“Fear not Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Gen. 15:1
All the blessings of God come in and with the Blesser Himself. Oh, for the grace to seek His face. If He is pleased to cause His face to shine upon us, exceeding will be our reward. When seeking His hand to relieve the thorn in our flesh, let us be content with; “my grace is sufficient for thee”. ~GE
We may be tempted, in our very limited understanding, to think of heaven as an improved version of this life. Perish the thought. Heaven will be nothing like this world. He will make all things new. Truly, eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things that He has prepared for them that love Him. When caught up to paradise, Paul heard words that were “unspeakable”. There are no words in any language among men adequate to describe heaven. When we see Christ in the fulness of His glory, the Lord will give us a heavenly language to praise Him as we ought. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face…” I Cor. 13:12. ~GE
The lie from the Accuser of the Brethren is not that we have transgressed God’s law. The lie is that we can fix it. ~GE
Peace is Better
“The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7
Usually, this verse is thought to mean that the peace of God is too great to be understood. Surely there is some truth to that, for the peace of God is a miracle of grace in the heart ministered by the Holy Spirit. Like everything else our God does, it is unsearchable and passed finding out. Rom 11:33. However, there is something more glorious and liberating to be seen in this passage of scripture. The word “passeth” means to be higher than, better, or more excellent. The Lord is telling us that in Christ Jesus there is something better than understanding. How often we sacrifice the peace of God for understanding. We become disquieted and fearful in our attempt to understand and control our circumstances. Oh to be careful for nothing, to make our request known onto God through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God which far exceeds any understanding will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~GE
When the Lord sent Peter to Cornelius with the Gospel, the Holy Spirit told him, “Nothing Doubting”. Acts 11:12. Oh that we could always live with nothing doubting. By God’s grace we do believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the successful Savior of sinners. Yet the sin that doth so easily beset us is unbelief. Unbelief is the fountain that feeds all the polluted streams of sin. Lord, increase our faith. Help thou our unbelief. Our warrant for faith is the Word of God. Oh, that the Lord would speak to our hearts those precious words, “Nothing Doubting”. ~GE
Love Your Enemies
“I say unto you, love your enemies…” Matt. 5:44
How do I know if I love my enemies? Regardless of who they are or what they have done, do I desire the truest good for them? If so, what is the greatest good that could happen to them? Would it not be for God to save them? Jonah revealed his lack of love for his enemies by wanting revenge and retribution on Nineveh. Is there a single person on the face of this earth for whom your soul would not rejoice, if the Lord would be pleased to pour out His Spirit and grace on them? (And that, in a measure beyond anything you have ever known) Yes, child of God, you would rejoice. There is no greater evidence of grace in the believer’s heart that they love not only their enemies, but all men. ~GE
The Sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ
I Peter 1:2
“Sprinkling” sounds so gentle and controlled. In fact, the word means to spurt or splatter. The crime scene surrounding the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ was violent and savage. Like in the Old Testament sacrifices, there was blood everywhere. The scriptures speak of the “shedding” of blood. This word means to “gush out”. He was as a Lamb to the slaughter. Is. 53:7. We hid as it were our faces from Him. Is. 53:3. To clean up or lessen the bloody horrors of the crucifixion is to lessen its meaning. The closest we can get to understanding how God views sin is the splattering of the precious blood of Christ as of a slaughtered lamb that was without blemish and without spot. I Peter 1:19. Surely, Adam must have been horrified at his first sight of blood. Only then could he see the difference in coats of skin and fig leaves. ~GE
My Little Children
Saving faith is not a character trait in which we glory. It is a humble confession of our complete dependence on Christ for everything. When a child is afraid, is it to their glory to hide behind their mother’s skirt? Is it a picture of strength for them to get in the arms of their father and bury their little face in his neck? No. It is to the parent’s glory to protect and comfort the child. Though we completely understand such behavior from a little child, would it not be shameful for an older child or an adult to act this way? It is to our shame that we remain so weak and dependent. It is to our Lord’s glory that He never says, “grow up”. To the contrary, He says, Suffer (do not hinder) the little children to come unto me, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Mk 10:14. Truly, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Most gladly therefore we glory in our infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon us. 2 Cor. 12:9. ~GE
Conviction of Sin
Men do not need the Holy Spirit to feel guilt and shame when they transgress God’s moral law. For that, they have a conscience. Rom. 2:14-15. What we need the Holy Spirit to do, is convict us of the sin in our righteousnesses. The law of sin, written on the new heart, tells us that when we would do good, evil is ever present with us. Only then will we flee to our Sinless Substitute for all our acceptance before God. Thank God that in Christ Jesus we are free from the law of sin and death. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 7: 21-8:1. ~GE
You do not have to tell a believer that Grace is no license to sin, any more than a husband’s trust gives a loving wife freedom to be unfaithful.
