Psalm 34:17-19 “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

Discouragement can come in many forms and can come at you from many different directions, including some directions you never thought it could come from. The Devil loves to use this tool, I believe it to be one of his favorite weapons of choice. Discouragement can be caused by being disillusioned about something you never expected to be disillusioned about, or you always assumed it would not be, or you just plain never thought about it much even though you knew this particular source of discouragement could come, you preferred not to think about it.

Once we start to dwell on this source of discouragement we start to give the Devil a foothold into our mind and spirit. He will then seek to deepen this feeling of discouragement, he will seek to deepen the hurt that may have led to it, he will seek to make you think about it over and over again so it will lead you to deeper discouragement and even to despair.

We need to be on the lookout for this trap of his. We need to be on guard against this area of attack. Your present source of discouragement is only one mishap or event in your life of many more to come that will cause you some discouragement. Disappointment is part of life. It does not mean dealing with it is not difficult, it is, but it does mean you need to look at the big picture or life and not dwell on this one event and make it bigger than it really is.

When you get discouraged, look to the Lord, look to His Word, look to His many promises He has given us in His Word. Nowhere does the Bible promise us a perfect carefree, worry-free, discouragement free life, but is does promise that we will never have to face these situations alone, we will always have the Comforter living within us, if we are saved, and the Lord will always be there with us, walking through that disillusionment with us.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture for such a situation, and one I turn to over and over again as I go through life is Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Keep everything in perspective and trust the Lord to know what is best, trust Him to work out everything according to His will in the situation, trust His Word and use His Word to guide you through the difficult situation one step, and one moment at a time. Seek His face in prayer and poor out your hearts concerns to Him. He will provide you with true comfort and true hope for the next second, the next moment, the next day and the rest of your life.

Turn to the Lord with your disillusionment and discouragement and don’t let the Devil entrap you with these weapons of his. It is easy to fall into his trap of discouragement and depression, all of us are susceptible to this. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you notice you have fallen for these. A man after God’s own heart, David, also fell into these traps of Satan, but he eventually turned back to the Lord and that is what we need to do too. Trust the Lord with your disappointments, give them over to Him, rest in His comfort that only He can provide. (Hebrews 4:9-11 – There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.)

The Lord will see you through this trial, through this situation, He will see you through to the other side of this disillusionment. Just trust in Him, remember the answer to your prayers could come in unexpected ways, and from unexpected sources. Just be true to the Lord, He will help you to get past this moment and this situation in your life. (Isaiah 55:8-9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.) Encourage yourself in the Lord, just as David did in a great trial of discouragement and heartache, and the Lord will help you and encourage you, just as He did David. (I Samuel 30:6 – And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.)

 

Advertisements

DISTANT RELATIONSHIPS

I Corinthians 13:4-7Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

True love, right love, godly love longs for a proper relationship, it longs for restoration if the relationship is broken, it longs for a consistent relationship, it longs for close relationships. Do we have this kind of love in the relationships in our life?

You know the saying that distance makes the heart grow fonder? Well by current personal experience I would have to agree with that. But that is on a temporal earthly level, it is through the perspective of man. When separated from family for long periods of time or by great distance or both, usually people begin to miss their family, they begin to long for their family, they begin to want to talk to them, text with them, see them face to face. It is a natural thing for man to want and desire that which he cannot currently have and is unable to have due to certain circumstances he may be in. I, as of this writing, have not had any personal contact, except by phone, text or FaceTime with my family for a couple weeks now. I can tell you I miss them sorely. I want that relationship restored to its fullest as quickly as possible. I cannot wait to see them, I cannot wait to fellowship with them, I cannot wait to embrace them.

But how many of us feel the same way as I have described in the above paragraph concerning our relationship with the Lord? Do we long to see Him face to face, do we long to embrace Him and put our arms around Him? Do we long for restoration of a broken fellowship with Him we may have, do we long to talk with Him and tell Him about our day and our concerns? Do we desire to be united with Him? Are we willing to do anything and go to any lengths to have our relationship with the Lord be as great as it can be? – I would reply to these questions by sadly saying I think many of us do not have this same kind of longing and desire for a relationship with our Savior as we do for our family.  When our relationship is interrupted or a separation of distance or time has occurred we long for our family; do we long for the Lord in the same way? Do you love the Lord less than your family, as much as your family or more than your family? Jesus asked a similar question to Peter “lovest thou me more than these?” Do we… do we truly love the Lord like we should? Do we truly long for the kind of relationship with the Lord like we should?

