Archive for April, 2022

Ours Is a Victory in Jesus: Part Two

Hebrews 2: 17, 18

Because of Christ’s suffering on the cross, He is our companion in our pain and problems. We all suffer. There is no immunity. He too suffered. He did so not to keep us from suffering but to make our suffering like His so we can relate to each other.

The same shaking that makes polluted water stink makes perfume aromatic. For some people, suffering makes them bitter. Others, it makes them better. It depends on your nature.

Jesus Christ can relate to you in your suffering, and in your temptation. “We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4: 15)  He can relate. 

Jesus Christ was the firstborn son of an oppressed teenage girl. As a lad He walked the streets that were occupied by foreign Roman troops. He knew what it was like to deal with arrogance. As a teen He knew the frustration of having parents who didn’t understand His nature. Every Biblical evidence is that His paternal guardian, Joseph, died when He was a child. If so, as the elder son He knew the burden of providing for a family. He can relate to those of you who suffer because of unreasonable demands for service. He felt the rising tide of political hostility and recognized the pressure of the anti-spiritual vice that eventually squeezed the breath out of Him. He knew what it was like to be unjustly accused and unfairly condemned. He knew what it was like to experience physical pain and exhaustion as He hung on the cross and His bones pulled out of their sockets while the relentless heat slowly dried His blood as it drained on His brutalized body. He knew what it was like to experience an isolation that made it appear God the Father was nowhere near. Indeed, He was one of us.

Tears fell from His eyes when sorrow gripped His heart. A smile curled His lips when gladness entered His thoughts. His stomach ached when He experienced hunger. He perspired when physically extended. He knew gnawing grief. He had to act in faith. He knew temptation to its extreme.

Never can we cry out, “God, You don’t understand!” He does.

Ours is not merely an indifferent cosmic God. He not only knows when you hurt and feel pain – He did the same.

Athletes are encouraged to have a coach who was an athlete.

When you are sick it helps to have a good doctor who has been sick and knows what it is like.

The cross is the centerpiece of Christianity. There Jesus Christ overcame Satan and set us free. 

Jesus assumed responsibility for all of our spiritual debts and assumed responsibility for us.

There, by His suffering, He became our perfect Savior and sympathetic friend.

Ours Is a Victory in Jesus: Part One

Hebrews 2: 17, 18

Our sin has opened an enormous gap between us and God. Sin violates His holiness and merits His wrath. How then can we come close to God?

To accomplish this of Jesus it is said, “He had to be made like His brethren.” He had to become our Comrade.

Suppose a large company bought a small company that was in deep financial difficulty. As soon as the large company takes over, it becomes responsible for the debts of the business it has purchased. Once the past debts are paid off then the future responsibility for the small company is that of the large company.

Our text uses another term that illustrates the same principle. We are called His “children.” We are by adoption. When a child is adopted, the new parent assumes responsibility for that child. 

Adoption goes a step further. It establishes a kinship relationship between two individuals equivalent to natural descent. 

Adoption is different from fostering. Fostering is temporary. Adoption is permanent. In fostering you get support. In adoption you get support and status.

Hebrews 2: 11 states, “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” That same verse emphasizes our oneness with Christ. It makes reference to being sanctified. This means to be set aside as holy for His use. This verse means all Christians are holy. You may think you aren’t and you may not act it, but you are. The word sanctified translates the Greek word “hagios” which means “to make holy.”

This is not talking about your practice, but your position. The Bible speaks of positional and practical truth. Positionally, you are in Christ — holy. The more closely your position and your practice parallel each other, the more content, fulfilled, and happy you are. 

Positionally you are perfect. “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Heb. 10: 14)

Positionally someday you will stand before God. If you have trusted Christ as Savior, you will stand there as pure as He. The reason is that you have had the righteousness of Christ credited to your account.

He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. Should we not be proud to call Him our Brother? We do well to pray, 

“Dear God, help me never to be ashamed of Jesus.”

We can, with the writer of Hebrews, recite from Psalm 22, “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the congregation I will sing praise to You.” (Heb. 2: 12) 

We can say with Samuel, “I will put my trust in Him.” (Heb. 2: 13)

Jesus bought us with a price (I Cor. 6:20). As a result He paid all of our spiritual debts. Now He has made all of our problems His problems. He has given all of His resources to be our resources.  He is our Comrade.

If you believe that, let your actions indicate that you do.

It’s About Time 1/17/99

Ephesians 5:15-18
Come Alive Bible Page 1712

JESUS CHRIST stepped across the portals of eternity onto the stage of time to demonstrate to us the proper use of time. He was time-conscious. As a child, He said, “I must be about my Father’s business.” “My time is not yet come…” was a statement frequently on His lips. We need to gain His perspective and appreciation for time.

Swiss Clock:
When as a child, I laughed and wept
Time crept.

When as a youth, I dreamed and talked
Time walked.

When I became a full grown man
Time ran.

When older still I grew
Time flew
Soon I shall find in traveling on
Time gone.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for it is the stuff of which life is made.”

