Archive for May, 2022

To Forget Is Often to Forfeit

“…when your heart is lifter up, and you forget the Lord….” Deuteronomy 8:12

Forgetfulness often results in great loss. This is especially true in the Kingdom World. Deuteronomy 8: 12 and 13 gives insight as to what causes people to forget the goodness of God. Actually verse 14 uses the expression which summarizes the result of the blessings noted in verses 12 and 13. It is “when your heart is lifted up.” This is an expression for pride.

Translating the Greek text into certain tribal languages is a challenge. A missionary was searching for a word to translate for the word “pride” when he overheard a native describe to another by saying “the ears are too far apart.”  In other words, the person had a big head. That expression was used to translate the word for pride. 

Forgetfulness causes self-centered pride. This results in the Lord God being denied as the one who delivered and established us as a nation.  As verse 14 notes, they were tending to forget God had delivered them; so we tend to think our military might have on occasions delivered us. Not so, God has.

Forgetfulness causes us to become egotistical. Verse 17 expresses the arrogance of many. Prosperity can create a diversion causing forgetfulness. Verse 18 balances reality.

There once was a massive, stately, old elm tree which withstood many harsh storms. One calm, summer morning a cracking and crashing was heard. To the amazement of all, large limbs had broken off and fallen. It was a calm and still morning causing people at first to wonder what caused a tree that had withstood storms to crash on such a quiet day. It was determined that the night had resulted in an exceptionally heavy dew formation. If there had been any breeze, the dew drops would have fallen. However, the dew accumulated on the leaves and collectively created such a weight as to break the limbs. Dew normally is a blessing to a tree. In this instance too much was too bad. 

Prosperity is acknowledged to be good. However, so much of what it causes the recipient to forget about God is defeating.

When you get wealth, “remember the Lord your God” (Vs. 18). When I see worthy ministries going begging and Christians prospering, yet not sharing, there is clear evidence they have forgotten.

Forgetfulness results in us failing to obey God. Verse 20 graphically notes the result. Another missionary was searching for a word to translate obedience. One day when the missionary whistled for his dog a native watched as the dog came running and said, “Your dog is all ears.” That was the word used by the missionary to translate the word obey. When God calls, we come running.

Continual obedience is a safeguard against forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is a thief. Guard against it by daily remembrance.

Check Your Position and Disposition 7/12/98

Romans 5:1-2
Page 1650 Come Alive Bible

Jesus Christ’s reason for visiting earth is explained in Romans 5: 8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

He is the focal feature, the empowering God who determines our position and disposition, in time and for eternity.

Romans chapter five concisely explains what it means to “follow Christ.” Therein, it is revealed:

We are saved by Christ’s death — objectively. He is the object of our faith.

We are saved by His life — subjectively. We, the subject, are impacted daily by His life.

Romans 5: 1 – 10 uses the word “sins,” plural. Christ’s death cleanses from them positionally.

Romans 5: 12 – 21 changes and uses “sin,” singular. Daily the life of Christ saves us from dominance by our old sin disposition.

We are saved by His death positionally — we are in Christ. “…having now been justified by His blood” (Vs. 9a). We are “saved from wrath through Him” (Vs. 9c). The wonder of this salvation is that it is a gift. In verses 15, 16, 17, 18 we are told salvation is a “gift.” Twice redundance is used for emphasis. It is called a “free gift.” If it is free it is a gift. If it is a gift it is free.

The idea of doing something to earn, merit, or deserve the favor of God is alien to Scripture. The concept makes man and God look bad.

It makes man look bad because it appears everything he does is an attempt to benefit himself by getting something for doing it.

It makes God look bad because it appears He can be bought off.

Hear the Word of God clearly on this subject: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2: 8,9).

“Grace” means God’s unmerited favor. Thus, from a Biblical standpoint there is no sacrament or service that can merit salvation. Therefore, the only way to obtain it is as a gift.

