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April 24, 2020 – The Multitude of Words

Read Proverbs 10

“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19 

 

Piggy-backing on what we said yesterday, it is a true saying that the more you say, the more you will sin. Jesus told his disciples, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34) 
 
Since our heart is evil, and since the things that we talk about come from our hearts, there will be plenty of times when the words that we say will be sinful words. Therefore, the more you say,  the more opportunities you will have to say what is wrong. The more you say, the more chance that you will say something to hurt people. 
 
Looking back over the years, one of the frustrations of being a pastor is remembering all the times that you have said the wrong thing and hurt someone in the church. The more you talk, the more feelings you will hurt. The more you talk, the more you will say that is wrong. 
 
That does not mean that you stop talking. The more you say about God’s Word, the more truth that is presented. But a wise man has to learn the importance of refraining from talking. One of the most important times to be quiet is in the presence of someone who is grieving. There are many times when you would like to speak words of encouragement,  but the greatest encouragement is just to sit with a person and feel what they are feeling.
 
That is one of the things that I appreciate about Job’s friends. They did not refrain their tongue from saying a lot of bad things to Job. They hurt him with their accusations, but the first thing they did was to sit with him. We read, “And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. 13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great”. (Job 2:12-13) They wept with him. They mourned for him. They did not try to explain his sufferings. They did not say a word for seven days and seven nights because they saw that his grief was great.
 

It is no wonder that God wanted Job to pray for these men. They said some wrong things, but God also saw that they really cared for their friend enough to give him the thing that he needed most, someone to sit with him and feel the pain that he felt.

 

An Exercise to increase my Faith: Perhaps you see someone going through great pain. We know that people sometimes avoid being with them because they don’t know what to say. Remember that a wise man also knows that there is time to refrain from saying anything at all and simply show love be sharing their grief.

 



April 23, 2020 – Listen more than you talk

Read James 1

“The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.”  Proverbs 15:28 

 

Silence can be a discipline. We have learned to share our thoughts, but not every thought or principle needs to be shared. Some things need to be kept in. A wise man should study what he is going to say. It is easy to say the first thing that comes into your mouth, but wisdom tells us to seek counsel. It tells us to study, and it tells us to listen more than we talk. James writes, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” (James 1:19)
 
James goes on to say that the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. There is a correlation then between anger and not being slow to speak. A man who speaks the first thing that comes to his mind will say things that hurt another person and that will incense another. Just because something is true to us, does not mean that it is true to others. We are not the final say in what is correct. We may be wrong, and the words that we speak if they are wrong, are therefore not truth.
 
Both of the passages in this devotion deal with a righteous man. The righteous man studies what to say, and a man who is angry does not work righteousness, therefore he is not a righteous man. The Bible tells us instead to be quick to hear, and slow to speak. Here is the problem: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” (Proverbs 21:2)
 
This is a principle in the Bible. We have a tendency to ALWAYS THINK THAT WE ARE RIGHT. We have a tendency to rely on our intelligence, our training, and our background to think that we have a better vantage point and understand more than others. Truthfully, we are not always right. According to this verse, if every way is right in my mind, and I am not always right, there will be many times when I will think that I am right, but I will be wrong! Therefore, it is more important to listen and have instruction, so we will learn truth than it is to speak and show our opinion when we are wrong.


An Exercise to increase my Faith: We need to discipline our words. The Bible tells us that our speech should always be full of grace. The next time you are tempted to let another person know how wrong they are, stop and consider the argument from their perspective. Learn from what they know and from what they are thinking before you answer. We may be wrong, and the words that we speak if they are wrong, are therefore not truth.

 



April 22, 2020 – When We Don’t Know What to Do

Read 2 Chronicles 20

“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.”   2 Chronicles 20:12 

 

Jehoshaphat was a king who sought the Lord. In reading the account of his life, he made some foolish decisions. He seemed a little unsure of himself at times. He joined in a battle with the wicked king of Israel, and did not seem to learn the lesson. A short time later he joined with the king of Israel to build ships. He even had his son marry Ahab’s daughter. We wonder why.
 
