Clean Vessels That Shine


il_fullxfull_352306612_4qk8“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:25-26)

I have been busy washing the siding on our house.  It has been several years since I last did this, and there is some algae growth on it.  Many times we are all about keeping the outside clean.  What about what happens on the inside?  Our Lord often challenged the Scribes and Pharisees who were all about appearances concerning their keeping the inside clean as well as the outside clean.

As children of God, we need to keep close to our Lord Jesus so that instead of others seeing us and how wonderful we look on the outside, most of us try anyway to be clean and presentable, we should also pay attention to the heart so that when others look at us they see the Lord Jesus Christ shining through our good works toward others as we serve Him.

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

Instead of promoting our greatness as the Publican who prayed about how great he thought he was, we should rather be humbled and clean before the Lord so that we can shine for His glory.  What is important to Christ should be important to us!  He wants us to be more than presentable on the outside.  We need also to be clean from the inside out.  If we are rightly related to our Lord, He will be seen in us as we show forth His righteousness instead of trying to impress others by how great we look on the outside or what great accomplishments we have.  Our houses (vessels where we live) need to be clean on the inside as well the outside.

 

As his Master


ImageDisplayThe disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. Luke 6:40

Christ is our greatest pattern, and He taught by His example. Many followed Him in His ministry but at different levels. Our Sunday school class is studying the Life of Christ. A recent lesson was on being a disciple of Christ. Discipleship comes from following Christ – to be as his Master. The lesson taught that there are three levels to discipleship – curiosity, conviction, and commitment. Curiosity – many that followed were amazed and astonished at his teaching. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: Matthew 7:28. Conviction – some took another step in discipleship and took a stand for Christ. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:16. Commitment – this step comes with maturity and grows out of conviction. We then can become the disciple that is as his Master. It takes an investment of our lives to be that committed disciple – just as Christ invested His life when He died on the cross. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27. Are you curious, convicted or committed? A disciple – as his Master!

Anywhere with Jesus I Can Safely Go


tr-travel-smart-ff-miles-608 Whether discussing missions at home or missions in a foreign country, Hebrews 13 contains many principles with which we can find strength and comfort.

1) We can trust Christ because He is worthy.

We can be without covetousness because we can be content in Christ – He is always with us, and He is our Helper.

Verse 6 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

He is always the same and never changes.

Verse 8“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

 He suffered and died for us.

Verse 12“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.”

He is the Great Shepherd who gave us life.

Verse 20“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”

2) We should serve Christ no matter the cost.

Verse 3“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

 He is our Helper, so we have no need to fear.

Verse 6“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” 

We should be willing to suffer for Him.

Verse 13 “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.”

We should praise God and give Him thanks.  

Verse 15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

Even if things are difficult, we can still have joy in Him.

 3) We must remember them in bonds.

Verse 3“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

We should pray for those who are suffering.

Verse 18“Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.”

We should pray that they may be released and that persecution can be lifted.

Verse 19“But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.”Trusting Christ, serving Christ, and remembering the afflicted are all ways we can practically apply Hebrews 13 to our personal lives as missionaries for Him.

Trusting Christ, serving Christ, and remembering the afflicted are all ways we can practically apply Hebrews 13 to our personal lives as missionaries for Him.

 

Where God Guides, He Provides!


godprovidesDeputation for any missionary is a time to see the Lord do amazing things in our lives as He prepares us for the mission field.  I know that God has already worked out all the details to accomplish His will in my life and get me to England at the perfect time according to His plan.  Although I don’t know all those details yet, I can trust a God who promises to care for me.  I have often been reminded by a prayer partner of mine that “where God guides, He provides!”  What a blessed promise and truth from His Word.  I am thankful that God reassures me of His protection and provision for my life every step of the way.  My job is to trust Him as I follow His plan!  Whose plan are you following today?  If it’s the Lord’s plan for you, are you trusting Him to provide as you follow Him?

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Faith


faith“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

God does not desire a blind, unfounded faith, but a faith grounded upon what He has exposed to us, enlightening us by His Word.

Psalm 119:105 speaks of His Word as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths.  The lamp was generally a small hand held pottery lamp which held a small amount of oil and a wick.  This lamp provided enough light for the bearer to see about six feet or so around him not enough to run but to walk safely about.

So it is with His Word, giving us enough to walk by faith.

Habakkuk 2:4 … the just shall live by faith

Romans 5:1 … being justified by faith

Heb. 11 … The faith chapter.

How merciful is God?


mercymorning              In Psalm 107, we read how God delivers men from many situations.  The Psalm starts off focusing on how we should thank God for His long suffering mercies.  In our lives, we will face many trials and hardships.  It is then that we can plead with our Lord for mercy.  God is SO good, that He never leaves us alone!

vs. 6  “Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.”

Praise the LORD that in trouble, He hears us!  He will deliver us!

vs. 13  “Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.”

In our work, we get frustrated and distressed, but He will save us out!  Hallelujah!

vs. 19  “Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.”

