“Good Good Father”

The name “Father” for God has been brought to the fore by the very popular song entitled Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin.  It is an inspiring and truthful song. He truly is the perfect Father to those who have received the gospel of Jesus Christ and have been born again.  Sadly, those who have rejected His Son’s sacrifice on the Cross for their sins and His Lordship still have another father, Satan.

If we like this song and are calling God our “Father”, we need to give heed to what the Apostle Peter said about calling God “Father” in I Peter 1: 17-19:

“And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (Emphasis added)

He says if we address God as “Father”, we need to

“conduct ourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon the earth.”

For us to properly understand his instructions we need to understand what it cost God to justly purchase us out of slavery to the devil and what the word “fear” means in this scripture.  The purpose of this study is to look at the word “fear”.

Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines  “fear” as follows:

  • reverential fear of God, as a controlling motive of the life, in matters spiritual and moral,
  • not a mere “fear” of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him
  • a “fear” which banishes the terror that shrinks from His presence, Romans 8:15, and which influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God, through the indwelling Spirit of God.
  • concerning I Peter 1:17 specifically it says: “the reverential “fear” of God will inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in His “fear”.

The Greek scholar Vincent, quoting Wardlaw on Proverbs, defines the word “fear” as follows:

  • “This fear is self-distrust; it is tenderness of conscience; it is vigilance against temptation;
  • it is the fear which inspiration opposes to high-mindedness in the admonition, ‘be not high-minded but fear’;
  • it is a constant apprehension of the deceitfulness of the heart, and of the insidiousness and power of inward corruption,
  • it is the caution and circumspection which timidly shrinks from whatever would offend and dishonor God and the Savior.”

As we can see this “fear” or “wholesome dread of displeasing Him” shapes our Christian character and our conduct “in dealing with others”. It is not being terrified of the Lord because Romans 8:15 says

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery, leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!.”

This “spirit of slavery, leading to fear again” is referring to the terror the children of Israel expressed to Moses when God came down on the mountain to talk to them. They shrank away from God’s presence because of it. As born-again people in the New Testament period, we have been adopted into God’s family and He is our Heavenly Father. We can come boldly to His throne of grace to find help in time of need. Yet, we are still exhorted in the New Testament to conduct ourselves in the fear of the Lord.

The quote from Wardlaw throws light on this “fear” and its relation to our old sinful self. Though this is the “old man” that died with Jesus on the Cross in Romans 6:6, we must be on the alert for the old sinful self’s  insidiousness;  how it draws us into disobedience in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed.

In conclusion, if we are calling God our Father, Peter tells us to pay attention to our behavior.  The standard of conduct can not be what we think is right or wrong, but the standard must be what His Word, the Bible,  says is right and wrong.

If we are living in sin and calling Him “Father” and He really is our “Father” because we are born-again, remember He disciplines all His children so they may partake of His holiness. Discipline, maybe severe discipline expressed as “great tribulations” in Rev. 2: 22, may come our way if we are obstinate and persist in our rebellion to His will. Paul told the Corinthians in II Corinthians 12: 21 concerning unrepentant believers:

“I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.”

Paul’s desire was to come to Corinth and build up the church. If these people did not repent and change their behavior, he would mourn because he would have to “tear down” the sin these people had built into their lifestyle. He would use his apostolic authority from the Lord to bring severe discipline to these believers. In the early church, this could mean dying, being turned over to Satan, or other visible manifestations of God’s anger/displeasure. We find him grieved in Galatians over the believers who forsook grace and returned to legalism, knowing that they would be severely disciplined for this.

God desire is to build us up to be like His Son Jesus. Not to have to tear us down because of our rebellion. But He is the Good Good Father.

I love you in the Lord. I close with my favorite definition of the fear of the Lord.

“And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28

Carl

High Water, Bridges, Concrete And A Witness

We have a long gravel driveway at our home, with a small wooden bridge about half way down the drive. Having been raised in a small rural town, I like the sound of tires on gravel and the rumble of the bridge decking when a car goes over.   The songbirds appreciate the very small gravel for their crops.

