proceed to think that we engage in daily Christian living merely by pleading the "unmerited grace" that saved us, we set ourselves up to easily confess our daily sins (no big deal), seemingly making everything right with God (after all we're saved all by grace and eternally safe), and then go back to living the same old way. After all, we're saved and safe. In this belief there are no "works" requirement for the daily life of living for Jesus. But Scripture says, yes there are! "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" The apostle Paul, after extolling a salvation which is by grace alone, plus nothing, proceeds to challenge all of us with these words: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10). We're not saved BY good works but we are saved UNTO them. 

I think that the Scriptures teach that the unmerited grace that saves us from sin and hell, and makes us perfect in Christ, continues with us for the battle of the Christian life but is coupled with our efforts to do the wrestling, running, the putting on of the armor and engaging in the fight so clearly presented in many places in the New Testament. In other words, we must distinguish between salvation's unmerited grace and a merited grace, or cooperative grace whereby we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. In a sense, Christian living is one-hundred per cent God, but 100 per cent the Christian. And so, Paul enjoins us with these words: "work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).

If we do not believe in a merited kind of grace for Christian living and assume that the free and unmerited grace of salvation will somehow carry us through, how will we explain the following passage that predicates God's favors upon our behavior? 

"The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His ordinances were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also  blameless with Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes. With the kind You show Yourself kind; With the blameless You show Yourself blameless; With the pure You show Yourself pure, and with the crooked You show Yourself astute" Psalm 18:20-26). 

This seems to say that there is indeed a merited grace God bestows on those who diligently pursue His ways. 

And so I think it must be concluded that while initially saved by unmerited grace alone, there exists for Christian living an interplay between His enabling provisions of grace and our obedient responses thereunto. "If you love me, keep my commands." The unmerited grace of salvation is bestowed once for all when a sinner believes in Jesus Christ while the unmerited/merited grace of the daily Christian walk continues until the believer sees Christ. Therefore, the worm waits while the chrysalis with time emerges with exquisite beauty, even that of Christ Himself. 

dick d. christen

September 23, 2017

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE PERSON GOD USES....

When God chooses to use people for His purposes, He also divinely enables them. A key agent with which He does this is the person and power of the Holy Spirit.

And so it was when He selected Saul to be the first king of Israel. When Saul's kingship failed it wasn't God's fault, it was Saul who disregarded the Spirit and walked willfully and disobediently in his own way. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ but can be quenched and grieved whereby the divine enablement, so graciously given, is ineffectual. The 'new person' may quickly revert to the old self.

The prophet Samuel uniquely appointed Saul to be the king, sent him on his way, and among other supernatural indicators, he promised that at a certain location the prophets of God would be present and a most miraculous thing would take place. Here is what Samuel prophesied: 

"Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man" (1 Samuel 
210:6). 

Here are a few observations:

1. Doing God's bidding necessitates God's enabling grace. Mere humans, in and of themselves, can't do what God orders. Christians can't live 'the life' on their own. And so, He freely gives His servants all things pertaining to life and godliness. In faith and obedience we must avail ourselves of them. And, talk about the extraordinary!  He even gives the presence of the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit Himself. How meager and foolish ever to attempt to live for and serve God in our own strength.

2. God in no way skimps when giving His servants what they need. The Spirit came "mightily" upon Saul. When Saul failed, he could never blame God. It was his own rebellious heart that led him away. He listened to his inner voice (as many advise today) and failed to hearken to God's. Are we not also prone in the same way?

3. What happened to Saul happened publicly. Others were present and immediately recognized the divine nature of the occasion. Ponder the 'public' nature of being a Christian. We confess Jesus before others, go to a public house of worship, are publicly baptized and obediently participate in the church administered ordinances, and, among other such visible activities, are instructed not to be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

4. The work of God must always be in concert with the Word of God. Saul would prophecy. He would handle the very words of the Almighty. He would be communicated to by God Himself and would share those messages with others. Love must always rejoice in the truth. The purposes of God and His daily guidance are communicated through His words of truth. Today, the Bible is God's authoritative Book for all faith and practice. It is replete in and of itself. 

5. Saul would be changed into another man. He would become a new creature. He now was divinely indwelt and enabled. His entire being was sanctified for God's service. The man from a lowly family in Benjamin now was the leader of God's nation on earth. He was transformed from chasing animals to leading God's chosen ones. 

