Four Years Ago – Christian, Don’t Wait Until November

Posted at: The Christian’s Report on July 9, 2016

Followers of Jesus Christ in the United States of America, in less than four months we will go to the polls and record our choice for those who will serve as our local, state, and federal elected officials.

Believers and unbelievers alike will approach that day with the hope that our lives, and the lives of our fellow countrymen and countrywomen, will be filled with hope for our future as a result of those who we elect.

Is this a child’s dream? A baseless desire?

Not according to God’s word it isn’t.

The God of Israel has spoken;
    the Rock of Israel has said to me:
When one rules justly over men,
    ruling in the fear of God,
 he dawns on them like the morning light,
    like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning,
    like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.

2 Samuel 23:3,4

Is it possible that we could find ourselves under the rule of men and women who would serve in such a manner that the promises in 2 Samuel 23 would be fulfilled?

Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testament expands on the joys of living under the rule of such a government:

These words are a further description of the king’s duty, which is not only to rule with justice and piety, but also with sweetness, and gentleness, and condescension to the infirmities of his people; to render his government as acceptable to them as is the sunshine in a clear morning, or the tender grass which springs out of the earth by the warm beams of the sun after the rain.

I realize that this nation is as far removed from these ideals as a horse’s tail is from its nose. But I ask myself why God would tell us of such a government if attaining the same was not possible?

I therefore must say that it is absolutely possible. But how?

Maybe we should approach our King, find his ear through our prayers, confess our sin, and beseech him that he would find favor on our nation.

Might we be able to find within God’s provisioning that single mustard seed worth of faith which would shake the upcoming elections at their very foundation?

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Romans 13:1

See here? Is it not God who put our current government in place? Can not the same God answer his people’s prayers and install a government that governs with “sweetness, and gentleness, and condescension to the infirmities of his people?”

Meet with your God each morning, noon, and night. Cry out to him the words which he gives us in 2 Samuel 23 and Romans 13.

Do this for your family, your church, your nation. But most of all do this that God might be glorified through the faith of his people working as salt and light in this darkened world.

God bless you all, my prayer for God’s strength in your prayers is ongoing.

Larry

 

Our Treasure

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“In the house of the righteous is much treasure–but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.” Proverbs 15:6

How different is the estimate that faith makes of riches, honors, and comforts from that made by the world and the flesh! The world has no idea of riches but such as consist in gold and silver, in houses, lands, or other tangible property; no thought of honor, but such as man has to bestow; and no notion of comfort, except in “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” But the soul that is anointed by an “unction from the Holy One,” takes a different estimate of these matters, and feels that the only true riches are those of God’s grace in the heart, that the only real honor is that which comes from God, and that the only solid comfort is that which is imparted by the Holy Spirit to a broken and contrite spirit. Now, just in proportion as we have the Spirit of God, shall we take faith’s estimate of riches, honor, and comfort; and just so much as we are imbued with the spirit of the world, shall we take the world’s estimate of these things.

When the eye of the world looked on the Apostles, it viewed them as a company of poor ignorant men, a set of wild enthusiasts, that traveled about the country preaching concerning one Jesus, who, they said, had been crucified, and was risen from the dead. The natural eye saw no beauty, no power, no glory in the truths they brought forth; nor did it see that the poor perishing tabernacles of these outcast men contained in them a heavenly treasure; and that they would one day shine as the stars forever and ever, while those who despised their word would sink into endless woe.

The spirit of the world, and the views that the flesh takes are not altered now. Nature ever remains the same, and can never understand or love the things of eternity; it can only look to, and can only rest upon, the poor perishing things of time and sense.

By this test, therefore, we may in a measure try our state. What, for instance, are our daily and hourly feelings about the things of time and sense, and what about the things of eternity? Which of the two press with more power on our minds, which occupy more of our thoughts, which are laid up more warmly in our affections? And just in proportion as the solemn things of eternity, or the things of time and sense, occupy our mind; just so much as our hearts are fixed upon heaven or earth; just so much as we are living to God, or to ourselves, in the same degree is the strength of our faith, and the depth of the work of grace upon our conscience.