During the recent rainy weather, the high water eroded fill behind the retaining wall under the bridge, creating a void that, if left unattended could render the bridge inoperable. After moving our vehicles to the road side of the bridge, I consulted a former co-worker and a plan was formulated to plug the hole with two yards of concrete. I rented a concrete vibrator to insure the concrete filled all of the crevices we could not see. After the vendor loaded the vibrator in my truck, I gave the two gentlemen a gospel tract and encouraged them to read it.

Last Friday we made the repair as planned and judging from last night’s rain, it is working.  When I returned the concrete vibrator, one of the same gentlemen assisted me. When he gave me my proof-of-return slip, I asked him if he read the tract. He said it was in his truck and he would. I asked him if he was a Christian and he replied he was a Catholic. As it turned out, he had not been to church since he was a young child. I witnessed to him briefly about Jesus and encouraged him again to read the tract.

As I drove around the building to turn in the proof-of-return form, it dawned on me that this was a divine moment orchestrated by God for this man’s sake.  So I drove back around the building to the “Returns” area and gave him a Gospel of John and a different gospel tract.  Realizing what was happening,  I also took the opportunity to give a more in-depth witness about Jesus Christ. I closed by saying that we would pray for him.

As my wife and I drove back around the building again to leave I told her that evidently the bridge had to be damaged so we could witness to this man.

We always want to know “why”. Why this happened and why that happened. The lesson I took away from this small incident, is that God is concerned about people first, not bridges, concrete or high water. So whatever “crisis” is going on in Carl’s life, Carl needs to be redeeming the time by looking for opportunities to be a witness for Christ with the people the “crisis” brings into my path.  The crisis will ultimately be dealt with and solved but we may never have the opportunity again in our lifetime to witness to that person and everyone deserves a chance to believe in Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus came to seek and to save those that are lost.  Let us be doing His ministry.

Be a witness….everyday…… somehow.

“…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.   II Peter 3:18

Carl

Clear & Uncomplicated: Gladys Aylward

Her theology was the same, clear and uncomplicated. There was a living God, and she was His servant. There was a loathsome Creature called Satan, and she was his enemy. There was an immortal soul in every human being proceeding to an eternity in either Heaven or Hell.  Her job in life was to convince people that if they would but put their trust in Jesus Christ her Lord, who had died on the cross for them, they would get straight on the road to Heaven. And since Jesus Christ had come to life again, and had promised to be with those who trusted and obeyed Him, however beset with trials and temptations the road to Heaven might prove to be, they need fear nothing, for He would never let them down.”

The Transparent Woman – Phyllis Thompson in Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God – Noel Piper

The life story of Gladys Aylward  is well worth your time if you have not already read it.  In 1932, at the age of 31, she left London, England with no money to speak of and traveled across Europe and Russia all by herself to be a missionary in China, all because she knew that God had told her to go to China, even though the missionary society ruled that she was not qualified.  It would be seventeen years before she would see her family again.

What a beautiful quote about her theology. All the side issues have fallen away and her beliefs are distilled down to this clear and uncomplicated view of herself in God’s mighty work in the earth.

May she be an example to us. Thank you for your time.

Carl

Root of All Evil

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This tip jar is at a south Louisiana convenience store.  The clerk modified the scriptural message to fit her need. Some people were taking advantage of her offer.

This image reminds me of the apostle Paul’s instructions to Timothy in I Timothy 6:9-10:

“…but they that after giving the matter mature consideration desire to be wealthy, fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful cravings which are of such a nature as to drown men in destruction and perdition; for a root of all the evils is the fondness for money, which certain ones, bending their every effort to grasp, have been led astray from the Faith and have pierced themselves through with many consuming griefs.  (Wuest Expanded Translation – added emphasis)

May money have the proper place in our lives and not be an idol.

