Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – The Love of Money and A Dishonest Heart (Luke 18:18-30)

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And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” ~ Luke‬ ‭18:18-30‬‬‬‬

The rich young ruler was one of a few men in the Gospels who came to the feet of Jesus and went away in worse condition than when they came. This happened because of bad choices and being a person that said one thing but did another. In a word, he was dishonest and he showed that in three ways.

His words – In Jesus day, rabbis were called “Master” or “Teacher” but it was unusual for a rabbi to be called “good.” The Jews used the word “good” only in reference to God. This explains why Jesus asked the young man what he meant. Had he really believed that Jesus was “good,” then he was confessing that Jesus was indeed God.

His behavior though proved that he did not believe Jesus Christ was God. If he thought he was in the presence of almighty God, would he argue the law, speak of his own character, but then refuse to obey the Word given? After all, he knew that God sees the heart and knows all things!

His sin – There is no doubt the young man tried to keep the law. This may have been what brought him to the feet of Jesus to start with. Jesus did not quote laws to him as a means of salvation, because obedience to the law does not save us. He held the law before the young man as a mirror to reveal his sins just as He does to each of us.

But the young man looked into the mirror and would not see his own sin. Jesus knew the young man’s heart, so instead of preaching to him about covetousness, He asked him to do something that a covetous person would not do. Nobody is saved by giving all his wealth to the poor, but nobody can be saved who will not repent of his sins and turn away from them. This young man was possessed by the love of money, and he would not let go.

His refusal – This young ruler thought that eternal life came to those who “did something” but when Jesus gave him something to do, he was sorrowful. In other words he refused! He wanted salvation on his terms, not God’s. It says in one gospel account that he then turned and walked away in great sorrow. (Truly, to me that is one of the saddest stories in the Bible).

The disciples were shocked when Jesus announced that it was so difficult for rich people to be saved. Why? They were Jews and the Jews believed that riches were a mark of God’s blessing as well as His favor and approval.. “If rich people can’t be saved,” they asked, “what hope is there for the rest of us?”

It is not possessing riches that keeps people out of heaven. Abraham, David, and Solomon and others were wealthy men. It is being possessed by money and things and trusting and idolizing them that makes salvation difficult for the wealthy. Wealth gives people a false sense of success, security and superiority. When people are satisfied with themselves and what they have, they very often feel no need for God.

The rich young ruler is a warning to people who want a faith that does not change their values or upset their lifestyle. Jesus does not command every follower to sell everything and give it all to the poor, but He does convict in any area in our lives that we don’t put Him first.

Heavenly Father, today I come before You to tell You I love You! Thank You so much for sending Your most precious Son to die for my sin. Thank You Jesus for dying for me. Let me never forget the cost that I might have a life eternal. Lord You are good and great and greatly to be praised. Help me today to keep my eyes on you and not on things or money or pursuit of money. Help me to trust You for provision. Thank You Lord that my steps are ordered today. Help me to take every opportunity to give as You command and help me to obey and follow every step of the way that I may get in and stay in Your perfect will. Help me to be content with what I have. In Jesus Name I Pray! Amen!

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. ~ 1 Timothy 6:9

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. ~ Luke 12:15

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~ Matthew 6:21

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. ~ 1 Timothy 6:10

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. ~ Matthew 6:24

 

 

 

Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – as a little child (Luke 18:15-17)

download880709476.jpeg“And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” – Luke‬ ‭18:15-17‬

It was a normal thing for the Jews to bring little children to the rabbis to receive a blessing, so it is kind of strange that the disciples would try to stop them. Maybe they thought Jesus was tired and should rest, or maybe they decided Jesus was not all that interested in kids. Boy, were they wrong!

Jesus loves children, and He wants us to be like them in many ways. He wants us to be childlike… but not childish. An unspoiled child illustrates humility, faith, and dependence. A little child is simple, helpless, unaffected, unpretentious, unambitious. A child has a sense of wonder that makes life exciting. They are ever learning and growing. Children are not sinless or naturally unselfish, and they display their fallen nature from the earliest age. But they are nevertheless naive and unassuming.

Children are trusting. The purest trust is that of a child who blindly trusts their parent without question. This is the level of trust and kind of faith we should have in God our Father. A trust that says while we might not know all of the details and the reasons for His actions and plans, we trust His wisdom and heart, and we know that He knows what is best for us.

The Bible says the only way to enter God’s kingdom is to become like a child and be born again. Receiving God’s kingdom like a child means accepting it simply and wholeheartedly so as to turn from sin, receiving Jesus as Savior, relying on Him as Lord, obeying Him as Master, and following Him as your Heavenly Father. Like the old hymn says, “Wherever He leads I’ll go!”

