Archive for August, 2015

16
Aug
15

ON DISPLAY

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may a see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

As a kid growing up, one of my favorite superheroes was the Silver Surfer. He has a series that started in 1968 and ran for a little over a year. One of those issues, Silver Surfer #4, had a very short print run of only 100,000 copies. For collectors, it is a rare treasure to own. Today, you could expect to shell out at least $5 for a complete copy in horrible condition. The record price paid for one is currently $5,700.
As I had more disposable income, I happen to get one in decent shape with a part of the front cover torn out for $20. I was so proud to own such a rare commodity. When one of my comic book buddies would come over, I would show it off, and they would admire it with envy. I loved to put my prized possession on display! As I got older and started selling my comics off, I sold it on a website for over $100.
Jesus was speaking to a large crowd at the Sermon on the Mount when He told them to let their light shine in such a way that their good works were recognized as being inspired by God. He told them to put God on display. My prized possession of Silver Surfer #4 was put on display and others kind of wanted it, too. Our works should be done in such a way that it puts on a proper display of God, and makes others kind of want Him, too.
Let us determine to make our light so shine in order to properly display God to a world who needs Him so much!

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16
Aug
15

THE LONGING FOR OUR REDEEMER

For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27
The first two chapters of Job detail the travail that he has had to endure. He lost all his possessions, including his 10 children. Later, even his health was wiped away as he was stricken with boils so painful that he scraped them with pieces of broken pottery to ease the pain. Because of his contagious affliction, he was forced to remove himself from the inhabitants to live a life of solitude in grief.
Three of his comrades came to comfort him, but when they saw him, the just sat in stunned silence for a solid week. Then they started to rail on him, saying that all his troubles were his own fault – if confessed his sin then God would restore everything. But they did not know of the supernatural battle going on behind the scenes as recorded in the Word of God.
In the verse here, Job is answering one of their arguments. It is interesting that Job first calls God “Redeemer,” especially with the words that follow. We will further explore this thought in the next few paragraphs.
In the Hebrew, “redeemer” is beth av. It refers to the patriarchal society, where the patriarch was responsible for taking in and caring for all the finances of the family. The whole family lived in “The Father’s House.” The patriarch’s brothers, sisters, wife, children, daughters-in-law, and other orphaned members lived under his tent, and he provided for all their needs. If one of them got themselves in financial trouble, or one of them was lost, then it was the patriarch’s responsibility to pay off the debt (no matter how much it was), or to get and retrieve the lost member. Remember when Lot was kidnapped and Abraham went to war to get him back? That is the same idea. In short, the redeemer/beth av was the provider and the rescuer at any cost.
Job sees God here as his own personal beth av. And he has a special revelation that one day, he would eventually be redeemed by his beth av. But not only that, Job knew that he would see God “in my flesh,” and that he was to see Him “for myself, and my eyes shall behold.” He believed that his own eventual redemption would come when he saw the Lord in heaven with his newly created body, although he did know that God planned on restoring everything to him many times over.
But to see God in heaven, “How my heart yearns within me!” Job did not have much to which he could cling, but he did have that promise of eternal life. We today have that same hope, which causes us to cry out, “Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!”  

15
Aug
15

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.Isaiah 6:3
In this vision of Isaiah, he is allowed to see the glory of God as He is surrounded by seraphim who cry out to testify of the Lord’s holiness, while the foundations shake and smoke fills the room. This Hebrew word qadosh literally means “holy” or “sacred.” But is is important to get a clearer picture of what “holy” really means.
First, to be holy means to be perfect. Psalm 18:30 says, “As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.” It seems that this verse challenges us and stresses to us that we are to see His “way,” or His directed path for us, is perfect. There is no other viable way to follow.
Next, to be holy means to be pure. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure (1 John 3:3).” To be pure means to be free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind, like pure gold has no contaminates. This verse stresses that not only is His way perfect, as in the previous verse, but that God is the embodiment of purity: “He IS pure.” As we place our hope in the pure God, we purify ourselves, because He puts us through trials to make us like pure gold (Job 23:10), more like Himself.
Last, to be holy means to be The Proclaimer. As God is the creator of the universe and everything in it (John 1:3). Since He is the creator, He has the justification and the right to set the standard and declare what is right and what is wrong. Psalm 12:6 says that “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” Seven is the number of completeness – His words are completely pure and reliable. Then the Scripture also reiterates that “Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him” (Proverbs 30:5).
Notice the phrase “He is a shield” coupled with “He is a buckler.” It would be fair to say that He is also our Protector.
Let us meditate on the pure, perfect, proclaimer, and protector God who is absolute in His holiness. And He still loves us so…

13
Aug
15

COMIC BOOK CON

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Romans 6:1-8
Growing up as a kid I loved to read comic books. My mom hated the idea, but dad had a little softer heart to the notion. When I first started reading them, I had the idea that the stories were contained in one issue. It did not take long to realize that was usually far from true! There were usually story arcs that took two, three or four issues to complete.
Once I wised up to the ways of the cruel world that wanted to do nothing more than squeeze out every quarter they could, I figured out a little scheme. I call it my comic book con. If I got a comic that was two or three issues in the story arc, I would go back to the 7-11 that got all my dad’s comic book money and would probably find the previous issues still on the rack, which were usually two or three months old. I would ask dad if I could carry 30 cents in my pocket to buy them, making him think that I was wanting to look like the consumer and approach the cashier personally. I would bring the comics up to the counter, attended by the same guy who always seemed to be working when dad and I went. I would put on my 6-year-old puppy dog eyes and explain that the books were months old, and that nobody would probably buy them anyway, so could he knock off 10 cents for me. It always worked! Two comics for 30 cents!
The truth of the matter was that I was trying to fulfill my own selfish desire at for a cheap price. It is sad to say, put Christians can tend to be the same way with God.

Our attitude to sin should be that we hate it and that we shun it in every way. But many have adopted an attitude of “once in grace, always in grace.” While the Scripture does tell us that nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39), too many of us want to use “cheap grace.” We want to live like we want to and flippantly say, “once in grace, always in grace.” Then we want to look up at God with our spiritually immature puppy dog eyes and claim His forgiveness. 
We are told, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” (Galatians 6:7). Further, we are not to live in sin anymore, since we are supposed to be spiritually dead to it. Should we keep on living the way we want to so that we can get more and more grace? “May it never be!”  Our reasoning is faulty. 
Let us determine in our hearts to be examine our attitudes and motives toward sin, and work to align our attitudes to be more like God’s attitude.

09
Aug
15

BE STILL

“Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. ‘Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.” – Psalms 46:8-11
A Greek legend tells of a man observing the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity. Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the man, “Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bows implies.”
The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. Aesop explained, “If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it.”
A casual Google search about the need for rest will immediately yield dozens of reports from newspapers, fitness websites, sleep disorder centers, among others. It is a well-accepted fact that our human bodies are not made to stress 24/7, but require proper rest and sleep to function. Jesus Christ would take rest, saying in Mark 6:31, “Come with me, by yourselves, to a quiet place and get some rest,” indicating that He required rest, also.
In the verses above, we are encouraged to “behold the works of the Lord.” He stops wars, defeats His enemies, and brings justice to those who follow Him. He is exalted “among the nations” and “in the earth.” He is “our stronghold.” His power, might, excellence and protective power are preeminent on all the universe. He commands His people to “Be still and know that I am God.”
Our Creator God knows that we require rest to function properly:  He designed us that way. With our world in such seeming turmoil all around, with uncertainty around every corner, we tend to worry every moment of every day. How wonderful it is to know that, if we know that He is truly God, we can “Be still.”




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