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17 November, 2021 13:39

November 17, 2021

BRINGING THE LAME AND BLIND

If you were to ask an average believer how many of them stole something this past week. I’m sure the vast majority of them would look at you dumbfounded at the very suggestion. We are all well aware that stealing is forbidden by God and made it to His top ten list of commandments. ‘Thou shalt not steal’ ranks just below ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’.

Now if stealing is wrong, and it clearly is, then stealing from God Himself would be the ultimate theft. Right!? According to the Prophet Malachi, God accused His people of robbing Him. The robbery was in their tithes and offering which they either withheld completely or replaced with inferior offerings.

Just in case you’re not familiar with the passage I’m referring to, here it is:

‘But when you present the blind for sacrifice is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would He receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts. “But now will you not entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part, will He receive you kindly?” Malachi 1:8,9

God was clearly upset with His people and the way they were treating Him. God goes on to say.

“…you bring what was taken by robbery, and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?” says the Lord. But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I AM A GREAT KING…Malachi 1:13,14

The point I’m trying to make here, is that in the New Testament, our sacrifices are no longer in the form of four-footed animals but through our praise and worship. Here is how the writer of Hebrews refers to it.

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips that give thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15

Nothing perturbs me more than going to church and having to listen to God’s people barely uttering a word of praise. The vast majority of people are not even singing and those that are can barely be heard. Almost every Sunday I go home with a pit in my stomach telling myself. ‘We robbed God again’, We robbed God again’. If that’s how I feel, then I wonder how God feels?

God had to remind His people that He is a GREAT KING. He’s trying to tell them to honor Him as such and not treat Him as though He’s not that important. If you turn from Malachi to Matthew just a few pages on but 400 years later, we have the account of the three Magi announcing to King Herod that they were on their way to worship the King of the Jews. Where they bringing the blind and the lame? No, they brought Him gold, frankincense and myrrh; a sacrifice and offering worthy of the KING.

Keep in mind that under the Old Testament economy the priest was responsible for examining every sacrifice prior to it being offered. If the sacrifice was blemished in any way it was to be rejected; only the very best sacrifice was acceptable. No wonder we read the Psalmist saying,

‘Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.’ Psalm 19:14

Today, we no longer bring our sacrifices to an earthly priest but directly to the Lord Himself who is our great High Priest. He is the one who decides to accept or reject our sacrifice of praise. Unless we are doing our very best to offer Him as perfect a sacrifice as possible, then we are no different from God’s people in Malachi’s time, who substituted the lame and blind instead of offering the best of their flock.

We read in Proverbs

“Do notwithhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Proverbs 3:27

If we apply this verse to God Himself, then surely, He deserves the praise and honor that is due Him. God is worthy of so much more than just singing a few self-centered songs we refer to as worship. Worship should focus solely on God’s greatness, majesty, holiness, righteousness, and power. I love the lyrics of that song that says ‘Let’s forget about ourselves and concentrate on Him and worship Him’. I’m convinced if we truly did just, that we would experience so much more of His presence in our services.

Throughout God’s word we are exhorted to ‘Make a joyful NOISE to the Lord.’ Or ‘SHOUT joyfully to God, all the earth.’ Or ‘O clap your hands, all peoples; SHOUT to God with the voice of joy.’ Nothing should excite us more than being in His presence and then in turn to let Him know how much we love Him.

One last thought. Imagine being asked to take charge of preparing a large family Thanksgiving meal. Family members will be driving in from various places, some even flying in from overseas for the occasion. Chances are we wouldn’t find you shopping for a turkey the same day of the meal, or trying to decide at the last minute whether or not to serve cake and ice-cream or apple pie for dessert. No doubt you would have been planning for weeks or at least days before.

Worship should be considered as the greatest of all Thanksgivings. The ‘first fruits’ of any service, is the time we set apart, to give thanks to God for all His benefits. It is the responsibility of the worship leader to take the necessary time to pray and prepare for this very special occasion. Every detail should be thought out in advance and not simply thrown together at the last minute. Each song should be skillfully knit together to produce a seamless tapestry of worship fit for the King of kings. The task of the worship leader is to cast up a highway of song that leads the congregation into the very presence of God. Songs should be considered as steps with each song lifting us higher and higher until we find ourselves in awe of His glorious majesty.

The role of the worship leader, is in many ways, as important or even more important than the one delivering the message. The worship time is God’s time, and should be treated as such, while the remaining time is for our benefit and spiritual growth.

A word of wisdom here to those leading worship – let the songs do the work. In other word refrain from talking except for your initial welcome. Now a word to those in leadership. Don’t hijack the worship by veering off into some type of ministry time, that can come later in the service. Prophetic words or words of knowledge won’t perish if not used immediately. There is a time and place for everything so let’s not short change God by interrupting the service and thereby robbing God of all the honor He deserves

If I’ve ruffled a few feathers please forgive me. I’m simply trying to right a wrong that has invaded the church for far too long. Let’s WORSHIP HIM!

5 September, 2021 20:06

September 5, 2021
Make Me A Man After Thine Own Heart! by Oswald J. Smith
On November 8, 1927, my thirty-eighth birthday, I prayed this prayer: "Lord, make me a man after Thine Own heart." Work faded out of sight; things that before seemed important disappeared; everything in which I was interested took a secondary place, and my own inner life before God was all that mattered, all that was really worthwhile. And as I paced back and forth in my room that day I prayed, and prayed in the Spirit: "Lord, make me a man after Thine Own heart."