In each of these observations Saul undoubtedly marveled. He sensed how special was his appointment and so proceeded to do the work.

But chapter 15 of 1 Samuel spells out his downfall. He pitted his will against the will of God. God expects attention to the details of His plan. Every word is important. Saul, in a seemingly insignificant way disobeyed. All he did was leave out the word "all." When he went against the enemy, God said "utterly destroy all." He failed due to his own human reasoning. Great was his fall and disgrace. In his own strength he faltered, became murderous, turned to a witch for answers and proceeded down and down to a ignominious death. 

Lesson: Get serious about God's purposes and determine to do God's work in God's enabling grace. Beware of the inbred obstinacy of the fallen human will and its foolish disregard for God's will and enabling grace to live for Him. How are the mighty fallen! The paths of history are strewn with the wrecks of such failures. No one of us is above such disaster and therefore need to submit fully to God, do this moment by moment, to put on the whole armor of God and ever watch and pray that we will not enter into temptation. 

The evidence of saving faith is not how much you believe but how well we behave. The key to the Christian life is OBEDIENCE. Hereby the world sees Jesus in us, the new you!

rc

September 22, 2017

LITTLE IS MUCH?


My all-time favorite non-Biblical quote is: THE EXCELLENCE OF A CIRCLE LIES IN ITS ROUNDNESS, NOT ITS BIGNESS.

This insightful statement counters America's obsessive notion that to be "the best" it must be full of hype, bigness, unlimited upsurge and growth, higher numbers, noisy crowds and even bigger plans for the future. I’ve read of large multi-billion dollar corporations that lose a few million and panic. And the Church follows suit. Big is always better and spells success. And so, dissatisfaction is subtly implanted in the soul if the institution isn't booming. We begin to always feel sub this or that. But, strange as it may seem, sometimes smaller means better. Back door revivals often have very positive effects. It's refreshing when quality trumps quantity. 

Think about this: If the Lord said He had 'much' people in Corinth ("I have much people in this city" - Acts 18:10), might this possibly mean that in another place He may have just a few? And if so, for the most part, do not 'results' expectations need to be adjusted accordingly? This may comfort small church pastors who are always bombarded with the notion that 'big is always better.' 

Read the parables again. Matthew 13 extols the relatively poor yield of LITTLE seed sown (only one-fourth of the seed sown succeeds), the surprising outcome of the TINY mustard seed and the all-permeating effect of SILENT yeast. Reading these stories cause us to ask: do we really believe that little is much if God is in it? At the same time we acknowledge that big is great too IF God is in it and it is not mere worldly hype or the result to employing crowd psychology methodology.  Jesus did minister to great crowds.

Now, let me remind us of four 'LITTLE', but significant things in Proverbs. They all teach us wisdom:

“There be four things which are little creatures upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise”: 

"The ANTS are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer" (THE WISDOM OF PREPARATION)

The CONIES (small rabbit like creatures) are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks" (THE WISDOM OF ASSOCIATION)

"The LOCUSTS have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands"(THE WISDOM OF COOPERATION)

"The SPIDER taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces."(THE WISDOM OF DETERMINATION) 
- Proverbs 30:24-28

September 13, 2017

THE ALMIGHTY UPHOLDS LITTLE ME?


In HANNAH'S PRAYER she insightfully says, "For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, And He set the world on them" (1 Samuel 2:8c). All things are upheld by the Word of His power! His supernatural pillars can not be seen by the human eye, rather, only by the eyes of faith. He's got the whole world in His hands. He says so! It is so! The same with a believing life, any life. The next phrase in her prayer says, "He keeps the feet of His godly ones" (v9a). Walk with God and be comforted, feel safe and secure!  😀

dc

September 06, 2017

IN THE FIRST PLACE, MARRIAGE IS GOD'S IDEA.....


CHRISTIANS, when contemplating marriage,  should not look around for a partner, but should intently look up, asking God Himself for his or her partner. 

Marriage is of God! It is His idea. Remember, He said it is not good for a man to be alone. And so, He performed the world's first surgery, took a rib from the man and made for him a wife. Doesn't it make sense therefore that before all other callings, a man is first of all called to be a husband. This, of course, if in any given life, it is God's will for marriage. It makes all the sense in the world to ardently ask God, the inventor of marriage, for His choice of a mate. We often have not, or discover we have the wrong partner, because we failed to seek God's will and earnestly wait on Him! If this is the case, it is no reason, in and of itself, to terminate such a union. Two have become one! We just have to 'make do' with second best, otherwise the ripping and agonies of divorce will be experienced. God specializes in bringing beauty out of ashes, victory out of defeat and our foolish 'second best' choices.

