“Jesus went with him, and a large crowd followed and pressed around him.”
The willingness of Jesus to help others is shown in his going with Jairus, the synagogue ruler, to heal his daughter. The Lord is not unmoved by human needs.
Jesus has come to mankind, in the flesh. He also moves in our direction, to satisfy our need, to forgive our sin. Am I moving in his direction?
#votd #Mark #Jesus-Christ
Paul had suffered extremely harsh treatment by the unbelievers of Philippi. The love shown to him by the church overflowed to the other extreme with Lydia’s support and the washing of his stripes by the jailer at the beginning and then their aid to him as a Roman prisoner. He constantly remembered them in his prayers to God for their kindness. As they ministered to his needs, they were also sharing in his labors in Rome.
As one exercises his faith in the doing of good works, he becomes stronger as a Christian. Paul prayed that the Philippians would continue to increase and be filled with the fruits of righteousness (right living).
The apostle had stated in his letter to the Roman church about six years earlier, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” He related to the Philippians how that truth was being carried out during his imprisonment in Rome. Because of his circumstances, many of the Roman residents, including members of the palace guard had heard his message and had been converted to Christ. By seeing how Paul had reacted to his trials, others gained confidence to follow his example of preaching the gospel.
Some of those preachers were envious of Paul and tried to discredit him while others were true friends. He was not personally offended by their envy, but was happy that the gospel was being preached.
My sister-in-law’s husband was a farmer. He’s retired now and only raises a small number of cattle, but he owned and worked thousands of acres of land.
While many people think farming is haphazard, Dwight’s brand of agriculture was scientific. He knew exactly how deep to plant the seed. He knew how much seed would go into the ground per acre and he calculated the amount of corn or soybeans he could expect to harvest for each acre.
Most years, Dwight’s efforts resulted in excellent yields and a good income. Since farming relies on the right conditions and since those conditions are unpredictable, there are years in which returns are less than expected. In times of drought, disaster is always a possibility. Then, there can be a grave disappointment.
God told the prophet Isaiah about the vineyard he had built. He built it on the best soil, prepared the ground well on a lush hill and removed its stones. He made improvements to the land and built a vat for the juice he hoped to produce. He expected the best grapes to come from that vineyard, but instead when the harvest came found the worst.
What a disappointment! What more could he have done? Where had he failed?
The vineyard God built was the nation of Israel (Isaiah 5:7). God expected Israel to become a nation of righteousness, but the people had other ideas. Israel failed to honor its God. It should have become a light to others. It wasn’t God’s fault that Israel chose the wrong road. He had done everything he could to protect and provide for his people. They just walked away from him. God had done all he could to help Israel. He hadn’t failed, the people had.
God’s words of woe to Israel are instructive to us today. Many of the mistakes Israel made and the consequences it suffered are things of which people are currently guilty. Israel was fond of alcohol (Isaiah 5:11). It became a nation of liars (Isaiah 5:18). Israel adopted a desire for evil instead of good and frequently confused the two (Isaiah 5:20). They were wise in their own eyes, meaning they thought they were smarter than God himself (Isaiah 5:21). They were people who would make it appear the wicked were right for offering or accepting a bribe (Isaiah 5:23).
Sound familiar? Then it’s time for us to repent and obey God before our nation suffers the same fate as Israel and Judah.
“[Hezekiah] said to them: ‘Listen to me, you Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, so you can consecrate the temple of the Lord God of your ancestors! Remove from the sanctuary what is ceremonially unclean!'”
2 Chronicles 29.5
King Hezekiah of Judah restored temple worship. He began with the Levites. Perhaps he saw that they were more conscientious about consecrating themselves than the priests, v. 34.
Before we can worship and work acceptably before the Lord, we must consecrate ourselves by removing all that defiles in our lives.
#votd #2Chronicles #consecration
Phil. 1:1, 2
Paul wrote several letters from prison during his ministry. After writing to Philemon, the letter to the Philippian church was probably his next. It was written from Rome about A.D. 63.
Philippi was founded by Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. Macedonia was a Roman province and Philippi was one of the principal cities of that region.
