Tag Archives: spiritual

APRIL 20 – The Blessedness of Unity


APRIL 20 – The Blessedness of Unity

Psalm 133:1  A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 

2  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 

3  As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. 

Unity, often discussed, difficult to attain. Unity is so important in the work of the Lord. There are times where dis-unity causes the work of God to be hindered. Unity promotes and encourages the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We should be united in Sentiment. Sentiment is a tender feeling or emotion for others that are engaged in the work of the Lord. It is that part of mankind where joy is shared by all and death is mourned together and those that leave our union brings great sadness. This sentiment is coupled with a union of feeling. This feeling brings a confidence among those that are in union. When we are in union with sentiment and feeling, we will be united in effort. When we are united in effort, the Lord’s work will be accomplished.

Church union is very important. The Church must be united in the teachings of the Scriptures. We must agree on core doctrines that relate to God, Jesus, and the Church. Without this union on Scripture, there is division which hinders the work. Unity is strength. Where there is unity there is strength to do the work. Unity brings happiness. When all are pulling the yoke together we have a unity of purpose that brings us together to pursue a goal. Where there is unity, there is love. A love that overshadows the work that is done for the Lord. Through all of the discussions on God, Church, and Doctrine, we should have unity even in our disagreements.

May we unite for the sake of the work of the Lord.

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APRIL 19 – Listen, Pay Attention


APRIL 19 – Listen, Pay Attention

II Chronicles 20:15  And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 

What would we hear if we would listen to God? I mean that in reading His inspired Word that He has given us we would really see the message that God has for us. We often fight our battles without the help of the Lord. We are alone and on our own battling others and situations in a weak manner because we have made this battle, this altercation, this misunderstanding a battle that we personally take on.

Judah, Jerusalem and the king were in dire straits. Enemies had come up against them. Several enemies were aligned against God’s people. Because of fear, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord and proclaimed a fast in Judah. This brought Judah to the altar to seek the Lord. Here are the people admitting to God that they did not have the might to defeat their enemies. We need to learn to admit that we are powerless against the enemies that face us. We do not need to face them alone. We need to call upon God for help. We need to turn our eyes, our hearts, and our minds upon the Lord from whom we have salvation.

This is where the Lord said, “…the battle is not yours, but God’s. What peace we will have if we turn these things over to God. There are times I have worried and paced over a problem or situation and did not find an answer or peace and simply turned it over to the Lord. Then peace came because God always has the answer.

What God did is such an amazing thing. God won the battle without involving Israel. He turned the enemies against each other. They destroyed themselves. Israel sang praises to God during the self-destruction of their enemies. They among the dead and gathered the spoil and the riches of the fallen.

Here is what God said: You don’t need to fight, stand still, see the salvation of the Lord. Jehoshaphat said to the people, “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”

We need to learn the battle is the Lord’s. Give it to Him. We need to learn to witness and allow God to convict. The Battle is the Lord’s.

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APRIL 18 – Prosperity


APRIL 18 – Prosperity

2Chronicles 26:4  And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. 

5  And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper. 

How often today we hear of prosperity from the pulpit and the people. It is only natural for the ungodly to seek the money that most people consider prosperity. Some align themselves, in a religious manner, with prosperity being wealth and health. God’s Word addresses prosperity in II Chronicles 26. Here we find the story of Uzziah when he is made king. It is said of Uzziah that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord. This is a tremendous commendation for a person to have. “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” Now here is the commendation from God. “… God made him to prosper.”

What does that mean? In what way did God make him prosper? The inspired word says that he “prospered in warriors.’ He prospered in battles. He prospered in building protection for the cities. He invented machines for the protection of the cities. He prospered in digging wells to sustain the people. I do not see anything about health or wealth and prosperity in this chapter. His prosperity was in caring and protecting the people.

Sometimes the benevolence and prosperity that God shows toward His people bring about a change in them. The Scriptures say that when he was strong his heart was lifted up. He had a moral failing called pride. What a terrible thing pride causes us to become. Because of his pride, he intruded in the office of the priests. He, apparently decided that he would burn incense upon the altar. What could possibly be the attitude here? Surely God would not reject my worship. Certainly, God looks upon my heart and sees my intent that I do this to worship Him and He will accept it. The pride fooled the mind of Uzziah and hid his eyes to the truth that God had prescribed a way for the incense to be offered and proscribed any other way.

