As an Old Testament believer, if you wanted to be touched by God, you would bring a lamb to the Temple. There, the priests would carefully inspect and scrutinize it for any spot or blemish. It was not the worshiper who was judged. It was the lamb. Herein lays a fabulous truth. You see, I can be guided by the Father tonight; I can be led by the Father tomorrow. I can expect to receive abundant life. I can look forward to His blessing upon me and upon my family. I can trust He will anoint my head with oil, that He will take care of the predators who are coming out to get me, that He will lead me through the valley of darkness.
I can expect a table set before me: I can expect to truly fellowship with God — not because of my spotlessness, but because the Lamb has been inspected and found perfect. Worthy is the Lamb. I can receive blessing tonight not because I’ve come to church, not because I’ve read fifteen chapters in my Bible, not because I didn’t watch television. I enjoy the blessing of God upon my life solely because of the Lamb. “I lay down My life,” Jesus said. He didn’t say, you better lay down your life if you expect to be blessed.
While it is true that He would call us in discipleship to take up our cross daily and follow Him, my entry into the presence of the Father is not based upon who I am, what I do, or what I failed to do. It is based upon who He is, what He did on the Cross, and in the tomb. The Shepherd became a Lamb that we dumb sheep might know the Shepherd. Worthy indeed is the Lamb! He made it all possible!
“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.“ (John 10:17-18 KJV)Read More
In October of 1978, on the 33rd anniversary of the completion of the Bridge of the River Kwai, Dennis Roland of New York and his former guard, Ryuji, walked together arm in arm, over the black, steel-girded span. Said Roland: “I bear no bitterness [toward the Japanese], but I have many memories.”
Although it was not part of his plan, at Calvary rebellious man constructed a bridge. In crucifying the Son of God, man had a part in building the “new and living way” to God. Now all of us, whether we are Greek or Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, you or me, can walk together across that bridge.
“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;” (Ephesians 2:14 KJV)Read More
A little girl walking in a garden noticed a particularly beautiful flower. She admired its beauty and enjoyed its fragrance. “It’s so pretty!” she exclaimed. As she gazed on it, her eyes followed the stem down to the soil in which it grew. “This flower is too pretty to be planted in such dirt!” she cried. So she pulled it up by its roots and ran to the water faucet to wash away the soil. It wasn’t long until the flower wilted and died.
When the gardener saw what the little girl had done, he exclaimed, “You have destroyed my finest plant!”
“I’m sorry, but I didn’t like it in that dirt,” she said.
The gardener replied, “I chose that spot and mixed the soil because I knew that only there could it grow to be a beautiful flower.”
Often we murmur because of the circumstances into which God has “sovereignaly” placed us. We fail to realize that He is using our pressures, trials, and difficulties to bring us to a new degree of spiritual beauty.
“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.” (John 4:35-38 KJV)Read More
A thoughtless young woman in Scotland was one day invited by an acquaintance to accompany her to a Moody and Sankey meeting. She declined to go, but on being further pressed, consented and went. She was not impressed by anything she heard in the course of the meeting. Indeed, she thought there was nothing in it,” and wondered why they should make so much ado about what seemed so common place.
The last hymn, “Yet There Is Room,” was being sung by Mr. Sankey alone. He had reached the last stanza: “Ere night that gate may close, and seal thy doom, Then the last long cry, No room, no room! No room, no room! Oh, woeful cry, No room!”
These last words of Dr. Bonar’s hymn fell upon the ears of the young woman like a sudden thunder clap she left the meeting, but the words went with her. “No room, no room!” still rang in her ears.
Conscience awoke at the sound of this warning bell. Nor could she rest until as she trusts, she found rest in the great Redeemer – Have you?
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” (2 Timothy 1:8-9 KJV)Read More
Hey guys! What’s up?” I said as three young men came strolling towards me through the darkness. The smell of the Marijuana that they were smoking was nearly overpowering.
“I would like to invite you guys to join me for a Bible study this Sunday afternoon in the gym of the Care Center right behind the Pizza Hut at Washington and Rural. It’s a great place to get those important questions answered like, ‘Where are we going to go when we die,’ and ‘How should we live while we are here.’ What do you think?”
Ivan, Louis, and Raymond were interested. A guy telling them about the Bible was probably the last thing that was on their minds. Less than a block away, police were arresting a group of young men. The sounds of the city night were all around, and church and spiritual things seemed worlds away. However, it is into this world of darkness that we are called, and it is here that the light shines the brightest.
