What Things?

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

The apostle Paul’s statement raises the questions; What are those things that are gain to me?  What are my goals in life?  What are my priorities?  What do I strive for?  What can I not live without?   What are those things that become insignificant when compared to knowing Christ?

Here are some things that come to mind:

Personal glory

Reputation

Respect

Fame and a Name

Pedigree

Accolades

Intellectual Prowess

Acceptance

Recognition

Riches

Success

Admiration

Accomplishments

Pleasure

Friends (of stature)

Security

Happiness

Leisure

Titles

What did the apostle conclude about the things that were gain to him?

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

If by any means I might attain unto (arrive at) the resurrection of the dead.  Philippians 3:7-11

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…

 

Now Thank We All Our God

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.     2 Corinthians 2:14

              Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,                         Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;                               Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way                        With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And guard us through all ills in this world, till the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son, and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven—
The one eternal God, Whom earth and Heav’n adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Now Thank We All Our God
Martin Rinkart – 1636

copyright status – Public Domain

Courtesy of Timeless Truths Publications – Copyright © 2002-2020 Free Online Library

A New Norm

We built a new garage several years ago.  The overhead doors have automatic openers, but they have never operated properly.  We suspect that the original installer did not fully understand how they were supposed to operate and neither did we.  A trouble shooter that we invited out to check their operation later, rewired one of the doors but that failed to resolve the problem.

Sometime ago an acquaintance referred us to a relative who had a lot of experience installing and servicing automatic overhead doors. Unfortunately, we had become so accustomed to operating the doors the hard way, we lost the urgency to do anything about it.

When referring to the hard way, that means getting out of the vehicle each time we wanted to open or close the garage doors and operating them from the switch just inside the walk-in door.

Recently we finally called the expert.  After moving an object that was blocking sensor signals and replacing a set of sensors that were miscommunicating, he gave us a normal operation.  He gave us doors that now open and close from the vehicle and that operate by one press of the control at the walk-in door, rather than holding the button down for the duration of the door’s operation.  What joy!

Yes, we coulda, woulda, shoulda, but we didn’t.  We became content and satisfied with something that was clearly substandard. How silly!

But you know that is exactly how many of us live our Christian lives. Yes, we coulda, woulda, shoulda, but we haven’t.  For some of us it is moving an object that is blocking the signal, like dealing with unconfessed sin.  For others of us, it is laying aside the burdens that so easily beset us so that we can run the race unencumbered.

What comes to mind?  Are we going to be satisfied with less than normal or are we willing to experience a new norm (God’s will) through a simple act of obedience?

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up it’s life) in you richly…

Sustaining Power

Is your spiritual life a roller coaster ride?  Does your spiritual well being depend on good feelings and/or emotional experiences? 

There is no sustaining power in good feelings or emotional experiences.  Only in Christ do we have sustaining power and saving faith.  Scripture, the written Word, reveals Christ.  Do you want to know Him?  Do you want to walk with Him?  Let His word dwell in you richly.  

Faith is a firm persuasion or conviction based on hearing the Word of God.*

*W.E. Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – copyright 1984, 1996  Thomas Nelson, Inc. Nashville, TN

Ministry

Speaking of the mystery revealed by God, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs (with the Old Testament believers), of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, the apostle Paul wrote; of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power, Ephesians 3:7.

No man can make himself a minister (lit. servant) of God, because the calling, message, work, and empowering of genuine ministry to and for God are His prerogative alone to give.*

Ministry is not a title, a position, or a vocation.  It is a gift from God.

*NKJV MacArthur Study Bible note on Ephesians 3:7.

The Sinner

One is not a sinner because he sins. He sins because he is a sinner. 

Author Unknown

The real trouble with the unregenerate is that they do not know and understand the truth about sin…..The moment a man understands the true nature and character of sin he becomes troubled about his soul and seeks for a Saviour.  It is the peculiar function of the law to bring such an understanding to a man’s mind and conscience.*

*D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Romans 7:1 – 8:4 (Banner of Truth, 1973),     p. 114, as cited by Christopher Ash, Discovering the Joy of a Clear Conscience (P&R Publishing, 2014), p. 92.

What Lack I Yet?

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10

And, behold, one (rich young ruler) came and said unto him (Jesus), Good Master, what good thing (righteous deed) shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  And he (Jesus) said unto him, why callest thou me good?  There is none good but one, that is, God: 

(Two things from Christ: Are you calling me God?  Are you calling yourself a sinner?)

Jesus continues, but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.  He (the rich young ruler) saith unto him, which?  Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

(As we learned in an earlier article, the Law is God’s standard to show us that we fall short, that we are all, at best, sinners alienated from God by our sin.)

The young man saith unto him, all these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? (The young ruler was not being honest with himself or with the Lord).

Jesus said unto him, if thou wilt be perfect (the Law demands perfection, so if you are going to achieve eternal life by your righteous deeds, do this…), go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow     me.  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away                                                      sorrowful: for he had great possessions.                                                  Matthew 19:16-22 and Luke 18:9-14

Jesus was looking for a humble admission from the rich young ruler that he could not keep the law and therefore needed God’s mercy. but the rich young ruler held fast to his own merit.

And he (Jesus) spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I (Jesus) tell you, this man (the publican) went down to his house justified (acquitted) rather than the other:                                        Luke 18:9-14a

Note: The Pharisees believed in the resurrection, but they elevated tradition and ceremony to a level which overshadowed the Scripture, and promoted their self-righteousness.  Jesus challenged them at every opportunity and condemned them for their hypocrisy.

The publican was a hated and despised tax collector who worked for the Roman government and was considered a traitor by his fellow countrymen.

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…

The Righteous Man and An Evil Man

…see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Proverbs 139:24

An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him. Proverbs 17:11

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly… 

Unanswered Prayer

There are only a couple of reasons that a person may be experiencing unanswered prayer. If you are a Christian, the reason you maybe experiencing unanswered prayer is because of unconfessed sin.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: Psalm 66:18.

As believers we are to keep short accounts with God.  As soon as we realize a thought, a word, or an action is sin, we are to confess it directly to the Lord.  Confessing one’s sin is to say the same thing about that sin that God says about it.  We are to agree with God against ourselves.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.                     I John 1:9

The remedy for the believer to overcome sin is by hiding God’s Word in his/her heart.  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11


Another reason for unanswered prayer that should be considered is the fact that one may not truly be a Christian.

Christ Himself warned us: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  And in thy name have cast out devils?  And in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:22&23

Jesus told Nicodemus: Ye must be born again.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (practice) sin, because he is born of God.                  I John 3:9

A true believer can sin, he just can’t practice sin and/or enjoy it anymore because the Holy Spirit indwells him/her, beginning at salvation.  If your life style is that of practicing sin and God does not discipline you for it, then you have no evidence of having been saved.

Saving faith involves repentance.  Repentance is a changing of the mind about sin and about Jesus.  Saving faith is trust that is placed in Jesus Christ alone.  Nothing that you have done or that the church has done to you can save you.  Salvation is of the Lord!

But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12&13

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…

 

Praise My Soul the King of Heaven

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress;
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Glorious in His faithfulness.

Father like He tends and spares us,
Well our feeble frame He knows;
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Widely yet His mercy flows.

Frail as summer’s flow’r we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish,
Our God lives unchanging on.
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Praise the high Eternal One!

Angels, help us to adore Him,
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him;
Dwellers all in time and space,
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace.

Henry F. Lyte 1834

Copyright Status is Public Domain

Courtesy of Timeless Truths Publications – Copyright © 2002-2020  Free Online Library

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