To bring out the full meaning of God's mandate for marriage, it was Matthew Henry who first said, "The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, not out of his feet to be trampled on by him; but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected, and hear his heart to be loved."

Ephesians 5:24-33 serves as a key marital passage in God's Word. Married folks need to read it regularly and discover again and again God's key watchwords for the husband and for the wife. They should ponder them and put them into practice. They do work! 


Love is the man's key word, a love that selflessly gives and gives. God's kind of husband lovingly and faithfully tends to his partner through thick and thin (no pun intended). Unfortunately too many men possess a macho, 'I'm the boss,' 'serve me, I'm the king around here' attitude that tragically counters God's way. Such a man and his marriage will falter. 

Submission, is the wife's term. This denotes a humble heart that respects, as much as is possible, even a flawed husband. 

Locked in these words are the secrets for a successful relationship. For the man it is a love like that of Christ Himself for the Church (ponder that!). Much sacrifice is required. 

For the woman, it is a submission that is a 'built-in carry-over' from Genesis where, after the fall, God said, "Yet your desire (Hb. teshuqah meaning 'longing.') will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). Even a very strong woman, while not curtailing her God-given abilities, must maintain a spirit of acquiescence toward 'her man.' 

Husband sir, don't mistakenly define love! It's a real nitty-gritty, giving, serving quality that comes from the heart but expresses itself even in the most menial matters of life. A man who thinks love is just romance and sex will struggle with what God mandates. 

And, madam wife, don't fight what God has ingrained in the very DNA of every woman. You need men. You may be superior in many ways but they are physically stronger and have abilities you will never possess, let alone God's mandate as 'head chief.' Frustratingly today's women lib groups try ever so hard to bypass what God has decreed domestically, not that abuse and unfair advantage shouldn't be opposed in all areas of life. It is always amusing that some women who are very vocal about equal pay and perks nevertheless still want men to open the door for them, treat them like queens and bow to their every wish and fancy. If you insist upon absolute equality, open your own door, fix your own coffee, paint your own house, mow your own lawn and repair your own car engine. 

The Amplified version brings out the deep meaning in the concluding verse of the above mentioned passage (Ephesians 5:24-33): "However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]" (Ephesians 5:33). The word in the Greek for the wife respecting and reverencing her husband is isphobeo, meaning "to put to flight, to terrify, frighten or to fear." Smile! I didn't write that, God did. It's the same fear enjoined upon us toward God. We fear Him in the sense of being awestruck and respecting him. Toward a spouse, a woman is to do this even though every man is obviously full of shortcomings and worse. Surely, there are no perfect men. But, even as God wants us to respect a political leader, even though in disagreement, so a godly wife will honor a husband, at the very least for the God-given authority place in him. At the same time a Christian husband will  ever attempt to earn that submission. 


The husband's word in the Greek is agapao which pertains more to an action than a feeling. It is a noble word describing Christ's love that caused Him to suffer and die for sinners. The husband is to love like that? This is the epitome of a selfless, giving, sacrificing and serving kind of love, a love supremely attentive no matter the circumstances. If a woman has a man like this, she will die to love, honor and obey him.

Both requirements for the wife and husband are carried out in day by day experience only by the power of the Holy Spirit. For Christians a supernatural enabling grace is absolutely essential to carry out these ideals. Therefore, walking closely with God or "in the Spirit" must precede expected success. God has provided the resources needed; Christians must diligently pursue them. When the spouses fall short they must humbly acknowledge such, confess the same to each other and to God, and beseech the Lord for strength to behave as He has ordered. If they do, then it won't be reported that divorce is as common in the Church as it is in the world. This is why every successful marriage is always a triangle: a man, a woman and God.

dick christen

August 09, 2017

BEAUTY IS ONLY SKIN DEEP... OR, IS IT?


