Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On evil and goodness...

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NASB)

Society today has it backwards. They attack, tear down, and try to destroy what is evil, thinking that what remains is the good. However, something good must be deliberately built and nurtured or it simply does not exist. Don't focus on getting rid of the bad - instead, try building what is good.

Gerry @ Global Scope Ministries ~ The Christian Disciple
"You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
-John 8:32 (NASB)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Practical Worship in trying circumstances

Psalm 34:1-5 "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; The humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed." (NASB)

The context of this Psalm is very interesting. David had turned himself in to his mortal enemy King Abimilech, probably in shock at being betrayed by King Saul of Israel who had tried to murder him. At the last moment, David pretended to be insane and was released instead of executed. This Psalm is the praise that he gave God after that. The last verse (v. 5) says that "they looked to Him and were RADIANT!" Trust in the Lord sets one apart and people will notice it. 

It also says, "And their faces will never be ashamed." God will always come through in some way to help you bear the circumstance you are in, even if no "rescue" is forthcoming. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew this, and when they were confronted with worshiping Nebuchadnezzar or being thrown into the fiery furnace, they still would not bow the knee to those who would take the place of God Most High. They said it this way: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed- nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king." (Daniel 3:16,17) Then they said something fascinating to me: "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Dan. 3:18)

Their actions, like all our actions, have real consequences. It is NOT always easy to stand for God. Sometimes it costs us dearly, just like it did to the people mentioned in Hebrews 11:36-38: "and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill- treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground." Those who would preach a prosperity gospel have trouble with this verse, as do those who tell us that things "go better with Jesus," like the old "things go better with Coke" commercial. Not everyone will have a struggle-free life just because they are a child of God. What it DOES say simply mind-boggling - it says that the world is not worthy of those people. (It makes me ask myself if the world is worthy of me. I hope not.)

The direct implication to the Psalm of David is that we need to know and trust our God the way David did, the way Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael (their Hebrew names) did, the way the unnamed believers in Hebrews did. When we see how much God loves us and how much he has done by restoring our souls and our sanity to us by the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, it can only inspire the worship and praise that David expressed in Psalm 34.

Let us be those that are getting to know our God as we continue steadfastly in the apostles' teaching, in fellowshipping with one another, in breaking bread (worshipping) together, and in prayer for a dying world. As we do this, we do the work of God's kingdom. (Interestingly, a direct translation of the Aramaic of that equates to "repairing the world." We repair the world from its current insanity when we follow Christ. Interesting, but another topic.)

May God richly bless you as you follow Him.

Gerry @ GSM ~ TCD

"You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
-John 8:32 (NASB)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Perseverance - Sticking with something no matter what

Webster's defines Perseverance as "Persistence in any thing undertaken; continued pursuit or prosecution of any business or enterprise begun; applied alike to good or evil."

The more I go through life, and the longer I walk with Christ, the more I see we must persevere - persist, continue, stick at, keep with - the things God brings across our path. This is not to "be saved" so much as it is to earn a place of honour with Christ, but it is still essential to our walk.

I work in an industry where I have to stick at the job, particularly when it becomes unpleasant, because that's how it works in financial services. To quit would be the easy way out. In ancient Sparta, they had a proverb for warriors going into battle - come back WITH your shield or ON it. The first part of the saying, "with your shield" was a reference to those men who would discard their heavy brass shield to speed their flight from battle as they turned tail and ran away. The second part, "on it," was what happened if you failed to win, but were honourable enough not to run away - they carried you back ON your shield because you were either to injured to walk or you were dead - and both were held to be great marks of honour. The only alternative that brought dishonour was cowardice.

A great example of "sticking at it" was Joshua and Caleb, two of the twelve men who went into the promised land to spy it out ahead of time. Ten of the twelve gave reports that brought fear to the house of Israel. They reported giants in the land, and terrible death for anyone that should try to overcome them. Caleb and Joshua gave different reports. They told of the giants in the land and of the dangers, but they also said "we are well able to overcome them" to the story they told. Consequently, they were the only two of the twelve to enter into the promised land (Numbers 14:38). So what was different about them?

I believe it was their perspective - the persevered because they believed the promises of God. Brothers and sisters, God has promised every one of us that he will complete the good work he has begun in us (Phillipians 1:6). He will make us to be what the scriptures call "perfect," even as He is perfect. For those of you that believe in Him, He will do it. For those of you that do not believe it, the Lord Jesus graciously extends you this opportunity to believe Him for what He has promised - Life, and that more abundantly. (If you want to know more, please message me.)

Let us gain that required heavenly perspective that will allow us to persevere by walking with him. We do this by holding to the basic tenets that all of the very first group of Christians did - by continuing steadfastly in the apostles' teaching, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread (worship), and in prayer. For "faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Gerry Brinkman
The Christian Disciple

Global Scope Ministries

"You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
-John 8:32 (NASB)

Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Meaning and Purpose of Family

Psalm 78:5-7 "For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel , Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, That the generation to come might know , even the children yet to be born , That they may arise and tell them to their children, That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments." (NASB) Here are some observations from that passage: 1. The context of the Family is the created state of man, ordained by God for passing knowledge and wisdom to the next generation. In fact, God commanded the fathers to teach the children. 2. Teaching the next generation in the family required a conscious act, it didn't just happen. The subject material was also very specific - the works and commandments of God so that they may be kept. 3. The keeping of the commandments of God require a deliberate and positive act. Deuteronomy 4:10 talks more about a) assembling before God to learn about Him, and b) teaching the children. Again, a conscious and deliberate act. Recently, I read a commentary that talked about how the modern and historical methods of trying to deal with problems is to attack and disable or eliminate the bad so that what may be left is the good. Unfortunately, the treatise went on to correctly point out, it is a mistake to think that way. Something good needs to be consciously and deliberately created, and so it is with family. The command here deals specifically with fathers and their actions. Who will take responsibility for teaching your children the truth about the Lord and how to follow Christ? As a father of three, my response must be "I will!" If I don't there are plenty of other influences in society that my kids will turn to like gangs, drugs, sex, or whatever takes them away from the Lord. That is what will happen if I don't make that conscious and deliberately active choice. Brothers and sisters, let us take the command of God seriously to teach our children. If we do not, someone else will, and then God help them.