Archive for November, 2022

Saints Alive

“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord…” I Corinthians 1: 2

The title saint has been distorted and in some circles lost its meaning all together. Some think they are persons who lived a long time ago and committed some meaningful or miraculous activity and have had their likenesses portrayed in stained glass or in an oil painting with a halo. Not!

If you are a Christian you are what the New Testament refers to as a saint.

Believers are “called to be saints.” (I Corinthians 1: 2) The meaning of the Greek text is you have been summoned to be a saint. The expression is kleetos hagiois which literally means you were summoned to salvation.

The word saint is never singular in the New Testament. It is used as a reference to the Christian community. The Scripture uses the term saints as a reference to all Christians. A saint is one who has heard the call to salvation and answered it.

This same Scripture refers to those who “call upon the name of the Lord,” literally “the calling ones.”

It speaks of those who use the authority on another as the basis of the call. This is easier described than defined. Suppose I go by a small store and purchase an item and ask to come by later and pick it up. Later I go by and have someone with me who I asked to go in and get it for me. They would say to the merchant, “Nelson Price asked me to pick it up for him.” That person would be calling on my name. Christians are those who have heard the call to salvation and answered it. When we pray in Jesus’ name we are calling on the Father in Jesus’ name. Saints have the right to do so.

Sainthood has two aspects: our standing and our state. Our standing is we are Jesus’ protectorate, we belong to Him. Our state relates to our conduct. Often our conduct is unbecoming of our standing in Jesus. This causes confusion. The world is more aware of our state than our standing. Our standing is mystical and our state observable. 

Observe yet another misunderstood term used to describe a Christian, “sanctified.” This term further describes saints, that is, all Christians. In modern parlance it has come to be misunderstood as being perfect. No one meets that standard. However, I still have the business card of the pastor of the Perfect Church in Atlanta who professed to be perfect. I would like to talk with his wife about that. 

Sanctified comes from the same root as saints. It means set apart, devoted to God, separated, and belonging to God. Stop and reflect upon yourself in light of those terms. Our standing as saints who are sanctified demands, and deserves our best for Jesus.

Keep Hope Alive

Your mind has more nerve lines than the entire phone system in your state. In it are more routes for electric current that the power lines in North America. Isn’t evolution amazing? Not! The God who put seven colors in every ray of light and causes it to travel at 186,000 miles per second is sending you a message of hope.

He is calling us from the ghetto of our ego. He is urging us not to engage in an orgy of self pity. He wants you to focus your zoom-lense mind on what He has in store for you. You may feel you are held in the same esteem as a piece of lint on a black-wool-coat, BUT….the God who has given order to the electrons, protons, and neutrons that swirl around you like a swarm of bees wants to enable you to make a quantum jump in life. He has called you to hope. Even if you have the wealth of Saudi Arabia and don’t have hope you can’t be content and productive. This is not an ethereal day dream, vague optimism, or the wish that somehow everything will work out all right. The air of despair is overcome only by hope. Hope’s arching rainbow is visible on the horizon of all who have faith in God, even on the grayest of days.

Experience might well drive some to despair.

Circumstances might lead some to depression. It is easy to drift into hopeless acceptance of defeat.

However, when we say a situation is hopeless we are often slamming the door on God. Don’t discount God. He keeps hope alive.

The Apostle Paul who faced many hopeless situations with vibrant hope described his God and appealed to the disconsolate with these words: “May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace by your faith in Him.” (Romans 15:13)

This filling with joy and peace comes in close association with “faith in Him.” Apart from Him hope vanishes. God responds to faith in Him.

You can’t control what happens to you, but can control your action and reaction. You can’t change facts, but you can change your attitude. The choice is yours. 

The loss of hope can be overcome because of two human factors: one, your mind and the other your will. Your will which not even God will overpower, and your intellect which only you can forfeit can enable you to sustain hope. These two tools are given us by God to enable us to manifest and maintain hope.

No farmer ever planted a seed who did not hope it would grow. No astronaut ever sat on a launch rocket without hoping it would work. Whatever your circumstances, face them with hope.

Remember, this “…hope which we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” (Hebrews 6:9)

Great acts and achievements grow best in the garden of hope.

Mothers of Merit

Some children appear to think being a mother is a cushy job. It involves standing on Mt. Sinai waving a spatula shouting, “Thou shalt not!”

The importance of the role was indicated in a three frame cartoon. One frame showed a depiction of the nation’s Capitol, the next the White House. The third showed a mother in a rocking chair reading to her child. The caption read: “Choose the real seat of power in America.”

In speaking of mothers I know not everyone has had an ideal mother. Resentment often lasts into adulthood as a consequence of a mother having failed in her role. Perhaps you had such a mother. You want to have loving thoughts regarding her, but what happened doesn’t result in such warm encouraging thoughts. It is OK not to like some of the things you mom did. However, you need to be mature enough to dislike the things she did and separate them in your thinking from what she was. Love her even though you don’t like what she did.