Praying for the Lord’s Return

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“He shall see His seed; He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53:10

Plead for the speedy fulfillment of this promise, all you who love the Lord. It is easy work to pray when we are grounded and bottomed, as to our desires, upon God’s own promise. How can He who gave the Word refuse to keep it? Immutable veracity cannot demean itself by a lie, and eternal faithfulness cannot degrade itself by neglect. God must bless His Son, His covenant binds Him to it. That which the Spirit prompts us to ask for Jesus, is that which God decrees to give Him.

Whenever you are praying for the kingdom of Christ, let your eyes behold the dawning of the blessed day which draws near, when the Crucified One shall receive His coronation in the place where men rejected Him. Courage, you who prayerfully work and toil for Christ with success of the very smallest kind, it shall not be so always; better times are before you. Your eyes cannot see the blissful future: borrow the telescope of faith; wipe the misty breath of your doubts from the glass; look through it and behold the coming glory.

Reader, let us ask, do you make this your constant prayer? Remember that the same Christ who tells us to say, “Give us this day our daily bread,” had first given us this petition, “Hallowed be Your name; Your kingdom come; Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Let not your prayers be all concerning your own sins, your own needs, your own imperfections, your own trials—but let them climb the starry ladder, and get up to Christ Himself, and then, as you draw near to the blood-sprinkled mercy-seat, offer this prayer continually, “Lord, extend the kingdom of Your dear Son!” Such a petition, fervently presented, will elevate the spirit of all your devotions. Mind that you prove the sincerity of your prayer by laboring to promote the Lord’s glory.

Pray Thee With Fervent Heart, Knowing That Our Prayers Shall Be Heard

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“He was heard in that he feared.” — Hebrews 5:7

Did this fear arise from the infernal suggestion that He was utterly forsaken.

There may be sterner trials than this—but surely it is one of the worst to be utterly forsaken?

“See,” said Satan, “you have a friend nowhere! Your Father has shut up the affections of His compassion against you. Not an angel in His courts will stretch out his hand to help you. All heaven is alienated from You; You are left alone. See the companions with whom You have taken sweet counsel, what are they worth? Son of Mary, see there Your brother James, see there Your beloved disciple John, and Your bold apostle Peter—how the cowards sleep—when You are in Your sufferings! Lo! You have no friend left in heaven or earth. All hell is against You. I have stirred up my infernal den. I have sent my missives throughout all regions summoning every prince of darkness to set upon You this night, and we will spare no arrows, we will use all our infernal might to overwhelm You! And what will You do, You solitary one?”

It may be, this was the temptation; we think it was, because the appearance of an angel unto Him strengthening Him removed that fear. He was heard in that He feared; He was no more alone—but heaven was with Him. It may be that this is the reason of His coming three times to His disciples — as Joseph Hart puts it — “Backwards and forwards thrice He ran—as if He sought some help from man.” He would see for Himself whether it were really true that all men had forsaken Him; He found them all asleep; but perhaps He gained some faint comfort from the thought that they were sleeping, not from treachery—but from sorrow, the spirit indeed was willing—but the flesh was weak.

At any rate, He was heard in that He feared. Jesus was heard in His deepest woe; my soul—you shall be heard also.

Two Possible Responses to Goliath – Part 2 (repost)

Originally Posted on December 15, 2015

By Larry Cook

In Part 1 (Link Here) we considered a survey of Americans on the subject of their fears. This survey sought responses on the level of fear experienced in eighty-eight domains. These domains included terrorist attacks, government tracking of personal data, insects, public speaking, and eighty-four others. Interestingly, the designers of the survey did not include the fear of God in the eighty-eight.

I find this omission interesting not because I would expect a secular institution such as Chapman University to consider the fear of God a valid and rational thing, but more so because it is, at the very least, a possible fear in the universe of fears, and therefore adequately valid to justify its inclusion.

