Walk with the Lord!
Walk with the Lord!
she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he,
and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not,
neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD,
which he spake by Elijah.” I Kings 17: 15-16.
From the pages of antiquity comes an unusual, arresting story that the Lord Jesus would use hundreds of years later. It would offer the Pharisees, and all future generations an opportunity to rethink their spiritual position.
Now, as then, there are those who feel that they have God franchised; that if He does anything, He will either consult with, or work through them. While this writer has profound respect for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, it remains possible for a church to become just as the ancient Pharisees were in this regard.
So, jumping in thought from the ancient days to the ministry of Jesus, we hear him saying in confrontation with the Pharisees: “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.” Luke 4:25-26. This so infuriated the good folks in the synagogue at Nazareth that they sought to cast Jesus off a mountain. (What kind of righteousness is that?)
Things have not changed over the years. When people are thinking, believing, or doing wrong, and then confronted with truth, they have two options: Accept it and change or retain error and become angry. Blessed are those who do the former.
But, the ancient Pharisees were so much like many modern religionists. They were so steeped in traditions, many of which supplanted the very Word of God, that they became blinded to opportunities around them, and the magnificent, awesome possibilities afforded to those who simply trust and do with childlike faith. How we should pray that our minds and hearts should be more as parachutes, and less like concrete.
So, just why did God bypass His people of covenant to bring such a blessing, and marvelous story into the Word with someone estranged from that covenant? Maybe it was for the very purpose that Jesus used it hundreds of years later. Also, He doubtlessly knew this common, human failure was not restricted to the Jews, but would afflict His people down through the centuries. By it, a wonderful goad was created for His people of all time.
Sometimes great blessings in harmony with the Word lie just outside the box of long held traditions. Then, let no power succeed in leaving one fearful or derelict to explore the principles of the eternal Word. THINK!
William Andrew Dillard
WHAT MEANETH THESE STONES?
When the children of Israel came to the Jordan River in their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, Joshua commanded them to set up a memorial of stones. One man from each of the twelve tribes was to precede the priest carrying the ark. They were to take up a large stone and carry it on their shoulder. In the place where they camped that night, they used the large stones to create a memorial marker. When their children in the future should ask their fathers what the stones meant, then they would answer them, “That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:7.
A brief survey of Exodus, Leviticus, and a few other Old Testament books will reveal much usage of the term “memorial.” God wanted future generations to know how He had blessed, and helped the Israelites to accomplish what was otherwise impossible. It underscores to those of us so many thousands of years into the future of that time, the value of godly memorials.
Modern day sermons are fraught with examples and illustrations of God’s work among His people of so long ago. Such memorials are an undergirding of faith to present day saints. After all, they are preserved in writing for our admonition upon which the ends of the world are come. I Cor. 10:11.
As it was then, so it is now. It is important that memorials be created and observed, children taught, and saints reminded often of the goodness of God upon His people collectively, His church; of each saved person individually; of this great nation: the reason for its founding, and the sacrifices that have been made to defend its existence, and its liberties.
Today, God would not have us to build a memorial of bricks, rocks and mortar. Rather the stones of remembrance are spiritual landmarks of sound Bible doctrine, even those that save the spirits of men, and those that instruct to the saving of the soul; those of the faith once delivered to the saints. These include the stone of realization that all are sinners, with zero exception. Then there is the stone of salvation by grace through faith, plus nothing else. The stone of eternal security of the believer must also be a irretractible part of the accepted memorial. Add to that deep water baptism administered on a professed believer by a New Testament Church, and then the local nature of the Lords Church in which the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is observed by its qualified membership and a memorial is made that can offer acceptable interpretation of the Living Word.
APRIL 21 – The Fear of the Lord
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The beginning or starting place for the greatest relationship is the Fear of the Lord. It is obvious that the starting point of a relationship is respect and fear of the Lord. This leads to the beginning of knowledge. The greatest knowledge is the gathering of facts that come from the Lord. He is the creator of the Universe and the molder and maker of man. From Him, we breathe and move. In learning about God we gain facts that if we will live based upon those facts that God reveals to us, we will be pleasing to Him. Our lives will be enhanced, and we will live fuller lives that are productive. We will respond to His instruction and gain wisdom.
The fear of the Lord brings intellectual responsibility and activity to our daily life. We ponder the majesty of the Lord and His Holiness as compared to our sordid sinful life and mull over how God has been so good to us by providing a savior to cleanse us. We see the need to inquire into his attributes and character to learn more about the one who so graciously gave His Son that we might live.
I think about the ones that do not want to know more about our God, our Lord, our Savior. How tragic their lives must be to live a short life not knowing the depths and riches of our Lord.
The fear of the Lord brings reverence and worship and submission.
APRIL 19 – Listen, Pay Attention
II Chronicles 20:15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
What would we hear if we would listen to God? I mean that in reading His inspired Word that He has given us we would really see the message that God has for us. We often fight our battles without the help of the Lord. We are alone and on our own battling others and situations in a weak manner because we have made this battle, this altercation, this misunderstanding a battle that we personally take on.
Judah, Jerusalem and the king were in dire straits. Enemies had come up against them. Several enemies were aligned against God’s people. Because of fear, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord and proclaimed a fast in Judah. This brought Judah to the altar to seek the Lord. Here are the people admitting to God that they did not have the might to defeat their enemies. We need to learn to admit that we are powerless against the enemies that face us. We do not need to face them alone. We need to call upon God for help. We need to turn our eyes, our hearts, and our minds upon the Lord from whom we have salvation.
