Remember Jesus!

I was listening to an Audible version of Warren W. Wiersbe’s book, “50 People Every Christian Should Know” this morning.   He shared how one truly precious servant of the Lord who had faithfully served the Lord over many years in both preaching and teaching had left this advice to his congregation and students.  His name was Alva Jay McClain (1888-1968)

“You may forget me, that is not a problem.
BUT this is important … 

REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST …
Remember Who He is and you’ll never be ashamed to confess Him before others!
Remember Who He is and you’ll never have doubts about your salvation!”

50The book by Warren Wiersbe is excellent and it has been an amazing blessing learning about these many Christians who have been willing to faithfully proclaim the Truth of God’s Word.   People like Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Fanny Crosby, J. Hudson Taylor, Charles H. Spurgeon,   Frances Ridley Havergal, Dwight L. Moody, C. I. Scofield, R. A. Torrey, G. Campbell Morgan, Amy Carmichael, Oswald Chambers, H. A. Ironside, Alva Jay McClain (as mentioned above), A. W. Tozer and W. E. Sangster, to mention just a few.

Having said that …. and considered all these people and what Jesus meant to them, the message I got from this book is this:

  • Follow Jesus
  • Draw very close to Him
  • Be prayerful, seeking His will and not our own
  • Read and Study His Word
  • Hold to the Truth as in God’s Word (not man’s interpretations)
  • Share the Truth of God’s Word
  • Avoid Modernism
  • Avoid Ritualism
  • Earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints

And if you’ve never met Jesus as your Saviour, you need to get to know Him without delay!

So, along with Jude, I urge “you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches…”  (Jude 3 & 4)  There is so much deception – don’t fall for it.  The only way you can avoid being deceived is to soak yourself in His Word and obey His Word.  Contend for the faith entrusted to us through God’s Word, the Bible … AND

REMEMBER JESUS – PUT HIM FIRST IN YOUR LIFE AND LIVE FOR HIM …. especially in the light of His soon-return!

 

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NOT PERFECT YET!

Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on [e]so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own (Philippians 3:12)

I am sure you have seen the phrase: “Be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet”.   Very true indeed.

In my quiet time with the Lord this morning, I read that well-known passage in Philippians 3 (Paul writing to Timothy) which says:

“12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Apart from the overall message of this passage, which illustrates the importance of finishing the race rather than necessarily winning the race, never entertaining the possibility of slacking off because of infirmity or old age and committing oneself to finishing strong with whatever strength and abilities one has – until our final breath or when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air and we get our first sight of the Lord Jesus …,  there were some other very encouraging and helpful thoughts I gleaned from this passage.  Let me share them with you now.

Is it possible for anyone to be perfect in this imperfect world we live in?

The thought of being “perfect” can be troubling and challenging when we think of all our imperfections as Christians.   We are still a work in progress, after all…

The word “perfected” or “perfect” as used in the Bible to describe various people, does NOT mean “sinless perfection”.  Only Jesus is perfect and sinless!   In the Old Testament, we read about various Bible characters that were described as “perfect”, “blameless” or “loyal” – they were by no means sinless. For example – Noah, Asa, Hezekiah, Job and David (see footnote below for Bible references to these people).   It is important to be aware that several Greek and Hebrew words are translated as “perfect”, but the thought behind them is either “completeness in all details” or “to reach a goal or achieve a purpose”

I discovered that there are three stages of perfection (as set out in the Scofield Reference Bible):

  1. Positional Perfection
    This is something we have as soon as we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Take a quick look at this verse in Hebrews 10:14:
    For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.”  (NLT)
    For by the one offering He has perfected forever and completely cleansed those who are being sanctified [bringing each believer to spiritual completion and maturity].” (Amplified Bible)
  2. Relative Perfection
    This refers to spiritual maturity I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view. And if you think differently about some issue, God will reveal this to you as well. Nevertheless, we must live up to what we have already attained.… (Philippians 3:15)
    Spiritual maturity is particularly important in relation to
    The will of God Epaphras … prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God (Colossians 4:12)
    Love And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect…. (1 John 4:17)
    Holiness Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.(2 Corinthians 7:1)
    PatienceAnd let endurance [patience/perseverance/endurance] have itsperfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:4)
    Every good work Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)Maturity does not come overnight, but is progressive as we saw in 2 Corinthians 7:1 above.   Ephesians 4:12 summarizes this process so beautifully … And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ.…”.  Hence one can see the importance of regular Bible study and Bible reading as well as attending a Bible-believing and Bible-preaching church (regrettably many, many churches are no longer Bible believers and are following and teaching a post-modern, emergent church, liberal Gospel … that is, preaching another Jesus, not the Jesus in the Bible).
  3. Ultimate Perfection
    In other words, perfection of soul, spirit, and body. This will only be realized at the time of resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3) or if the Rapture of the Church occurs prior to our dying” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) “… For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” “we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.”

As the footnote in the Schofield Bible states: “For the Christian nothing short of the moral perfection of God is always the absolute standard of conduct, BUT … Scripture recognizes that Christians do not attain to sinless perfection in this life.