We bring suffering upon our own lives because of sin.  But if we cry to Him, He will bring us out!

vs. 28  “Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.”

When life is beating us down, we can turn to God, and He will bring us out!  Amen!

We cannot neglect the need to thank and praise our God for His goodness and mercy.  Four times in this Psalm this sentence is found:

“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

God deserves and expects us to take the time to thank Him for all He does for us.  It is not a suggestion, it is necessary.  By thanking God, we are admitting that we couldn’t do it alone; it was God that did it or delivered us.  We need to praise God in order to humble ourselves.

The chapter ends with this advice:

“Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”

Turning to the Lord in trouble is smart.  But, one who wants to be wise, will not only seek the Lord’s help in trouble, but will remember to praise and thank God for all He has brought him through.  When we remember to give honor to the One whom honor is due, we will begin to see how merciful God is to us every day.

Every Remembrance


Memories are heartbeats that linger through the years, Echoes never fading of our smiles and of our tears. Life is such a collection of memories that we share, A happiness inside us that will always be found there. –Author Unknown

untitled“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,” Philippians 1:3.

The great missionary, Paul, was writing back to one of his churches. Paul had a close relationship with the church at Philippi. They were his brothers and sisters in Christ. My husband and I speak often of those we love in the Lord whose gift to us among other things is “Great Treasured Memories.” No doubt for all of us “remembrance” is a two way street. Just imagine the memories the Christians at Philippi had of their time with Paul.

“Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:4

Paul gives us three things in verses 4-6 that we should all do or emulate concerning our friends!

  1. He always prayed for them with requests to God and did so in joy.
  2. He rejoiced in their fellowship. (In this case, they gave him gifts) What joy and memories can be achieved through giving! But fellowship can also include those wonderful times of being together. We should all have tons of memories through the local church fellowships “in the Gospel.” The Word is the center of our fellowship!
  3. He expressed confidence that God is working in each life. Paul knew God would complete that work.

I trust you are a person with friends and wonderful memories. Why not reflect for a few moments and be glad and happy with the way God has worked and is working in your life.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:7

 

 

The WORD


imagesGSDS142F“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (I Peter 1:24-25).

“Return to this taproot of truth.  Lean on it.  Start today.  It will hold you up and keep you strong.  When it comes to a ‘final authority’ in life, the Bible measures up.”  (Growing Deep in the Christian Life, p. 66)

Thankfulness


11-23-12-Thankfulness1“…and be ye thankful”

Col.3:15-17 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

As we read through Colossians, we see that Paul encourages his people to put away their sin and to put on God’s righteousness. “…and let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” I understand that this idea of “ruling” is like the job of an official in a ball game. He is the authority. Is God the authority or ruler of your heart? If he is, I believe unity in the body and thankfulness will follow.

Verse 17 leads us back to being thankful! You and I cannot be the examples of Christ that Scripture tells us to be if we are not thankful. We must accept the fact that everything we are and have comes from almighty God. I am so thankful that God burdened a man to search out my lost soul. As a young boy, I watched God work in the hearts of my parents and, eventually, save them as well. What a great God! I could write book about God’s gracious hand on my life. Could you as well?

Today, take some time and reminisce over the path God has worked in your life and give thanks for the great things he hath done. If you cannot see God’s hand through your life, today, right now, accept him as your personal Savior. Watch what he will do if you let him! If you’ve been saved and have taken back control of your life, now is the time to turn it back to him. Don’t fight the Umpire! If you do, you’ll not have peace, and, surely, you’ll not be happy!

A Challenge


C046_AndnowII2“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

I Corinthians 13:13

The final verse of the “Love” chapter in the New Testament is a challenge.  The Holy Spirit packed tons of information into a few short statements concerning this aspect of existence: love (agape).  We could spend page after page seeking to nail down a definition, starting right here in I Corinthians 13 and spreading out to the other passages concerning this topic of agape.  No doubt it would be beneficial, but I am not going to allow you to get off the hook that easily.  I am going to issue you a challenge!  Seek out the definition yourself!

Oh, don’t get all huffy and puffy on me.  Step up to the challenge!  Seek to know your Lord and Savior better through this study, pray to that end, and see the results!  You won’t need much other than time, your Bible, and maybe a concordance.  One of the popular concordances available is Strong’s which probably most people have a copy.  However, if you are one of the new generations and your paper resides inside your phone or tablet or computer, then you can start at this website http://biblehub.com/greek/26.htm.

What do I do?  Glad you asked.  Study the passages of Scripture that concern agape.  Start with the list in the concordance for the individual verses that have the word in it and branch out to the fuller passage to gain context allowing for a better picture of how the term is used.  Go step by step taking the time to study and meditate on each passage.  If you have questions, ask a trusted Godly friend or your Pastor for help.  There are also many commentaries out there readily available.  Just remember, the standard is the Word of God, and it is by that standard that we measure; keeping that which is aligned and discarding that which is not.  This may take you a few days to get through or maybe even longer.  This is a major attribute of our Creator, our Lord, our Savior!  Isn’t it worth it?

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  I John 4:7-8