Reformed or Transformed
Some men like to identify themselves after a 500-year-old religious movement. They call themselves and their gospel, “Reformed”. Much could be said about the futility of trying to reform error. Be that as it is, let us rejoice that our gospel is infinitely older than 500 years. Let us seek our Lord, not in the opinions of “reformers”, but in the inspired word of God. Let us prove what is the acceptable will of God by a renewed mind, transformed in Christ Jesus. ~GE
“…I will do to thee all that thou requirest:…” Ruth 3:11
These precious words of life were spoken by Boaz to Ruth. More importantly, they are spoken by our Kinsman Redeemer to all those lying at His feet. Notice first, I will do To thee. A few verses later, Naomi would confirm this promise by telling Ruth; “sit still”. In order for Boaz to fulfill his duty as Ruth’s Kinsman Redeemer, Ruth must be passive. Only by God’s grace can we sit still while the Lord Jesus Christ does a work To us. Second, Boaz said to Ruth; “all that thou REQUIREST.” Boaz did not say; I will do what you ask, as if to respond to her request. He said, I will do all that you REQUIRE. Like this poor Moabite widow, we require a mighty man of wealth who is able to redeem us unto Himself. Like Ruth, all those who are passive in the required work done To them, find themselves in the lineage of the Lord Jesus Christ. ~GE
While in unpleasant circumstances, we may say, “I wish…”. However, at the same time we are thankful that our wish is NOT His command. We know that all our circumstances are ordered perfectly by God for our good and for His glory. Faith rejoices to be at His command, and would wish it no other way. ~GE
We learn very early in life to escape our fears by hiding or lying. As we grow older, nothing really changes. Men’s hiding places are no more secure than a child’s blanket. Their lies are no more convincing to God than a child’s quick and sheepish denial of guilt. God says, “judgment also will I lay to the line and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.” Is. 28:17. Oh, that Christ would be our hiding place, and that our love for The Truth would save us from that strong delusion, lest we believe the lie. ~GE
Where Does Grace Lead?
Some people would have us believe that if we preach pure grace, it will lead people to licentious living. They say if we remove the law as a guide or motivation for Christian living, people will have nothing to keep them holy. They say to tell a person to just follow Christ does not provide enough structure and will lead people to careless living. Is that where the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ Jesus leads? Grace preachers have always been, and always will be, falsely accused of this devilish lie. The apostle Paul spent much time defending the gospel of grace against this lawmongers view of self-righteousness. “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Rom. 6:15. No, grace does not lead to sin: grace leads to Christ. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death.” Rom. 8:2. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Gal. 5:1. ~GE
“In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Col. 2:3.
