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Form of Sound Words (2 Tim 1:13)
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Gifts
Now Playing: What have we been given ?
Topic: Gifts
There is no shortage of gift-giving around this time of year. Even at work, very few are left out. But for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is more to consider: (1) Salvation is "the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8) (2) Every "good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17) (3) Eternal life is "the gift of God...thru Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23) (4) the grace of God is a gift (Romans 5:15-18) (5) all believers have some gift (Romans 12:3-8) (6) all spiritual gifts have the same source (1 Corinthians 12:4-6) (7) Gifts should be used for the honor and glory of Christ (1 Peter 4:10)

In addition, we should not desire an earthly gift for ourselves (Philippians 4:17), but we are not to neglect our gift (1 Timothy 4:14-16) and we are to stir up our gift (2 Timothy 1:6). As we know how to "give good gifts to our children" (Matthew 7:11a), our heavenly Father knoweth what things we have need of (Matthew 6:32). He has "led captivity captive", and given gifts unto men (Ephesians 4:8).

We are to offer our gifts "of all the best thereof" (Numbers 18:29). We know in natural things, "every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts" (Proverbs 19:6). How much better to enjoy the gifts given from "your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:11b) "Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith...I am nothing" There was no greater gift than that "God so loved...that He gave...that we might have everlasting life" (John 3:16) What a gift we can enjoy!

Posted by dondegr8 at 6:18 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 6:33 PM EST
Fully Equipped
Now Playing: Ready with an answer ?
Topic: Gifts
The Apostle Peter reminds us to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you..."(1 Peter 3:15) At the same time the Apostle Paul urged the Corinthians, "I fear, lest by any means...your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ". (2 Corinthians 11:3) He also wrote to the Ephesians, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things which is the Head, even Christ (Ephesians 4:15,16) Our desire should be to "have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus". (Ephesians 4:21)

When Peter and John spoke, "they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13) When Saul offered David his armor, David replied (after trying them on) "I cannot go with these for I have not proved them". (1 Samuel 17:39) But faced with a fierce enemy he could say "I come to thee in the Name of the LORD of Hosts." (verse 45) He recognized the difficulty, set aside his earthly resource, but acknowledged the divine source of his strength. May it be so with us each day!

Posted by dondegr8 at 11:32 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 6:33 PM EST
Confession and Prayer
Now Playing: Does God hear from us ?
Topic: Meditations
How do we react when things are broken or taken away ? When we faint or are sick ? How about when we weep and mourn ? Nehemiah and Daniel faced these calamities (Nehemiah 1:3, Daniel 8:27). How did they react? What marvelous prayers we now have recorded in God's Word (Nehemiah 1:4-11, Daniel 9:3-19) because of their earnest reactions to the trials they faced.

James says "count it all joy...when ye fall into diverse temptations (trials)" (James 1:2) Peter wrote "the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire" (1 Peter 1:7) Paul could write "we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body". (2 Cor. 4:8-10). He also wrote "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (2 Cor. 6:10) May our difficulties only lead us to repentance, humility, and closeness to our Saviour!

Posted by dondegr8 at 8:44 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 6:15 PM EST
Monday, December 15, 2003
Finishing the Task
Now Playing: How are we building ?
Topic: Laboring
Whether a craftsman, a farmer, or someone in an office, there is a strong urge to reach the completion of a task. The personal satisfaction is keen, and the external payback is usually good. In spiritual matters, we have some clear instruction. The Lord Jesus said to the multitudes, "Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28) When the leaders sought to kill Jesus (John 6:18), He said to them (vv. 19-47) "the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me..." (v.36). The Apostle Paul could say forcefully to those at Ephesus, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy..." (Acts 20:24) When he wrote his final epistle to Timothy he said "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)

But what good is finishing what we are working on, if we are not creating something with eternal value? There is a world of difference between "finishing with joy" and "being finished", as a well-known figure encountered this past weekend in Iraq. The Apostle Paul said to the Christians at Corinth, "Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11). The World Trade Center was tested and built to withstand the impact of a small airplane, but it still wasn't strong enough.

The Lord Jesus could say to Peter, "upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". (Matthew 16:18) When the apostle Peter wrote his first letter (some 30+ years later) to the strangers scattered abroad, he conveyed the truth which had been given to him. We, as believers in Christ, are "living stones" used to build a "spiritual house". A building is only as good as the foundation and its material. We know the foundation is Christ (1 Corinthians 3), and we are "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them". (Ephesians 2:10)

So we are promised "Behold I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." (1 Peter 2:6) Are we building on marshland or bedrock, and is our material "wood, hay, and stubble" or "gold, silver, and precious stones" (1 Corinthians 3:12) Paul reminds the Ephesian believers "Ye are...of the household of God, and are being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord". (Ephesians 2:19-21)

Shortly after the time of Noah, the "whole earth was of one language...and they said, go to, let us make us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name..." (Genesis 11:1-5) But Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, could say "the Name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe".(Proverbs 18:10) The man after God's own heart, the psalmist David could say, "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock, in Him will I trust; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Saviour...I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised". (2 Samuel 22:2-4).