“Let your manner of life be without love of money, being satisfied with your present circumstances. For He himself has said, and the statement is on record, I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you.  I will not, I will not, I will not let you down.”  (Hebrew 13:5 Wuest Expanded Translation)

Bless be God The Father who has redeemed us out of the slave market of sin by the precious blood of Jesus His Holy Son and transferred us into His eternal kingdom in-Christ!

Keep yourself from idols.

Carl

Advice From George Mueller

We should always read and meditate over the Word of God with reference to ourselves and our own heart. This is deeply important, and I cannot press it too earnestly upon you. We are apt often to read the Word with reference to others. Parents read it in reference to their children, children for their parents; evangelists read it for their congregations, Sunday school teachers for their classes. Oh! This is a poor way of reading the Word; if read in this way, it will not profit. I say it deliberately and advisedly: the sooner it is given up, the better for your own souls. Read the Word of God always with reference to your own heart, and when you have received the blessing in your own heart, you will be able to communicate it to others.
Whether you labor as evangelists, as pastors, or as visitors, superintendents of Sunday schools, teachers, tract distributors, or in whatever other capacity you may seek to labor for the Lord, be careful to let the reading of the Word be with distinct reference to your own heart. Ask yourselves, “How does this suit me, either for instruction, for correction, for exhortation, or for rebuke (2Ti 3:16)? How does this affect me?” If you thus read and get the blessing in your own soul, how soon it will flow out to others!
–George Müller

George Mueller (1805-1898) founded Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England where 10,024 orphans were cared for during his lifetime. He also founded 117 schools where more than 120,000 children received a Christian education. He did all of this without letting the financial needs be known to anyone except God. He met all his needs.

Regarding his quote, remember that pride always sees the faults of others. Therefore, when Carl is walking in pride, the truth seen in the reading of the Word or the preaching of the Word can easily be applied to someone else. And I miss out on what God wants to do in my own life. Not good!

Carl will be better off if he humbles himself and submits himself to God and His Word. Then I am open to receive what truth the Lord is trying to show me in His Word.

Let us receive Brother Muller’s instructions.

May His sanctifying grace and tranquilizing peace be upon you.

Carl

“Throw A Little Sugar On It.”

I once hired the grandson of a local evangelist to work in the department I managed. I was a new Christian and enjoyed the tales about his grandfather’s ministry.  Later I had an opportunity to visit with the retired evangelist and hear more stories. One was about a revival where he was preaching hard about sin and the need for people to get right with God. Suddenly, one of the evangelist’s friends begins to shout out, “Throw a little sugar on it. Throw a little sugar on it.” In other words, lighten up and give the saints some encouragement.

I share this because we have been studying the Book of Jude and false teachers, for some time. Not necessarily the lightest or most positive subject matter. One of my friends who reads the blog once told me, “It is not light reading.” Therefore, I thought we would “throw a little sugar on it” and post some lighter, interesting fare for awhile, before returning to Jude. Following is the first of such blogs. I pray you find it interesting and edifying.

SUMERIAN KING’S LIST AND NOAH’S FLOOD

The Sumerians are thought to be the earliest civilization along with Egypt and Indus Valley. Their kingdom, Sumer, was located in southern Iraq in the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys. They invented cuneiform writing. Cuneiform writing used clay tablets as the medium with wedged shaped “letters” pressed into the clay.

Around 1900, archeologists found the ancient library in the temple ruins of Nippur, an ancient Sumerian city. On a clay tablet, they found what has come to be known as The Sumerian King’s List. The interpretation of the tablet was first published in 1906.

Of interest to Christians, is the fact the clay tablet lists kings, duration of reign and where the official location of the kingship was BEFORE NOAH’S FLOOD and AFTER NOAH’S FLOOD. It uses the term “The Flood swept thereover.”

Thus, we have proof  from what is thought to be the most ancient of Mesopotamian civilizations, bearing witness to Noah’s Flood.  If you would like to read more about this archeological find, please click here.  You may want to scroll past the abstract to the introduction.

Do you believe in Noah’s Flood as recorded in Genesis?  The Lord Jesus did.