Does our Savior, who possesses perfect love for us, feel the same way toward us when we have grown distant from Him as we do when our relationship with our family is distant? Does He long to see us restored in fellowship with Him again? Does He want that face time with us to be restored? Does He long to hear our prayers directed at Him? Does He mourn when fellowship with us is broken? – I would say yes to all of these questions. So now start thinking of your relationship with God with an eternal perspective. Just as I am longing to see my family as soon as possible and I only have human imperfect love toward them; imagine how the Lord longs for a consistent and loving relationship with us as He possess perfect love toward us.

Are you making your Lord mournful as a result of your flippant, irreverent, inconsistent and lackadaisical attitude you take to your relationship with Him? That would be a terrible thing, a terrible sin to be guilty of. The Lord longs for a great relationship with us, much more than I, an imperfect vessel, longs for a face to face restored relationship with my family. This distance I now am experiencing from my family has given me a different perspective and understanding; and the Lord has used this separation of distance, in my family relationship, to teach me about how He must feel when we let our relationship grow distant with Him. How must God feel when we are so uncaringly distant in our relationship to Him. I pray that we all consider and examine ourselves to determine if our relationship with the Lord is how it should be and how the Lord told us it should be. (II Corinthians 13:5a – Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…)

Why don’t you take some time to examine the status of your relationship with the Lord and determine if you are as close to Him as you should be? I would say all of us could have a better relationship with the Lord, all of us could draw closer to Him. Are you causing rejoicing in Heaven because of the status of your relationship with the Lord? Or are you causing a deep sadness, grief and disappointment in Heaven based on the status of your relationship with the Lord? Are you grieving the Lord with the current state of your relationship with Him, with how you act toward Him, with how you communicate or don’t communicate with Him? (Ephesians 4:30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.)

Most importantly have you ever even established a relationship with the Lord? Have you ever accepted Him as your personal Savior? We all need to make sure of our salvation, then with the Lords help and the help of the Holy Spirit living within us after we are saved strive to keep that relationship with the Lord unbroken and constantly growing in love and dedication as we should strive to do the same with our family. (I John 5:13These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.)

BEWARE OF THE COMFORT ZONE

A comfort zone is exactly as it sounds; it is a zone of comfort. It is a place you like to be or at least you are used to being and are unwilling to step out of it. It is not necessarily a set location or occupation, but it could be, it is more or less a certain set of circumstances you live in, that you have decided is a good place, or a good enough place to be, or even possibly just have settled into, without ever consciously  deciding to do so. The Comfort Zone is not always a place of comfort though, as paradoxical as that can sound to some, but it is an accurate statement, the Comfort Zone is not always comfortable. I know of people, myself at times included, that were not actually very comfortable in their comfort zone. I know some reading this are thinking I am saying two things at odds with each other, but I am not. A Comfort Zone is not always a comforting place to be or to live in, and here is the condition that makes all I just rambled about make sense, a  Comfort Zone is not always a comforting place to be if we are living in it outside of God’s will for our life. Do we actually live like we believe what the Lord says in Matthew 6:10Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” If we are to live out this verse chances are you will not visit the comfort zone very long. The Lord likes to stretch us to get the most out of us for His glory and His kingdom and for His will.