First, I want to state clearly that there are scores of very discreet women in this world who are godly and who dress pleasingly to the Lord. I've been privileged to have met and worked with many such through decades of pastoring. However (and here I go getting to the purpose of this paper), on the other hand, too many prance around, primping, mirror-gazing and seem woefully lacking in any pursuit of the Bible's ideal, namely, that of prioritizing a quality known as inner beauty. They may not know it, but it's more obvious than they think. Their very body language gives them away. They strut as if on a world stage to which all fixedly gaze but are sadly and carnally sucked in by their alluring and warped self perception. But, be that as it may,  thank God for others,  who, with humble bearing, dress modestly, forego the stage strut, put away their obsession with mirrors and behave in a lady-like manner. For any guy looking for a wife, this latter type should be the preferred kind. Of course guys would easily say that both outer and inner beauty are the perfect combination, if in the same package. But if not, should not just inner beauty  be preferred?  Such will be the preference of a man who is both sensible and spiritually sensitive.   

Phillip, a 16 year old New York State guy, once remarked, "What really bothers me about girls is that they often say, 'Why can't guys just like me for who I am, rather than for my body?' And then, they dress like they want the guys to look at their bodies. Wearing tight jeans and shirts isn't the best thing to do when you want guys to stop looking at your bodies. Try dressing modestly."

Considering the observable fact that the female gender is so beautifully designed by its Creator, THE BIBLE (which has much to say about sex, appearance, lust, etc.) plainly instructs the often-gazed-upon female this way: It assumes the gaze saying "...as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God" (1 Peter 3:2,3). 

A lady's "adornment" (Greek kosmos = the world), that is her world with which she is preoccupied, the sphere in which she spends much time, ought not to be overly concerned with the "merely external." There is nothing wrong with 'dressin' up all fancy like and lookin' pretty,' but, if that is with what a girl or woman is obsessively preoccupied, then a correction is vitally necessary. Of course, the world system of fashion, does a robust business emphasizing the mere outer appearance. Therefore, a female desiring to please the Lord is at once faced with overwhelming odds. 

But, a Christian should be very attentive to God's idea of beauty. He looks on the heart, not just mere outward 'looks.' A follower of Jesus should strive for the same mind-set. 

A sixteen year old New Jersey girl once said, "Recently, one boy said that if girls want to be liked for who they are (and not what their bodies look like), they should 'try dressing modestly.'" Then, with a smarty remarked she continued, "Excuse me! Clothing is a person's signature of individual freedom. If a girl wears 'tight jeans and shirts,' does that give guys license to harass her? I think not. Any female should have the right to wear what she wants, free of harassment." Then she continued, "I don't understand how, in this day and age, guys are still saying the same old thing. This reminds me of the rapists who give the excuse that the woman, the victim, was asking for it. Everyone is responsible for his/her own comments and actions. Please respect one another's body and soul." 

What? Is this gal serious? The first question in the Bible is "Am I my brother's (sister's) keeper? The rest of the Bible says MOST CERTAINLY, YES! Early on a concerted and hopefully parental  effort must be made to thoroughly educate girls about the opposite sex. I say the process needs to start early, quite a bit sooner than many think.  Far too many are way too naive about this. They think such information is ingrained at birth, but a good sitting down and frank information session on what makes the male gender tick and the female perk cannot be overly stressed. Girls need to understand the male drive and libido. The degree differs in males but can in many cases be extremely powerful. Jesus talked about men being eunuchs, some born that way, others made that way (as in the case of a slave), and yet others voluntarily making themselves such for the sake of a worthwhile cause. But such are the exception.  In other words, the libido force ranges from zero (the born eunuch) all the way to one-hundred. Now, a woman's libido can fit anywhere on a similar scale. The point I'm trying to make is this: Given the power of the sexual drive in most of us, don't we have a responsibility to NOT unnecessarily or carelessly stir up that drive in the opposite sex? And if we do, don't we bear some of the responsibility, at least, for any aberrant behavior on the part of the other? Common sense, let alone Scripture, clearly says, "Yes."

So, in conclusion, this Bible injunction needs to be heeded by both sexes: "make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts" (Romans 13:14). Such "provision" which stirs up lust should be made neither by the guy or the gal, not only in behalf of themselves but for the sake of the others too.

Dear girls and women, you are God's beautiful creation, and SMART. Be well informed on these matters and behave accordingly. 

Once there were eleven people (10 men and 1 woman) hanging onto a rope that came down from a helicopter. The rope started to fray so it was agreed that one person should let go; if not, then the rope would break and everyone would die. No one could decide who should let go. So finally, the woman gave a really touching speech. She said she would give up her life to save theirs because women were used to giving up things for their husbands and children and since men were the superior sex, they must be saved.

