It’s Not….

  • It’s not what God chooses to do through me that is significant, it is my complete obedience to God that is most important.
  • It’s not what others think I am, it is what God knows that I am that is what I really am.
  • It’s not what I do, but it is what I am (a direct and unique creation of God) that gives my life value.
  • It’s not other’s treatment of me, but my treatment of others, that I am responsible for.
  • It’s not my abilities that God is in need of, it’s my availability and dependability that He is looking for.
  • It’s not the approval of the world that the church is in need of, but it’s the approval of God.
  • It’s not my scholarship in God’s Word, but by submission to God’s Word that will touch hearts and change lives.
  • It’s not my “wit” but God’s Word that will touch hearts and change lives.
  • It’s not my popularity, but my purity that will touch hearts and change lives.
  • It’s not my good looks, but my genuine love that will touch hearts and change lives.
  • It’s not my talent, but my truthfulness that will touch hearts and change lives.
  • It’s not my greatness, but my generosity that will touch hearts and change lives.
  • It’s not my doctrine, but my demeanor that will attract people to my Savior.  (The doctrine will then convert them.)
  • It’s not just my lifestyle that is necessary in winning others to Christ, there must be the clear, Biblical proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • It’s not how much others serve me, but my service to others that determines my significance.
  • It’s not my works for Jesus Christ, but my faith in Jesus Christ that saves me from sin and Hell.

Leave It There…

A fellow who was a constant worrier visited Pastor Charles Albert Tindley one day.

(Tindley is known as one of the “found­ing fa­thers of Amer­i­can Gos­pel mu­sic.” The son of slaves, he taught him­self to read and write at age 17. He was a driv­en young man, work­ing as a jan­i­tor while at­tend­ing night school, and learning Hebrew and Greek and earn­ing his di­vin­i­ty de­gree through a cor­re­spond­ence course. In 1902, he be­came pas­tor of the Cal­va­ry Meth­o­dist Epis­co­pal Church in Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­vania, the church where he had ear­li­er been the jan­i­tor. At the time of Tindley’s death, his church had 12,500 mem­bers.)

After listening awhile, Tindley replied: “My advice to you is put all your troubles in a sack, take ’em to the Lord, and leave ’em there.”

Tindley went on to write the following words which became a popular Christian song:

If the world from you withhold of its silver and its gold,
And you have to get along with meager fare,
Just remember, in His Word, how He feeds the little bird;
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

If your body suffers pain and your health you can’t regain,
And your soul is almost sinking in despair,
Jesus knows the pain you feel, He can save and He can heal;
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail,
Don’t forget that God in Heaven answers prayer;
He will make a way for you and will lead you safely through.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

When your youthful days are gone and old age is stealing on,
And your body bends beneath the weight of care;
He will never leave you then,
He’ll go with you to the end.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

Does Not Equal…

  • Not arguing with someone does not equal compromising with them.
  • Volume does not equal power.
  • Arrogance does not equal confidence.
  • Creativity does not equal carnality.
  • Attracting people’s attention does not equal having their respect.
  • Dressing Scriptural does not equal dressing strangely.
  • Zeal does not equal ignorance.
  • “Hard” preaching does not equal harsh preaching.
  • Kindness does not equal weakness.
  • Patience does not equal indifference.
  • Delay does not equal denial.
  • Having knowledge does not equal having wisdom.
  • Being “strict” does not equal being spiritual.
  • Being old does not always equal being wise.
  • Being big does not equal being right.
  • Being “small” does not equal having little influence.

2nd Commandment – No Graven Images

The first and second commands are closely related.

1st – Whom we are to worship
2nd – How we are to worship (actually how we are NOT to worship)

There never has been a race of men who did not worship some form of a god.  “Man worships almost as instinctively as he breathes,” Dr. Lehman Strauss.  The problem with most people is not that they are not aware of God’s existence, but that they are incorrect of their worship of God.  We often hear people say, “I worship God in my own way.”

1.  The Second Command Deals With Our Concept Of God.

It is impossible to correctly worship and live for God until we have a correct concept of who and what God is.  In John 4:20-24, the woman at the well understood the existence of God, but she did not understand the nature of God, thus she did not understand the correct worship of God.

Too often, people limit God to their finite concept of God.

Jesus taught this social outcast and immoral woman a very profound truth, and that is, the standard of approach to God is not man-made!  Mankind’s approach to God is not mental or physical, but spiritual.