The high priest and fourscore priests of the Lord withstood him. God punishes those that allow pride to cause them to sin against the plan and instructions of God. The king became a leper and was a leper till he died. Leprosy was a disease that called for a person to be ostracized from others. A Godly man that was made to proper in several areas of life was punished by God with a heinous disease.

God hates pride. God will punish pride. Let us prosper in the Lord, not health, even though we want good health, not in wealth, even though we want to pay our bills, but in obedience to God and helping others.

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APRIL 17 – An Ensign


APRIL 17 – An Ensign

Num_2:2  Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.

Whose child are you? This is a very important question today. Who is your father? What family do you belong to? Who do you associate with? Who do you obey? Do you carry the family name proudly or do you give cause to bring shame upon the name of your family?

It appears that some lose their way and forget the family. They have lost track of their family values. That is why the Lord has an ensign, a flag, a standard so that those that see can recognize where the family should be. I have seen those that have been involved with a different family and then find out that family was not what it seemed to be on the surface. Then they have to cast around to find that familiar ensign or standard and thereby find their family again.

We know the Lord’s standard and the Church that He personally built while here on this earth. Our national flag of the United States is very distinctive. In the left upper corner, there is a field of blue with white stars. The rest of the flag has horizontal alternating red and white stripes. The Lord’s ensign or standard is also very distinctive. It is the Church that teaches, believes, and practices what the Lord has given it as an identification. These are:

1. Salvation by grace through faith only. Nothing more and nothing less. Ephesians 2:8,9.

2. Once saved, always saved. Salvation is based entirely upon Jesus and his shed blood. Hebrews 10:10; Romans 5:9; Hebrews 9:12 – Eternal redemption.

3 Local visible Church only. Philemon 1:2 Church in thy house. Galatians 1:2 – Churches (plural) of Galatia. I Corinthians 1:2 – Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth.

4. Baptism; Scriptural authority, Scriptural Candidate, Scriptural mode. Authority was given to the Church – Matt. 28:19,20. Scriptural candidate -Acts 8:36-39, Luke 3:7-9 Fruits meats for repentance. Show me you have repented. Scriptural Mode. – Immersion like being buried in the earth. Mark 1:9-11

5. Lord’s Supper restricted to that local church membership only. I Corinthians 1:2-13. Shows church discipline by putting outside the church membership to deny them the Lord’s Supper.

We have an ensign or standard that the Lord has given us. He gave us these things purposefully. The Lord’s people have gone into captivity because they have ignored the ensign or standard that has been given to us. Their captivity is the ignorance that blinds them to the ensign or signs of truth. Isaiah 5:26 says that God will lift up His ensign after his people have been scattered because of their unfaithfulness and will hiss and the people will come. Isaiah 11:10 speaks of the stem of Jesse that will reign during the thousand years and His ensign the Gentiles shall seek and the rest of the Lord shall be glorious.

Are you in the family of God. Jesus told Nicodemus, “ye must be born again.” John 3:3. You must be born into the family of God. If you have been born again, are you as close to the ensign as you can be? Are you following the truths of Gods Word faithfully? Our overwhelming desire should be to follow as close as we can the truths delivered to us.

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THE PLACE OF LAW AND GRACE


THE PLACE OF LAW AND GRACE

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Oil and water do not mix. But, they would mix before law and grace would do so. A question was posed about Exodus 23:3, 6, “Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause,” and “Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.” Does this mean that poor people should be exempt from any law based on their socio-economic status? Following is my reply.
It is my studied opinion that Israel is here commanded to be “straight shooters” under the terms of the Mosaic Law. That is, the poor man was not to be excused simply because he was poor, and the judgment against him was definitely not to be skewed in his disfavor. Now consider contextual meaning as well.
These verses are the initiation of Law to Israel, the covenant people of God. It was vitally important that they learn (and we as well from them) the difference between sin and righteousness, and just how completely righteous God is and how completely sinful man is. This law then became our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, and to His grace, Paul argues in Galatians 3:24-25.
However, the law and the prophets were until John (the Baptist) Luke 16:16. Jesus said they must be fulfilled, Luke 24:44, and He did so according to Matthew 5:18; Col. 2:14-17. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came to us by Christ Jesus, John 1:17. Grace does not mean that the law was not righteous, quite the contrary. Covenants may change, but principles do not.
Law is Law! It is commandment plus penalty. If either is absent, the law is not in play. It cannot be injected with anything else and still be law. But, it is recognized that some cases tried by the medium of courts of law may either merit or demand mercy. But, when mercy is injected, it negates law and creates grace. Grace is what Jesus is all about. He as The God-man met each and every demand of Law. He fulfilled it to the very jot and tittle, and offers to us not the punishment of law which we deserve, (and by which God’s standard will always remain) but, His own righteousness by grace through faith.
Moreover, just as the law cannot be injected with anything else and remain law, so it is with grace. It is ludicrous to seek to maintain grace through law. This is the trouble the churches of Galatia got into, and which Paul addressed in his epistle by their name. After all, the law was not given to righteous people, but for sinners. By it, they could understand their lost condition, and their inability to do anything about it except through grace.
That mercy and grace should rule whenever possible among the affairs of men is underscored repeatedly in Jesus’ teachings, especially in Matthew 18:21-3

