“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” Romans 8:37.
Early Christians suffered persecution to the highest degree, many of them paid with their lives. No doubt, Paul was writing to those who had witnessed some of this suffering and death to encourage them to remain brave and faithful to Jesus Christ. This encouragement rings through the ages.
Paul used a good word to describe who we are in Jesus Christ—conquerors. Even though Christ has already won the battle, we have a purpose and position. We are both defensive and offensive soldiers of the cross. We are conquistadors through Christ, yet, we are more than mere militia. Our job is to proclaim the message of good news to the world and defend the faith against false teaching until death (Phil. 1:7; Jude 3).
Like all faithful soldiers, our full payment will come at the end of our tour of duty. It will be a reward like no other on earth. Waiting for each and every soldier of the cross are a crown and white robe, a mansion and golden streets, banquets with singing, rejoicing and worshiping at the feet of the King of kings and Lord of lords! Sound the battle cry!
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17).
“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil,” John 17:15.
Early one bright and clear morning, the freckled-faced boy looked down at his poor, helpless, old dog. The dog had been his faithful companion for as long as he could remember, and, now, he had come to the end of his life. “Davy,” he said as he stroked the old dog’s whitened face, “I’m going to tell you the story my Sunday School teacher told us yesterday. It made me feel good and I hope it does the same for you.” Quietly, the aged dog lay still, for there was love and comfort in his boy’s voice.
In the innocent voice of the young boy, he began, “Jesus was about to go away and leave the good friends He had made on earth. He was sad to leave them but happy He had done what His Father had asked Him to do. One cool, quiet evening in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed for His friends. He asked God to keep them from evil. Davy, I know you love me because you kept me from stepping on that rattler two years ago, and you always walk me down the drive to catch the bus and wait for me to get home. Jesus loves His friends even more than that, Davy. He loved them so much that He prayed for them before He died to save them.” With that old Davy died.
Tears streamed down the boy’s face as he bowed his head and thanked the Lord for making dogs like Davy and for praying for boys like himself.
Yes, my friend, Jesus loves you so much He prayed for you even before you were born.
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved,” Psalm 55:22.
The stooped man moved slowly but steadily down the road toward his home. At the end of the poles, balanced on each shoulder, were buckets filled with the essential water his household needed for the day. The task would be repeated every day until he grew so old he could no longer bear the weight of the water. Then, one day a man came to the village and taught them how to dig a well. Now, water was abundant for every household. The man, however, could choose not to use the well and continue the laborious task of carrying water. On the other hand, what honor is there in carrying unnecessary burdens on one’s shoulders? There is none.
Likewise, Jesus offers to relieve us of our burdens. Trials and troubles are heavy when we try to carry them; they bow us over, cause sleepless nights and form worry wrinkles on our faces. Who wants wrinkles? Instead, we can pray telling Jesus our problems, who takes them to the Father. The Father is touched by our infirmities and answers them according to His will (Heb. 4:15).
Often, instead of leaving our burdens with the Father, we pick them up again, straining needlessly under the weight. Through our actions we say to Him, I do not believe you can help me, my faith is weak in Your ability to carry my burdens.
When we carry our own burdens, trials and troubles, we forfeit the opportunity for blessings and steal the opportunity for Jesus to be glorified.
1 Corinthians 3:18-23
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness,” 1 Corinthians 3:19.
God is a friend of wisdom and truth. He is not against science, chemistry, mathematics or medicine. True wisdom leads us to God.
Wilson A. Bentley, known as the Snowflake Man or Snowflake Bentley, became interested in snowflakes at the young age of fourteen. He studied them for nearly fifty years, and as an adult photographed, cataloged and wrote scientific articles that were published in countless magazines and scientific journals. In his study of snowflakes, Mr. Bentley concluded that, to the best of his knowledge, no snowflake “was an exact duplicate of any other snowflake!” (adding) “With profound humility, we acknowledge that the Great Designer is incomparable and unapproachable in the infinite prodigality and beauty of His works. Under the microscope I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty. The sheer scope of creation that fills us with praise for the Creator, when examining snowflakes, the wonders of God’s handiwork are to be found in the tiniest details of all He has made.”
Sadly, much of the wisdom of this present world denies that God exists. Why? They choose not to believe in Him. This false belief makes them the most foolish of all people.
Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail (Job 38:22).
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted,” Galatians 6:1.
There is an important book in the glove compartment of your vehicle. It is called the owner’s manual. Automobile manufacturers discovered that they could prevent many problems if they would provide new owners a troubleshooting/maintenance guidebook. I use mine twice a year to reset the clock.
God has provided us a manual, the Bible, for everyday use. Sometimes, we skip over the parts we do not need at the moment, but they are there when needed. The Bible has instructions and helps for every situation. Some pertain to individual believers, to pastors and others to a church as a whole.
God’s children have not reached perfection. Suddenly, without notice, one can find himself falling headlong over a stumbling block placed by Satan. Therefore, He inspired Paul to teach them membership management. The instructions found in Galatians 6:1 are for restoring church members to the fellowship of a church.
Most of the time no one plans on sinning, it happens when a person makes a wrong choice. When a fellow member gets caught up in sin, spiritually mature Christians are to go to them prayerfully, privately and respectfully to offer love and spiritual counseling.
