Saturday, July 28, 2007

(Thomas Watson, "Body of Divinity")Sin cleaves to us, as blackness to the skin of the Ethiopian, so that we cannot get rid of it. Paul shook off the viper on his hand--but we cannot shake off this inbred corruption! Sin comes not, as a lodger, for a night--but as an indweller. "Sin which dwells in me." Romans 7:17. Sin is an evil spirit, which haunts us wherever we go. Sin, though latent in the soul, and as a spring which runs under ground--often breaks forth unexpectedly. Christian, you cannot believe that evil which is in your heart, and which will break forth suddenly--if God should leave you! "Is your servant a dog that he should do this monstrous thing?" 2 Kings 8:13. Hazael could not believe he had such a root of evil in his heart, that he would rip up pregnant women. "Is your servant a dog?" Yes, and worse than a dog--when that corruption within is stirred up!If one had come to Peter and said, "Peter, within a few hours you will deny Christ;" he would have said, "Is your servant a dog?" But alas! Peter did not know his own heart, nor how far that corruption within would prevail upon him. The sea may be calm, and look clear; but when the wind blows--how it rages and foams! So though now your heart seems good--yet, when temptation blows--how may sin reveal itself, making you foam with lust and passion!Who would have thought to have found adultery in David, and drunkenness in Noah, and cursing in Job? If God leaves a man to himself--how suddenly and scandalously may sinbreak forth in the holiest men on the earth!

Grace Gems (choice electronic books, sermons & quotes)
Sovereign Grace Treasures (choice printed books)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Walk in Wisdom - July 20, 2007Mark 9.14 And when they came to the disciples,they saw a great crowd around them, and scribesarguing with them. 15 And immediately all thecrowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazedand ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And heasked them, "What are you arguing about withthem?" 17 And someone from the crowd answeredhim, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he hasa spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever itseizes him, it throws him down, and he foams andgrinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked yourdisciples to cast it out, and mthey were not able..."25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came runningtogether, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it,"You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, comeout of him and never enter him again." 26 And aftercrying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out,and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of themsaid, "He is dead." 27 But Jesus utook him by thehand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And whenhe had ventered the house, his disciples asked himprivately, "Why could we not cast it out?" 29 And hesaid to them, "This kind cannot be driven out byanything but prayer."The quandary of the Disciples here is a reasonableone. Why indeed couldn't they cast this demon out?Luke's chronology shows us this event took placeAFTER they had already been commissioned andsent out two by two and gave "them power andauthority over all demons and to cure diseases."This fit clearly within the scope of that commission.Yet here they were, powerless, embarrassed andconfused. Jesus' answer to them is not much morehelp is it? "This kind cannot be driven out byanything but prayer (and some texts add - fasting).What is the deal?The lesson is simple, but stunningly profound.Especially for all who seek to labor in God's field inany capacity. And I believe it is this: No matter howgreat, how divinely given, how extraordinary our giftsmay be, there will always be situations where ourgifts are not sufficient to the task, and we are drivenback to the throne of grace in humility anddependence.One of the great pitfalls of giftedness, is a growingreliance upon the gift, above the Giver. And the Fatherin His infinite wisdom will always bring us face to facewith the things that exceed our gifts, lest we grow totrust them, more than Him. How good is our God!Maybe you are a teacher, preacher, counselor,musician, evangelist, deacon, etc. Whatever Godhas gifted you to do in your service to the Body,mark it well, you WILL come to the end of those gifts.You will - by His mercy - be caught up short. It is nota question of "if", but when. And in those places, it isnot that you have lost your gift, are not still God's manor woman, are somehow shelved or steeped in sin. Itis that the Father is wanting renewed focus upon Himselfboth to you, and through you. For that is what is bestboth for you, and those you minister to. This is the Fatherin grace, making sure you know that all still depends uponHim. That He is still the source from which all goodnessflows. That what you have, as good and excellent as itmay be, functions only by His grace, and must subsistupon His resting hand.Seasons of helplessness, are seasons of intimacy, ifwe use them to seek His face, rather than ponder howwe fared in the eyes of those who watched us fail. Inour text, the Disciples were forced to wait until theSavior came. And that left no question as to the realsource behind this glimpse of the Kingdom. Don't beafraid to fall upon your knees and beseech His help.Its not such a bad thing to let people see our inability,if it means they get to see Him better.Blessings: ReidDulcius Ex

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Walk in Wisdom - Gleanings from the Scripture.Luke 2.35 - (And a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that the thoughts from many hearts may berevealed.

These interesting words were spoken to Mary by Simeon. She and Joseph had taken Jesus to present him in theTemple as a baby to fulfill the Levitical laws concerning purification and. "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord" Exodus 13.9 reads. So it is they made their sacrifice, and Simeon, "righteous, devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the HolySpirit" being upon him - prophesied.

Verse 35 above has his closing words.What does it mean that the thoughts from many hearts will be revealed, and why is that so necessary? The simple answer is this: Most people (thinking people)will admit to being sinners - at least in name. "No one's perfect" so many will reply when asked about their own goodness or lack thereof. Sure, we're sinners. Its not hard to own it in the abstract. But what we are not willing or perhaps even able to do, is get a good grip on just how deep, how severe the enmity of our hearts is against God. Men do not ordinarily think of themselves as God's sworn enemies. Not close, maybe, but enemies? I dare say not one in a 1000 would own to actually and consciously hating God. But that is the very reality lost men and women need to come to, if they are to call upon Christ to be saved.Now there is no question that Christians have often come to realize this dilemma as well. We come to grips with the fact that we are proposing a cure, for something most do not even know they are infected with. We're selling life jackets to Noah's pre-flood audience. Flood? Never seen one. There's never been one. And given those odds, investing too seriously in Ark building seems a tad over the top. And in the face of such blindness, the temptation is to become prosecuting attorneys. Rather than though - our better tactic, is simply to make Him known. So it is Simeon's message unfolds for us that one of the very reasons Christ has come, is "for a sign that is that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." To whom? To them. He does the revealing, not us. To let them know the real condition of their own souls, so that they might seek reconciliation with God through Christ Jesus.What does that revelation look like? Well, when confronted with Christ's exclusivity, our inherent idolatry is exposed. We recoil that He is the ONLY way to the Father, and reveal our preconceived idol-worshiping souls. When confronted with His supremacy over all, the depths of our prideful autonomy come to light. Our(most often) unspoken self-deification is challenged. In the face of his Lordship, we refuse to bow. In the light of His Cross, we see how much we cling to our own self-righteousness. In the Light of His face, the darkness of our separation from God is revealed in all its terrifying reality. The gulf between us is fixed, and uncrossable.Yet this is the very One who comes seeking and saving the Lost. Never do we see so clearly our need of the Savior, until we are exposed to Him for who and what He really is. We preach Christ, and Him crucified. And if we preach Him well, their hearts will be exposed for sure.

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