Let’s celebrate your birthday. Suppose I were to come to you with a gift and present it to you. Immediately you insist on paying for it. It is a valuable gift and I want to give it so I decline pay. You reach into your pocket and pull out a penny saying, “I want to at least give you something for it.” If that penny were received you would have purchased it. The penny is unacceptable because I love you so much I want to provide it for you.

Then too, what if I were to insist on you paying a penny for this valuable gift and you didn’t have a penny. You would be deprived of it. Salvation is a gift.

I have purchased the gift and now offer it to you. For it to be yours one thing remains. You have to receive it. You can reject it. For it to be yours you have to receive it.

God offers the wonderful free gift of salvation, but for it to be yours you must receive it. You do so by turning from your sin and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ with a life changing trust.

Once we are saved we should seek to serve the Lord and work for Him. We do so not in order to get something, salvation, but because we have already gotten something as a gift, salvation.

Recently I met a delightful person, Jim Brawner. He is the N national seminar director for Gary Smalley’s “Love is a Decision Seminars.” That is the new Jim.

He played football at the University of Arkansas during their glory days when Frank Broyles was coach. He was not a Christian at the time. He told me of the day Arkansas defeated the University of Texas 31 – 7. After the game the exuberant team piled on the bus. Excitement reigned. Jim sat down on the front seat next to the window as wild as any on the bus. Coach Broyles got on the bus and sat next to him. Immediately he felt he couldn’t be quite as rowdy as he intended to be. Coach Broyles sat down and said, “We have to give glory to God for that victory. We owe it to Him.”

Jim said, “That wasn’t what I was thinking.” He was thinking what a whale of a game he and his team mates had played.

Jim said that after he got off the bus he couldn’t think of anything else but what Coach Broyles had said. He didn’t sleep a wink that night for thinking about it. Not being a Christian he nevertheless got up the next morning and went to church. There he realized Christ was the missing element in his life and that he needed to be saved. Right then and there he gave his life to Christ and experienced transformation, new life.

It all happened because a Christian coach expressed his faith spontaneously.

When you come to Christ He changes you world view, that is, the way you look at things.

Recently I met Dr. Bill and Linda Burnett. She shared that she was born in Greece and learned Greek before English. Her dad was in the military and returned to the states for a few years before being transferred to France. There she learned French. She said that after a few months she realized she was thinking in French.

Then she made a beautiful application. When we learn Scripture soon we realize we are thinking in terms of the Scripture. It becomes our thought pattern. At that point the mind of Christ becomes ours.

An oft repeated theme in Romans is “much more.” In verse 9 it is used. Christ saves us, what then can he do for us —- “much more.” Time and again it occurs.

We are saved by His life dispositionally — Christ is in us.

“We shall be saved by His life” (vs. 10c)

When we come to Christ we come with a lot of baggage. We have a certain disposition, mind set, temperament, and world view. Our old lifestyle is unbecoming of the new life we profess. It is at this point the living Christ enables us to “be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). He can then save us from our former ungodly attitudes and character. We become new creatures. Your old nature need no longer control. The Spirit controlled temperament then characterizes you. Did you get that? It means Christ can enable you to live a spiritually victoriously life. Daily, by the living Christ, you are being saved dispositionally. Old character and conduct habits are broken and new life emerges.

Daily I am treated to an inspiring example. I get up around 4:30am. No one else in our family does. My wife isn’t a morning person. If she were not a Christian she would have assaulted me before 8:00am long ago.

The dual inspiration I have daily is first an example of resurrection. She gets up at one hour and wakes up at another.

The other is a demonstration of a disposition disposed to behave as a new creature in Christ. Though I know what her metabolism must be shouting inside her she always offers a warm cheery greeting first thing in the morning. Her responses are positive and optimistic. She does so because her disposition is determined by her position in Christ. Genes, hormones, glands, and metabolism aren’t allowed to control. They are, I am confident, struggled with, but it is Christ who controls.

Her responses are explained in Romans 5: 11: “And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

The more you become preoccupied with Christ the less you are absorbed with yourself and He begins to instinctively control your disposition.

Dispositionally He saves us from:

ANXIETY: There is a delightful little best seller called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” and all stuff is small.”

If we view the events of life from that perspective we avoid anxiety, that is, worry.