Read all of the chapter, it is so breathtakingly beautiful, what a resource we have in seeking to build our lives in a world of shifting sands and useless investments. "If a man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward." (1 Corinthians 3:14) After we "finish", there is something which the Lord "shall give" to "all them also that love His appearing". (2 Timothy 4:7,8) May we be found among them!

Posted by dondegr8 at 7:33 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 9:19 PM EST
Thirst
Now Playing: How do we quench our longing ?
Topic: Thirst
It is not just the hot summer when we are thirsty, is it? Our body responds to deep longings God has given us. King David could say, "as the deer panteth, for the water, so my soul longeth after thee". (Psalm 42:2) The prophet Isaiah could write "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters..." (Isaiah 55:1). The Psalmist also wrote "early will I seek thee, my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is." (Psalm 63:1) He remembered when the Lord had led him "beside the still waters". (Psalm 23:2)

In the gospels, the Lord Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6) Shortly after the leaders sought to kill Him (John 7:1), Jesus went to the feast "in secret" (v.10), but then, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, 'if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink'." (John 7:37) Jesus had already told the people, "he that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst". (John 6:35)

We can look forward to a day when "they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more". (Revelation 7:16) Even the Lord Jesus, after He had borne our sins and paid the price we could not pay, cried out "I thirst". Then He said "it is finished" and He "bowed His head, and gave up the ghost". (John 19:28,30) We can be so grateful for what we've been given so richly from One who said to a Samaritan woman, "whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14) The Apostle John could write from the Isle of Patmos, "Let him that is athirst, COME...whosover will, let him take of the water of life FREELY" (Revelation 22:17)


Posted by dondegr8 at 1:17 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 9:01 PM EST
Celebration
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: The source of our happiness
Topic: Meditations
On many occasions, particularly at this time of year, we want to find an opportunity to celebrate or share our joy with others. Yesterday, many found that with the capture of the former Iraqi dictator. In Exodus chapters 15 and 32 the people expressed themselves, but in completely different ways. In chapter 15, they celebrated the lifting of 400 years of bondage to their oppressors, having been delivered by their mighty God. Their shouts of joy were praise to Him. In chapter 32, they "rose up to play", but they were just seeking to gratify their flesh in the absence of their leader, Moses. Aaron and others were there for both events. What a solemn fact, that the ones who "gave glory to God" may have also indulged their basest natures in such an evil way. May the Lord give us to "rejoice in Him" (Philippians 4:4) "Thanks be to God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:14) "My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour" (Luke 1:47)

Posted by dondegr8 at 8:20 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 6:16 PM EST
Saturday, December 13, 2003
First Day of the Week
Now Playing: Priority
Topic: Meditations
When we read John 20 (about Mary) or Acts 20 (about the disciples) we find that they had a focus. Mary came early to see where the Lord was. The disciples came together "to break bread". In the process, they both found some surprises. Mary found out (first) about the Lord who had risen from the dead. The disciples received wonderful ministry, and saw the restoration of one who had fallen. May we likewise prepare our hearts, because we never know what we might learn of the One whose "delights were with the sons of men" (Proverbs 8:31) Solomon also adds, as divinely inspired, "Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the LORD" (Proverbs 8:34-35)

Posted by dondegr8 at 7:34 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 6:17 PM EST
Valuable Possessions
Now Playing: Our heavenly inheritance
Topic: Meditations
Perhaps some have known one who has gained or stood to gain much when a relative passed away. Many would consider it their "rightful inheritance". Well, every day, if we are a Christian, we can get to know the One Who has promised us "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." (1 Peter 1:4) How many museums there are to store "valued historical artifacts". Paul wrote to Timothy of the "living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy". (1 Timothy 6:17) Is the glitter and glamour in this world so attractive that we lose perspective sometimes? I'm afraid if we search our own soul, we find the truth to be all too unpleasant. But there is a solution. The Lord Jesus said when He was here on earth, "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:20,21)

Posted by dondegr8 at 3:57 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 6:18 PM EST
Friday, December 12, 2003
Useful Web Sites
Now Playing: Additional Links
Topic: Administrative
Over the few months, many different Christian web links will be added and changed in view of their doctrinal soundness, overall quality, and spiritual profitability. There are now 150+ Christian links under 12 different categories and this number will fluctuate periodically.

Posted by dondegr8 at 7:38 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 4:51 PM EST
Beginnings
Now Playing: First Step
Topic: Meditations
One must take the first step sometime. Hopefully, my time and yours will be well-spent on that which will have eternal value. As the Apostle Paul said, "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18) Many of the choices we make every day would be different if we gave proper consideration to this wisdom. May the "filter" of our decisions, small and great, be more than our own comfort and satisfaction.

Posted by dondegr8 at 7:36 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 6:17 PM EST

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