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APRIL 15 – Weakened Hands


APRIL 15 Weakened Hands

Ezra 4:4  Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, 

5  And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. 

How often do we allow the world to weaken our hands when it comes to the work of the Lord. There are so many things that can be used to slow the work of the Lord and delay what we should be doing. Friends, family, and even enemies can weaken the will of man. The work is then slowed or stopped completely.

This plan has never changed. Satan will use what is at hand to deter the work of the Lord. He will use conflict. This conflict can be a Church member that stands in the way. There are some phrases that are used. “We have never done it that way before.” Maybe the term, “that is too expensive.” How about, “that way has never produced results.” Most pastors have run up against these excuses and some Church members have heard them and a few have used these excuses to weaken the hands that are involved in the Lord’s work.

Satan will use family and friends to disrupt the work of the Lord. If family and friends are not as committed to the Lord’s work as you are, they can seriously weaken the hands. There are emergencies that come up that can keep you away from the service of the Lord. A chore that can be used to keep you away from a worship service or dealing with the lost. Loved ones can easily divert us from the work for the Lord by different demands made on our time.

The enemy, the stranger, and those that have worldly pursuits can weaken the hands. They can stand against the work of the Lord. There is a constant attempt to limit and eliminate the possibility to share the gospel in public areas. The ridicule of the world is often intimidating to God’s people. The World will attack any effort. The world will give every reason for not serving the Lord. They will never give up.

Some of our churches are not growing because they have given up. They have been discouraged. Some have been charter members that have worked for years and are now tired. We must never give up. We need to encourage each other. Let us trust in the process and the method the Lord has given us. We must never give up. The Lord will strengthen us.

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APRIL 14 – Pastors of the World


APRIL 14 – Pastors of the World

2Chronicles 13:10  But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the LORD, are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business: 

Here is a conflict between Judah and Israel. This conflict is between the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. This conflict is between paganism and the true worship of God. This conflict is between worshiping God in the way He desires or worshiping God the way we desire. This represents our present-day conflict. Continually there are true Churches that wander off into will worship and keep moving farther and farther away from the true worship of God.

Notice how this verse lays everything out. “The Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken Him.” Numbers 26:61 – “And Nadab and Abihu died when they offered strange fire before the Lord.” They only changed one little item. With all the laws and commandments that were given, who would have thought that the source of the fire would make any difference? What difference does it make that the Ark was carried on a cart? Yet a man died because of it. Messing with the worship of God is serious business. Here are three men that made a life and death decision. Sadly, their life was required of them because of their decision.

We talk about ways, means, and methods. Nadab and Abihu had a different method. Carrying the Ark in a cart was a different method. What harm could come with this new method? I personally believe that God’s knows how he wants to be worshiped. I also believe that God knows how He wants to go to the lost. I also God blesses His way and Satan blesses his way.

We are not to be pastors of the world nor are we called to pastor the world. We are called to pastor the flock that has been called out of the world. We are called to win them and not woo them. We are called to baptize them and teach them. I believe in driving them deep into the Rock. There have been times that I have called a Church that a missionary had just left. I wanted to talk to them about the empty pulpit. As I questioned them, I asked the group of men on the other end if they could describe to me what a Biblical Church was. They did not know what I was talking about. Teach, teach, teach all things. It is so needed. Win the lost and TEACH.

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APRIL 12 – Whom Shall I Send


APRIL 12 – Whom Shall I Send

Isaiah 6:8  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 

The Lord calls men to serve him to speak to a wicked and adulterous people. Isaiah heard the voice of God. God apparently was speaking to himself. Notice “I” is singular and then “us” which is more than one. Isaiah said that he heard. How many hear the call of God to service and never answer the call? There are many excuses for not serving. None are acceptable to God.