When something is hidden, it is both secret and safe. So it is with the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. God has hidden them in Christ. They can only be known as He reveals the person of His Son. The hidden treasures of God are also eternally safe. They cannot be lost, destroyed, or altered. They are forever secure in the Son of God, who is Himself that treasure. He is the Pearl of great price. He is the Treasure faith lays up in heaven, where no thief can approach, nor moth corrupt. Where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also. May the Lord set our affection on things above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. ~GE
It is a very good thing to feel safe. However, it is much better to be safe. April 15, 1912, everyone on the “unsinkable” Titanic felt safe. They were living life as if there was no tomorrow. Tragically, for over 1500 poor souls, there would be no tomorrow. In contrast, the disciples were on a rickety wooden boat crossing the sea of Galilee when suddenly they were in a “great tempest”. Fearing they were about to die, they cried out to the Lord who was asleep in the boat. “Lord, save us: we perish”. After rebuking them for their fear and lack of faith, He immediately calmed the seas and straightway they were safe on the other side. On one boat, people felt safe but were not. On the other boat, men did not feel safe but were. What made the difference? Who made the difference? If the Lord Jesus Christ is in our boat, we are safe, even when the seas are turbulent. Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Pr. 29:25b. The oceans of this world are full of stately vessels filled with careless souls, oblivious to the destruction that is just below the surface of their shallow religion. Their porters assure the passengers that once you pay your fare, you are guaranteed safe passage to the other side. The truly safe boats are usually small unimpressive vessels of just a few “fellows on the ship”. On these little boats the Lord is resting because He has finished His work to pay in full the fare for all on board. ~GE
The Effects of Light
“…Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than Light, because their deeds were evil.” Jn. 3:19. The irreligious hate the Light because it exposes their lawless living as sin. The religious hate the Light because it exposes their law keeping as sin. The sinner loves the Light because He is the only hope they have for their sin. ~GE
How foolish would it be to say to a man on his deathbed; “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”. Yet those who mind the things of the flesh deny that they are dying men with such a shortsighted and foolish philosophy of life. In contrast, they that are after the Spirit, mind the things of the Spirit. Their affections are set on things above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Like their father Abraham, they are looking in faith for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. For them, it is not the journey, it is the destination.
Which of us has not over-indulged at a good meal and thought we would never have to eat again? Of course, we know that our bodies will quickly absorb and deplete the energy of that food so that in a little while we will be hungry again. So, it is with the gospel. When the Lord is pleased to feed our souls on Christ, we may be tempted to think that will carry us all the way to glory. But, as in physical food, our flesh will soon deplete that grace and leave us in want of more of Christ. Manna, however sweet and filling, spoils the next day. How blessed it is that our Lord causes His people to continually hunger and thirst after Righteousness, that they may be filled. Lord, give us this day our daily bread. ~GE
God commands the impossible. Believe, come, repent, abide are all commands that the natural man is incapable of doing. What God requires; God must provide. How wise is our God who makes all of our salvation His doing. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness. Ps. 143:8. Turn us again, Oh God, and cause Thy Face to shine; and we shall be saved. Ps. 80:3. We come to Christ for faith, not with faith. Truly, He gets all the glory in all of our salvation. ~GE
Handfuls of Purpose
Boaz (Ruth’s kinsman redeemer) instructed his reapers to; “let fall some of the Handfuls of Purpose” for Ruth to glean. At the end of the day, she took home to Naomi an ephah of barley. Vs. 17. The ephah is one of two primary units of dry measurements given to us in scripture. The other is the omer. An omer was the amount of manna the Israelites were to gather each day for each man. It is the “tenth part” of an ephah. Ex. 16:36. What a wonderful picture of the child of God gathering their Daily Bread which has fallen from the purposed Hand of God. On the last day we shall go home to glory with a full measure (10X) of Christ’s likeness revealed in and to us. Walking by faith now, we receive one handful at a time. We wait for that day when we shall see His face in righteousness. We shall be satisfied when we awake with His likeness. (Ps. 17:15). ~GE
In 1808 a lawyer made this accusation against Robert Hawkers Christ centered preaching. “His preaching encourages sin in that it makes a man rely fully on Christ so that he does not strive to mend his own unrighteousness.” I love Mr. Hawker’s reply. “Only in finding Christ have I been taught the lesson of ‘denying ungodliness and worldly lust, and living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.”’ ~GE
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ exists in two realms. First, there is the eternal church. This church consists of all the elect of God, chosen in Christ before the world began. Only God knows all the members of this church. It is to us, the “invisible church”. Not one member can be added to this church. Neither can one be detracted from it. It is a perfect church, to which nothing we do here (good or bad) can affect.
Then there is the visible church. Local assemblies that gather for public worship. Unlike the perfect, eternal church, this church is far from perfect. Made up of sinners, and impaired with tares, it has proven to be vulnerable, fragile, and individually temporal. Its health (good or bad) is very much affected by its members. The visible churches of Christ are few in this world and far between. Our gratitude to God for this rare gift will be seen in our efforts to protect and promote the health of this body. It is the closest thing we have in this world to the family we shall spend eternity with in the next. As we look in faith for that eternal city whose builder and maker is God, let us be diligent to labor faithfully with trowel and sword building one another up in the faith of the Lord Jesus. ~GE