Last week our church had VBS. The theme was PandaMania, one that seems to have been a popular one this year. Friday toward the end of the adult lesson I reflected on the weeks lessons and how they, in one way, fit together.
The first day was on the Creation: God made and loves us. Tuesday was about Elijah and the prophets of Baal: Elijah cried out to God obediently and to His glory. Wednesday was about Jonah: Jonah was disobedient but repented from his heart and cried out to God’s mercy. Thursday was about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection: Christ humbled Himself in obedience and made the restoration of our fellowship with God possible. And Friday was about Hannah: the Bible says in 1 Samuel 1:10 “And she [was] in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.”. Hannah’s cry resulted in the birth of Samuel.
If we follow these examples we too can draw upon the great resources God has for us. The key is still the same today for us as it was then: calling out to Him in His glory, in repentance, upon His great mercy, being humble and doing this all from our heart, not unlike Hannah, in true supplication. God hasn’t changed; His power and ability to deliver us from the “belly of the fish” or give us a “new birth” are just as real today as they ever were.
“For those who disbelieve, ‘the stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,’ and, ‘a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed” (1 Pet. 2:7- 8).
Israel was a unique nation, chosen by God to be the guardian of His Word and proclaimer of His kingdom. The Old Testament records His miraculous and providential care for her throughout the centuries, and the prophets told of One who would come as her great Deliverer. Israel eagerly awaited the promised Messiah.
But the story has a surprise ending. In the Person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah finally came and presented Himself to Israel. The religious leaders examined Him carefully, measuring Him in every way they could. But He didn’t fit their blueprint. They expected a reigning political Messiah who would instantly deliver them from Roman oppression. They felt no need for a spiritual deliverer, so they rejected Him and tossed Him aside like a worthless rock.
That rejected cornerstone is precious to believers but remains a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to unbelievers. A “stone of stumbling” was a stone on which someone tripped while walking along the road. A “rock of offense” was a rock large enough to crush a person. The point: rejecting Christ brings spiritual devastation of enormous proportions.
All who reject Christ do so because they are disobedient to the Word. Rebellion against the written Word inevitably leads to rejection of the living Word. Of such people Peter said, “To this doom they were also appointed” (v. 8). They weren’t appointed to reject Christ, but to receive the judgment that their rejection demands. That’s a frightening reality that should motivate you to take every opportunity to evangelize the lost.
Suggestions for Prayer:
If you have family or friends who are rejecting Christ, pray for them often, asking God to grant them saving faith.
For Further Study:
Read Romans 9:30-10:17, noting Israel’s false standard of righteousness and Paul’s prayer for her salvation.
(From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,www.crossway.com.)
The Treasure Waiting to Be Opened
From the messages of Adrian Rogers
“I rejoice at Thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.” Psalm 119:162
Have you ever found a dollar bill on the sidewalk? Did you leave it there? You probably picked it up, maybe asked people around you if it was theirs, and if it wasn’t, maybe you rejoiced a little, hmm?
Now, what happens with your Bible? You see it sitting on your desk and say, “Oh, the Bible is a wonderful book filled with good things for my life.” But what good is it going to do to just say nice things about the Bible? A dime and a gold Krugerrand are both of the same value when they are corroding on the ocean floor.
The promises in God’s Word are of no value, unless you dig down deep and appropriate them into your life.
The second weekend of July is one we always eagerly anticipate. It is on this weekend that Billie’s paternal family reunion takes place in PA. Although I’m not a blood relative, I look forward to this annual get together very nearly as much as my wife does. Aunt Toots, Uncle Donnie & Aunt Carol, cousins Linda & Jerome, Jim & Becky, and the many others are just about the finest folks you’d ever want to meet. Kind, friendly, loving, the whole lot of them are just a treat to be around. In fact, we usually aren’t an hour into the trip home and we have already begun to look forward to the next year!
This year on the first evening of the get together, Saturday, I find myself at the hotel alone; a bought of neuropathic pains Friday night left me with no sleep and no relief has come from them really as I type this. After looking forward for weeks to beginning our time together not being able to make the first evening is a definite disappointment. But I am holding out hope for tomorrow!
This got me thinking about how much time, effort, and resources most of us put into temporal things: hobbies, vacations, even our careers. God’s Word is clear: We aren’t promised one more breath, let alone another vacation, promotion, etc. Are we investing in the eternal things, the things of God, as we need to? After all, what does it profit us to gain -insert what ever you’re striving for- and loose your soul (Mark 8:36)?
This life is but a wisp of what eternity will be.
I use a lot of different knives for different purposes. I have a small general use knife that I carry everywhere I go, and there are different kitchen knives I use, and several different ones I use in my leather work. They all serve different purposes but are all maintained in the same way: by stropping them often to keep them sharp.
I use a piece of leather coated with a compound called Yellowstone for my strop. The leather is coated with the peach-colored dust and then the blade is drawn along the length of the coated leather. With each pass the peach color gets gray marks in it; the fine iron/steel filings being rubbed off to keep the blade it’s sharpest makes these gray marks.
Proverbs 27:17 says “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Have you thought about this? Just like the Yellowstone rubs off metal from the knife blades, we “rub off” on those we are around and they onto us.
Is what’s rubbing off or onto you worthwhile?
This week there’s been a lot of talk over the Casey Anthony trial and verdict. Many folks think that justice was not served in this case. Did justice truly fail little Caylee? We may never really know.
God’s Word tells us of another day of justice:
Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.
On this day justice will be righteously dolled out to everyone with no exceptions. The verdict will be absolute and eternal. Each of us has to make the decision of what that judgment will be based solely upon our acceptance or rejection of Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
A man from Florida decided to propose to his girlfriend in the moonlight of a Brazilian beach. Around midnight, the moon suddenly broke through the clouds, and he slipped the ring onto her finger. At that very moment, local fireworks appropriately exploded, and she accepted his proposal. He then told her a secret he had deliberately kept from her. He was a millionaire. When we first come to the Savior, we come to Him in His absolute poverty. He hangs before us, naked, on a cruel cross. We come as poverty-stricken and wretched sinners, hoping for reconciliation with a God we have greatly offended. It’s only when we are forgiven that we begin to understand the unspeakable wealth we have in Christ … wealth that makes all the riches of this world combined seem like the leftovers of a trash bin after it’s been emptied.
There goes another minute. Gone forever.
Go share your faith while you still have time.
(Taken from The Way of the Master Minute.)