We see that Isaiah knew exactly what he was in the eyes of a righteous and holy God. His declaration, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.” He recognized his wickedness and unworthiness to serve. There are none that are worthy to serve God. We find that God will equip those that He calls. The Seraphim with the coal cleansed and prepared Isaiah for service. God cleanses and prepares those that He calls to step out in faith to the service that He has prepared that man to do.

Notice the terms,”go for us.” The idea is to go. Sounds like the Great Commission. “God to all the world and preach the gospel.” Those that are called are not called to settle in a place and do nothing. They are called to go. Some have ensconced themselves so firmly in their community that their response is, “I will go anywhere within fifty miles of my home. Isaiah’s response was,”Here am I; send me. Notice the wording here. “Send me.” No limitations are put upon God. The implication is, I will go where you send me. We are not called to sit with folded hands Sunday after Sunday listening to the message of the pastor. We are called to go and “tell this people, Hear ye indeed but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.”

We are called to set aside family, occupation, and familiar things and go.

How about you? Will you go where the Lord sends you?

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APRIL 11 – Man’s Inventions


APRIL 11 – Man’s Inventions

Ecclesiastes 7:29  Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. 

Man was created. He was not birthed in the beginning and he did not evolve. Man was created in innocence. He had not committed sin and did not know sin. He was upright in stature and practice of living. It is mans own invention that brought sin into this world. Man is responsible for his own failings because he trusted himself when confronted with the sin of disobeying God. We are the same today. We are a rebellious and disobedient people ready to turn away from the path God has given us and chose a path of sure destruction.

What are our inventions? A way of salvation that is not God’s way. It is the way of mans own thoughts and imaginations. Never forget that salvation is by grace through faith plus nothing that man can do. Baptism is a pictorial ordinance that shows the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and identifies us with Christ. It has no part of salvation but does show obedience. Man has devised a preferred baptism that is convenient and does not show anything related to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Man has invented a Lord’s Supper that knows not the design nor the purpose of this ordinance. There are some “so-called churches” today that have so marred the Bible doctrines that they can no longer be recognized as Bible doctrine.

Man’s inventions have led us so far away from the Word of God that only lip-service is rendered. Man has even invented new ways of “persuading converts” through entertainment and persuasion. They now are making converts that are condemned to the abyss of hell because it is lip service to salvation because of persuasion. The Holy Spirit is not involved but the salesmanship and entertainment that is bringing into contact with religion, yet they have never been convicted and repented.

God’s way has always been better.

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DROSS ON THE CROWN JEWELS OF ENGLAND


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
DROSS ON THE CROWN JEWELS OF ENGLAND

The crown jewels of England are sometimes referenced as the wealth of stability to royalty, and in some measure, to the country itself. I suppose it may be compared to Fort Knox in the U.S. Most have seen pictures of the vast supply of gold bars in the vaults of Ft. Knox, but have never been there to see it in reality. Although the currency of the U.S. is no longer backed by gold, its presence remains a stabilizing factor in the economy.
However, the crown jewels of England, while stored in the Tower of London under heavy guard and extremely thick walls, are treated differently. They are the possession of the state and are loaned to royalty for special events. As a matter of fact, pieces are often carried out for special purposes quite regularly.
It was the privilege of my wife and me to view a large display of those jewels. The occasion did not produce wonder or lust, rather an amazement, and some disappointment. Not being all that familiar with the precious metals and gems, their value could only be appreciated in words of the guide. The five to eight-pound crowns seemed extravagant nonsense, and so highly impractical. That certain crowns had been worn by ancient monarchs put some people in awe; to the rest of us it was “so?” A virtual mountain of silver and gold would not have excited me too much. However, one thing was apparent: the pure content of silver and gold by an occasional film of dross. It was a reminder that, after all, those things are mere elements of this world, and they will pass away.
On the other hand, there is silver and gold that will not pass away. It is the silver and gold of a righteous life. Paul spoke to the church of the Living God at Corinth about this treasure of life in I Corinthians 3:16-19. It is the silver, gold, and precious stones that will survive the judgment fires of God in the day that all of us face: the Judgment Seat of Christ. In that day everything unrighteous will be the victim of Holy Fire as will all else, but what survives the fire is not wood, hay, stubble (unrighteous deeds) but gold, silver and precious stones (righteous acts of life).
In that judgment fire, another great benefit is realized. The gold, silver, and precious stones have all the dross removed: not for a little while to then recollect it, but forever. What a day that will be!
God made a promise to His people through the prophet Isaiah says, “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away thy tin:” While He spoke of things He would create on the condition of their repentance, He has made much greater and brighter promises to us concerning the day when He will take all our dross away! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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