So be encouraged as you meditate on these verses.   We are a work in progressLet us strive to draw ever closer to our Saviour and reflect His beauty in all we do, say and think!

Footnotes
Genesis 6:9, 1 Kings 15:14, 2 Kings 20:3, 1 Chronicles 12:38, Job1:1&8, Psalm 37:37)

Share His Word while you still can …

Speaking just a word for Jesus is so important in these days as we see the day of Christ’s return getting very close!

Sometimes one thinks that what one says is not effective or weak.  BUT …. if you share a word or two or three from HIS Word, the Bible, the Lord will assuredly use it to His glory!

As Dr David Jeremiah shared in his devotional reading a few days ago, “Whenever we read the Bible, quote it, teach it, preach it, publish it, or spread it abroad, it speaks loud and clear.  God’s Word NEVER returns void but accomplishes what He pleases (Isaiah 55:11).   Any old mouthpiece will do – even ours!  You can be confident of HIS POWER whenever you share HIS precepts”  (Turning Point September 2017)

Isaiah 55 verses 10 & 11 state …
10 
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens

    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Be faithful in sharing His Word:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthinans 15:58 KJV) “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose] (1 Cor. 15:58 Amplified Bible)

 

The Waiting Game

I don’t know about you but I know that waiting for something can be SO difficult.   We live in a world that expects instant gratification and when one has to wait for any length of time, it can be very frustrating and oft’ times generates a lot of anxiety.

Well, sometime ago I was reading a portion in the well-known book, “Streams in the Desert” and I now share a few thoughts from that reading with the prayer that it will help and encourage you.

If we are praying about something and possibly not seeing an answer yet, the writer suggested 3 ways of “waiting”:

Wait in Prayer
Call on the Lord and, like Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19:14-19, spread the matter before the Lord.  Tell Him all about your problem.   Tell Him about your situation, your concerns, your longings and “plead His promise of aid”.

Wait in Faith
Express your unwavering confidence in Him.  Believe that His timing is perfect and the answer will come one or other way … and not a moment too soon or too late.

Wait in quiet patience
It is so easy to become impatient, but we need to learn not to murmur.   Just continue to put the case before the Lord, exactly as it is and remember, “… In quietness and confidence (trust) shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). Put the matter in His hands, in the hands “of your covenant God, saying ‘Now, Lord, not my will, but Thine be done.  I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities;  but I will wait until Thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes.  I will wait, if Thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed on Thee alone …my spirit waiteth for Thee in full conviction that Thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower” (Morning by Morning)

Wait, patiently wait,
God never is late;
Thy budding plans are in Thy Father’s holding,
And only wait His grand divine unfolding
Then wait, wait,
Patiently wait.

Trust, hopefully trust,
That God will adjust
Thy tangled life; and from its dark concealings,
Will bring His will, in all its bright revealings,
Then trust, trust,
Hopefully trust.

(Mercy A. Gladwin)

What do you know about “casting”?

What sort of question is that?   Casting?   What are you on about?

In my time with the Lord this morning – reading His Word, the Bible – I was struck by the many times it is used in Scripture.   I trust it will be as much of a blessing to you as it was for me.

Briefly then, what does the word mean?    To “cast” something, within the context of the study today, it means to:

  • throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction
  • discard, abandon, throw out
  • shed, get rid of

Now read through these verses prayerfully and with thanksgiving

Cast your burden on the Lord[release it] and He will sustain and uphold you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (slip, fall, fail) (Psalm 55:22 -Amplified Bible)

Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease.(Proverbs 22:10 – NKJV)
Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes, too.    Quarrels and insults will disappear. (Prov 22:10 – NLT)

Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, [be diligently active, make thoughtful decisions], for you will find it after many days [be richly rewarded].(Ecclesiastes 11:1 – Amplified)  As the great commentator, Matthew Henry said:  “we may well trust God to provide for us, without our anxious, disquieting cares”.  (This verse is a message on its own and maybe I will expound on it sometime soon!)   

This is what the Lord said to His disciples after a whole night of fishing without success.   “And He (Jesus) said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. (John 21:6 – NKJV)

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12 – NKJV)   “The night [this present evil age] is almost gone and the day [of Christ’s return] is almost here. So let us fling away the works of darkness and put on the [full] armor of light.(Rom. 13:12 – Amplified)

Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].(1 Peter 5:7 – Amplified)

And now a prayer:

Precious Lord and Saviour, open my eyes that I may see wonderful truths in Your Word.  Help me to walk in ways that please you and bring glory to Your Name.

I close with extracts from that beautiful hymn by Clara H Scott, 1895

  1. Open my eyes, that I may see
    Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
    Place in my hands the wonderful key
    That shall unclasp and set me free.
  2. Open my ears, that I may hear
    Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
    And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
    Everything false will disappear.
  3. Open my mind, that I may read
    More of Thy love in word and deed;
    What shall I fear while yet Thou dost lead?
    Only for light from Thee I pleadThe 4th verse modified by me:

    Open my mouth, and let me bear,
    Gladly the warm Truth everywhere;
    Open my heart and let me prepare
    To share Your Living Word, everywhere!