He was a great king and cleansed Judah from Idol worship. He sought the Lord all of his days. At one point a great army made up of Moabites, Ammonites, and many others came against him, an army that was far greater than his army.  The odds of victory were very low, in fact non-existent. We read that Jehoshaphat feared and set himself to seek the LORD and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. He asked the Lord to remember him. He stood empty before the Lord saying, I don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you. All Israel stood with him in his prayer including the women and children. 
 
God heard his prayer. He sent a prophet to Jehoshaphat saying that they would not need to fight, just watch. And before anything had changed in the problem, the entire nation rejoiced in the promise. “And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.”  (2 Chronicles 20:18) 
 
It is the same in our life today. At this time, it is not about human knowledge or understanding. It is about God teaching His children the need to trust and to pray. We have no strength against a virus. God could make a virus that could destroy a third of the world if He wanted. In the future one third will die through the judgment of God. This is very real,  and that is also a promise. But God also loves His people. 
 
In 1 Peter 5:10 that we have studied lately, we read, “The God of all grace.” Aren’t you glad that He is not the God of all anger, the God of all wrath, the God of all judgment? That will be true of His dealings with man in the future, but for us, He is the God of all grace, and we need His grace this day. 
 

Before God had delivered Judah, the king and all of the people were rejoicing and worshipping, because they knew with God, a promise was as good and as real as the result. We worship the Lord on this day because He has promised to be with us always even to the end.

 

An Exercise to increase our faith: Is there a promise that you would like to claim today? Is there any verse that God has shared with you lately that has given you His peace? If He has promised, He will perform all things completely. 

 



April 21, 2020 – A Call to Fast and Pray

Read Matthew 26:36-46

“And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Mark  9:29 
 
I received a text from my brother Bob, with an attachment to Abraham Lincoln’s call to prayer in the days of the Civil War. My brother wrote: “One of the main areas that has concerned me from the start of this difficult plague that has affected not only the U.S. but the many different countries of the world is the absence of public recognition for the need for prayer and acknowledgement of our great and gracious God in heaven.”  
 
President Lincoln declared the need for a National Day of Fasting and Prayer. Over 22,000 people have now died from this virus in the US. That is not a large number compared to 328 million people, but those numbers are stories of great heartache to many families. Many have lost loved ones that they could not visit, say goodbye to, or even have a funeral.  This is something that we have never experienced in this country. It has left a deep void in our world. It behooves us to consider a day of fasting and prayer for the people of our nation, our state, and our city. May God grant them the grace to turn to Him in this time of disease and death.
 

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.

And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State

 

An Exercise to increase our faith: Spend a day this week in fasting and prayer. Even if you don’t have 24 hours to fast,  spend time without food to remind you of a need for prayer. This concerns our church, our family and the souls of a nation. 
 


April 20, 2020 – Casting Cares on the One Who Cares

Read 1 Peter 5

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 

 

We are experiencing a world wide pandemic. First Peter chapter 5  also talks about a worldwide problem. The devil is a roaring lion who is seeking someone to devour. It is lunch time and He is hungry. He devours the souls of the lost, but He also ensnares the saints in His plan to destroy the church of Jesus Christ. He may not destroy us, but He can and does hurt and damage the local church. We  are to resist Him and be steadfast in the faith. We read that these same afflictions are accomplished throughout the world by our brethren. 
 
Casting our cares on Christ becomes one of the most important ways of resisting the devil. The devil destroys churches by overwhelming people with expectations that they cannot fulfill. He gives them the work of busyness so that we have no time for the important things. He gets our eyes off of the majors and unto the minors. The majors are our relationship with God and our relationships with other people. Instead, we focus on petty disagreements that separate us from one another. He causes us to look at the problems in the personalities of others and the times that they have hurt us.
 
Instead of rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep, we find ourselves rejoicing when another weeps and weeping when another rejoices. The cares of the world are one of those things that causes the seed to become unfruitful in the parable of the sower. Our  cares also cause us to become unfruitful in His work. 
 
The reason we cast the cares on the Lord is because He cares for us. He is able to handle those cares. He is able to either solve the problem or take it away from us. 
 

