FEBRUARY 21 -– Raising up faithfulness
1Sa 2:35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.
Every generation sees a period of unfaithfulness. It can be very discouraging. God is saying here that the priests have left the God approved way of service. Some would say that they simply changed their methods. Yet we find that God is truly particular about the way the priests served Him. We see the worship of Jeroboam rejected along with the attraction of the golden calves that drew the people and gave them an icon to kneel to.
Through out history, we find this happening. The Waldensians, at the beginning, had articles of faith like ours. After much persecution we find that later articles of faith had changed in some doctrines. Our own nation has gone through several periods of moving away from man of the ways of worship and the doctrines established by the Bible. This comes from man’s desire to have an “impact” where they are are.
We have been called to preach the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to convict and draw. God said “I will raise mu up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which in in mine heart and in my mind. We are to pursue the mind of God and His will and His way of worship and winning the lost. If we do it wrong we will be cut off just as Hophni and Phinehas was cut off.
We are called by God. We are to be separated from the world. We are work God’s way.
FEBRUARY 20 – Redeemed
Psalm 31:5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
We like to speak of being redeemed in the area of being saved. Truly redemption of a lost person has everything to do with being saved. I am so pleased to have been redeemed from the penalty of sin. I have been set on a new path. My inheritance is heaven where Jesus has gone before me to prepare a place, a mansion for me. A place where the paving material is not asphalt but is pure gold. In this case David had already been saved and therefore this usage of redemption does not fit this passage.
Jesus uttered these words as He hung on the cross in Luke 23:46. “… Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit …” David uses this term as expressing his unshaken confidence in God. He rests on God’s faithfulness to His promises to His people. This is not the time of his departure from this earthly abode. What was David’s meaning when he uttered these words?
David was speaking of where he puts his trust and his deliverance. He was speaking of his life as he lived it at that time. His interest was deliverance from his enemies. He is calling to God to deliver him from his enemies. You and I face many enemies in this present world. Some present themselves as friends yet try to undo what we try to do for the Lord. We must labor for the Master. We will find enemies that hate us yet we must serve and that is why our prayer should be, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit…” We should acknowledge that our life has been redeemed from our enemy.
Have you been redeemed by the blood of the lamb? As you live this life of service to the Lord, do you see His work redeeming you from the enemy?
William Andrew Dillard
UNEQUALLY YOKED A NO—NO!
In Old Testament Law, a number of commandments were written that cause modern men to scratch their head. However, they make perfect sense when considering that those things were types and shadows of the will of God for His people in New Testament times. Consider with me one such instance.
Deuteronomy 22:10 commands, “Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.” This is not an uncommon occurrence in third world countries presently. Does God pity the ox or the ass for enduring unequal yokefellows or is it said for our sakes. Perhaps a better understanding of it is revealed in specific New Testament passages such as 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:. . .” This is usually taught to mean that believers should not be married to unbelievers (which is a good thing) but doubtless greater applications are intended, as is clarified in 1 Cor. 7:12-13. The marriage yoke should not be broken if all else is compatible.
What is specifically meant is written in terms that need not be misunderstood. The context of the verse is written to the church of the Living God at Corinth, and is to be interpreted in church context. Believers in the faith once delivered to the saints are not to be yoked together with those who not only fail to believe said faith, but vehemently reject many of the tenants of it. In short, true New Testament churches should not be co-laborers with those of unlike faith, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness: or what communion does light have with darkness? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? ( 2 Cor. 6:14-16 paraphrased).
Baptist churches are NOT Protestant churches. They have never been associated with Rome, nor will they ever be. But they can go astray as did the small group of them that created the Roman Catholic church, preferring to be married to the Roman Empire than to be separated to the Lord Jesus Christ.
True churches stand or fall in relationship to their creator and founder by how they embrace or lay aside the tenants of the faith once delivered to the saints. One of the quickest ways to fall is to esteem that faith of little value or as a roadblock to progress with other unlike religious organizations in the community.
Returning to 2 Cor. 6, the conclusion is inescapable. God says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” May two walk together in disagreement? To disregard God’s Word for the fellowship of others who disregard it, is to fly in the face of the Creator! To submit to an unequal yoke is a NO –NO!