We do tend to squander time with trivial engagements. A “U.S. News and World Report” recorded the following use of time. In a lifetime the average American will spend:
Six months at stop lights.
Eight months opening junk mail.
One year looking for lost objects.
Two years unsuccessfully returning phone calls.
Four years doing housework.
Five years waiting in line.
Six years eating.

We would do well to pray with the Psalmist, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

We are born time conscious. If you doubt it take a trip with a young child and you will hear: “Are we there yet? How much longer?”

Unfortunately, too soon we lose the sense of importance to time and begin to waste it.

In His wisdom God described some people in this manner: “Some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies” (II Thessalonians 3:11).

An alleged interview with God went like this.
“God what is a million dollars like to you?”
“A million dollars is like a penny to Me.”
“God what is a million years like to you?
“A million years is like a second.”
“God will you please give me a million dollars?”
“In a second.”

Ask the Lord to help you order your time. With just 15 minutes a day in a year you can:
-Read the entire Bible.
-Learn to play a musical instrument.
-Plant and cultivate a small garden.
-Learn a foreign language.
-Become physically fit.
-Write a book.

Don’t pull yesterday’s clouds over today’s sun.

Evidence of time misspent: 7.5 billion sleeping pills per year, 19 million shaky hands each night reach for help. 11 million Aspirin, 7.5 Billion headaches. That’s 50 headaches/head/year. Two factors that can cause this bitterness:
– Glory behind. Don’t live like a peacock whose glory is behind.

– Guilt behind. In marriage counseling, I find many things that are causing problems happened three or more years ago.

You can’t drive to a desired destination looking in the rear-view mirror. Don’t try to live a progressive life looking back. Learn from the past that you might live will in the present.

Don’t waste today. Let Mary tell you her story and perhaps it will help you get today …. everyday in focus.

Mary says she stood with her brother-in-law and watched as he took out of the dresser drawer a tissue wrapped package. As he unfolded it he said, “This is not a slip. It is lingerie.” It was beautiful silk handmade and trimmed with cobwebbed lace.” He continued speaking of my sister, “Jan bought it when we were going to New York 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, this is a special occasion,” he said as he turned and placed it on the bed along with Jan’s other clothes he was taking to the undertaker.

The he turned and looked at me and said, “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you are alive is a special occasion.”

Ever since he said that “Some day” and “One of these days” are two expressions that have lost their grip on me. I awake every morning realizing this is a special occasion.”

Don’t rush by today to get to tomorrow. Even in Sanskrit it is noted: “Look well to this one day, for it and it alone is life. In the brief course of this one day lie all the verities and realities of your existence; the pride of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty. Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is but a vision. Yet, each day, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and each tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this one day, for it and it alone is life.”

Philip Dormer Stanhope, the Earl of Chesterfield said, “Know the true value of time. Snatch it, seize it, enjoy every second of it. No laziness, no idleness, no procrastination; never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

Don’t get so busy today that you fail to properly use your time. When the text speaks of “redeeming the time” it is appealing for us to get the true value from it. We do this by living each moment filled with the Holy Spirit. If you become so busy you don’t have time for God you are not in compliance with His will for you. That means you aren’t getting done what He wants you to do.

God never frustrates His people. If it appears you have more work than you can do, it is obvious God didn’t give you part of it.

If the devil can’t make us bad he will make us busy.

Dr. Smiley Blanton: “Thousands upon thousands of people either destroy their lives or frustrate them because of their preoccupation with anxiety, fear, and worry.” Don’t worry away your time– redeem it.

I Peter 5:7 “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He careth for you.”

I will not do anything today that will mess up tomorrow. Remember a pickle can never be a cucumber again. You can’t unscramble an egg. Sand can’t run uphill in an hourglass.

These vital reasons are given for redeeming the time.

The days are evil. Read the signs of the time with bifocal lenses and you can see the days are evil. Christianity is not a religious escape from history. Our faith is a fortress against the powers and principalities of this world.

It is also an embassy of God’s kingdom set in the midst of a crooked and perverse people.

The moral decay of modern society can never be used as an excuse for lowering our sense of justice, righteousness, and truth.

Redeem the time. HOW? The Scripture answers: “By being filled with the Holy Spirit.”

WHAT does that mean? To be controlled by Christ. Serve Jesus as Lord. “Be not drunk with wine…”

In their worship of the goddess Dionysus, the Greeks used alcohol. They looked at the wine in a chalice and saw the bubbles rising. Movement in the wine caused them to conclude there must be life in the cup. The content of the cup influenced their feelings and behavior. Therefore they assumed the movement in the challenge was caused by a god in the wine. They named that god Bacca.

As Bacca influenced ones walk and talk so does the Holy Spirit. Don’t let your life be under the control of any controlled substance for even a moment. Let it constantly be under the influence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

You can’t fake it. To be filled with the Spirit one must have Christ in the life.

HOW can one be filled?

You don’t have to beg God to do what He wants to do. He commanded us to be filled (vs. 18). It is His will for all of His children to be filled. Remember it means to live the Christ controlled life.

Begin by desiring it: “Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).

Confess and be cleansed: “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).