In our “Me-ism” society a “I want it all now” complex has developed. As a result some young women rush into motherhood before marriage. Don’t! The mother depicted in the Proverb is self-disciplined and willing to practice delayed-gratification.

I know when that statement is made there are some who didn’t. The Bible never condones such and the Christian community must never sanction such. However, once it has happened the young person needs the Lord, His church, and His people as never before. The church must be supporting and encouraging once the mistake has occurred. The young couple may well be suffering from a repressed moral-failure complex and not know what it is. They need to deal with their own emotions and be accepting of the fact they are accepted though their conduct is unacceptable.

Diligent and devoted moms are miraculous providers.

Playwright Victor Hugo captures the essence of motherhood in one of his plays in which a ship’s captain of a bygone era gives a starving mother and her two children a slice of bread. She tears it in two and gives a half to each child. 

A deckhand standing by asks the captain, “Is it because she is not hungry?”

The captain replies, “No, it is because she is a mother.”

Don’t just respect mothers, respect motherhood. Young couples should respect it enough to preserve it until they enter into roles designed to best provide for a child: husband and wife.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Proverbs 20: 12) If it is incumbent on the child to honor the father and mother it is their responsibility to be honorable.

Accepted, Approved, Appreciated

The cruel and relentless ambition of Napoleon drove him in his attempted conquest of Prussia. Finally his efforts led him in His conquest of Jena in 1806. The mournful inevitable conquest caused great grief among the people. No one agonized over it more than the Prussian Queen Louise. When she was told she must leave her home and flee, she was distraught and consumed by great sorrow, unconsolable at times. Then she remembered a custom from her childhood. When a little friend moved the classmates sang Psalm 37. She sat down at the piano and began to play and sing,

“Fret not thyself because of evil-doers. Commit thy way unto the Lord and He shall bring it to pass.” With composure she arose from the piano, her eyes free of tears, and with a tranquil spirit. 

The overarching promise by Jesus to Peter when He called him rang true in her spirit. There Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me and I will make you a fisherman of men.” The germane part every person can count on is the first part, “Follow me and I will make you….”

Here the subject, “I” does the work of the verb,“will make,” on the object, “you.”

The extent to which He will go is illustrated by the image of a pelican over the door to the upper room. It was also often seen on the shield of many crusaders.

There is a legend that if a pelican cannot catch or find enough food for her young she will pluck out her breast feathers, and tear out her heart to feed them. For the crusaders it was symbolic of the extent Christ went to in order to provide for us.

He did go to the optimum extreme to provide for us salvation. His provisions do not stop there..

A psychological study reveals the three greatest needs of a human being are to be accepted, to be approved, and to be appreciated. Indeed they are deep desires of all. Jesus has provided all three for us.

His invitation is, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden.” The “whosoever” of John 3: 16 resonates inclusiveness. He has accepted us.

He has approved of us. His all encompassing love sets you free from rejection, inadequacy or inferiority.

Appreciation is the very reason Jesus gave Himself on our behalf. Therefore, “ I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus….”

Karl Jasper describes humans as “chosen creatures..” truly we are. He first chose us. The question awaiting an answer is have you chosen Him for salvation? If so, choose this day whom you will serve.

The Coming of the Lord

The question is asked, “Do you believe in Bible prophecy?” The resounding answer is an emphatic yes. However, what one believes about it is important.

The church in Thessalonica believed in it. They believed in it so strongly that many quit work and started looking for it. There are people today who have such convictions. Some even run up their credit cards believing Christ is coming and they won’t have to pay them off. Others suggest not paying taxes for the same reason.

This issue was addressed in the Bible in I Thessalonians 4: 11, “…aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.” (A Post on this text is forthcoming.)

There are several theories regarding the second coming. One is as follows.

Christ will come in the air for His saints, those deceased will rise first and be joined by the living saints to ascend into heaven.

“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” I Thes. 1: 17

The Greek word translated “caught up” was translated in the Latin Bible with “rapio,” from which comes the word “rapture” in connection with the Second Coming. The following phrase translated “to meet” is literally “for a meeting with the Lord.” It will be a grand day.“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (I Thessalonians 2:19) 

There will follow a period known as the Great Tribulation. It will be for a period of seven years divided into two parts.

After the seven years Jesus will come back to the earth with His saints. He will reign on earth for one thousand years in a period known as the Millennian. Then comes the end. There is much more to this than can be described in these few lines, but that is a bare bones description. 

There is no way to set the date of His coming in the air. Those who do assign to themselves the ability God has not and will not ascribe to anyone. Don’t follow them. Just know the day will come suddenly, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” (I Thess. 5:2) 

The “chicken” type of Bible students, that is those who hunt and peck, have a list of end time things such as the mark of the beast where persons can neither buy or sell without it. That is during the Tribulation which present day believers will be spared having been caught up at the time of the Rapture.

There are things to come during the Tribulation of which we can see a foreshadowing. The implanting of computer chips in individuals may be of help in enforcing the mark of the beast.

How then are we to live? Live expectantly, but responsibly. Carry on your responsibilities in a commendable way. Don’t try to read too much into what is happening, and “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10 : 25) Get in a church and get active.