You can trust God’s word. May He richly bless you as you live for Him.

Carl

Payday for Jezebel

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.”   Jesus  Rev. 3:19 NASB

“…but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.” Hebrews 12: 10 NASB

Welcome back as we continue our study of the Book of Jude in the New Testament. We are reviewing what the Lord is doing in the Thyatira church (Rev. 2:18-29) which has been deceived by a false prophetess named Jezebel.  Our opening scriptures give us two reasons why the Lord  disciplines His children, first because He loves us and, secondly, because it makes us share in His holiness.  As we will see, He is going to discipline His mislead bond-servants in Thyatira. They needed to quickly repent of their involvement in immorality and idolatry.

Now we come to the false prophetess, Jezebel’s, payday. She is going to receive from the hand of the Lord what she has sowed.  He is going to protect His Bride from this ambassador of satan.

Notice first, though, the mercy of our Lord. Even in His wrath, He is merciful to this person:

” ‘And I gave her time to repent…’ ”  Lord Jesus, Rev 2:21

Unfortunately,

” ‘…and she does not want to repent of her immorality.’ ”  Lord Jesus, Rev 2:21

I believe this person was not a born again person who had been deceived, but was a false brethren who had “crept in unnoticed” as Jude warned.  I like to believe that if she had been indwelled by the Holy Spirit, she would have repented.

Because she would not repent, wrath has come. Lord Jesus said:

” ‘ Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence…”    Rev 2:22-23

Her sin of immorality was carried out in a bed and there, she would experience judgement, “great tribulation”.  As far as “killing her children with pestilence”, all the commentaries I reviewed said these were her followers. Just as Timothy and Onesimus are described as Paul’s children in the faith, she had “children” in her idolatrous faith.  Some thought “death” referred to the “second death” at the great white throne judgment where people are cast in the lake of fire.  But if pestilence is the correct word, that speaks of death associated with earthly disease.  Since the believers that had been misled by her, were technically her “children” also, it must have applied to them also, IF THEY DID NOT REPENT.

The phrase, “…and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation…”, includes the Lord’s misled bond-servants. “Adultery” speaks of the spiritual adultery like the nation of Israel committed by going after other gods.  Of course, it may speak of physical adultery also.

Here are Christians who are participating in immorality and idolatry. And they are about to experience “great tribulation unless they repent of her deeds.”  They needed to quickly “change their mind” resulting in righteous behavior or suffer the wrath of God.

Paul has warned us in Ephesians 5:5-6

“For this know with certainty, that no immoral, or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers  with them. (Emphasis mine)

Paul says almost the exact same thing in Colossians 3:5-6.  Notice also the following statement that Moses made to the children of Israel concerning the dangers of going after other gods:

“And it shall come about that as the Lord delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the Lord will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you shall be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.”  Deuteronomy 28: 63

Moses was warning Israel that this is what would happen to them if they went after other gods and forsook their Savior.  This is what we see happening in Thyatira to the misled New Testament believers, if they do not repent.  As Paul said in I Cor. 10:20 they were sharing in demons, by eating food sacrificed to demons (an idol) and participating in fornication, adultery, and other sexual vices. And the Lord hated it. And He still hates it today.

Dear Reader, as Paul exhorted us, do not let anyone deceive you with “empty words”.  There are many “empty words” being spoken today by people who claim to be believers.   Paul told Timothy to watch out for those who did not advocate “sound words”, which are “those of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the doctrine conforming to godliness” (I Timothy 6:3) So called “spiritual truths” that do not conform the saints to Christ likeness are “empty words”.

The Lord Jesus said all the churches would realize the following when they heard what He said and did in the Thyatira church situation.  You and I are to realize this.

” ‘ …and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” Lord Jesus, Rev.2:23

May the eyes of our heart be open and illuminated by His Holy Spirit concerning what is hidden in our hearts and minds!  Thank you for your time.

“Little children, guard yourselves from idols.  Apostle John, I John 5:21

Carl