But those of us united in Christ are not to fear the exclusion of this foundational element of our faith by a secular university conducting a survey. We all, to a greater or lesser degree, understand that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And we hold this to be true regardless of what might or might not be put forth by the unbelieving world.

Charles Spurgeon, in the following quote, presses on us the vital nature of the fear of God by implying that we need not consider moving forward in our religion unless and until we grasp this fundamental concept. He writes:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning and the foundation of all true religion. Without a solemn awe and reverence of God there is no foothold for the more brilliant virtues.

But lest we fail to consider the corresponding attribute of God, namely His mercy, Spurgeon reminds the believer of the love God showed us in our redemption.

The roaring thunder of the law and the fear of the terror of judgment are both used to bring us to Christ, but the final victory culminating in our salvation is won through God’s loving-kindness.

And so we ask, where does this leave us?

If we are to be faithful to God’s Word, then according to Revelation 14:7, we will proclaim God’s command that all are to fear the one who will judge, to give glory to the one who made heaven and earth, and to worship him who made the sea and the springs of water.

But we must do so with compassion, remembering that the man or woman to whom we speak these words is lost and without God in this world. We must muster the same level of compassion that Jesus displayed when he tells the unbelieving world in Mathew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

God bless you.


© The Christian’s Report, 2016

Two Possible Responses to Goliath – Part 1 (repost)

Originally Posted on Dec 12, 2015

By Larry Cook

As American Christians, our lives have changed over the years, and it seems that they will continue to change as events in the world around us more threatening with each new report of terrorism.

By its very definition, terrorism is intended to provoke fear in the minds of its victims. And beyond the acts themselves, we are often further provoked to a fearful state by our government and the media.

Chapman University published The Chapman University Survey of American Fears, Wave 2 (2015), which they say “provides an unprecedented look into the fears of the average American.”

The survey asked respondents to rate their level of fear about eighty-eight different fears. The top ten are shown on this graphic.

Top10Fears-740x572

What should be the Christian’s response to questions about our fear of things such as terrorist attacks, running out of money in the future, pandemic, or any of the other eight-eight fears listed on the survey?

1 Samuel 17 tells the story of two possible responses to a fearful situation. Taking place during a battle between Israel and the Philistines, it paints a picture of a Philistine soldier, great in stature and might, who challenged the men of Israel to find one man from their ranks to come forward and fight with him one-on-one.

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

Ultimately, there was found not one Israelite who could face the fear which this Philistine created. Beyond that, we are told that they were, “greatly afraid.” Other translations describe their condition as, “terrified” and “deeply shaken.” One can’t help but visualize these men cowering down in the hope that they would not be called upon by their captain as the one who would face this Goliath.

Thus we have a portrait of one possible response to a fearful thing, in this case an opposing soldier of great size and strength.

Now David, a shepherd and the youngest son of Jesse, did not join his three brothers who served under King Saul and against the Philistines. But during the time of this battle, when Goliath was challenging the men of Israel, he was sent to the camp with supplies.

After his arrival on the battlefield, and upon hearing the challenge put forth by Goliath, David asked the men of Israel, “…who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

David realized that the sovereign God of Israel was in control of the situation, and that if anyone should be fearful it was Goliath for attempting to defy the armies of this living God.

After convincing King Saul that he was capable of facing Goliath, 1 Samuel 17 describes the encounter as follows:

40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

41 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance.43 And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth,that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord‘s, and he will give you into our hand.”

48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52

Scripture reveals not the slightest hint that David experienced fear. In fact, David met the giant’s threat with a threat of his own. But David’s trust and confidence was not in size nor in armor. He went forth to meet the giant in the strength of almighty God and proclaimed to the Philistine as much.

It seems that, in David’s mind, the outcome was never in question. David took to heart the admonition in Deuteronomy 3:22, which says, “You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.”

And so what does this story inform us about how we should deal with fearful events in this life?

We have two choices. We can choose to narrow our perspective to this world and focus on the harm that might come to our flesh. Or we can remember that our God is sovereign over all things.