Restoration is always the goal of the spiritual leaders in a church when a brother lets sins overtake him.
“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul,” Proverbs 29:17.
Children are a gift from God, but their behavior, at times, imitates Satan. That is why they need teaching, training and corrective discipline. Most often, parents are the ones whom children look to for guidance in these areas. But, our societal pendulum has swung toward friendship with our children rather than parenting. Parenting requires one to be a responsible adult, friendship does not.
It is God who gives parents the job of parenting their children. If they neglect this responsibility to teach, train and discipline, they and their children will suffer greatly. Discipline can graciously prevent false ideas that lead a child to self-destruction.
While there is no guarantee that children will always listen and follow their parent’s biblical training (training and discipline are interchangeable concepts), it does provide a good foundation for life. That foundation can be layered on by a sound biblical church and thoughtfully and thoroughly studied Sunday School lessons.
Parents do not want their children to suffer unnecessarily, but suffering is necessary on occasion to change the direction of certain harmful behaviors. As adults, they will be thankful for the moment of pain which possibly saved them from a lifetime of trouble.
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame (Prov. 29:15).
Author - William Andrew Dillard
Parson To Person
God is so wonderful! He has done everything necessary for sinful men to be eternally saved spiritually, and to achieve salvation of the mind-life (proper maturity in understanding and employing biblical instructions) as His will is so plainly expressed in I Timothy 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
Somewhere along the long line of history evangelism has taken on a new, but manmade, reduced meaning. Still, the true meaning of the term must be understood from the biblical presentation of it in action, and there is no shortage of that.
A few select instances are herewith cited. New Testament work is built upon repentance from sins in obedience to God, followed by receiving heaven’s authorized baptism. This was begun by John the Baptist, and placed in His church by Jesus Himself. All the disciples of Jesus received it, including our Lord Himself. From that point forward one may note the baptism of Cornelius (Acts 10); the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8); Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9); the Philippian jailer (Acts 16); the group improperly baptized (Acts 19), et., etc.
Deep water immersion of each professed believer was administered as the consistent biblical pattern for that time, and throughout the age. It is still God’s approved method of evangelism.
However, what is now largely assigned to the term “evangelism” is simply leading one to profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. At that point, the person is dropped to join whatever may exist under the broad banner of “Christianity.” whether such movement is scriptural or not or even if they do not practice baptism. This is the injection of man into the Word of God, and that is iniquity. It will not stand in the Day of Judgment. Some will be shocked to learn that they have been led astray, and others will be shocked that their “good” intentions were the source of leading others astray.
Folks, it should be known that “evangelism” is a Greek term that has been transliterated into English rather than translated. The translation of the term is “good news” or “good announcement” Contrary to what many want to believe, the good news or announcement is not simply that men can now be saved. That has been going on since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Rather it is that lost men may continue to be saved, but now be added to the Lord’s church, the executor of the kingdom of heaven, and achieve a high degree of spiritual maturity under the tutorial leadership of the Holy Spirit given to it. Such will enable those so exercised to rule and to reign with Christ in the upcoming millennial reign. To short-change true, biblical evangelism is to cheat men out of this grand opportunity.
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts,” James 4:3.
This is not one of those, “Why God Blesses Some and Not Others” explanatory devotionals; that is far above my pay grade. If you have a few moments, please look with me at the godly reasons it does not benefit us in eternity to gain certain pleasures on this earth.
Many, many lives have been disrupted because of the selfishness of self-indulgence or lustful extravagance. As a result, families have been destroyed, lives have been lost, marriages dissolved, children broken, and that is only the beginning. God loves families. He created the institution of marriage and blessed it with the ability to multiply. Lustful desire disrupts God plan.
When is enough, enough? Many of today’s homes are built with closets the size of bedrooms. They are bulging with the latest fashions that next year must be replaced. Or, how about those adult toys—boats, four-wheelers, trucks and RVs—that clog our driveways and fill our extra garages? One only needs to travel to a village in a foreign country to see firsthand how we live extravagantly. In the end, there will be no closets or garages in Heaven—or hell!
Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Tim. 6:6).
“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not,” Proverbs 1:10.
At the moment, the rain fell lightly over the road. Earlier it had been raining heavily. Through the broken glass the light showers kissed the pale cheeks of the teen girl and boy. The tires continued to spin, as if they were still moving on the road, but, instead, were immobile as they faced skyward.
The evening started off with laughter at their friend’s house, then, as the evening progressed many of the teens became stoned, drunk or both.
In the wreckage, the young couple were barely breathing, still unaware of their situation as moments of their lives flashed through their minds. The boy remembered the pleadings of his father not to fall prey to the influence of drugs or alcohol and he promised his father he would not. The girl recalled the godly influence of her parents but because she wanted to be accepted by her friends, she disregarded their Christian values for false popularity.
Although this particular story is imaginary, a similar one is repeated much too often by youth and adults alike. While not everyone’s life gone astray ends in an accident, it is, however, a disaster waiting to happen. Ask anyone in a rehabilitation facility if he meant for his life to succumb to the influence of friends who really did not care, ones who were not really friends.
My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path (Prov. 1:15).