Tag: Devotional

Faith & Love That Cling

“Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.” Ruth 1:14
The verse above presents a beautiful picture of devoted faith and love. After the tragedy of losing her husband and two sons Naomi desperately abandoned Moab for her homeland in Bethlehem, where there were stories of renewed prosperity. Years before, hardship drove her family from the land of Israel, the place of God’s provision and blessing – beloved Eretz Israel, as a Hebrew would habitually call it, thereby indicating that no other land was like the one given to them by the Lord. In spite of his pious-sounding name, when famine stalked the land Elimelechi decamped for Gentile territory in search of a fruitful way of life. Of course the adverse agricultural situation reflected the spiritual departure within the nation itself. These were the days of the Judges, when “…there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 21:25.) God had forewarned the Israelites of the dire discipline that would befall them if they departed from serving Him and turned to idols. Conversely, He promised to bless their land and give them the early and latter rains which were essential for fecundity (Deut. 11:13-17.) If they did turn from the Lord, the remedy would be found in heartfelt repentance, rather than in fleeing to greener pastures in neighboring nations. (Abraham’s woeful experience during a famine in Genesis 12:10-20 demonstrated the folly of going elsewhere during hard times.) Sadly, Elimelech led his family to nearby Moab to their cost.
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Recycled Error & The Superior Promises Of Christ

A popular, well-worn adage opines: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This is certainly true in regard to spiritual error. In keeping with the contemporary zeitgeist, Satan is a great recycler, recirculating old lies to gullible mankind. Take for example his time-honored tactic of idolatry coupled with sexual immorality. When the ancient mercenary-seer Balaam – a sort of “for profit-prophet” – was hired to curse the Israelites, God thwarted his efforts on three occasions. His imprecations were divinely turned to blessings; on his fourth utterance he even prophesied of their glorious destiny (see Num. 22-24.) During this unsuccessful spiritual attack, the Israelites were ignorant of the threat; nonetheless, God protected them from wickedness in high places. Unable to beat them through curses, Balaam resorted to baser tactics, counseling the Moabites to entice the Israelites to enrage the Lord through spiritual and physical fornication under the pretext of inviting them to a feast. Subsequently, many of them succumbed to idolatrous debauchery and incurred the Lord’s wrath.
To later generations of Israelites this sordid incident at Baal Peor was a cautionary tale of the dangers of mixing with pagans and their religions (e.g. Josh. 22:17.) Unfortunately, the memory of it did not prevent it from reoccurring in various forms in their history thereafter. Nor did it preclude an outbreak of such vile iniquity in the church at Pergamos. Worst of all, the mixture of errant theology and immorality is far too prevalent within modern Christendom, even penetrating churches which profess to be evangelical. While such sin may seem tantalizingly pleasurable, it cannot compare with what the Lord Jesus offers to His followers.
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

Recycled Error & The Superior Promises Of Christ

A popular, well-worn adage opines: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This is certainly true in regard to spiritual error. In keeping with the contemporary zeitgeist, Satan is a great recycler, recirculating old lies to gullible mankind. Take for example his time-honored tactic of idolatry coupled with sexual immorality. When the ancient mercenary-seer Balaam – a sort of “for profit-prophet” – was hired to curse the Israelites, God thwarted his efforts on three occasions. His imprecations were divinely turned to blessings; on his fourth utterance he even prophesied of their glorious destiny (see Num. 22-24.) During this unsuccessful spiritual attack, the Israelites were ignorant of the threat; nonetheless, God protected them from wickedness in high places. Unable to beat them through curses, Balaam resorted to baser tactics, counseling the Moabites to entice the Israelites to enrage the Lord through spiritual and physical fornication under the pretext of inviting them to a feast. Subsequently, many of them succumbed to idolatrous debauchery and incurred the Lord’s wrath.
To later generations of Israelites this sordid incident at Baal Peor was a cautionary tale of the dangers of mixing with pagans and their religions (e.g. Josh. 22:17.) Unfortunately, the memory of it did not prevent it from reoccurring in various forms in their history thereafter. Nor did it preclude an outbreak of such vile iniquity in the church at Pergamos. Worst of all, the mixture of errant theology and immorality is far too prevalent within modern Christendom, even penetrating churches which profess to be evangelical. While such sin may seem tantalizingly pleasurable, it cannot compare with what the Lord Jesus offers to His followers.
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