Acts 2:14, 41-42 “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:” & 41-42 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

In the Book of Acts we read how the Apostle Peter preached and 3,000 souls were saved in one day; but that never would have happened if Peter had not first been willing, by simple faith in Jesus Christ, to step out of his comfort zone. Peter was a fisherman by trade and that kind of life was his comfort zone. God was able to use Peter once he stepped out of that life. Peter was a rough kind of character, he was impulsive and unpolished, but God was able to use him. God did not call Peter when he was trained, ready and willing to leave his comfort zone to serve Him. God called Peter, when he was untrained, rough around the edges and personally unable to do what God was calling him to do. But that is what God does, He delights in calling those the world would never call, God delights in using those who are unable in mans perception to do the thing God is calling them to do. God delights in using those who are simply willing to obey that call, leave their comfort zone, and trust God to enable them to do what He is calling them to do. Fortunately that is exactly what Peter did; were there some hiccups along the way – yes there usually is. We are frail and weak sheep that need our Lords help. The hiccups usually occur when we think to ourselves “we got this”, and it turns out we don’t. We always need the Lords enabling to do His will with our life. (I Timothy 1:12 – And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;)

Now do you trust the Lord to enable you? Or are you choosing rather to live your life in the status quo and miss out on what God has for you? If you are comfortably living outside of God’s will for your life, you are comfortably living in a sinful state, choosing your will over God’s will. When someone chooses their will over God’s will, who then is the God of their life? Who is on the throne of the person’s life if they are choosing their will above God’s will? Is it themselves or is it God? When someone chooses their own will over God’s will they are putting themselves on an importance level above God. Who else in Scripture did the same thing? I can think of one example, and he is not someone you would want to be compared with, Isaiah 14:12-15 tells us about this “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Have you chosen your will for your life over God’s will, so you do not have to leave your comfort zone? Don’t make your comfort zone your God, don’t put your will above God’s will. Repent of this great sin of subordinating God’s will to your will, if you have done so, and immediately submit yourself to the will of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. (James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.)

Don’t lose hope though if you have currently chosen comfort zone living over God’s will for your life. I dare to say most of us have at some point in our life chosen the comfortable status quo over trusting in the leading of the Lord. The most important thing to do is once you recognize this in your life you need to then choose God and begin the prayer and counsel needed to determine your next step on your adventurous life of living for the Lord, and putting your full trust and confidence in Him. Trust Him with your comfort and happiness and stop trusting in your Comfort Zone; trust God with your future and with your needs and not your Comfort Zone. This needs to become a practice throughout our life, and upon examining my life I remember several distinct moments in my life where I just trusted God and took that leap of faith. I went way, and I mean way out of the comfort zone I was in, and just by faith and faith alone in God, jumped into His will for my life. I hope we all can recognize moments in our life like that too, where we just simply trusted in the leading of the Lord and willingly and enthusiastically jumped into the Lord’s will for our life.

I wish to challenge you to think of what comfort zones you have in your life; are they of the Lord? Or are they of your own making? Watch out and diligently consider if that comfort zone that came to your mind is actually in accordance to God’s will for your life. Do you even consider God’s will in your decision making, as you build your comfort zone or is it all done according to your own will? If you are sensing the Lord trying to tell you something or guide you to something, don’t try to block it out, don’t ignore it, and don’t try to give God some advice on His will for you. Just seek to get assurance of it as quickly as possible and formulate your plan of action to expeditiously pursue His will for your life, no matter what that pursuit of God’s will does to your comfort zone. Make Jesus Christ and His will the preeminent factor in your life. Determine to ensure that your affections are off your comfort zone and that they are actively pursuing Christ and His will for your life. (Colossians 3:1-2 – If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.)

So how do we do this? How do we make sure we are living according to God’s will for our life and not according to our own will? I would think the best thing to do is to follow the examples set for us in Scripture. What did Abraham do when he was trying to determine the will of God, what did Moses do, what did David do, what did so many others do when they were trying to determine the Lords will for their life? Simple…. they prayed, they sought counsel, they searched the Holy Scriptures and in many cases they waited on the Lord for the answer, for the assurance in the next step in pursuing God’s will. So we should at least do the same, there is nothing better than good old fashioned prayer and lots of it in determining the will of God for our life. God speaks to us from His Word, if you are not reading His Word on a consistent basis how do you expect to hear from Him? Sometimes the Lord just wants us to wait, are you willing to do that? The Bible tells us in the multitude of counselors there is wisdom. For me, I personally seek out trusted Godly men to talk to and pray with and request prayers from whenever I need to make a decision that I think the Lord may be leading me into. You will never determine the will of God for your life if you are not willing to pray like you should, if you are not reading your Bible like you should, if you are not willing to wait on the Lord like you should and if you are not seeking counsel like you should. Be on the lookout for those comforts zones of life and always seek to be living for the will of God and not the comfort zone and trust the Lord’s enabling to do so.