I saw as I had never seen before that the big thing was not the work I was doing, the books I was writing, the sermons I was preaching, the crowds that gathered nor the success achieved; but rather the life I was living, the thoughts I was thinking, heart holiness, practical righteousness; in a word: my transformation, by the Holy Spirit, into Christlikeness.

There came to me with new and deeper meaning than ever before the words: "Oh, for a closer walk with God." My heart went out in a cry of anguish for such an experience. "Enoch walked with God" (Gen. 5:24). Could not I? Am not I more precious to God than my work, my possessions? God wanted me, not merely my service.

After that He led me out in prayer, a prayer that would make me a man after His Own heart and these were the petitions: "Lord, here are my hands; I consecrate them to Thee. May they never touch anything that would dishonor Thee. May they never go where Thou wouldst not be seen.

"Lord, here are my eyes; may they never look upon anything that would grieve the Holy Spirit. May my ears never listen to anything dishonoring to Thy Name. May my mouth never be opened to speak a word that I would not want Thee to hear. May my mind never retain a thought nor an imagination that would dim the sense of Thy presence."

Putting God First

God, I saw, demanded my undivided attention. Everything else must take a second place. Friends and loved ones, home, money, work, all – even though legitimate – must give way to Christ! Day and night my undivided attention must be given to Him. God first! Such must be my attitude toward Him. Only then would He be able to bless and use me.

In my relationship to God I saw that no other and nothing else must come between. That just as a husband comes first in the affections of his wife, and vice versa, so God must come first in my heart. And just as no marriage can ever be a happy marriage where either husband or wife withhold their undivided attention from each other, so my fellowship with God could only be complete when He had my undivided attention.

What He asked of me that day He asks of all alike. Can it be that we would deny Him His right? Is there anything in this world worthy of that attention He claims? Why, then, do we withhold what He asks? Is true joy to be found outside of God? Can we be happy with "things"?

Do "things" satisfy? "A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15).

God Has Made Us for Himself!

He longs for our fellowship and communion. To walk with Him moment by moment, right here in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, in a world that has no use for a separated, Holy Ghost life, a world whose god is Satan; to live as pilgrims and strangers in a world that crucified our Lord – that is His design and purpose for us.

So, then, to be a man after God’s own heart means to put God first; to walk with Him every moment; to do nothing that would displease Him and to allow nothing that would grieve Him; to live a life of practical righteousness and holiness before Him; to give Him our undivided attention, and to love Him supremely!

To get His best we must give our best. To become men and women after His Own heart, we must let Him have our undivided attention. To win, we must surrender. To live we must die. To receive, we must give!

Oh, the joy of such a life! There is nothing like it. All the success in the world cannot compensate for it. Friends can never mean so much. Even loved ones disappoint. Money brings its burdens, and fame its bitterness. But He, He satisfies! God is never a disappointment. To walk with Him is the sweetest thing on earth. To know that all is well, that there is nothing between, that no black cloud of sin hides His face – ah! That is heaven, indeed.

Then let us pray it, mean it, and live it: "Lord, make me a man after Thine Own heart."

5 August, 2021 13:49

August 5, 2021

TIME WILL TELL

There has been a great stirring throughout the Body of Christ in recent years concerning our bridal preparation for the great Marriage of the Lamb. What comes to mind when you read these words, “The bride has made herself ready.”? Ready for what exactly!?

For some, marriage to our heavenly Bridegroom fills the mind with romantic thoughts of spiritual intimacy far above any physical earthly level ever could.

Let me backtrack for a moment and remind you that when it comes to marriage, we are not to be unequally yoked. In other words, “Two can’t walk together (live together) unless they be in agreement.” I could also add, “What fellowship does light have with darkness.?” If we dare to apply these principles to our relationship with Christ how well suited are we to be His bride or He, our Bridegroom?

Speaking of our heavenly Bridegroom, are we truly ready to be married to a king. Not any ordinary king mind you, but the King of all kings? Not only is he The King but also the Great Judge, the Great Shepherd, High Priest, Captain of the Hosts etc. All this begs the question how much do we know about ruling and reigning? How gifted are we when it comes to discernment and judgement? What about waging war, etc.?

I don’t believe Jesus is concerned about marrying someone who turns out to be a ‘golf widow’; a bride who shows little or no interest in her Beloved’s activities or desires. The emphasis on ‘Divine Romance’ is not about you and your beloved forever entwined together on some type of fantasy island, alone on some distant planet. I’m afraid this is the typical mindset of many of the younger generation who have been raised in a sexually saturated culture where marriage is more about the bedroom than the throne-room.

While we don’t have a detailed plan of our future role as Bride, we do know that we have been invited to sit with our Beloved in heavenly places as joint heirs. We know we will be given the task of judging angels, also as Priests of God and of Christ, as well as reigning with Him.

Lay those thoughts aside for a moment; how much time are we currantly taking in preparation for our ultimate eternal and heavenly calling as the Bride of Christ?

I believe the Lord is watching every action and reaction we take here on earth and how we respond to these daily ‘tests’ He allows us to encounter.

One final thought. Is it possible that not every believer will make up the Bride? If we don’t share the interests or purpose of our heavenly Bridegroom now; could it be we are unequally yoked? Time will tell.