Power, Real & Imagined

The despots of the world cling to the notion that they possess power, and this legitimizes the enacting of their every whim. The ancient Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar harbored such illusions regarding his personal significance and authority. He was the poster child for Lord Acton’s well-known dictum: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” The eighteenth century British statesman William Pitt the elder uttered a similar sentiment, saying: “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”i This knowledge of humanity’s proneness to abuse power led the founders of the United States to develop a government where authority is divided among its separate branches.ii Unfortunately, these liberal sentiments were written more than 2,200 years after this Mesopotamian monarch held sway over the near east. Accordingly, Nebuchadnezzar was the unquestioned head of Babylon with no checks and balances to curtail his exercise of power; or so he thought…
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Power, Real & Imagined

The despots of the world cling to the notion that they possess power, and this legitimizes the enacting of their every whim. The ancient Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar harbored such illusions regarding his personal significance and authority. He was the poster child for Lord Acton’s well-known dictum: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” The eighteenth century British statesman William Pitt the elder uttered a similar sentiment, saying: “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”i This knowledge of humanity’s proneness to abuse power led the founders of the United States to develop a government where authority is divided among its separate branches.ii Unfortunately, these liberal sentiments were written more than 2,200 years after this Mesopotamian monarch held sway over the near east. Accordingly, Nebuchadnezzar was the unquestioned head of Babylon with no checks and balances to curtail his exercise of power; or so he thought…
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A Sure Guide For A Difficult Pathway

Last week I had the privilege of speaking at a Bible conference far from my home in Pennsylvania. My family and I particularly enjoyed the warm, Christ-centered fellowship of the saints who attended. In conversing with various brothers and sisters, I was astonished at some of the trials they have experienced, as well as some of the difficult situations they are currently facing. One sister witnessed the brutal murder of her brother. Another lost two brothers in the Second World War. One brother told us of losing his ten year old daughter in a collision with a driver who was fleeing the police in a high speed chase. To add to the soberness of such past incidents, one of the attendees suffered a mild heart-attack during the week. Others who previously attended this conference were unable to attend this year due to business difficulties stemming from the recession. At least one brother at the conference recently lost his job. The meetings were a clear reminder of the variegated trials that the saints regularly encounter in this fallen world. Thankfully, they do not experience these hardships alone; the omnipresent Lord promises to be with them in all circumstances (Heb. 13:5.)

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Mirror, Mirror

“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3:18, ASV

Shakespeare famously described the theater in these words: “whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold as ’twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure” (emphasis mine.) The recently deceased Brazilian stage director, Augusto Boal once commented on this metaphor, saying: “I think that’s very nice. But I would like to have a mirror with some magic properties in which we could, if we don’t like the image that we have in front of us, would allow us to penetrate into the mirror and transform our image and then come back with our image transformed.” One can sympathize with his sentiments, for honest introspection reveals many flaws and destructive attitudes within one’s own heart. Man’s rebellion against his Creator has warped his personality and rendered him a slave to unbridled passions and perverseness. Sin scars people, and – if left unchecked – leaves an eternally calloused, distorted soul (Rev. 22:11.) To put the matter in scriptural phraseology, sin brings about death (James 1:15.)

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God, With & For Us

Because it is God-breathed, every word of Holy Scripture is significant. Take, for example, the prepositions that are employed in the Bible. Matthew 1:23 – quoting Isaiah 7:14 – famously calls the Lord Jesus “Immanuel” and then translates it for his readers as “God with us.” Rom. 8:31 uses another important preposition in connection with God, saying: “God for us” (literal rendering of the Greek text.) Together these phrases tell the story of the Almighty’s detailed interest in and unparalleled love for His creatures.
To read the entire article, click on the title.

God, With & For Us

Because it is God-breathed, every word of Holy Scripture is significant. Take, for example, the prepositions that are employed in the Bible. Matthew 1:23 – quoting Isaiah 7:14 – famously calls the Lord Jesus “Immanuel” and then translates it for his readers as “God with us.” Rom. 8:31 uses another important preposition in connection with God, saying: “God for us” (literal rendering of the Greek text.) Together these phrases tell the story of the Almighty’s detailed interest in and unparalleled love for His creatures.

To read the entire article, click on the title.

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