It was during his second missionary journey that Paul had a vision calling him into Macedonia. Upon arriving at Philippi, he met with a group of Jewish women by the riverside. Of this group, Lydia and her household were the first Philippians to become Christians. They and the jailer whom Paul converted along with others comprised the church in Philippi as he and Silas moved on to other cities.
Paul and the Philippians had a great mutual admiration and it was through their love that they had sent aid to him in prison. This gift was sent by Epaphroditus and grateful Paul wrote this letter of thanks and encouragement to them. It has been called “Paul’s love letter to the church at Philippi.” Epaphroditus delivered it when he returned home later.
This epistle was addressed to the saints (Christians), bishops (elders) and deacons. As during previous times, Timothy was present as Paul wrote this letter. It is possible that Timothy penned the words as they were dictated to him.
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. (Hebrews 11:24-25 ESV)
Верою Моисей, придя в возраст, отказался называться сыном дочери фараоновой, и лучше захотел страдать с народом Божиим, нежели иметь временное греховное наслаждение, (К Евреям 11:24-25 Russian)
Dear Father in heaven ~ thank you O LORD my God for your countless blessings that appear with the dawning of a new day. Most of all, thank you for the faith in the hearts of believers around the world. Encourage us to realize that our faithfulness to Christ stirs up the consciences of those whose faith has grown cold to the point that it is hardly recognizable. Give us faith like Moses when he boldly gave up life in the king’s palace in favor of advance service to Christ the Lord. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister
Cedar Key Church of Christ
Home protection devices are popular. Even if the crime rate remains unchanged people will keep buying burglar alarms and home security systems. Most people consider protection from calamity or crime to be significantly important.
But what about spiritual protection? Shrinking numbers of church members may show this is not a chief concern. In our day, spirituality is lower on our list of priorities than physical ones. But, is that right?
“In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious,” Isaiah wrote (Isaiah 4:2 NASB). The prophet saw the same thing other prophets would see (Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8). He saw the descendant of David whose name would be called Jesus, the savior of his people from sin (Matthew 1:21).
A remnant would return from captivity and Jerusalem would become the city it once was, Isaiah wrote (Isaiah 4:3). The coming holy one would call on people to separate themselves from the world and become what God wanted and live apart from sin.
The rise of God’s people would recall the glory days of Israel and how God led it by a pillar of cloud by day and a column of fire at night (Isaiah 4:5). There would be refuge and protection for God’s people from the storm and the rain.
Think about this for a moment. How does God protect his people? They are made secure from the threats of sinfulness and Satan by the son of God who came to save them from their sins.
For years, Satan used the power of death against us. Death creates terrible fear. Before Christ came, avoiding death was a powerful motive. Even now some people will do anything, spend any amount of money to prevent death.
But Jesus destroyed the power Satan used to enslave us. In providing his blood as a once-for-all sacrifice for sins, Jesus took that power out of Satan’s hands. Jesus came to earth as a man and suffered the death on the cross to overcome death by resurrection showing us we will live again by the power of God.
Do you possess this wonderful security system? Isn’t this the kind of protection you need so you can live your life without fear of the unknown? You cannot buy this system, but God is willing to give it to you if you obey the gospel.
The Lord God set up a system of rule in Judah in which older citizens were leaders in the nation and respected. As that nation continued to slide further and further away from God, people ignored the qualification of age. People appointed leaders from younger, inexperienced candidates. Respect for the experience and knowledge of the older, more qualified leaders waned. Slowly, Judah was replacing God’s system for one of their own because they had turned their backs on the Lord.
Isaiah, by the inspiration of God, diagnosed the problem. He wrote Judah had become more like Sodom (Isaiah 3:8-12). In other words, Judah experienced the worst evil anyone had ever seen. The prophet saw the punishment coming to Judah was well deserved and cried out over what he knew would happen (Isaiah 3:12).