One final question, why you ask, should we be willing to leave our Comfort Zone? Why should we be willing to do whatever the Lord leads us to do or to go wherever the Lord leads us to go? Why is this so important? Why should we be in submission to the Lords will for our life, why do we need to lay all on the altar of sacrifice for our Lord? – One simple answer exists to all the why questions a Christian could think to ask the Lord for leaving our zone of comfort and that is this “because he first loved usI John 4:19b. We ought to love Him, “because he first loved us” and this ought to motivate us to desire His will and motivate us to translate that desire into the action of doing His will, to follow His leading, to go where He wants us to go and to be what He wants us to be.

One last practical application, you may be thinking how does all of this apply to me right now, in the situation I am presently in? Maybe you are still in your parent’s home, maybe you are older, maybe you already know I am where I am supposed to be, or maybe you have no control over the circumstances you face and could not presently change them no matter what you did. You still need to be willing to step out in faith and leave that “comfort zone” you are in. You may say the state I am presently in is not something I would call comfortable, you still need to approach God with a submissive and contrite heart and be willing to be used by Him, be willing to speak up for Him, and be willing to witness and be a testimony for Him right where you are at. As long as you have that attitude of willing faithful submission to the Lord you will be amazed at what He can do with your life. There are no circumstances too big that the Lord could not change, there is no obstacle too large that the Lord could not remove, and there is no mountain too high that the Lord could not help you to climb. You may be in a terrible valley right now, but the Lord can change your circumstance in an instant. God will not only enable you to change and to trust Him and to do what He wills you to do, He will also, in His time, influence the situations of your life to change. He can change the path of your life when you cannot and when you least expect it, so you can do what He wills for you to do with your life, in whatever state of life you find yourself in. We just need to trust Him. Beware of the Comfort Zone and beware equally of not trusting the Lord to be able to change what you cannot. If you are truly walking with Christ you will not be in that Comfort Zone very long, for He is always willing us to grow for Him and to learn something from Him, we just need to do our part and trust in Him and obey His will and direction. (Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.)

II Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”

Sometimes the Lord ordains the sun to set on one chapter of your life, just so a new chapter can begin. You know the saying “All good things must come to an end”? Saying goodbye to people you love, to people you have co-labored with, to people you have ministered to, to people who have gone through thick and thin with you, and to family whom you love dearly, is a very hard thing to do. Saying goodbye is a very sad thing to do, it can be a very heart wrenching thing to do. You never realize how good you had it sometimes, until it comes to an end. The Lord brings us into people’s lives for a reason, we do not always know why, and we may never know why, but the Lord does all things for a reason, for a purpose, for an eternal purpose, the Bible teaches us that His ways are above our ways, well it is hard to accept His ways sometimes. It can be emotionally trying to accept the change that sometimes comes into our life. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 – To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:)

I have had to say goodbye to people, to situations, and to family in the past, and it never gets easy. Each time I say goodbye it feels like a little of yourself is left in those people, in those circumstances or in that setting. If you have been ministering to a group of people, you have watched over their souls, you have brought their names to God in prayer, over and over again. When you see them and talk to them you are watching for any little indication of how they are doing spiritually and you try to minister to them in some way. Life is not always a happy situation; life comes with its share of sad goodbyes, as well as its share of happy tomorrows.

I had to tell the news of my imminent departure to the group of people I have been pouring my life into for the last six years recently, and if it were not for the strength the Lord gave me at that moment I spoke the words, letting them know I would soon be leaving, I could not have told them on my own. The Lord provided the strength for the goodbye, just like He provided the strength and the wisdom all those times I taught them, and sought to minister to them in some way. The Lord is my strength, I shall not be moved, unless it is the Lord who is the one moving me. My parting admonition to them would be what Paul said in Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”

The Lord orders the steps of a good man, the Bible teaches us. Looking back over the years of my life, I can see the Lord neatly and in a very organized way ordering my steps, training me along the way, and preparing me for His service. It may have taken a lot longer in my case to get me ready for what He was wanting to do with my life, I kept thinking throughout my early years, I was just too shy, I was too unusable to do anything of real consequence for the Lord. Boy was I wrong, everything we do every ministry we have, no matter how big or how small, if we are doing it for the Lord, is of great consequence for Him, and for His kingdom.