Father, Help us today to be as the little children. Happy and excited to be with You and unashamed of our love and devotion to You. Forgive us when we doubt and worry and get caught up in what we think we know. Help us to fully trust and fully obey that Your will might be done in our lives and Your Glory might be shown through us to this dying world…on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus Name. Amen!

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. ~ Matthew 18:10

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. ~ Matthew 19:13-15

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. ~ Mark 10:13-16

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew‬ ‭18:3‬

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – Luke 17:22-24

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“And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.” ~ Luke‬ ‭17:22-24

Jesus taught His disciples about the coming of the kingdom. He warned them not to dwell so much on His return that they ended up doing nothing else. This is a good warning to all of us. We should look for His return and long to see Him come, but at the same time, we should be busy doing His work for His Kingdom when He comes.

His coming will affect the whole world, so it is foolish for anyone to follow false prophets who say, “He is here!” or “He is there!” Satan knows how to take advantage of our longings and we must be on guard so as not to allow him to deceive us. In this passage Jesus tells His disciples and each of us flat out – don’t follow these kinds of enticing invitations. It is His clear warning! Do not follow!

Jesus’ coming will be as sudden as a flash of lightning. While a study of scripture helps us understand the general characteristics of the time of His coming, it will also teach us that we cannot know the day or the hour. If the Bible tells us we cannot know it is futile to even try to figure it out.

Lord, Help me tonight to be an obedient disciple – ready for Your return and showing that by being about Your business. Open the doors that You would have me to work in and close the doors of distraction. Help me to joyfully get busy building Your Church sharing the Gospel and teaching all things You have commanded. Help me to love as You love…one soul at a time. In Jesus Name! Amen!

“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” ~ Acts‬ ‭1:6-11‬

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” ~ Matthew 24:27

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” ~ Matthew‬ ‭24: 30‬

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” ~ Matthew‬ ‭25:13‬

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” ~ Luke‬ ‭12:40‬

Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – Luke 17:5-6

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. ~ Luke‬ ‭17:5-6‬

The apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus answers them by giving an illustration of what the faith they already have is capable of doing.

The mustard seed is well known for its tiny size. One mustard seed is about the size of a pinhead, if that. It weighs about 2 milligrams. It would take over 225,000 seeds to make one pound. That is small.

The sycamine tree is  known today as a mulberry tree. Jesus uses this as his illustration not because of its huge size but because the roots of a mulberry tree were thought to be extraordinarily strong and deep. It was thought that this tree could stay rooted for six hundred years. Jesus’ word picture is that of commanding a deeply anchored tree to pull itself out of the ground, roots and all ( not merely cut itself off above the ground), and replant itself in the sea.

How many of us have faith as big as a tiny mustard seed? It took more faith than that to pray the prayer of salvation, didn’t it? If we have enough faith to believe in Jesus, and trust Him with our hearts, we have enough faith. Period.

So, if we can uproot a strong, deep rooted mulberry tree, with just a pinhead amount of faith, we can surely uproot our doubts enough to use our faith, can’t we? Well, actually we can’t – by ourselves – but with Jesus we can. His words to his disciples here are that the one having even a tiny amount of faith that is unblemished by doubt can do mighty things for the Kingdom of God.

Father, I thank You for the faith You have given me. Help me to use it Lord for Your Kingdom and Your glory. Help me not to doubt Your Word and Your will. In Jesus Name I pray tonight. Amen.

Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – Psalm 80 (a flock, a people, a vine)

Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

 Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

~ Psalms 80:3, 7, 19 KJV

 

Yesterday I read Psalm 80 in the One Year Bible, and I continued studying it today. One of the greatest joys of my life is studying the Word of God and I hope you find this little bit of study as interesting as I did.

This Psalm is written by Asaph, one of David’s chief musicians. Like David, he was a skilled singer and poet. Psalm 80 is a prayer to God on behalf of Israel and Samaria after they were taken captive by Assyria. I find it interesting and take note when the Word repeats Itself as It does in this passage of Scripture. I also am always looking for similarities and differences in these type of passages.

Similarities –

I see that in every one of these passages Asaph uses the phrase “turn us again.” Turn us again means to “restore us to our former state of blessing and fellowship with the Lord.”  He asks that God cause His face to shine. The “shining of His face” reminds me of Numbers 6:24-26 –

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

 And finally, Asaph prayed so that the people would be saved.

Differences –

It takes a little extra digging to see the differences other than the different names of God. But if we look at the passage in its entirety, we can see that when calling on God, not only does the writer use different names, but also different images to describe Israel, and he makes three different requests that go along with the similar one for salvation.