FEBRUARY 19 – What is Holiness
Psa 29:1 A Psalm of David. Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Holiness is God’s nature or character. The Bible idea of Divine Holiness is perfect moral and spiritual excellence which is summed up by I John 1:5 – This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Our holiness is not of us but of God. It begins with our Consecration, our dedication and devotion to God. In this sense, things, places, times, ceremonies, as well as persons, are spoken of in the Old Testament as “holy to the Lord.” The ground around the burning bush was considered Holy as long as God’s presence was manifested there. Those utensils consecrated for service to God in the tabernacle and temple were Holy because of their purpose of service. I find it interesting that what man chose, such as high places, strange fire, and golden calves were never called Holy. Only the things where God’s presence resided were considered Holy.
Man has been called to be holy. That holiness God has called us to imitate. We cannot do that without becoming a new creature in Christ with new desires and new longings. To be holy means we need a personal purity, righteousness, goodness and true holiness requires us to be like God. Our acknowledgment that we are sinful like Isaiah said of himself in Isaiah 6:1-6 is the first step to holiness. Our adorning should be as in I Peter 3:4 – “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
God does care about our holiness. Let us strive to be holy.
FEBRUARY 18 – Wait upon the Lord
Psa 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Does this imply confident expectation. One writer put it this way. “Wait at his door with prayer; wait at his foot with humility; wait at his table with service; wait at his window with expectancy.” There is never a request to wait upon the Lord in idleness.
Waiting on the Lord is busy while we wait for His guidance. Many things we have plain instruction that we can be busy with while we wait for specific direction from God in certain particulars. He will not fail us in His goodness to us or His guidance for us. God has His time for all things. “The Preacher” in Ecclesiastes says, “there is a time for everything.”
Knowing to wait on the Lord means we should show courage. There will be a direction and a task to be done. Our courage will will be increased because the promise is He shall strengthen thine heart. In our day and age great courage is needed. God will strengthen our heart for work He has for us.
To be in the Lords’ will, we must wait on Him.
FEBRUARY 17 – Where is Your Trust
Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
Where is your trust? Men have a problem in this area. We seem to trust in ourselves before we go to God. I do believe we have been created in a way that we think we can handle situations. Only in failure and at wits end do we seek the face and wisdom of God. The verse following says “They are brought down and fallen ….” Trusting the strength of our own arm is sure failure.
We must remember the name of the Lord. We must consider all of His attributes and promises. Everyone knows that God is love. Do you also know that He is a God of anger and jealousy. Remember He is our Rock, and He is Holy. He is El-Roi, the one that sees us. There is a list of names that represent Gods’ descriptive Characteristics. Why do we wait until we are desperate to call upon Him?
It is time to not trust in ourselves and turn to God. Let us do it early. Begin our day by putting that day in the hands of our Lord. Each great undertaking should be prefaced with prayer to the One that wants our success by depending on Him. May we set aside our great plans to attract and influence people and put our trust in God that a word about Christ well spoken and the scripture of Gospel will be blessed by God.
Trust God that He will accomplish great things by us using His Word.
FEBRUARY 16 – Understanding Hearts
1 Kings 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
An understanding heart is what is needed today. To often we are critical without understanding the desire of God or understanding the situation that has occurred. I am not suggesting that we let sin slide without proper measure. I am suggesting that we are too presumptuous sometimes.
An understanding heart seeks God and the will of God. When we understand the will of God and apply His law and judgments we then discern between good and evil. This understanding heart will seek the knowledge needed to correctly handle a problem or situation.
An understanding heart seeks wisdom from above to make application here on earth. Our actions with our loved ones and friends and others need to be “seasoned with grace” and applied with the “salve of love.” How often we harm instead of heal.
Let us, like Solomon, pray for an understanding heart.
FEBRUARY 15 – My Feet are established
Psa 18:33 He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.
Psa 18:36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.
When I allow God to order my steps, then am I on safe ground and do not slip. What David has compared us to is the swiftness and sureness of a hind. When I follow the path, the truths and the ways of God, I am safe.