(John 4:23-24) God is a spirit and not material, thus He cannot be approached or represented materially.  Romans 1:23 tells us that the “natural” man cannot connect with a spiritual God.  Ephesians 2:1 – man is born spiritually dead, spiritually unresponsive and insensitive to God’s existence.  Until a person is born spiritually, (re-generated), he has no way to connect with or approach God.

2.  The Second Commandment Is Just That, A Clear Command.

This command does not forbid pictures of scenery, wildlife, or loved ones.  If it did, God broke His own command. In Exodus 25:10,17-20 God gave instructions to have images of cherubim and in the temple images of palm trees.  What God does forbid is, any attempted representation of God.  Throughout scripture, God severely judges man when man attempts to represent God with material objects or images.

This second command forbids man to represent God by material means.  Our God is so much greater and so far beyond our finite minds that any attempt to physically represent Him is an insult to His essence.

3.  The Second Command And The Christian.

Jesus Christ is the only visible image of our invisible God.  Jesus is the only physical manifestation of God who is a spirit.  John 14:9, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”  Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God.”  Again, Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is the “express image of his (God’s) person.”

When I recognize my inability to live up to God’s standards of acceptance (because of my sinful nature) and trust God’s solution (Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for me personally), I am born again, born spiritually and able to connect with God.  At that moment, I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God who immediate begins of process of changing me into the image of Christ.  I, in a sense, become a “manifestation” of God; a manifestation of His love, goodness, holiness.

Our churches do not need statutes of God in our windows and on our platforms, we need Christ-like believers in our streets.

 

A Danger of Bible College Marriages

A danger I have observed over the years of two young people meeting and marrying while still in Bible college.

  • Character may be nothing more than Compliance.Within the Bible college environment, it is easy for a young lady to believe that her future husband is a man of great character because his bed is always made, his room is always clean, he’s on time for meals, etc. In reality, he may just be a compliant man.  The only reason his bed is made, his room is neat, and he’s on time to meals and services is that he will get demerits for not doing these things.

    What happens when he is no longer under the oversight of the school administration?  She needs to determine the depth/reality of his character when demerits are not a factor.  How does he conduct himself when no one is holding him accountable.  Does he pay his bills on time, is he responsible with his possessions, is he prompt and presentable simply because it is right, and because his has depth of character?

  • Conviction may be nothing more than Compliance.He may be dressing right, listening to the right music, avoiding ungodly shows, using the right Bible, and avoiding wrong environments, not because it is a Biblical conviction of his heart, but again, simply complying with school rules.

    It is very important that a young lady, or a young man, determine that their future spouse has heart convictions that are grounded solely on the Word of God.  It may take some time, outside of the schools “umbrella” for this to be determined.

  • Compassion may be nothing more than Compliance.The same principle applies here as mentioned above.  His soul winning and ministry may be nothing more that simply working “with the program” and fulfilling the ministry requirements that the Bible college requires.
    His bus ministry may not be a genuine burden for children and families in desperate need of Christ.  His involvement in prayer meetings, evangelistic outreaches, Sunday school teaching, etc. must be more than something he “has to do” to stay in this school.

The lesson here is that finding the right man/woman to marry requires a tremendous amount of prayer, time, communication, observation, and involvement.  Meet his/her family.  Take note how he treats his parents, how he takes care of his vehicle, room, and possessions.  Pay close attention to how he/she handles money.  Take note of his service to the Lord – is he faithful to prayer meeting, is he a genuine soul winner, is he consistent and unchanging in his convictions – not in the confines of the school requirements, but out in the “real” world?  How does he behave when he answers to no one but God.

Proverbs 19:14, “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife [and husband] is from the LORD.”  Ask God to direct you and introduce you to the one He has for you.  Trust His leadership.  When God says “no,” trust Him.  When that one is for real, and God says, “yes,” rejoice in His leadership.

By the way, be sure that YOU are for real.  Don’t get so concerned that he/she is all they should be that you fail to be the person you are supposed to be.

Too Often….

Too often we want….

  • to be trusted without being honest.
  • to reap without sowing.
  • to receive without giving.
  • have privilege without being responsible.
  • success without sweat.
  • be respected without maintaining integrity.
  • to get without giving.
  • self government without self control.
  • blessings without obedience.
  • peace without strength.
  • prosperity without productivity.