When she finished speaking, all of the men clapped. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A WOMAN!

dick christen

August 07, 2017

A LINE OF REASONING FOR A LIFE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS...


I've developed this line of reasoning...... God speaks, we obey and such is an act of righteousness. Such an action sets us apart and that 'set-apartness' is our personal holiness. God greatly desires us to be 'different' or holy. This is contrast with the world around. Righteousness is the action; holiness the resulting 'state.' The sum total of many actions of righteousness (taking God at His Word and acting accordingly) results in a reputation of holiness. Romans 6:15-19 seems to support this. Paul sums up the passage saying "... so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification" (19d). Distinction made. No wonder "the righteous Lord loveth righteousness." He wants us in practice to be holy as He is holy. Therefore, "obedience" is the key to the Christian life. I must hear His Word, fear God, and behave as He desires. (Read Proverbs 2 where this is outlined as the way to wisdom.) And so we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, all the while deeply grateful for our steadfast position of righteousness IN Christ Jesus. At salvation the believer has imputed or credited to him the righteousness of God IN Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21..."He (the Father) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." In daily practice the believer in Christ is to practice the above line of reasoning for the sake of a life of righteousness BY Christ Jesus. He is more than willing to give the strength needed to so walk. What a salvation! 

August 01, 2017

WHEN 'THE BAD' TRIES TO SUCK US IN...


A PROVERB... Proverbs 1:10

"My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent." 

When evil powers attempt to 'suck us in' (and they are enticingly strong) we must enrelentingly resist! The way to do this is to so grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord that God's power in us triumphantly offsets the allurements of sinners and sin all around us. By God's power we can say "NO!" The vacuuming powers of evil cannot ingest solid objects of righteousness. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord,  and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10).

-Dick D. Christen

June 29, 2017

ABIDING TRUTHS IN JOHN 3:16


ABIDING TRUTHS IN JOHN 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

(Below, the parentheses are mine, explaining the wealth of abiding truths packed into this familiar verse. Ponder each point made.)

“For God (GOD’S DEITY)…
so loved (LOVE’S INTENSITY) 
so loved (SALVATION’S CHARITY)…
the world, (THE PLAN’S IMMENSITY)…
that he gave (GOD’S GRATUITY)…
his only son, (THE GIFT’S SINGULARITY)…
that whoever (THE OFFER’S AVAILABILITY)…
believes (THE SINNER’S RESPONSIBILITY)…
should not perish (THE BELIEVER’S SURETY)…
but have eternal life.” (SALVATION’S ETERNALITY)

     NOTES:
-       The verse begins high and ends high – God and eternal life – but in between delivers us from the lowest depths of sin. Psalm 40:2 expresses it well: “He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.”

-       God’s reservoir of love, though expressed intensely, never diminishes in capacity. Man-made reservoirs all diminish with usage. Such must be refilled. But God's reservoir level remains constant even when drawn upon.  And so, we teach our children to sing, “YES Jesus loves me…”


-       The IMMENSITY of our INIQUITY is far more match by the INTENSITY of His CHARITY.

-       AGAPAO in the Greek can be rendered “love” but perhaps, using older English, the word “charity” is better suited. AGAPE love is not mere emotion or feeling. It rather is a calculated response that pours from the mind and heart to address the need of someone else. It is more action than feeling. It does! It acts! Its objective is the well-being of its subject. Does not “charity” befit this more than “love?” Sadly,“love” has been reduced to mere emotion or sex in today’s world.

-       God giving His ONLY son, Jesus, is reminiscent of Abraham taking his son, Isaac, to mount Moriah and being willing to offer him up to God, as God had commanded. What faith! Often God’s instructions go contrary to what we deem right and proper, even contrary to what elsewhere He tells us. But, deep faith does what He says and expects Him to cover the situation, never going contrary to His own Word. And God never fails!

-       The Amplified Bible brings out various word shadings which enrich our understanding of the verse:

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life” (John 3:16).

When Jesus saves a sinner that sinner “shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost).” When truly saved the believing sinner is most certainly secure, saved for time and eternity. Jesus promised such security when He said, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never lose it or perish throughout the ages. [To all eternity they shall never by any means be destroyed.] And no one is able to snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28 – Amplified Bible).

                    More secure is no one ever,
                    Than the loved ones of the Savior.
                    Not yon star on high abiding,
                    Nor the bird in home-nest hiding.


-Dick D. Christen