Notice the comparison implied here. There are those four footed beasts that climb steep mountains. They have that ability to put their hind feet upon the same safe and secure place that the front feet have already proven. They can climb to great heights of security. In the race they are very swift in pursuing or being pursued.
We have been given everything we need to pursue our enemies. The Word of God has laid out our path for us. We should never stray from it. It is our safety. Swift and sure to the battle we are engaged in. God has enlarged our steps under us. God has given a bit of latitude to keep us save and secure. Our enlarged steps get us to the heights. A place of safety. A place of security. A place of Victory.
May we order out steps in the path the Lord has provided for us.
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
In the many regions of the United States, there are extremely few buildings that would compete with the awesomeness of a great cathedral. Truly, most are large, bedecked with stained glass windows, a pipe organ, and other trappings of religious luxury. But, a cathedral, often a century or more in the erection, extends its unique architectural power to arrest attention. It has been my pleasure to visit such massive structures in the eastern part of the U. S., England, Mexico, Canada, etc. The painstaking details of construction, and the massiveness of it all consistently impressed me.
However, memories of a visit to the Washington D.C. Cathedral dominate my thinking. The great sanctuary would not hold nearly as many as smaller mega-church buildings that dot the country, but the great height of the structure and the echo of footsteps on marble flooring, the quaintness of the environment with pulpit to one side and massive pipe organ were a sight to experience. It was in such an environment as this that an aged woman spoke up from her group to inquire in a high-pitched voice that seemed to echo extra well, “Has anybody been saved here lately?” Well, had you been there, you could have heard a pin drop. But the guide quickly recovered and spoke about other things that he knew a little about.
My question to the guide of our group: “Who owns and operates this cathedral?” was ignored two different times. I suppose that was easy enough to do since I was not in front of the group, but anyone who knows me knows my voice is not weak. So, a little later, and closer to the guide, the question was posed again. It was fairly apparent that it was not in Catholic hands.
With great reluctance, the guide revealed that it was owned and operated by the Episcopal Church, but was quick to add that it was not built as an outreach facility of the Episcopal movement, but for important services including religeo/political ones. Understanding that I may have touched a nerve, the topic was not pursued further.
Here then is the apex of the manifestations of religious men far afield from the evangelical enterprise Jesus gave to His New Testament church, and the baptism, and teaching of the Word that is to be their constant, age-long activity. To Bible students, impressions of the cathedral were confined to the architectural structure, and not to what went on inside. .
As one reads the messages of Jesus to the churches in early Revelation, it should give pause to think that what happened to the Temple in Jerusalem, to other religious movements may be happening to the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ when adequate provisions for the saints to meet together to worship and study are razed for bigger and better to attract a lost world. Let the question then fall on spiritual ears: “Has anyone been saved here lately?” Is New Testament truth taught here?
FEBRUARY 14 – DELIVERANCE
II Samuel 22: 18 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.
What would be considered our strong enemy? What hinders us from serving the Lord?
That would be our strong enemy. The Lord is ready to deliver you from your strong enemy. Enemies hinder and pursue us. Enemies cause us not serve the Lord. Many are hindered in their service because Satan the enemy has put an obstacle in their path.
One enemy is lack of knowledge. We should have a sincere desire to study to show ourselves approved unto God. A lack of knowledge (as my father would say) sticks out like a sore thumb. I have witnessed some that are very mature Christians and yet have witnessed some that have attended Church for many years that could not present the scripture to show someone how to be saved.
Another enemy is pre-occupation with the world. We schedule God out of our week. People so involved in other activities, they have no time for God or the Church. Schedule a revival and ask the Church members to clear their calendar to attend and some never show up because the world is more appealing than being revived or see souls saved.
Another enemy is our lifestyle. The King James Bible calls our lifestyle, conversation. This is very appropriate usage because we converse to others what we truly are and what is most important to us. We communicate to a lost and dying world that the world is more important than their lost soul.
Money can be an enemy. Family can be an enemy. Anything that separates us from service is an enemy.
God can deliver us from our strongest enemy.