Matthew 14:31; Mark 4:40; Luke 24;25
Here is a time that many people, those faithful and those not faithful, remember and refer to Peter walking on the water. He has just finished seeing Jesus take 2 fish and 5 biscuits and feed a multitude. He has also seen the healing and miracles performed by Jesus. He now sees an apparition in the midst of the storm that was threatening the ship that he was in. Peter experiences fear. We are told that the disciples cried out with fear. They knew that no ordinary man could walk on water. Jesus replied, “Be of Good cheer; it is I, be not afraid.” We have fear and doubt. There is a difference between fear and doubt. Doubt is a lack of trust. Peter replied, “if it is you bid me come to you on the water, Jesus said, come.” In faith and without doubt, Peter stepped out of the boat and began walking on the water. When he realized what was happening, he started to doubt. Doubt defeats. Jesus said to Peter, “wherefore didst thou doubt? Notice the lack of trust in Jesus expressed on the circumstances.
Fear can bring doubt. Our relationship is built on faith. We are saved through faith. Notice that statement. We are saved by faith and become a “new man in Christ.” Then we are to step out in faith trusting the Lord to lead us. There are times that we are like Peter and exhibit exuberance and plunge in and follow. Then we realize we have never done this before and fear starts to set in. That is when we start to doubt. When Peter realized he had never walked on water before, he experienced fear and started to doubt Jesus. Jesus said in Mark, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”
Jesus then says to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:” We have all we need to serve the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. Why do we hesitate? Do we experience fear in our lives as we try to serve the Lord? Does that bring us to doubt the Lord and His ability to keep us, guide us and protect us? Does fear bring doubt in witnessing to others? Luke 12:5 leaves us with the idea we should only fear God. 2Ti_1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 1Jn_4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
FEBRUARY 21 -– Raising up faithfulness
1Sa 2:35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.
Every generation sees a period of unfaithfulness. It can be very discouraging. God is saying here that the priests have left the God approved way of service. Some would say that they simply changed their methods. Yet we find that God is truly particular about the way the priests served Him. We see the worship of Jeroboam rejected along with the attraction of the golden calves that drew the people and gave them an icon to kneel to.
Through out history, we find this happening. The Waldensians, at the beginning, had articles of faith like ours. After much persecution we find that later articles of faith had changed in some doctrines. Our own nation has gone through several periods of moving away from man of the ways of worship and the doctrines established by the Bible. This comes from man’s desire to have an “impact” where they are are.
We have been called to preach the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to convict and draw. God said “I will raise mu up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which in in mine heart and in my mind. We are to pursue the mind of God and His will and His way of worship and winning the lost. If we do it wrong we will be cut off just as Hophni and Phinehas was cut off.
We are called by God. We are to be separated from the world. We are work God’s way.
“I’D LOVE TO, BUT. . .”
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
In these latter times, it is amazing to learn different ways that some folk happily blame others for their poor spiritual condition, and otherwise play the perennial excuses over and over. A little story illustrates this point.
Once there was a fellow who had no use for Christians or church. He would drag out his lawnmower every Sunday morning and mow his large yard. His wife used him for her excuse. She would sit on the front porch and repeat, “Boy, if it were not for you, I could really be a great Christian.”
The church folks down the road became really burdened about this man and his wife. They began to pray for their salvation, and service in the church. They witnessed to the man in a wise manner for several months. The lady did not feel threatened in the matter because she knew her husband. But, a real friendship developed between the man and the church folks. So, one Sunday morning instead of dragging out the lawnmower, he dragged out his wife and said today we are going to church. Well, of course, his wife could not object because she had always said, “ Boy, if it were not for you, I could really be a great Christian.”
After hearing a powerful sermon, the man went down the aisle, prayed to God for his salvation, and requested baptism and church membership. What a glorious thing! Wait! Now, what would his wife do? Well, she felt compelled to follow her husband, even though she was in astonishment. So, she joined the church with him.
Now the folks in the pews could hardly wait to warmly greet the new members. The ladies hugged the dear woman and invited her to sing in the choir with them. She said, “I would love to, but. . .” Some others came up to her and invited her to enjoy the fellowship of the Ladies’ Auxiliary. She said, “I would love to, but . . .” It was then that another who knew her talents said, “Oh, you would fit in so well with the girls class! Would you be interested?” She replied, “I would love to, but. . .” And, from that moment on, that was her line, “I would love to, but . . .”
There are men, women, young people with talent that could be such a blessing to the Lord’s work right in their own neighborhood church. Too often when asked to use their talents or to fill a needful position folks will instead be jealous of their time or look with low esteem on serving in their church. They then repeat the lines of the excuse-driven lady above, “I really would love to but. . .” Could it be that one day in the presence of Jesus, confronted with their shortcomings, and desirous of reward, that they will hear Jesus say, “I would love to accommodate you, but . . .” Think about it!
THERE IS A LION IN THE STREET
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
When asked to help a needy family cut firewood, a man said to his solicitor, “I can’t do that. The Russians are coming and they are red, and fire engines are red, and they are coming so there must be a fire somewhere.” His wife later asked why he had given such nonsense as an excuse. The answer was simple: one excuse is as good an another when you don’t want to do something. This is reminiscent of Solomon’s sayings in Proverbs. He writes of fools and sluggards in Chapters 22 and 26. Of special note is this verse: “The slothful man saith, there is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.” 26:13. This is an excuse to not get out of the house and do something. He went on to say, “The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.” 26:15.
