My mother had an old saying, “First things first.” It is certainly true, that we always make time for the things that are important to us. That’s why we need to check our priority list from time to time and make sure we have things in the right order. Recently I saw the following quote on a billboard outside a local church building. It read:
“You always have time for the things you put first!”
This statement made me think of what the prophet Elijah said to the widow of Zarephath, who was gathering sticks for a fire to bake one last cake for herself and her son with the little bit of flour and oil that she had left in her home. He said, “Make me thereof a little cake first” (1 Kings 17:13). What a test of faith that must have been! However, because of her obedience and putting God first, we read in verse 16: “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.”
When we put the Lord first, and make time for His work and His interests we will never be disappointed.
As the month of June draws quickly to a close we consider that give or take a few days, the year is half over. This is a good time to reflect and assess our spiritual progress so far, for 2015. Here are some questions we might ask ourselves in this regard.
1. Have we grown in our appreciation of the person and work of Christ?
2. Has our appetite for the Word of God increased?
3. Is our prayer life consistent?
4. Has our personal testimony grown brighter over the past 6 months?
God wants us to have spiritual growth and maturity in our Christian life. The last words that Peter penned by inspiration were, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).
“The desire of our soul is to Thy name, and to the remembrance of Thee” (Isaiah 26:8).
Are there just a few believers where you go each first day of the week to remember the Lord? There were some in the city of Troas many centuries ago. Here is what the Bible says about their weekly habit: “And upon the first day of the week…the disciples came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7). Were there many or few on those occasions? Scripture doesn’t tell us, because that is not what really mattered. What really mattered, and what was important to the believers in Troas was that they had the privilege of breaking bread every Lord’s Day with the Lord Jesus in their midst. His presence was what made it so real and special to them.
Is that what really matters to us? I love to see a young person, who really looks forward to the remembrance meeting, and being where the Lord has promised His presence. He has said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Will you be there today?
Epitaph’s on tombstones are often very interesting and insightful as to the person who is buried beneath them. In the city of Chichester, in West Sussex, South-East England, there is such a marker. It reads:
Here lies an old soldier whom all must applaud; He suffered much hardship at home and abroad; But the hardest engagement he ever was in Was the battle with self, for the conquest of sin.
Yes, there is a powerful enemy, Satan, who does not want us to be saved. And after we are saved he does not want us to be happy. “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
However, we can win the victory through Christ. The Apostle Paul said, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Whether it is coming to Christ for salvation, or living a victorious Christian life, we can overcome self and sin, through Christ…there is no other way to be TRIUMPHANT!
Q. Who is the “host” or “innkeeper” in Luke 10:35 a picture of?
A. The Samaritan in this story is a picture of the Lord Jesus coming in grace to meet our need as sinners, pictured by the man in the ditch who had fallen among thieves. The “innkeeper” then is a picture of the Spirit of God. Often in the Bible the unnamed servant or man is used in this way. For example, Abraham’s servant sent to get a bride for his son Isaac, in Genesis 24; the servant sent to compel souls to come to the feast, in Luke 14; and the man who was carrying the pitcher of water, in Luke 22.
The “innkeeper” was instructed: “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee” (Luke 10:35). So, the Lord Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17). The Spirit ministers to our needs in the absence of the Lord, who is now in heaven.
Archbishop Usher (1581-1655) was once wrecked on the coast of Ireland, and almost destitute of clothing he wandered to the house of a local preacher. The preacher was quite wary of this stranger at his door, and somewhat coldly asked, “How many commandments are there?” This he did thinking to detect and expose an imposter.
“I can at once satisfy you that I am not the ignorant imposter you take me for,” replied the archbishop, “for there are most certainly eleven commandments in the Bible.”
“No,” was the sneering reply, “there are but ten commandments in my Bible. Tell me the eleventh and I will give you the help you need.”
The archbishop asked for a Bible. “There it is,” he said pointing to the verse, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).
This so smote the conscience of the preacher that he did all he could for the comfort and help of the stranger at his door. Let us never forget to practice the eleventh commandment.
2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
We accept the Biblical account of creation, not because we understand how it all happened or how it all works, but because we have believed what God says. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).
Dr. Alfred R. Wallace (January 8, 1823—November 7, 1913), a famous propagator of the theory of natural selection, cast aside Evolution at the age of 87, and returned to his earlier faith in creation as told by God in Genesis 1. He left two statements on record:
1. “Nothing in evolution can account for the SOUL of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable.”
2. “An honest scrutiny of NATURE forces upon the mind this certain truth, that at some period of the earth’s history there was a CREATION, a giving to the earth of something which before it had not possessed, and from that gift, the gift of LIFE, has come the infinite and wonderful population of living forms.”
“Why me?” Have you ever asked that question? If you are like me you probably have. But someone has said that rather than ask “Why me?” Why not ask the question, “Why not me?” Why do we think we are special and should be immune to trials and difficulties? And when we realize that our heavenly Father has our good in view, and that He is working out a plan and purpose in our lives, we should be like David who said, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of his countenance” (Psalm 42:5). David realized that there was a time coming when He would see everything that had happened in His life from God’s perspective, and that He would be filled with praise as a result.
If we start the work and school week with this understanding and attitude, we will have a submissive spirit, a happy attitude, and a fruitful experience.
“For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrew 10:14).
Yes, one mighty and complete sacrifice, and the work was eternally done to the glory and satisfaction of a holy God. What a contrast to the thousands and thousands of sacrifices that were offered in the Old Testament, starting with Abel. “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering” (Genesis 4:4), and continuing through the history of the children of Israel. We read, “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:11-12).
Let’s thank God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ once again today for that wonderful, all sufficient sacrifice. And not just today, but let’s make it our daily habit to offer our thanks for all that we have because of the finished work of Calvary.