I can see how all the ministries I have participated in, all the secular jobs I have held, all the schooling I have taken, all of it was ordered and designed providentially to train me, to equip me, to enable me for the ministry God had, in His loving and providential wisdom, had willed me to do. Do not ever think you are unworthy for the service of the Lord. I, of all people, should not be able to do what I am doing and will soon be doing for the Lord, it is definitely not a natural thing for me to stand in front of people and talk, leading others is not something I have ever strived to do, but all throughout my life, God has put me into leadership position, after leadership position, all without my trying to attain that position. I always tried not to be the leader or supervisor or manager, but I always inevitably would end up in that position. I never wanted to stand in front of people and talk, but over the course of my life, the Lord has put me in that position over and over again. He had a plan, and He wanted me to know clearly it was not of myself, that I was able to do this or that for the Lord, it was and will continue to be, all by the Lords enabling that I have been able to do this or that for the Lord and that is how it will continue in my life. (I Timothy 1:12 – And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;)

Goodbyes are sad, goodbyes are hard; goodbyes though mean a new beginning is around the corner. When we say goodbye to a loved one, who is entering eternity with Jesus, it is sad, it is hard for us; but they have just entered a new glorious beginning to a new and joyous chapter of their life. They get to see Jesus, they get to worship their Savior face to face, they get to wrap their arms around their Saviors neck and sob tears of joy and thankfulness to Him, what a glorious future Christians have to look forward to. Goodbyes when we change locations are also truly sad, these can be stressful as well, but look toward the Lord, look toward Him for guidance, for help, for comfort and for joy. He will help you to adjust to the change, He will lead you into the paths of righteousness, He will not suffer us to be lost along the way. He will encourage you if you let Him do so. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and all your being and all your soul, and do not lean on your own understanding of the situation, instead lean on God and trust His sovereign will and His sovereign understanding of the whole situation, of the big picture in our life.

Goodbyes are hard, but the Lord is bigger than any goodbye we may ever have to face, just point your face to His and just trust and obey His direction in your life, “Finally, brethren, farewell.”

Freedom of choice is one of the privileges God has given us, but He instructs us and urges us to use that freedom wisely. The laws of God are guideposts to lead us on the path of life, and He watches the decisions we make and the roads we take. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” – Proverbs 15:3. As long as we use our freedom wisely, we will mature in Christian character, and God can trust us with more freedom. But if we abuse our freedom and deliberately disobey His Word, our freedom will gradually become bondage, the kind of bondage that can’t easily be broken. “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” – Proverbs 5:22.

He shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” – Most people who follow sinful pleasures, think they can give them up whenever they please; but sin repeated becomes customary, usual, we get used to it. It no longer seems so bad. We start to justify it in our minds. The usual or often done sin soon becomes habit; and habit in the end assumes the form of necessity then the form of bondage; the man becomes “holden with the cords of his sins” or he becomes bound with the cords of sin. He becomes in bondage to that sin. A slave to that sin; and so he may at first thought he was exercising his “freedom” to sin a particular way, but in the end that so called “freedom” was really the Devils ploy to put him into bondage and so this man who wanted his freedom “to live it up” is now led captive by the devil by his own desire to sin. “For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” – Acts 8:23

Genesis 5:1-2 “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”

Man is not his own creation, neither are we a result of evolution or a “big bang” – God created man, God created man in His own likeness. God created humans with only two sexes – male and female. God creates you either a man or a woman. God makes no mistakes. You were born either male or female, and you will remain either male or female the rest of your life.