These things are familiar excuses to modern day pastors. Personally, I have not heard anyone say that they could not come to church because there was a lion in the streets, but the probable reason for that is that they had not read the writings of Solomon. Certainly, there are many modern day excuses just as frivolous.
How easy it is nowadays to turn a deaf ear to the pleas of pastors and others to actively invest the days of life into the services of the Lord. Such are passed off as being of little value, and mostly without any compunction at all. But one may be certain, and herewith reminded that it will not always be this way. Jesus spoke of the kingdom in terms of a wedding feast in Matthew 22:11-13. “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Make of this saying what you will. But, know that the day is coming when Christian qualifications that are freely offered here and now will be extremely important, so important that those who have disregarded them flippantly will lament in speechlessness. So, let’s get it right. There is no lion in the street! God’s work is important! Do it while you may! “There is no work nor device . . . in the grave whether thou goest.” Ecc. 9:10.
1 Corinthians 1:9
“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord,” 1 Corinthians 1:9.
The Greek translation of this verse begins this way. Faithful is God. Faithfulness is an attribute of God. He cannot be any other way. God is faithful the same way that He is love. Who, in their right mind, would want to put his life in a wishy-washy god?
I do not know about you, but I am a high maintenance child of God in need of a faithful Father. Thankfully, I am not alone. You need Him, too. God fills this need completely and perfectly. As hard as he might try, an earthy father can only do what is humanly possible but our Heavenly Father is not bound by humanity. He is always available to help us, to hear us and to keep us.
Have you ever seen two siblings competing for their father’s attention? Well, we do not have to compete! God’s schedule is always open for each of His children. He does not have to change an appointment, clear His list or fit us in between other commitments. He is one hundred percent in tune with us at anytime. He is not distracted by anything, even by Satan.
When Satan tries to discourage us, all we must do is remember that God is faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us. We are His children and He is our Father.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it 1 Cor. 10:13).
God’s True Trailblazers
1832 – Spencer Clack, his wife and six children were appointed to serve as home missionaries with the American Baptist Home Missionary Society for Missouri. His annual salary was fixed at $400. Less than eight months later Clack died in Palmyra, MO, of cholera. On June 4, the day of his death, he wrote his last report to the society. A portion follows, “Dear Bro. Going, I am dying. Since my last communication to you, I have had much affliction in my family. I want you to pay up my full salary for the year out—else my family must suffer. My trust is in the Lord. He is able to strengthen me and uphold me in my dying hour. Don’t give up the ship. You are engaged in a good cause, you will meet with opposition—fear not. I have faithfully, honestly and conscientiously defended the cause—not with the object of making money, for I have sustained pecuniary losses; but for the glory of God and of His cause. Say to all the Missionaries to be faithful, and bear hardships as good soldiers of Jesus Christ…the mission is the cause of God. My affectionate regard to the churches…tell Bro. Vandeman I want him to preach my funeral sermon in Palmyra…I am dying, into the hands of God I resign my spirit.” The letter was signed by the man of God. A few minutes later he breathed his last breath and two days later his wife died, leaving six small children destitute. Such was the life of the home missionaries that blazed the trail and planted churches in the West in the early years of our Republic. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 457-458.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
God will always keep His word. He is “the faithful God.” He is immutable (unchangeable). Because He is the perfect God, He cannot change, nor can He ever lie. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that this truth should result in hope, like “an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast” (Hebrews 6:19). The faithful promises of God keep us secure, like an anchor, during the storms of life.
You can count on the promises of God. They are true and will be fulfilled, just as He has said. As Moses wrote, God will keep His commandments, even to a thousand generations. Most people believe that one generation is 20 years. If that is so, God’s promises are good for at least 20,000 years! Now that is a guarantee worth believing!
God is faithful for a lifetime and throughout eternity. Upon what promises of God are you building your life? Upon what word from our faithful God are you depending?
At times you may not be faithful, but you can depend on the faithful God!
Faithful to the End!
John Meglamare, one of the early Baptist preachers in Virginia, was born on June 7, 1730. John moved to Halifax County, North Carolina. When he was 34, he experienced the regenerating work of God, was baptized, and united with the Kehukee Baptist Church.
Soon after his conversion, John began preaching, and the congregation soon observed God’s hand upon him. Thus on Saturday, February 10, 1767, he was ordained. When his pastor, Elder Thomas Pope, died, the congregation looked to the newly ordained man of God to assume the pastorate. He did so, and served the church faithfully until 1772. During preaching excursions to Sussex County, Virginia, the blessings of Heaven were known in the salvation of many. For several months the pastor made continued incursions into Virginia, and many desired baptism. Among them was James Bell an influential citizen of the area. These young converts urged the man of God to move to Virginia and establish a church for them. Believing this invitation was of the Lord, he accepted. Soon a church of eighty-seven was formed, and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
John Meglamare had experienced God’s blessing in his continued travels extensively through adjacent counties. Soon four other churches came into existence. With tireless energy he continued to pastor and serve in an itinerant role until his age made it impossible to continue such a strenuous pace. His last pastorate at Blue Run could well have been his most fruitful.
In 1786, John moved to Kentucky where he lived until his death in 1808.
Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 83-84.