We hear prayer requests and we pray for people in the church, but we don’t realize the degree of pain those people feel under their burden. We leave prayer meeting and go home and sleep, but the brother or sister has a dark night waiting them as they restlessly commit their night to prayer. We may not know what they are feeling, but the one we pray to does know. We read, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) 

 

An exercise to increase our FaithThis blog for the past four weeks has been about discipline. We need to discipline ourselves to hold fast the most important matters. We commit ourselves to prayer and to reading and studying His Word. We also need to commit ourselves to praying for our brothers and sisters who are filled with care, that we could help lift it to the Father in prayer.  

 



April 18 – The Discipline of Grace

Read: Colossians 4

“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6 

 

We have  been looking at the purpose for the body in Ephesians 4. Two major purposes for the equipping of the saints included “unity in the body” and “the stature of the measure of the fullness of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:13)
 
The most obvious question is, “what is meant by the fullness of Christ?” How do we come to that measurement?  There is a verse in John that is a very good cross reference to this verse. John 1: 16 and 17 say, “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
 
These verses are talking about His fullness. The first part of the fullness of Christ that we have received according to this verse is grace. In fact, it is grace upon grace. The Greek word “anti” is usually translated “instead” or “against.” It appears to mean that God continues to substitute more grace in the place of the grace given. There is a never ending supply of grace in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
 
The next verse states that the law was given by Moses, and without a doubt, the law is truth. The law is a true depiction of the holiness of God, howbeit an incomplete depiction. Jesus was a perfect demonstration of God’s character. In Jesus you saw the glory of God. Colossians 1:15 states, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:”
 
Jesus is the visible demonstration of the invisible God. He is what you see of a God that you cannot see. God was true holiness, but God was also grace. In understanding the fullness of Christ, we need to understand grace. Man usually errs on the side of law, rather than on the side of grace, but we can’t have one without the other. We must speak the truth, but we must speak it in love. 
 
In understanding the fullness of Christ, we need to know what it means to be the way and the truth and the life. We also need to know what it means to have our speech always with grace. There is never a time, even when we are standing for the truth that we are not to have our speech filled with grace. It should “always” be with grace seasoned with salt.
 

How are we dealing with those who have sinned against us? How are we communicating with those who have sinned against God? It is easy to treat them as if their sin doesn’t matter, that is not truthful. It is also easy to avoid them,  knowing that God hates that sin. But God who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loves us, forgave our sin,  and asks us to forgive in the same manner. 

 

An Exercise to increase our faith: Is there anyone in your life that needs grace? Jesus was the visible representation of the invisible God. We have become the visible representation on earth of the Jesus who died on the cross who is now sitting at the right hand of the Father. We need to demonstrate His grace.

 



April 17, 2020 – The Rehearsals are Done

Read Acts 25

by Dr. Allan Clark

“Then said Paul,  I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written,  Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.”  Acts 23:5

 

A number of years ago I read, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were accomplished.” (John 19:28a). I thought ‘That’s a curious statement’. What did he mean by ‘all things’? As I began to research and learn, I was amazed at the level of details in those two words. Since the old testament was written mainly to the Hebrews it wasn’t necessary to detail what they already knew, but it did leave us Gentiles a bit in the dark. Piecing together the King James Bible, The Talmud and Hebrew teachers here is what I have found. King David with divine prophetic knowledge set in detail the activities to take place at the feast.
 
“And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded.” (2 Chronicles 8:14)  Apparently unknown to the priests these activities were detailed dress rehearsals. 
 
Lets start with, why Bethlehem? Because its the city of David. Well yes, but so is Jerusalem. It turns out Bethlehem was the place where the ‘star’ flock of sheep was kept. The most perfect lambs in all Judea, were raised at Bethlehem. (Exodus 12:3) “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house. So on the 10th of the first month, Nison, the high priest was to go to Bethlehem to select the perfect lamb and return with it to the temple mount.” (Exodus 12:6a) “And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month.”
 
As Pastor LaPine has eloquently shown us the only way the example of Jonah works is that the crucifixion occurred on Wednesday. (Matthew 12:39b-40) “and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” But if the 14th is Wednesday then the 10th MUST BE Saturday, the seventh day. 
 