There was a day when God, in His infinite wisdom, created man. We have not eternally existed, though we are a creation of an eternally existing God.

in the likeness of God” – This is mentioned to remind us how highly God had honored man, and how shamefully man has sinned against God. Think about that statement for a minute, we were created in the image or the likeness of The God! What an honor God bestowed upon man, and then think how much man has fallen since then to the point now some men and women even doubt or have confusion over whether they are men or woman. But thankfully God sent His Son, to die for all of mans sins (for we are all sinners). Jesus came to pay the sin debt of all of mans sins, even the most dreadful and shameful of sins, Jesus has died for them; and all man has to do is to accept God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as their Savior by faith – to receive that forgiveness and to accept that sin debt paid on our behalf! And to have eternal life with God one day in Heaven.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 10:9,10 & 13 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you have not, why don’t you call on His name today and accept Jesus as your Savior?

Matthew 5:13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Ye are the salt of the earth” – Our Lord shows us here what all who profess to follow Him, should be; we should be the salt of the earth, to preserve the world from putrefaction and destruction. Salt renders food pleasant and palatable; so Christians, by their lives and influence, are to keep the world from entire moral corruption. By sending up their prayers, the blessing of God, and by their influence and example, they save the world from universal vice and crime.

But if the salt have lost his savour” – A Christian, who has lost the life of Christ, and the witness of His Spirit, out of his soul, may be likened to this salt. He may have the sparks and glittering particles of true wisdom, but without its unction or comfort; only the soul that is in union with Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit, can preserve its savor and influence, and be the instrument of good to others.

To be trodden underfoot” – There was a type of salt in Judea, which was generated at the lake Asphaltites, and therefore called bituminous salt, easily rendered savorless, and of no other use but to be spread in a part of the temple, to prevent slipping in wet weather. This is probably what our Lord alludes to in this place; to the existence of such a salt, and to its application to such a use.

We need to keep a constant watch out for bad influences in our life, and we need to keep a constant check to make sure we are being good influences for the Lord. What kind of influences are we letting into our life to affect us and our decision making? What kind of influence are we being to those around us, to our friends and to our family? Are you being a bad worldly influence, or are you being a Godly Christ like influence. Are we letting Satan and the world influence us negatively and letting the devil pull us deeper and deeper into sin and farther and farther away from God? Or are we letting Christ influence us by digging deep into His Word, by praying and meditating on His truths and growing closer and closer to Him each and every day

Illustration on being a good influence – Four preachers were discussing the merits of various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James best because of its simple, beautiful English language. Another preferred the American Standard Version because it is more literal and he likes lots of error in what he reads. Still another favored the New International Version because of its up-to-date vocabulary and it has a lot less words and verses to worry about reading and studying. When the fourth preacher was asked his opinion, he replied, “I like my mother’s translation best.” The other three were a little puzzled. They were unaware that his mother had translated the Bible. “Yes, she did,” he stated, “She translated the Bible into life. She lived what she read, and hers was the most convincing translation I ever saw.” This good mother had a fine Christian influence on her son. What about your influence? Do you so live out the Bible, like this mother did, that people can see the Word of God in you come out in your everyday life and actions?

I recently got a “new” old book by John R. Rice and I am enjoying it greatly. From what I have been able to ascertain it is no longer in print. I bought a used copy of it after searching for it for a long time. Below our some of his thoughts on biblical separation, they are very interesting from his book “Dr. Rice, Here are more Questions…

“Those who hold to the faith of the gospel according to Philippians 1:27, those who believe in the deity , the virgin birth, miraculous life, atoning death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in the inspiration of the Scriptures in which these things are clearly revealed from God and who have personally trusted Christ as Saviour are Christians worthy of our fellowship, and should be called Christians.” (pp. 145)

“One might break fellowship with a born-again Christian who continues in gross sin, as we see from I Corinthians 5:11-13. And one might refuse fellowship to a born-again Christian if he made doubtful disputations, divisions and strife on lesser matters, according to Romans 14:1. For example, I could let a Pentecostal brother come to a revival and help us win souls and I could have Christian fellowship with him, pray with him, and enjoy the Word of God with him provided he did not make special issue of tongues. If he did cause “doubtful disputations” we could not continue in fellowship. That would lead others wrong.” (pp. 146)

“If a born-again Christian makes constant division and strife over lesser matters, then sometimes he breaks the fellowship with other Christians.” (pp. 146)

 

 

 

Sabbath Keeping

This is a heresy taught by several different groups and churches. They teach that the church has always supposed to have kept the Sabbath and if you do not and meet on Sunday instead you are the ones committing a heresy, this is a false and unbiblical teaching. The Jews under the Law of Moses were commanded to keep the Sabbath day (Saturday) as a sign of their relationship with God (Exodus 20:8-11, Ezekiel 20:12 & 20, Nehemiah 9:14).