I remember as a young fellow, around 10 years old, that my folks took me to the Oregon Caves at Cave Junction. There was an eerie feeling about the place; cold, damp, and DARK! We continued to go down deeper into the ground until we came to a great big room about the size of the Gold Beach High School gym.
The guide explained all the interesting things about caverns . . . then, he said he wanted to show us something more. Folks, I was already scared; what more could he scare me with?
He proceeded to explain the power of “light.” He was going to shut off the lights . . . Right! It was already too dark! Then, he was going to strike a match and light up the whole room…uh-huh, yeh!
He did. That match illuminated that whole room, I kid you not; you could see every nook and cranny . . . even the far walls of that big room. What “power” that little match had!
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 KJV)
Have a nice day with your “flashlights.”Read More
The Bible is the Book of the Ages – It’s Majesty is too grand for hasty observation.
Taking a few minutes each day to read a chapter is a good way to start. But we should also block out extended periods of time for exploring God’s Word and reflecting on what He is saying to us. The importance of spending much time with something of great value and beauty is illustrated by a quote from the National Geographic magazine about Carl Sharsmith, an 81 year old guide in Yosemite National Park.
“Carl was back at his tent quarters after a long afternoon with tourists. His nose was flaked white and red with sunburn; his eyes were watery, partly from age but also from hearing again an old question after a half century of summers in California’s Yosemite National Park. A lady tourist had hit him with a question where it hurt: “I’ve only got an hour to spend at Yosemite,” she declared. “What should I do? Where should I go?”
The old naturalist-interpreter-ranger finally found voice to reply. “Ah, lady, only an hour.” He repeated it slowly. “I suppose that if I had only an hour to spend at Yosemite, I’d just walk over there by the river and sit down and cry.”
A whole lifetime is not long enough to appreciate fully the beauty and learning and value of the Bible. That’s why we must take time to study its truths and make them real in our lives. Consider this:
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31 KJV)Read More
An elderly woman stood on a busy street corner, hesitant to cross because there was no traffic signal. As she waited, a gentleman came up beside her and asked, “May I cross over with you?” Relieved, she thanked him and took his arm.
The path they took was anything but safe. The man seemed to be confused as they dodged traffic and walked in a zig-zag pattern across the street. “You almost got us killed!” the woman exclaimed in anger when they finally reached the curb. “You walk like you’re blind!”
“I am,” he replied. “That’s why I asked if I could cross with you.”
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?” (Luke 6:38-39 KJV)
Do you, too, have the “Goods” – “Don’t leave home without them!”Read More
Henry Ford is credited with saying, “Cut your own wood and you warm yourself twice.” What he meant was that the man who chops his own firewood not only enjoys the heat from the logs burning in his fireplace, but he also gets physically warmed from the exercise involved in his labor.
If you really want to enjoy your Bible, you should “cut your own wood” by studying things for yourself. Check the cross references, look up the meaning of key words, and ask God to show you how the passage on which you are meditating applies to your life. The truth you discover for yourself in the Word will have a fresh, new flavor. Are you “cutting you own wood?”
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)Read More
For a good many years we have wondered why Christ mixed His figures in His parable of the Good Shepherd. At one place He calls Himself the Shepherd and at another the Door.
A traveler in Palestine once had a conversation with a shepherd at work near a sheepfold who showed him the various features of the fold. Thereupon the traveler remarked: “You say, here is the sheepfold, there are the sheep, and this is the doorway; but where is the door?
“The door?” asked the shepherd. “I am the door. I lie across the entrance at night. No sheep can pass out, no wolf can come in, except over my body.” “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:7,9 KJV)
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” (John 10:11,14 KJV)
Beautiful, isn’t it? Christ did not mix His figures after all. He is both the Shepherd and the Door.Read More
Clem the cat came home after eight years of being who knows where. A homeowner in Bancroft, Wisconsin, said he heard a cat meowing on the front porch. When he opened the door, a big, long-haired, gray male cat walked in, checked things out, began purring, and then jumped up on his favorite chair. Family members couldn’t believe their eyes. But when they compared the cat to pictures taken eight years earlier, they could only conclude that Clem the cat had come home.
What remarkable homing instincts God has given to some animals! On a spiritual level, why is it that the backslidden child of God seems to have less? Why do we in our rebellion show less sense than the animals?
“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 KJV)
Did you notice the all in this passage? It is “all inclusive!”Read More