Take for instance the moment a car cuts in front of you in traffic and slows you down. Do you blow your cool? That’s sweating the small stuff. How much were you slowed down? Probably .6 of a second. Not worth sweating.

BITTERNESS: Dr. Dean Ornish, who has pioneered vascular damage reversal treatments. He says bitterness is the most toxic of personality traits. We are concerned about preventing toxins getting in our water, food, and atmosphere. When they are there we go to great lengths to remove them. We need to do the same in our spiritual life.

Bitterness is the only personality trait that is harmful to ones health. Get it out.

Forgiveness is the cornerstone to good health. It removes toxins.

A moment ago I used the word “transformed.” Let me illustrate that.

As a college student in the bayou country of southeast Louisiana I had a favorite retreat where I could enjoy solitude and occasionally study. I would use a pirogue, that is a small shallow one person boat, and pole it, you can’t paddle a pirogue, way down in the swamp. The sounds of nature was all to be heard.

One day as I lulled away the afternoon reading in the pirogue a big water bug crawled up the side and perched on the prow of the boat. With those big bug eyes he just sat there looking things over. Down in the tannic water among the decaying leaves his friends were scurrying around in the mud.

As the afternoon passed the crusty shell of this creature began to dry. I watched for some time as gradually the back of the shell began to crack. Slowly, every so imperceptibly the crack widened. Then a miracle happened. The creature in that shell emerged through that crack. It sat motionless for some time as the sun dried it.

A trimmer went through its little body. Next it spread its wings and barely fluttered them. This it did several times. Then it strutted its gossamer wings and lifted off in flight.

As it circled overhead in its new world I looked back down in the water. There were its old companions still crawling around in the mud and decay. Overhead rose the transformed new creature. It had been born again with a new life and lifestyle. That’s transformation.

The Blessed Benefits of a Good Memory

Jesus said, “Remember, the words I have said to you…” (John 15:22).  A good memory enables us to learn from our experiences as well as great truths we have heard. 

Therefore, invest in your memory bank truths that will pay dividends for days to come. Much interest can be drawn from time and truth well invested.

Repetitiously God’s Word appeals to His people to “Remember.” There are occasions on which individuals and society in general need to stop in their rush into the future to reflect and remember.

In another day a different people were blessed of our Lord not dissimilarly as we. Their leader, Moses, exhorted them to “remember the Lord your God.” He doubled his exhortation by appealing to them “do not forget the Lord your God.”  Every nation needs this exhortation. America needs it earnestly.

The current generation of Americans has forgotten much of our heritage. In our haste we have rushed away from many of the memorable blessings of our past and lost their benefits. We have thus disallowed the glory due our God. He has been totally removed from our public school texts and the gods of the new age allowed to intrude.

We have forgotten that Chaplain Duche ended the first prayer in Congress with these words: “All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Saviour.”

When a person or a nation forgets God they “follow other gods, and serve and worship them.”

When Adam and Eve fell it was due to their attempt to interpret and live life without God in every respect. Modern man’s attempts to interpret our history and heritage apart from God will doom us to failure.

A decadent society that turns its back on God is soon to turn back to the gods of decadence. This we are now seeing.

We have forgotten the principles stated by Daniel Webster at the bicentennial of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock: “Our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principles…Whatever makes  men good Christians, makes them good citizens.”

You can’t remember something you never knew any more than you can go back some place you have never been. You can’t remember anything of the Lord you never knew. Therefore, study to show yourself a workman pleasing to the Lord. Make Bible reading and memorization a daily habit.

Turbulence in Life

Deuteronomy 32: 10 – 12

Disruptions in life are allowed by God for a reason. Realizing that is a step in the right direction. Next consider the purpose. Then, work with God to get the blessings therein.

Verse 11 describes a phenomenon of nature. It is a depiction of a mother eagle’s treatment of her young that are now ready to leave the nest. The nest has become comfortable for them, but they have outgrown it and a bigger world awaits. Eagles are among the largest of birds. They often weigh 12 or 13 pounds and have a wing spread of approximately seven feet.  An eagle’s nest, called an aerie, is made of sticks and is lined with green leaves. Once a year the female lays one or two eggs. Often the male will assist in the nesting duties. In about 40 days they hatch. Both parents guard the nest and provide food. 