Isaiah described the wealth of Judah before its people would go into captivity. He wrote of the women and how their pride and fancy jewelry would disappear. The Lord told the prophet about a stark contrast that would come over the nation. Instead of perfume, the smell of decay would haunt Judah. Instead of nicely styled hair, a “plucked out scalp.” The gates of the city of Jerusalem would mourn the deaths of its “mighty men” who went into battle (Isaiah 3:24-26).
This picture must have been hard to believe in the Judah of Isaiah’s day. Judah enjoyed its greatest prosperity in Isaiah’s lifetime. The forecast of danger must have fallen on deaf ears of a people who were experiencing “lifestyles of the rich and famous.”
What a wonderful and blessed nation we are in America! We, too, live in a land of plenty. We also live in a society where the aged are shut away and treated as if they were an encumbrance. We, too, live in a nation where experience and wisdom have little to do with those in charge of the government. We also live in a time where prosperity defines us as much as it defined Judah.
Is there a period of captivity waiting for the United States? We certainly pray that such never happens. But, how can we think that the sinfulness in our nation is any less dangerous to us than it was to Judah at the end of the Divided Kingdom? Do we honestly believe we are better than those people who went into Babylonian Captivity?
“Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the deceased, replied, ‘Lord, by this time the body will have a bad smell, because he has been buried four days.'”
Ever the practical one, Martha thinks of what is, not what can be. She has no idea of Jesus’ intent. She deals with a dead body; he plans to revive.
Am I so caught up in the problem of the hour or the reality of the moment that I cannot see what God desires to do in me and through me?
#votd #John #potential
Paul recognized and was thankful to God for Philemon’s faith and great accomplishments among the church in that area.
Even though as an apostle, Paul had the authority to command, he chose to appeal to Philemon’s love and sympathy to grant his request for Onesimus. Deserting his master was a serious offence. He had possibly stolen from him also. Paul stated that he had been unprofitable, but as a Christian was now profitable for both himself and Philemon.
Paul would have gladly allowed Onesimus to stay with him in Rome, but he would not do so without Philemon’s consent. He did, however give Philemon an opportunity to return Onesimus to him as a contribution to Paul’s mission.
According to Paul, it may have been through God’s providence that Onesimus had left his master. That allowed him to meet Paul, be converted to Christ and then return for greater service to Philemon and to the church.
Paul had a close relationship with Philemon and urged that he receive Onesimus as he would receive Paul. He also had the love for Onesimus that he accepted responsibility for any debt that he owed his master. However, he pointed out that Philemon owed him a debt for his own spiritual life.
The apostle had faith that Philemon would heed his requests and even exceed his desires. He expected to be released from prison soon and asked that a room be prepared for him so he could visit after his release.
After having concluded his requests, Paul passed on greetings from several of his fellow workers in Rome. He closed with a prayer for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to be with Philemon’s spirit and with those who were of his household and the church.
“Now this is the will of the one who sent me—that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father—for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The Father’s will looks past the present, to the last day, to giving eternal life. He is interested in saving every single person. He does so through faith in the Son.
Believing in Christ means trust, faithfulness, and obedience. It means full commitment to the Lord. Does he have that from me?
#votd #John #will-of-God
Research indicates that Philemon was a very influential Christian in the area of Colosse and Laodicea with his house being a meeting place for the church. He was a close friend of Paul and was probably converted during his ministry at Ephesus.
Onesimus, one of Philemon’s slaves had run away and eventually arrived in Rome where he met Paul and was converted to Christ. Slaves were chattel property and had no civil rights, but had an obligation to faithfully serve their masters. Christianity did not abolish slavery, but it recognized Christian slaves and masters as brothers.
After his conversion, Onesimus had become a friend and helper of Paul. Even though he was of great assistance, Paul persuaded him to return to his master, Philemon.
Paul wrote the letter to Philemon to inform him of the conversion of Onesimus and to ask that he receive him back as a brother in Christ. This letter was probably written during his imprisonment in Rome about A.D. 62 at the same time Ephesians and Colossians were written and was carried by Onesimus as he returned to his master.
In his letters to the various churches, Paul felt that it was needful to begin by reminding them of his authority as an apostle. It was not necessary to repeat that to Philemon because of their close friendship. He did, however state that he was a prisoner of Christ Jesus. Timothy who probably did the writing for him was present.