This is where the Lord said, “…the battle is not yours, but God’s. What peace we will have if we turn these things over to God. There are times I have worried and paced over a problem or situation and did not find an answer or peace and simply turned it over to the Lord. Then peace came because God always has the answer.
What God did is such an amazing thing. God won the battle without involving Israel. He turned the enemies against each other. They destroyed themselves. Israel sang praises to God during the self-destruction of their enemies. They among the dead and gathered the spoil and the riches of the fallen.
Here is what God said: You don’t need to fight, stand still, see the salvation of the Lord. Jehoshaphat said to the people, “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”
We need to learn the battle is the Lord’s. Give it to Him. We need to learn to witness and allow God to convict. The Battle is the Lord’s.
APRIL 15 – Weakened Hands
Ezra 4:4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
How often do we allow the world to weaken our hands when it comes to the work of the Lord. There are so many things that can be used to slow the work of the Lord and delay what we should be doing. Friends, family, and even enemies can weaken the will of man. The work is then slowed or stopped completely.
This plan has never changed. Satan will use what is at hand to deter the work of the Lord. He will use conflict. This conflict can be a Church member that stands in the way. There are some phrases that are used. “We have never done it that way before.” Maybe the term, “that is too expensive.” How about, “that way has never produced results.” Most pastors have run up against these excuses and some Church members have heard them and a few have used these excuses to weaken the hands that are involved in the Lord’s work.
Satan will use family and friends to disrupt the work of the Lord. If family and friends are not as committed to the Lord’s work as you are, they can seriously weaken the hands. There are emergencies that come up that can keep you away from the service of the Lord. A chore that can be used to keep you away from a worship service or dealing with the lost. Loved ones can easily divert us from the work for the Lord by different demands made on our time.
The enemy, the stranger, and those that have worldly pursuits can weaken the hands. They can stand against the work of the Lord. There is a constant attempt to limit and eliminate the possibility to share the gospel in public areas. The ridicule of the world is often intimidating to God’s people. The World will attack any effort. The world will give every reason for not serving the Lord. They will never give up.
Some of our churches are not growing because they have given up. They have been discouraged. Some have been charter members that have worked for years and are now tired. We must never give up. We need to encourage each other. Let us trust in the process and the method the Lord has given us. We must never give up. The Lord will strengthen us.
MARCH 22 – Sincerity is Wonderful
Pro 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
Sincerity is much to be desired. The problem we have is when we are sincerely wrong. Sincerely wrong often closes the eyes to the opportunity to be sincerely right. I believe that each and every one that reads this bit of screed has a desire to be right while on this earth and when we stand before our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. When we lack the patience to see and read the discussions of those with varying beliefs that are sincere, we deny ourselves the opportunity to either re-enforce what we believe or see where we might be a little wrong.
We have a strange ability to blind ourselves. Not one of us would want to admit that in an area or two we have been instruments of Satan because of our blindness in an area or two. This is not a harangue that anyone is totally wrong on all points. This simply saying that when we shoot the basketball and it clangs on the rim that there is a slight adjustment that needs to be made.
For myself, I don’t want to simply be close to right, I want to be right with exactly what the Lord has instructed. I want to be so far from that line that crosses over to dead wrong that I could not even trip over that line. I want to believe, teach, and practice exactly what my Lord believed, taught, and practice.
May we listen to each other and hear and compare to what we believe and compare to God’s perfect Word. I learn a lot when I listen to others and reflect and study on what is said. Sometimes I might want to adjust a little and other times I am shown to be right and given an added point to help my discussions with others.
May we all be sincere and make sure we are sincerely right with God’s Word.
MARCH 19 – My Thoughts are not Your Thoughts
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
There are times when we need to stop and take a look at what we are doing. We need to study and re-consider, are we doing this God’s way. Are we feebly trying to get God to accept something that we are doing? God has made the claim that our ways are not His ways. Our thoughts are not His thoughts.
Notice that God is not happy with the wicked ways of man. He is not happy with man’s unrighteous thoughts. We can scheme and plan all we want and attract a great crowd and it not be accepted by God. Paul had a few things to say about the manner of doing things.
2Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
God lays out for us in His book how to approach Him in worship and in service. I have heard the statement, “God knows my intent.” I have also heard, “what is important is what is inside not outside.” These are people that are trying to justify themselves before man hoping that what they are engaged in will be accepted by God. If it is of the world or worldly thought, it is unacceptable to God.
Have we entangled ourselves with the methods of the world? Are we truly seeking God’s way?
MARCH 17 – Consult with the Lord
2 Samuel 7:1 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.
There are times where we decide compulsively to do something. It sounds great and wonderful and we think surely the Lord will be pleased with what I do for Him. What we need to realize is, God has His plans for us. His plans may not be what we are looking to do for Him.
One of the problems we seem to have is the same problem that David had. He did not consult the Lord about what he wanted to do. I know of a preacher that is pastoring a small struggling church. As I visited with he and his wife, they expressed to me of what their vision encompassed. It was a place of position and notoriety. Instead of slaving away pastoring a small struggling Church a ministry that would be noticed by many people and would be championed by many people. I was perplexed with what they desired to do and wondered if they had consulted with the Lord about their desire. Notice I said their desire. I have no insight about what the Lord wanted them to do. I can see the appeal that their desire had for them.
What is God’s plan for them? This is the question that should be asked. Our friends and loved ones might agree with us but the important agreement is, does the Lord agree with our plans. His thoughts are always higher than our thoughts. His ways are better than our ways. His plans are better than our plans. He can see the end. We sometimes are blind to the will of God because we are blinded by our will.
May we, in our exuberance to serve and minister consult with the Lord what he would have us do and what way He would have us do it.