At about 11 or 12 weeks of age, the eagle “stirs up” her nest, or rocks it, causing the little eagle to fall out. It is forced to fly or fall.  The little guys flop and flounder, but can’t fly at first. These little aeronautical novices fall rapidly while flapping their wings with little motor control. The parent eagle is circling nearby and swoops beneath the falling fledgling, catching it on her back and safely returning it to the welcomed nest. She will often carry it on her back to even dizzier heights and dump it. This appears at first to be harsh treatment, but it is a developmental process.  It is a time of change.

Two questions. Haven’t you had experiences like that; maybe even now? Hasn’t the Lord always been available to be, in effect, your safety net?

Sometimes what we consider a desert land, a wasteland, a howling wilderness, is simply God stirring up our nest. While we complain and gripe, He swoops down to rescue us.  

The purpose was not to give us an occasion to complain, but to learn. Such occasions afford the opportunity to grow and observe the character of our loving and sufficient God.

In your frightful falls remember they are occasions for Him to strengthen you. Now see what is in store.

It is confidence in His Word that is needed to soar with wings as eagles. It is trust in God to bring to accomplish all He has promised, even when our instincts seem to suggest the opposite or appear to contradict His promised truth. Those who wait on the Lord are those who have the inner confidence that God will keep the promises He has made to His people.

Remember, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We have a lot of weaknesses, He has even more strength.

At the end of Isaiah Chapter 40 are some well-loved verses that have encouraged generations through centuries of time, “Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall but those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will rise up high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Who Is That Little Person in God’s Eye?

Deuteronomy 32: 10 – 12

Jesus has a wonderful plan for your life. It is a PLAN. It is a WONDERFUL PLAN. It is for YOUR LIFE.

Well might come the questioning response: “My life?”

Perhaps you feel lost in a vast desert of unsettled uncertainty. It may appear you are in an expansive wasteland in a blinding storm of circumstances that has left you without a sense of direction with no GPS. Perhaps there are some very unsettling events in your life. It just could be the Lord is using these to make you uncomfortable enough to get your attention. The purpose is to work out His wonderful plan for your life.

Even if it seems unlikely at this moment, let’s at least explore the possibility that He has a plan for you. The potential is pleasant and profitable.

If you are as important to Him as this text says, you have reason to have greater self-worth than ever, and more cause to lovingly rely on Him.

Incidentally, music is an easy way to learn and remember great truths. This text was originally written as a song to enable the Hebrew people to learn and remember these truths.

Three admirable aspects of your relationship to God are noted.

First, Verse 9 identifies Jacob as the person used as an illustration of how God plans for all of us.. This passage is a reference to God guiding them from slavery in Egypt, through the wilderness wanderings, into the promised land. The text is applicable to you personally.

He kept them as the “apple of His eye” (10c). This is figurative language. It was an idiom meaning one much cherished. The Hebrew literally reads, “He kept him like the little man of His eye.” How close do you have to get to a person to see yourself reflected in the person’s eye as a little person? Try it sometimes. If you get real close and look carefully you will see yourself as a little person in the friend’s eye. The text simply means God is very close to you at all times. He concerns Himself with your protection and guidance.

All of these verbs are imperfect, meaning He gives us constant care.

Again figurative language is used. “He made him to draw honey from the rock.”  The rock is descriptive of difficult times, hard times. The honey is a graphic for the sweet experiences of life. The fact the honey is in the rock means there are blessings in hard times.

Then He says, “And oil from the flinty rock.” A visit to the Bible land enables a better understanding of this. In the most rocky and barren looking fields, olive trees grow well and produce their rich oil.

In the rocky fields of your life, the Lord can and will bring forth blessings if allowed to. Having reviewed how valuable you are to God, now evaluate how important He is in your life. Pause and romance God, that is express your gratitude to Him and love for Him.