Since Jesus “finished” the Old Testament law we are no longer under the bondage of the law but we are under grace (Romans 6:14 – For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.). The Sabbath is no longer in effect as a sign between God and His people. Colossians 2:16-17 could not be any clearer about this it says “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

The “first day of the week” (Sunday) is the appointed day of gathering together for meeting and worship for true New Testament Christians. The disciples and the New Testament Christians met and worshiped on the first day of the week (Acts 20:6-7, I Corinthians 16:2). Jesus rose and completed our redemption on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9). Jesus met with the disciples after His resurrection, more than once, on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9-12, Matthew 28:8-10, Luke 24:36). Jesus blessed His disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit on the first day of the week (John 20:19). The Gospel of a risen Savior was first preached on the first day of the week (Acts 2 – we know the Pentecost was on a Sunday because it was always on the 50th day after Passover – Leviticus 23:15-16). Christians do not keep the Sabbath, or they should not, though we know some erring groups do. Christians following the New Testament teaching on the subject meet on the first day of the week, what is called the Lords Day by John in Revelation 1:10, or what we all know as Sunday.

TIME, SPACE & MATTER

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

 

There is a vast and immeasurable universe that we live in. The physical universe is “temporal” its characteristics are defined by time, space and mass/energy (usually just referred to as matter).

Any effort to determine the cause or reason for the universe getting here or where it came from is based in faith. No human was alive to observe the theory of the “big bang” and the preceding “billions of years” and then the theory of evolution. All of these theories are based on assumptions and presuppositions. All beliefs in the origin of our present universe can be broken down into to statements:

  • There is an infinite series of random causes and effects going back almost infinitely in time with no ultimate cause other than that of the “big bang theory”. But this leaves us with the question “what caused that?”

-or-

  • There exists and uncaused First Cause that was transcendent to the universe and this First Cause created the universe with an intelligent design. With this statement the universe was created purposefully and not by a random series of occurrences happening over billions of years.

You need faith to believe either of them since they our improvable. Either you believe in what some finite men say about the origin of the universe. That a tiny spec blew up and spread material randomly around until it somehow started forming planets then somehow a lifeless particle became alive and eventually evolved through billions of years into every living thing on planet earth. Or you place your faith in an infinite God and that “In the beginning God created” everything there is. Either way what you believe is believed in by faith. You either have faith in what finite men say (who if you believe what they say, their very existence is just a random occurrence) or you believe in an infinite God with infinite power who created all the world with purpose and by design.

Let’s look at Genesis 1:1 – We learned already that the basic elements of the whole universe consist of Time, Space & Matter.

“In the beginning” – We have the creation of time. Time as we know it did not exist till God made it exist.

“God created” – Here we see the reason things came into existence. We have our “First Cause” revealed to us in these 2 words. Think of all the time and money spent on research over the years that could have been saved by reading and believing those 2 words.

the heaven” – God created space. God created all of space in which the earth exists.

and the earth.” – God created matter. All that we can see in the natural world and in space God created.

So we have in this one short verse the origin of all the universe. The “First Cause” of the basic parts of our universe. We have the “First Cause” God creating Time, Space & Matter. The 3 fundamental parts of all the universe.

Final thoughts on this verse:

  • The word interpreted God in this verse is the Hebrew word Elohim. Which means the mighty God which is many is one. Or in other words the Mighty God which is three in one which is referred to as the Trinity.
  • So we see that God created the universe with 3 basic parts to it. The 3 in 1 universe is a reflection of our mighty God and his Trinity.
  • The Bible also tells us that “man was created in the image of God.” Man also is 3 in 1. We are body, spirit and soul. So man reflects God’s Trinity by our Tri-unity of body, spirit and soul.