Month: October 2019

Power To Forgive

  About 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ lived on the earth He created.  The angels announced His birth, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matt. 1:23).”  I believe…  How about you?

   Need some proof?  Okay, how about His Power To Forgive?  Matthew 9:1 says, “And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed.”  Why?  Christ had a reputation for healing the sick.  “…and Jesus seeing their faith said, …Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”  But wait a minute!  This man came to be healed, not forgiven.  A closer look at the passage reveals that he was sick as a result of his sin.  When sin entered into the world, sickness and death entered too.  These truths still hold true; the maladies of our day are the result of living in a sin cursed world, and your specific illness, or mine, could be linked to our personal sin.

  Jesus addressed the more important issue with this man first; he needed forgiveness.  “And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.”  The Scribes were the religious leaders of that day, and they did not believe that it was right for Jesus, who appeared to be a mere man, to forgive sin.  Only God could forgive sin!  “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, …whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”

  Because this man’s sickness was the result of his sin: to heal his sickness would necessarily include forgiving his sin.  “And he arose, and departed to his house.”  Jesus IS able to forgive sin; He was and is God in the flesh, and you and I are sinners in need of His forgiveness.  My friend, He is able to meet your most urgent need,  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31).”

“It Was All For Nothing”

  These sad words have been uttered through the ages after costly failures in the most daring adventures, and most dangerous missions.  History is replete with stories of individuals and nations who have risked life and livelihood to reach their goals.  e.g. A husband and father might utter this phrase when his failed business venture ends in the loss of his home and savings.  A thief may spend months in planning, and invest all of his strength and resources to pull off a job, only to be nabbed in the act.  He might be heard saying, as he is helped into the back seat of a police car, “It was all for nothing.”

  The truth is that many who succeed in the ventures of this life will get to the end of their love, leisure, and lucrative endeavors, only to find that their celebrated success doesn’t compensate for the years of drudgery that were endured to get there. They will discover that their time on the top of the hill is short lived; their treasures are soon consumed by moths and rust.  At the end of life no one maintains their esteemed standing or takes their material gain to the abode of the dead.  It Was All For Nothing.

  The problem is that most people spend their lives majoring on the minors.  They never discover (or always reject) the knowledge that our Creator God has a purpose for their lives through which they can enjoy eternal reward for temporal labor.  It begins with a proper introduction to  the Almighty.  But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12)”

  For those who have established a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, there is a cause worth living for, …or dying for.  He tells His children,  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19–21)”

Dependent

  It has occurred to me again recently that the battle is the Lord’s, that I can do nothing apart from Him, that “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it. (Psalm 127:1a).” I am seeing more clearly that I don’t simply need His help, I need Him to do it for me, and in me, and through me. I am realizing anew that I am, and have always been, totally dependent upon the Lord in every aspect of life.

   One might think that in time I would learn to exercise a little independence, to accomplish something without bothering God for His help, but quite the opposite is true. I am learning that I was not made to function on my own. Some may laugh or call me lunatic, but I am actually enjoying my dependence. This is the result of revival, not laziness or a lack of zeal. It was God’s idea, not my own.

  He told me to, “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. (Prov. 3:5-6).” He has revealed to me that, “…As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15:4).” I’m starting to see that while I am unqualified and unable to do anything of lasting value on my own, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Php. 4:13).” I have discovered power in dependence, and peace in surrender. I feel closer to God and I like it.

  He is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe; He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is MY STRENGTH and MY GOD! “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21).”

Masterpiece

  Christians talk about giving God thanks for everything, but some skeptical observers have asked, “How can one give thanks for things that are unpleasant or sorrowful?”  God’s word answers, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

  Let me illustrate this promise by telling you of an artist who spent a long tedious evening setting up a very expensive canvas on which he intended to create a masterpiece.  All was ready; he would begin the next day.

  Curiously, the artist encountered a crew of house painters exiting as he entered his rented studio early the next morning.  With a quick glance around the room, he spied a large black spot on his new canvas that matched the trim color around his freshly painted windows.

  After a long gaze at the spotted canvas, the old master picked up his brush and began to paint.  Miraculously the black spot became the center of a beautiful flower as the artist spread the colors over the canvas.  At the end of the first day, no one would have imagined that the house painters had spoiled the new canvas the night before.

  The following day, this patient master was met with apologies from an electrician who was exiting the building.  He confessed that in the busyness of the morning, the easel holding the canvas was tipped over, causing the painting to slide across the wet paint pallet left on his stool from the night before.  A long green streak now lay across the beautiful flower.

  Again, he took his place in front of what would seem to be a lost cause and studied it for a while.  Finally he dipped his brush and began to paint.  At the end of the day, the green streak had become part of a lush green vine that had woven its way through the flower garden and bordered the edges of the canvas.  The mishaps had faded into the beauty of the picture.  And so it is, as God, the Master of the universe, paints on the canvas of your life or mine.