It is thought that Apphia was Philemon’s wife and that Archippus was his son. He also addressed the church in Philemon’s house as they also were interested in the welfare of Onesimus.
The message of God for Judah and Jerusalem in Isaiah chapter 2 included something the nation needed very badly and would receive from God.
“Proud men will be brought low, arrogant men will be humiliated; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,” God told his prophet.
Sometimes it is possible for my ego to convince me something that isn’t true. Ego says it can sustain or enhance life all by itself. Ego takes responsibility for all the good things that happen and denies any negative consequences.
The prophets tried to tell Judah not to rely on itself but to rely on God. Jeremiah told Judah it was not possible for humanity to direct its steps (Jeremiah 10:23). Did Judah listen? Unfortunately, it did not. It became necessary for Judah to enter Babylonian captivity.
But God was not trying to hurt Judah when he humbled it. He was trying to help it. Yes, that doesn’t seem to make much sense, but it can.
Often it isn’t possible to realize how beautiful it is in the mountains until one has been in the valley. When one is humbled, it is possible for one to learn how much wisdom there is down there. While spending time in the valley is often not pleasant, we can learn how profitable hardship can be if we learn the lessons God wants to teach us.
The truth is that we need to become humble. We need to learn that we can’t and shouldn’t depend on ourselves for everything. We need to learn not to try and outrun God. It is when we do try to race him that we can fall.
By humbling us, God is trying to help us realize the importance of following and obeying him.
What we believe about God sometimes depends on what we will accept.
Most people believe in God’s grace and love and they should. God’s grace and love are taught everywhere in the scriptures. The apostle John wrote, “God is love,” (1 John 4:8, 16).
Many people don’t believe God will punish sinners. They don’t want to believe God will execute his wrath on those who disobey him regardless of what the scriptures teach.
It is impossible to believe in God’s grace and love and somehow disbelieve God’s wrath on the disobedient. Paul, in his lovely book to the Romans, wrote, “Behold the kindness and the severity of God,” (Romans 11:22 NASB).
In Isaiah 1:28-31 the prophet explained the terrible consequences that were coming upon Israel and Judah because of its idolatry and unfaithfulness. God said that instead of choosing to obey him, his people had selected “oaks” and “gardens,” (Isaiah 1:29). They had wanted to worship idols instead of remaining faithful to him.
Didn’t God have a right to expect Israel and Judah to remain faithful? God told them he expected their obedience and God told them what would happen if they disobeyed him (Deuteronomy 28:15).
Sin’s consequences are lost on the majority of those who have lived on the Earth. Even today there are those whose unfaithfulness has caused or will cause them to suffer for sin. Then, they accuse God of being careless in punishing them when they are the cause of their sorrow.
Avoiding most of this sorrow is as simple as obeying God and remaining faithful to him. But, have you obeyed God and have you stayed faithful?
ON DEAD MEN CLIMBING LADDERS
In an effort to downplay the necessity of taking the steps necessary for being saved from sin and becoming a Christian, it has been asserted that “dead men don’t climb ladders.” But what proves too much proves too little! Using that same “logic,” dead men do not go to the mourner’s bench. Dead men do not “pray through.” Dead men do not kneel down by their radio or television set and “receive Jesus into their heart.” Dead men do not walk to the front at a “Crusade for Christ.” Dead men do not “just believe.” Dead men do not say “the sinner’s prayer.” Yet, all of these are taught as things that a person can do to be saved.
It is rather obvious that a person who is literally and physically dead can do nothing. Physically dead men don’t breathe, eat, think, talk, walk, or work! Neither do they read the Bible! And, it is true that the alien sinner (the sinner who has not been redeemed by the blood of Christ and who has not become a child of God) is said to be “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). But, the fact that a person may be spiritually dead does not mean that he is physically dead and therefore incapable of doing anything to save himself. A person who is spiritually dead but physically alive is capable of hearing, believing, and obeying the gospel which is God’s power to salvation (Romans 1:16). Continue reading