Month: July 2013

Little Is Much When God Is In It

If you have studied the Bible much then you’ve read when Jesus said this: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?….” (Matthew 10:29)

And if you have studied a little a bit more then you’ve read when Jesus praised this: “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.” (Mark 12:42)

But have you ever tied the two together for a much bigger lesson?

In one place the little coin called a farthing, think of a penny for simplicity, represents something insignificant but in the other it represents something of monumental proportions.

So how can something so little become something so great?

It happened then the same way it happens today – by adding God to the equation; because little is truly much when God is in it! EA

For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41)

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God Yearns To Show Mercy

Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”            (Ezekiel 18:23)

God had a big lesson for Israel in this little rhetorical question. Akin to the mentality of many people today, there were some in Israel who had the wrong idea about God, his mercy, his wrath and his judgment. Instead of taking personal responsibility for their own sin, Ezekiel’s generation sought to blame their forefathers, their looming captors and even God for their current condition. Their impression was that God was putting the people on edge because he enjoyed it and not because they were responsible for it. God said think again!

The very accusation they had toward God revealed that they did not know God. They had forsaken his ways in their heart. They had rebelled from being his special people to being a people headed for ruin:

Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” (Ezekiel 18:31-32)

God pleaded with his people through his prophet. He wanted his people to turn and learn; but they wanted to turn and spurn. They refused a yoke that bound them to God in exchange for a yoke that bound them to sin.

Does God yearn to show mercy? You can’t read his word and not learn the answer to that, for he still offers the yoke of salvation that keeps us from wearing a yoke of bondage to sin (Matthew 11:28-30, Romans 6:16-18). EA

The Lord is not slow in keeping his word, as he seems to some, but he is waiting in mercy for you, not desiring the destruction of any, but that all may be turned from their evil ways.” (2 Peter 3:9BBE)

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We Are Living Letters

Paul told the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 3:2,“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;

The context of the quoted verse deals with someone obviously questioning Paul’s “authority or permission” to speak or come to the church at Corinth, so Paul responds by saying the changed hearts and lives of the Corinthian Christians were letters of approval in and of themselves.

The walking and living letters of the people were the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s approval and work though Paul. The changes in their lives were brought on by a power above and beyond the ability of a “mere man.” It happened because of the changing power of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16-17). They had become people who were born of the “incorruptible seed, the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23); and that seed had produced its fruit in their heart with a change visible to their family, friends and neighbors.

So what does the “epistle of our life” say to others? A brother by the name of Marshall Keeble once put it like this, and continues to on a copy of his sermon I have, when he said “every one of you sitting there tonight wrote a letter today, I don’t know what you put in it, if you might’ve cussed it’s in there….

His point was related to the one that the apostle Paul was making: we are living epistles and we put everything in it from the letters to the punctuation and people are reading what we write!

So what’s in our letter? Can the people we know tell there’s power in the gospel by the influence it has on our lives? Can they see the restraint it places on certain areas while at the same time seeing the freedom given by it? Can they see that we wear Jesus? (Galatians 3:26-29)

There’s not a single person that calls his or herself a Christian that can boast of having a “perfect epistle” read by all and written all by themselves, but Paul is saying that our letters of life are meant to read differently from the letters written by those who live in the world (Ephesians 5:1-21).

Christians must make a deliberate choice to change the way we live everyday. We still see the “red marks” on our paper but we are willing to admit to them and then allow the “teacher” to correct them. We try to do better and we trust in the blood of Christ to be the “correcting fluid” that blots them out (1 John 1:1:7-9).

What’s in our heart and what stays in there is up to us. We are the evidence of the power of the gospel or we are not. The gospel is not written in stone like the Old Covenant, but one that’s meant to be written on the tender flesh of our heart; and Christ had it written through His blood so we could have it written there.

Let the example and love of Jesus write a new chapter of life for you today – obey the gospel of Christ and be a living letter for Jesus. EA

““Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:36-42)