Job 5:22 tells us that destruction and devastation are not stir up fear in God’s people.  “At destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the beasts of the earth.”

Gill comments that by laugh, what is intended is that through faith the believer shall trust in God’s provision for protection and sustenance.

At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh,…. Not deride and despise them, and make a jest of them; for good men have a reverence and awe of the righteous judgments of God upon them, when they are in the world, Psalm 119:120; but the sense is, that such shall reckon themselves safe and secure amidst such calamities, provision being made for their protection and sustenance; and be cheerful and comfortable, putting their trust and confidence in the Lord

Thus it should be clear to those who would follow Christ that we should meet the trials of this day, whether “natural” or man-made, with a calm resolve that our times truly are in the hands of a sovereign God.

In Part 2, we will consider with interest the fact that the fear of God is not included in Chapman University’s list of fears.


© The Christian’s Report, 2016

Our Enemy, Our War, and Our Assured Victory

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Michael and his angels fought against the dragon—and the dragon and his angels fought back.” Revelation 12:7

War always will rage between the two great sovereignties—until one or other is crushed. Peace between good and evil is an impossibility; the very pretense of it would, in fact, be the triumph of the powers of darkness. Michael will always fight; his holy soul is vexed with sin, and will not endure it. Jesus will always be the dragon’s foe, and that not in a quiet sense—but actively, vigorously, with full determination to exterminate evil.

All His servants, whether angels in heaven or messengers on earth, will and must fight; they are born to be warriors! At the cross, they enter into covenant never to make truce with evil; they are a warlike company, firm in defense and fierce in attack. The duty of every soldier in the army of the Lord—is daily, with all his heart, and soul, and strength—to fight against the dragon. The dragon and his angels will not decline the affray; they are incessant in their onslaughts, sparing no weapon, fair or foul.

We are foolish if we expect to serve God without opposition—the more zealous we are, the more sure are we to be assailed by the myrmidons of hell. The church may become slothful—but not so her great antagonist; his restless spirit never allows the war to pause; he hates the woman’s seed, and would gladly devour the church if he could. The servants of Satan partake much of the old dragon’s energy, and are usually an active race.

War rages all around, and to dream of peace—is dangerous and futile. Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon shall be cast out and forever destroyed, while Jesus and those who are with Him shall receive the crown. Let us sharpen our swords tonight, and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen our arms for the conflict. Never a battle so important; never a crown so glorious. Every man to his post, O warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly!

Our Witness To The Truth

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 3, 4

The truth was in Gaius—and Gaius walked in a the truth.

If the first had not been the case—the second could never have occurred. If the second could not be said of him—the first would have been a mere pretense. Truth must enter into the soul, penetrate and saturate it—or else it is of no value. Doctrines held as a matter of mere creed—are like bread in the hand, which ministers no nourishment to the body. But doctrine accepted by the heart, is as food digested, which, by assimilation, sustains and builds up the body.

Truth must be a living force in us, an active energy, an indwelling reality, a part of the woof and warp of our being. If truth is in us, we cannot henceforth part with it. A man may lose his garments or his limbs—but his inward parts are vital, and cannot be torn away without absolute loss of life. A Christian can die—but he cannot deny the truth.

It is a rule of nature—that the inward affects the outward, as light shines from the center of the lantern through the glass. When, therefore, the truth is kindled within, its brightness soon beams forth in the outward life and conversation.

It is said that the food of certain silkworms, colors the cocoons of silk which they spin—and just so the nutriment upon which a man’s inward nature lives—gives a tinge to every word and deed proceeding from him.

To walk in the truth, imports a life of integrity, holiness, faithfulness, and simplicity—the natural product of those principles of truth which the gospel teaches, and which the Spirit of God enables us to receive. We may judge of the secrets of the soul—by their manifestation in the man’s life. Be it ours today, O gracious Spirit, to be ruled and governed by Your divine authority, so that nothing false or sinful may reign in our hearts, lest it extend its malignant influence to our daily walk among men.