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Archive for February, 2018

Prosper and Have Good Success

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“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Joshua 1:8)

A.W. Pink provides us with a very good explanation of what it means to be prosperous and have success. He writes,

“God tells us that if we give His Holy Word the first place in our thoughts and affections, and regulate both our inner and outer life by its teaching, then He will make our way “prosperous” and we shall have “good success.” This does not mean that we shall become millionaires, but that by heeding the rules of His Word, we shall escape those rocks upon which the vast majority of our fellows make shipwreck, and that the blessing of God will rest upon our lives in all their varied aspects and relations; an all-wise and sovereign God determining both the kind and measure of the “success” which will be most for His glory and our highest good.”

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on John 19:31-42 (the burial of Jesus). The following is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: The burial of Jesus Christ is an historical fact that fulfilled Scripture and points to His Kingship.

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encourage

We all need help sometimes. When it comes right down to it, though, we need help all the time. Living as a disciple of Jesus Christ isn’t easy – it’s a narrow path as the Lord told us – and it was never meant to attempted alone. We need each other.

Hebrews 3:12-13 says, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

The temptation, and very real possibility, for a believer is to drift away from faithfulness to Christ or, as the author says, “be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Not everyone who starts on the narrow road finishes it (the reason for it, and the meaning of it, is beyond the scope of this post). The cares of the world, trials, illness, suffering, money problems, general busy-ness, the remains of our fallen and sinful nature, and the wiles of  our adversary, the devil, all press against us in ways that can adversely effect our spiritual growth.

Because of that, we need to encourage each other each and every day, not just sometimes. We need to say to our brothers and sisters in Christ that they can make it; that they shouldn’t give up; that they should keep their eyes on Christ; that they should keep putting one foot in front of the other; that we’re with them and we’ll give them all the help we can; and that we’re praying for them. Not only do we need to say these things to each other, but we need to hear them from each other, too.

So, encourage one another – today and every day! We’ll get by with a little help from our friends.

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This morning I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on John 19:16-30. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: The death of Jesus, as John describes it, proclaims Jesus as king, shows that what happened was part of God’s plan, that Jesus perfectly obeyed His Father, and that He fulfilled the task given to Him by His Father.

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on John 19:1-16. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Jesus Christ was, and will be, recognized as King even by those who don’t believe in Him or submit to Him – what should be the response of those who believe and submit?

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In my daily Bible reading in the last couple of days, I read Ephesians 4. It’s a great chapter, but when I was finished I went back and read verses 25 through 32 again. I thought to myself, “I could work on everything in this passage for the rest of my life and never master it.”

Here it is – try it on for size:

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

I’m convinced there is enough in this passage to keep us busy for a long, long time. By the power of God’s Spirit, let’s get started (or keep going) – for His glory and our good!

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complaints

It didn’t take long for the Israelites to start complaining after God had delivered them from Egypt.

About two and half months after the Exodus, “The whole congregation of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The sons of Israel said to them, ‘Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out of this wilderness to kill this whole company with hunger'” (Exodus 16:2-3). That was pretty harsh, wasn’t it?

The Lord spoke to Moses and said that He would provide for His people in verses 4 through 7. Moses then spoke to the complaining crowd, and when he did, he put his finger on the deeper issue – the issue behind the grumbling.

He said, “This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening and bread to the full in morning; for the LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD” (Exodus 16:8).

Who was the grumbling and complaining of the Israelites directed toward? On the outside, it was Moses and Aaron. That’s what they said, at least. In truth, they complained and grumbled against the LORD Himself, not their leaders. The heart of the matter was that, in their heart, they weren’t content or satisfied with what God had given them. Of course, Moses and Aaron didn’t lead the people from Egypt to the wilderness of Sin (an interesting name given the circumstances) in order to have them all die, but the people were so angry at God that they lashed out at the ones who were called by God to lead them.

Grumbling and complaining are the fruit of a heart that is discontent and ungrateful for the good gifts God has given. That didn’t end, by the way, in 1450 B.C. It rears its ugly head in our own lives, too. When we complain and grumble, we’re not satisfied with God. That’s a dangerous place to be. May we recognize it, repent of it, and pray that the Lord would develop our sense of gratitude and satisfaction in Him for His glory and our good!

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