  1. Psalm 80:1-3

Image: Israel as the flock of sheep.

Request:  Save Your flock. The request here is that the Lord might lead His people through their current crisis as He led them safely through the wilderness, by the Ark and the Cloud.

Name: “O God”

  1. Psalm 80:4-7

Image: Israel as God’s people

Israelites were God’s people, but the Lord was angry with them. During Israel’s wilderness wandering God provided bread from heaven and water from the rock, but the people weren’t satisfied with His provision. They were no longer walking in victory, and this kindled the Lord’s anger toward them.

Request:  Pity Your people.

Name: “O God of hosts.” (He is God of the armies of heaven and earth)

  1. Psalm 80:8-19

Image: Israel as the vine.

The main idea is that Israel is God’s own people, His vine. He planted them in Canaan, and He alone can protect and deliver them. As long as the people obeyed the Lord, the vine grew and covered more and more of the land. But the vine disobeyed the Lord and produced worthless fruit, and so they felt the hand of the Lord against them. He withdrew His protection and permitted the enemy to enter the land and ruin the vineyard.

Request:  Revive the vine.

Asaph prayed that the Lord might forgive His people as they called upon Him and confessed their sins. He asked that God once again bless His people.

This reminds me of 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Name: “O Lord God of hosts.” (Lord is the name “Jehovah” which is the covenant name of God. He was appealing to the covenant).

Prayer

Almighty God, Captain of the armies of heaven and earth, my Shepherd – I come to You today, and I thank You for Your Word and Your reminder that like Asaph we are to intercede for our nation. I ask You Father to forgive us our sins. Forgive us for our disobedience. Forgive us for our neglect of You and Your commands. Forgive us for our arrogance and pride. Forgive our nation for allowing the shedding of innocent blood through abortion.  Forgive us for too often forgetting those persecuted for their faith in Jesus; for not remembering and helping the poorest of the poor that are without food, shelter, and protection in this land and abroad. Bless those greatly that are obedient to love as You love. Forgive our land, and I ask that You turn us again to You. Cause Your face to shine upon us again Jesus, that this nation of the United States of America and all of the world (every tribe and every tongue) that You love and created shall be saved. I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Message of Love Church Website

My home church, Message of Love Church, in Belmont, Nc has a new website. There are sermon video, information on our mission emphasis and outreaches and many other exciting things. We will be adding to it regularly. Check it out at the link below and feel free to share. If you are in this area of North Carolina we would love for you to come and visit us.

themessageoflove.com

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Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – Joshua 1:5-7

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. ~ Joshua 1:5-7

In the daily Bible reading today, Moses has died, and God tells Joshua that just as He was with Moses, He will also be with Joshua. God chose Joshua to become the leader of the Israelites, and He expected Joshua to obey every single command He had given…but that didn’t mean that He expected him to do everything exactly as Moses had done. While their lives resembled each other’s, they were different men and leaders.

We often compare ourselves to those people we want to be like or those people we follow after, believing the only way to success is to do exactly what they did in the same way they did it.

“If you do what they did, you can get what they got.”

Though you have likely heard that phrase applied to the path of success, it does not necessarily mean you should or could repeat every detail of someone else’s life. Yes, there are points of similarity, but your predecessor, mentor, or leader did what they were supposed to do. Your calling, though it may be similar, is going to still be different from anyone else’s. Your personality and the way you process things brings an entirely unique perspective, and God designed it that way.

Have people painted pictures before? Of course! However, no one will ever paint quite like you….even if given the same directions, at the same time and with the same materials. Do you follow the life of a particular businessman? Your role model might be highly successful at what they do. They may show you their business plan, but there are likely different business deals to be made that will require a change in the old plan.

And so it was with Moses and Joshua. Two great, successful, similar but still different leaders.

One of the things that stands out to me about Joshua’s leadership is that God told him through Moses and several times after Moses’ death to “be strong and courageous.”

In unfamiliar and uncertain situations, we often feel fear and anxiety and discouragement. We often feel like we can never do a good enough job, especially if we come after someone who has had great success or someone with great personality. But we can learn from this story that we need to be STRONG & COURAGEOUS. The real enemy is not people, tasks or unfamiliar circumstances. The real enemy is fear and discouragement. If you can fight that, then you can face your calling NO MATTER YOUR CIRCUMSTANCE!!!

How do we get rid of fear and discouragement? We can draw strength and courage from knowing God is with us, and we can keep it by staying in His word. We must speak it and meditate on it day and night. When we do, faith is generated within that results in strength and courage without.

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” ~ – ‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:8‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