We must model our lives after the life of Christ. John 1:1 gives insight into the punctual nature of our Lord: “Before time began to begin the Word was…” There never was a time when Jesus wasn’t. There was a time when there was no time. Time was a part of creation.

We live “in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:2). “Before time began….”

There will be a time when time shall be no more. In this brief capsule of time we live and make our decisions regarding eternity.

When the director of the play steps on stage the play is over.

Scripture alerts us to the expediency of immediate response to the love of Christ: “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2).

Attention Grabbers: Part Three

Hebrews 2: 1

The Apostle Paul wrote of his difficulties and those of others and applied to believers to give heed to God’s word and befriend others.

Paul next said, “There is purpose in my pain,”  II Corinthians 1: 6.

Paul finally concluded by saying, “I am going to make it —with your help.” (II Corinthians 1: 11)


The life experience of King Saul as summarized in I Samuel 15 illustrates our response to God’s word. Saul was commanded by the Lord to exterminate all the pagan Amalekites. From a human viewpoint that sounds unfair. The primary purpose of life is to prepare for eternity. God knew that all Amalekites had reached a permanent mind set of rejection, and their continuing to live would not change their hearts. He wanted a base of evangelism in the land and knew they would hinder it. Based on His divine wisdom He gave Saul orders to annihilate them.

Saul disobeyed and spared King Agag and the best of the livestock. Then,   

* Saul DENIED his sin. He lied and said: “I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” (I Samuel 15: 13)

Just then could be heard from beyond the hills the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the cattle he had spared. His sin had found him out.

* Saul next RATIONALIZED his sin. He pretended he spared the best of the animals to sacrifice them to God. (I Samuel 15: 15) God said, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” (I Samuel 15: 22b)

If a person has a disobedient heart, a rebellious nature, a critical spirit resulting in unwillingness to submit to authority read I Samuel 15: 23: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”

To help our understanding of the seriousness of rebellion against God’s word Samuel said, “Rebellion is as serious as witchcraft.”

* Saul having been caught next tried to EXCUSE his sin by blaming others. In verse 15 he says, “They have brought them back…” Who? “The people spared the best….”  In verse 21 again he blames the people: “The people took the plunder…” In verse 24 he once more blames the people by claiming he “feared the people and obeyed their voice.”

* Saul then CONFESSED his sin. In Scripture there are two kinds of repentance. Judas repented and went out and hanged himself. Peter repented and went out and converted much of the known world. The form of repentance expressed by Judas was regret over getting caught. The type experienced by Peter was a broken heart over what he had done.

If there is sin in your life, how are you dealing with it? At what stage are you? Are you still denying it? Have you mastered the art of rationalization? Are you presently excusing it? Have you come to the point of confession?

“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) Therein is release and joy.

Attention Grabbers: Part Two

Hebrews 2: 1

Therefore, we need to give them “more earnest heed,” This means not only to focus our minds on the truths, but to act upon them. If we keep on acting on them we won’t forget them.

On one occasion Paul said, “I am hurting more than you know.”  Most people around you are.  They simply aren’t open enough to admit it. He was saying what is stated in a popular country song, “They tore my heart out and stomped that sucker flat.” If you are hurting, you are not alone.

In II Corinthians 1: 4 he refers to his “tribulation,” then of “trouble,” in verse 5 he makes reference to his “sufferings,” and in verse 6 he admits he is “afflicted.” Does that sound like your testimony? Do you ever feel like God has forgotten you?

Who among us hasn’t felt like crying out at some time like the Psalmist (25:16): “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.”

Tragically much human suffering is caused by friends. This was the case of Paul. He was imperfect and his fellow believers capitalized on his imperfection. The entire book of II Corinthians is an explanation of his true calling.

Mark the year A.D. 391. The city Rome, Italy. The character involved was named Telemachus, a resident of a small rural village. He had been led to Rome by the Lord. He followed the surging crowd and ended up in the Colosseum. In amazement he heard the gladiators stand before the emperor and say, “We who are about to die salute you.” Only then did he realize that they were about to fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowd. He shouted out, “In the name of Christ, STOP!” The noise of the crowd drowned him out.

As the games began he pushed his way through the crowd and eventually dropped to the floor of the arena. This tiny little man continued to shout, “In the name of Christ, STOP!”

The crowd thought he was a part of the show and laughed at first. Then realizing he wasn’t, became angry. As he pleaded with the gladiators to stop one plunged his sword into his body. He fled to the stand and as he lay dying his last words were: “In the name of Christ, stop!”

Then a strange thing happened. A hush fell over the crowd as the gladiators stood and looked at that tiny little man lying there. A dead silence gripped the crowd and spectators slowly began to exit.

The year A.D. 391 and that was the last battle to the death in the Roman Colosseum. Never again did men kill men for the entertainment of the crowd. This happened all because of one small voice that could hardly be heard above the crowd. One small voice — one life — that spoke the truth in Christ’s name: STOP!

Many people are suffering at the hands of other believers. Isn’t there a voice to say, “In the name of Christ, STOP!”

Dare to apply the Word of God and be His spokesperson.