In ancient times if you walked into a city you were no different then anyone else if you rode in on a horse, you were a conqueror and the people must obey. If you rode in on a donkey you were saying ‘I have the credentials to be your king, but will only take the position ‘if you accept me’.
 
Offering himself to be accepted as king, Jesus MUST come in on a donkey BUT: (Deuteronomy 5:14) “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.” Now Jesus has a problem if he is to offer himself as a servant he MUST come in on a donkey but if he comes in on a donkey he breaks the Law of Moses. Solution — (Zachariah 9-9) “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Mark 11:2) “And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.” If you NEVER worked you didn’t have to rest. It is estimated that over a million people were in Jerusalem that year for Passover which means it was extremely crowded. When the high priest left the temple mount, the priests would line up shoulder to shoulder on both sides of the street so he would then have a clear path back to the temple mount with the lab. When the guards at the south gate (Bethlehem is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem) saw the high priest returning they were to shout ‘hosanna in the highest, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’. This was the signal to the people to stop what they were doing, grab their palm branches and rush to the street. (Luke 19:39-40) “And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
 
You can imagine the shock on the faces of the Pharisees, as instead of the high priest they see Jesus riding a donkey to the temple mount. Once at the temple mount the Lamb was to be staked out for all to examine for the 4 days until Passover. This way anyone who wished could come and judge if this lamb was perfect, showing no faults. The end of Mark 11 and all of 12 are documenting the Pharisees examining Jesus on the day of Passover. The high priest is to again inspect the lamb and proclaim ‘I find no fault in him’. This is the signal to the priests to begin slaughtering the Passover lambs. (John 19:4) “Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.” Assuming one million adult males consuming one lamb for every four, would mean that the assembly of priests would have to slaughter 250,000 lambs. (John 19:28a) “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished.” Simply means Jesus knew the priests were done on the temple mount and the lost lamb, the high priest chosen Passover lamb, was being slaughtered.
 
When the high priest had finished with the Passover lamb he is to say ‘I thirst’. He then views the temple mount to be sure all the priests are done. To proclaim all the sacrifices are completed he is to say ‘it is finished’. (John 19:28b) “I thirst…”, (John 19:30) “It is finished.” At this point a group of priests rush over to the mount of Olives where they have an official barley field. They cut and shock a portion of the field and then run home to roast their lambs. Any farmer will tell you if you cut, tie, and tee-pee the shocks of barley they grain will dry and it becomes much easier to separate the seeds from the stalks. 
 
The next day after Passover begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Sometime during this week there will be a regular 7th day Sabbath. On Friday afternoon the group of priests goes back to the barley field where they gather some shocks of grain and take them to the high priest. At this point as the Sabbath starts (Friday after sundown) the high priest sequesters himself away from people. He can speak and be spoken too but he cant be touched until after he presents the wave offering. (Leviticus 23:10-11) “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.” (Matthew 27:52-53) “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,  And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”
 
To the Hebrews the morrow after the Sabbath was not until sunrise, thus Mary Magdalene could not yet touch him. See John 20:17, until Jesus took the first fruits to the throne room. So you see the centuries of rehearsals from David to the Messiah were to repeatedly show the events of the REAL Passover lamb. 
 

May God keep you safe, Allan Clark , MD



April 16 – The Prince of Peace

Read John 14

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 

The Bible tells us to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). First, we must understand that God is for peace. God does not want us to be in turmoil, and He does not want to see Jerusalem at war. To remedy that, He has asked us to pray, specifically, He wants us to pray for peace. We read in 1 Timothy 2:1,2, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
 
Last week, we looked at these verses and we stressed the importance of praying. We asked you to pray for the first responders, for the doctors and nurses on the front lines. Today I want to ask you to pray that God would give you peace. The passage asks us to pray for our leaders so we could live a quiet and peaceable life. God wants us to be at peace. We read in Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”
 

It is important for us to show love to one another. That is one way that the world can see Christ in us. Perhaps a better way in the time that we live is to have a peace that they can’t have. Jesus told His disciples that He would give them His peace. It was a peace that the world can’t give. The pandemic is a tool for us to use to showcase the peace that only Christ can give. Now is not the time to fear, now is the time by faith to have the peace that comes from placing our complete trust and confidence in the only one who can give peace, the Prince of Peace. 

 

An Exercise to increase my Faith: Do not allow your heart to be troubled. If you believe in God, believe (put your trust) in the Lord Jesus. Those are words that are taken from John 14. Jesus asks us for the sake of our own health and for the sake of those who are not saved, to demonstrate the power of God in the peace that He gives.  

 



April 15 – Repeat Lessons

Read 2 Peter

“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:” (2 Peter 3:1) 

 

Why do we always have to relearn our lessons? I watch videos about car repair, but often when working on a car, I forget about what I had learned, and miss something simple simply because I forgot. The same is true in almost every lesson in life. Most of our training is about repetition because it takes a number of times to reinforce what we have learned so that we won’t forget it. 
 
The Bible has a lot to say about relearning lessons. We go through some really difficult things and learn many lessons in that process. We wonder, “We went through that last year, why do we have to go through it again?” The reason is that we have forgotten the lesson that the Lord has taught us. When Jesus shared with us the ministry of the Holy Spirit, He said, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) 
 
Re-teaching is one of the most important ministries of the Holy Spirit. That means that if we are going to understand God’s Word,  we have to be about the discipline of re-learning. 
 
Perhaps the hardest lesson to learn is trust. We rely on our own understanding and fail to trust the Lord to take care of our most important needs. We can handle faith in the present, but it is really hard for us to handle faith for the future. The future is not clear, and we worry incessantly about major events that will or might take place in the future. 
 
Today, you may be worried and fearful about coming down with the Corona virus. God has taken care of the past. He is taking care of the present, and He promises to take care of the future. That is a lesson we have to learn … again!
 
One of the reasons that it is important is trust is equal with faith. The greater the faith, the more we can trust. And without faith it is impossible to please God. So God is continually working to increase our faith. Many of the struggles that we face are simply times that God has placed “faith building” problems into our lives.
 

God is working in our lives today to stir up our minds by way of remembrance because we are loved by God.

 

An Exercise to increase our faith: What is the lesson that God is teaching you today? Have you learned that lesson in the past? Have you practiced what you have learned or is God retraining you to practice the lesson anew?

 



April 14 – The Fullness of Christ

Read Ephesians 4:1-13

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:12) 

 

The passage states that Jesus gave gifts to men, and some of these gifts, were gifted men. The apostles, prophets,  evangelists, pastors and teachers were given for the purpose of equipping the saints. Then Paul uses the word “unto” a number of times to explain in the next verses the purpose of the equipping. They include: 

 

  1. Unto the work of ministry
  2. Unto the edifying of the body
  3. Unto a perfect man
  4. Unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
 
Dean Taylor in “The Thriving Church” explains that the word “unto” involves purpose. The purpose of the equipping of the saints is “unto” the work of the ministry, the edifying of the body, for the purpose of making mature men, for the purpose of the stature of the fullness of Christ. 
 
The word “until” shows a duration of time. We do this until we all come in the unity of the faith and come to the knowledge of the Son of God. “Unto” shows purpose and “until” shows a time period. Whenever you have a purpose coupled with a time purpose you have a goal. Glenn Armstrong said to me often, “a goal is a dream with a deadline,” in other words, a time period. 
 
Our great desire is for the unity of the faith, that we have the same things in common with those in the body of Christ, and that we come to the stature of the fullness of Christ. We need to consider what is our main purpose in our church. What does God want us to do? We can have great programs that entertain and liven up our lives, but if they don’t accomplish our purpose, we need to consider why we are doing them. Are we accomplishing what God wants us to accomplish? 
 

For a Pastor, my job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry. There are so many things that I do as a pastor, but if I am not equipping the saints, then I am not accomplishing the ministry that Christ has given to me. I believe that the church will only grow and increase in spiritual health as we keep before us the work that God has enlisted us to do.

 

An Exercise to increase our faith: Once again the exercise today is to evaluate the opportunities that God has given to you to serve Him. Are we doing the things that God has expressly given to us as His purpose for our life and for our church. How are we doing in edifying, bringing to perfection and coming to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ?