Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Scripture is filled with warnings and examples of severe judgments which God brings upon a nation that does not fear Him. Here are several examples. I. It will be the victim of its own wickedness. Because there is no fear of God the people decide what is right and what is wrong. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes and the wickedness of immorality abounds. God’s moral standards, however, do not change and He will not be mocked. “For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption” (Galatians 6:8). With the onslaught of a host of venereal diseases and the current economic disaster, the warning of Jeremiah 2:19 is coming to pass in America “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee; Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, says the Lord God of hosts.” II. It legal system will become unjust. When men’s hearts are set on doing evil, they will reinterpret existing laws and create new laws to justify greed and wickedness. “But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart, neither say they in their heart, let us now fear the Lord, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge” (Jeremiah 5:23-24, 28). III. Its wealth will be controlled by other nations. When our nation trusted in God, read His Word in our public schools, and taught His moral standards in our classrooms, we were the richest nation in the world. We are now the greatest debtor nation in the world. Scripture is clear that the borrower is servant to the lender. We are not only debtors, but citizens of other nations now own and control significant portions of our land, resources, and companies. “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shall come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shall not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shall be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:43-44). IV. What is God’s cure for a nation that does not fear Him? God’s only remedy for a nation that turns from Him is the active presence of righteous and God fearing people. God would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah had there been only ten righteous people in them. Never before has it been so vital for God’s people to be totally dedicated to Him and living testimonies of the principles of His Word. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him: (Isaiah 59:19). We will have a strong nation when we have strong churches. We will have strong churches when we have strong families. We will have strong families when we have fathers who know how to be strong spiritual leaders. One of the primary functions of the local church is to teach Christians, the community, and the nation the fear of the Lord. If Satan can hinder the church in carrying out this vital role, He has accomplished a major victory. For this reason pastors are under special attack. Last year in one denomination alone 1,800 pastors left the ministry, most of them because of discouragement. No wonder Scripture exhorts us to pray for our spiritual authorities and to encourage them in every way we can.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Believers and unbelievers alike, need to learn to fear the Lord. To the degree we fear the Lord we will obtain His blessings, and to the degree that we do not fear the Lord we will experience His judgments. Scripture states that there are certain things we can do to cause us to learn the fear of the Lord. We need to learn the meaning of the word astonishment. Astonishment relates to the inability to speak in the face of an awesome and overwhelming situation. The Greek word for astonish is (thahm-BEH-oh), meaning to “stupefy.” Our English word comes from the French estoner. This word is derived from the Latin ex meaning “out” and tonare meaning “to thunder.” It literally means, “to be thunderstruck, to be struck dumb.” One who is truly astonished is stunned with sudden fear, wonder, and amazement. When Paul was on the road to Damascus, he was astonished at the appearance of Christ and His message to him. “And he said, who are thou, Lord? And the Lord said I am Jesus who you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the goads. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts 9:5-6). Let’s learn how astonishment relates to fearing God. In the presence of the omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (all knowing) God, we should hold our tongues in astonishment. God advises us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). We are further warned in Ecclesiastes to hold our tongues when we go into the presence of God, and to be more ready to hear than to speak. “Be not rash with your mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few: (Ecclesiastes 5:2). The next word we need to learn is tremble. Trembling is the physical result of overpowering fear. The English word comes from the Latin tremor, meaning “to shake involuntarily, to quiver, to quake.” A graphic illustration of trembling occurred in the life of Belshazzar. “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another and his lords were astonished” (Daniel 5:5-9). Another example of trembling and trepidation is given in the account of the guarding of the tomb of Christ. “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men” (Matthew 28:3-4). The last word we must learn the meaning of is dread. The word dread expresses more than fear but less than terror and fright. It refers to an intense uneasiness or alarm excited by expected pain, loss or other harm. Also unlike the word terror, dread is less sudden and more sustained. Daniel ascribed the quality of dread to God in his prayer. “And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments” (Daniel 9:4). Isaiah had a dread of his sinful condition in the presence of a Holy God. “Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of as people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6”5). Let’s examine how dread relates to the fear of the Lord. We should have such awe at the power and authority of God that sinning against Him produces a fearful dread of sure judgment. On the other hand, the dread of God should not make us afraid if we are justified by Christ. Job stated of God, “Shall not his Excellency make you afraid? And his dread fall upon you?” (Job 13:11). As for him, he acknowledged his sin: “How many are mine iniquities and sins” make me to know my transgression and my sin” (Job 13:23). However, he also said, “I know that I shall be justified” (Job 13:18). Therefore he prayed, “let not thy dread make me afraid” (Job 13:21). Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Both Christians and unbelievers must learn to fear the Lord. To the degree that we fear the Lord we will have His blessings, and to the degree that we do not fear the Lord we will experience His judgments. Scripture states that there are certain things we can do to help us learn the fear of the Lord. We must learn the words which God uses to describe the fear which we should have for Him. The first word we must learn is terror. This describes the most extreme degree of fear. It is totally disabling to the one who experiences it, leaving that person with neither physical strength nor mental ability. The root word for terror in the Hebrew language is (ghay-TAHTH). It means “to prostrate by confusion and fear.” The Greek root is (FAW-boss) which means “to terrify with exceeding alarm.” This terror is precisely the experience which the Apostle John had when he looked upon the reality of God. "And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me…And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not” (Revelation 1:12-17). We need to learn how terror relates to the fear of the Lord. The judgments of God are called “terrors” in Scripture. David declared: “Thy fierce wrath goes over me; your terrors have cut me off” (Psalm 88:16). There is no doubt that God’s judgments upon sin do bring terror to those who experience them. These judgments should be spoken of and described especially among God’s people so that even the thought of sin would strike terror in every heart. This concept lies behind the warnings the Apostle Paul gave to the church at Corinth, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10). “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (II Corinthians 5:11). The next word we must know the meaning of is fright. The Greek word for fright is (ekthahm-BEH-oh) which literally means “to shrink or shiver with fear.” It is a sudden violent fear caused by the appearance of danger and is distinguished from fear and dread by its sudden invasion and temporary existence. When Jesus stilled the storm, His disciples experienced fright. “And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41). Fright often comes when we encounter a power which is far bigger than we are and which we do not understand. This is consistently demonstrated in Scripture as people witnessed Christ’s supernatural power. When Jesus cured the demoniac, the people feared. “Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear” (luke 8:37). When Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, they experienced fright. “And as they thus spoke, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit” (Luke 24:36-37). The next word we must learn is dismay. Whereas terror and fright immediately affect the physical strength, dismay removes the mental ability of a person. The Hebrew word which is translated dismay describes a condition of being drained of confidence and courage to the point where a person literally faints. Our English word dismay probably came from the Teutonic des, which is a negative, and magen which means” to be strong” or “able.” Thus, to dismay is “to remove the strength or firmness of mind which constitutes courage.” Faced with the presence of God’s power, majesty, and splendor, a person would be dismayed. When God appeared to Daniel in a vision, Daniel testified that there remained no strength in him and he was prostrate before the Lord. There is a great tendency among God’s people to be dismayed at the strength of the wicked. Thus, Scripture gives the command repeatedly, “be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed” (Joshua 1:9). When we see the judgments of God on the children of disobedience, we should be dismayed and have no strength like Daniel. However, when we hear the voice of God giving us reassurance and direction, we should be revived. “Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, and said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me” (Daniel 10:18-19). Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Most Christians have little or no understanding of the "fear of the Lord." Whenever the phrase comes up in Scripture (which is quite often), it is quickly interpreted as simply a reverential trust in the Lord. This anemic definition fails to open up the power and significance of this concept or to explain the many results and rewards which are described in Scripture for those who have the fear of the Lord. Particularly significant is the following verse which relates the fear of the Lord to the achievement of moral purity "By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil" (Proverbs 16:6). It is significant that the same Hebrew and Greek words are used for both wholesome fear and destructive fear. Therefore, the difference between the two fears is not to be found in the words. The Fear of man or of Satan brings a snare, but the fear of God brings a blessing. The Hebrew root for fear is (yah-RAH). It primarily means, “To frighten, to affright, be (made) afraid, to dread.” It is used in each of the following verses: David said, “My flesh trembled for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments” (Psalm 119:120). We are commanded to “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11). “And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods. But the Lord your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies: (II Kings 17:38-39). The Greek word for fear is (FAW-boss). Originally this word had the meaning of “flight” or “that which causes a person to flee in dread and terror.” When Jesus taught His disciples about what to fear and what not to fear, He used the same Greek word for both. “And I say unto you my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luke 12:4-5). To fear the Lord goes far beyond the idea of reverential trust. It includes a controlling awe of His power and righteous retribution and a wholesome dread of displeasing Him. Even though the same word is used for the various applications of fear, there are important distinctions: Destructive fear is fearing the thunder instead of the One who made the thunder. The Lord is a God of cause and effect. This is why He can demand obedience to His Law. He knows the outcome if we violate it. It is also for this reason that He continually commands us not to focus our fear on the results of His working but instead on Him and His Law. When the storm overtook the disciples on the sea, they feared the wind and the waves. Jesus instructed them not to fear these things; then He showed His power over the elements by calming the storm. Destructive fear is overcome by dynamic faith. For the Christian, lack of faith produces destructive fear. This is emphasized in Jesus’ statement to the disciples after He calmed the sea: “Master. Careth thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them. Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40). When God tells us to fear Him, He is requiring us to acknowledge an aspect of His character such as His justice, His holiness, or His power. For each one of these attributes, God has a balancing attribute. For His justice, He shows mercy. For His holiness, He gives grace. For His power, He displays loving-kindness. The more we understand, acknowledge, and fear the first set of attributes, the more faith, hope, and confidence we have in the balancing set of qualities. This balance of fear and faith is illustrated throughout Scripture. Paul related his walk of faith and witness to his fear of God’s justice and righteousness in the following Scripture: “For we walk by faith, not by sight…For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God” (II Corinthians 5:7, 10-11). A person with little faith but a great awareness of God’s power, justice, and holiness will be out of balance in his fear of the Lord. In order to have a proper fear of the Lord, a person must increase his faith in the attributes which balance the ones that he fears. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Friday, March 20, 2009
“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life” (Proverbs 22:4). A good way to define the fear of the Lord is to be continually aware that I am in the presence of a holy, just, and almighty God and that my every thought, word, action, and deed is open before Him. In other words, the assurance that God is watching. If we knew that all of our secret thoughts, words, and actions would be displayed publicly so that everyone could watch them and evaluate them, it would make a profound difference in the way we live. We have an instinctive concern about what others think of us and how they will judge the things we do. This concern constitutes a fear of man. If we have this much concern over what man thinks, how much more we should be concerned about God’s evaluation of our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, and motives. The fact is that everything we think, say, and do will one day be displayed for the entire world to see and judge. “Thou God seeth me” (Genesis 16:13). “You know my down sitting and mine uprising, thou understands my thoughts afar off” (Psalm 139:4). “Yea, the darkness hides not from thee; but the night shines as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee: (Psalm 139:12). “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10). “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Psalm 94:9). “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondered all his goings” (Proverbs 5:21). “For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes” (Jeremiah 16:17). “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men” (Psalm 11:4). The promise that secrets will be exposed. “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad” (Luke 8:17). “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:3). How would the fear of God Change your life? If you live in the daily reality that God is watching and evaluating everything you do, and that He is going to publicly expose and judge every secret sin--what thoughts would change? What words would not be spoken? What actions would cease? What attitudes would be corrected? What motives would be purified? Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Discouragement is a pastor killer. The Lord's Sheep have a wonderful opportunity to be of great encouragement to God’s under shepherds. Your pastor would be encouraged if he knew you were praying for him consistently. Even the Apostle Paul pleaded for the prayers of those to whom he ministered. He also told them how to pray. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18-19). Your pastor would appreciate help with routine tasks so that he could maintain his God given priorities.” When a pastor is expected to do everything, he has little time for the primary ministry to which God has called him. It was for this reason that Godly assistants were chosen in the early church. Then the apostles could give themselves…continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Your Pastor is encouraged when people come to church expecting to receive a message from the Lord. Rather than evaluating or critiquing the points of the sermon, a Christian who is hungering and thirsting after God’s Word will be alert for insights and direction through songs, prayers, messages, the reading of the Word, or Scripture which God brings to their mind during the service. Nothing encourages a pastor more than reports of those who were hearers and doers of the messages which God used him to bring. (See II Corinthians 3:1-6). Your Pastor is strengthened by members who work for harmony within the church. Harmony begins by each member being in a right relationship with the Lord. It is strengthened by a friendly smile and a word of encouragement whenever Christians meet together. It is guarded and protected when members refuse to spread gossip. And if broken, it is restored when Christians ask forgiveness when they have been wrong. “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). Your Pastor is grateful when members offer special assistance prior to a major church event. Often a person whom the pastor was counting on finds that he is unable to carry out a responsibility due to sickness, conflicting responsibilities, or the need for further assistance. One pastor stated, “Whenever a person calls before a major event, I can always thing of several things that he could do that would help me out.” Your pastor is thankful for members who honor the Lord in their finances and give in obedience to His direction. True giving occurs when members dedicate the ownership of all they have to the Lord and live in harmony with His principles. One of these principles involves laying in store as God prospered you during the past week. (See II Corinthians 9:7). A wise pastor knows that those who sow generously will reap generously and those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly. (See II Corinthians 9:6). He is also aware that whatever is given to the ministry of the Lord constitutes eternal treasures which are laid up for the giver in heaven. (See Matthew 6:19-21). Your pastor is challenged by members who have an effective witness in the community and who are leading others to Christ. A healthy church is not only growing by those who receive Christ during the services but by those who are witnessed to during the week. Pastors are overjoyed when they see members bring to the church those to whom they have witnessed during the week. This is what took place in the early church. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Based on these ideas, can you say that you are participating in the action described in Ephesians 4:16? “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Which one of these could you do right now to encourage your pastor today? Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Someone wisely said “even the Lone Ranger had Tonto." We need each other in the body of Christ. Every believer should become an active part of a Bible believing Church family. Sheep that become independent soon stray away from the safety of the shepherd and the flock. They are actually drawn away by their by their own appetites as they go from one clump of grass to another. Thus, they expose themselves to a multitude of dangers. The sheep’s thick coat of wool can easily be caught in the underbrush of thickets, causing the sheep to be held captive until it dies. A lone sheep is also an open invitation to one of its many predators. Without the protection of the shepherd, a wolf, a lion, or a bear would quickly kill and devour the sheep. Further dangers for sheep involve falling into crevices, picking up parasites, eating poisonous plants, or casting. A wise shepherd is aware of all of these dangers. Therefore, if he sees that one of his sheep is persistent in going its own way, he will resort to administering the pain of discipline. He will lovingly break one of its legs and then nurse the sheep back to health. This close association between shepherd and sheep establishes a special bond which continues after the leg is healed. It was this picture that David had in mind when he wrote the words; “Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice” (Psalm 51:8). It is during times of such discipline that meditation becomes especially cherished and valuable to the Christian. Meditation is a communing with God in the language of His own written Word. "My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes" (Psalm 119:48). Meditation is "talking to the King in the King's own words." “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments” (Psalm 119:176). Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. On the other hand all play and no work makes Jack a lazy boy. Our God is the God of balance. Satan is the "god" of imbalance. The enemy will climb into the car of life and either tell you to put the pedal to the medal or stomp the brake to the floor. Either choice can wipe you out on the freeway of life. We will see God's desired balance between eating and exercise illustrated in the lives of sheep. If sheep spend too much time eating and ruminating, they will build up layers of fat. Obesity is a dangerous condition, since it is then easy for the sheep to roll over during a time of rumination. Rolling over is called casting. When a sheep is in this condition its center of gravity shifts so that it cannot right itself. Stomach gasses begin to swell the sheep’s stomach. The bloated stomach cuts off circulation to the feet, and the sheep is no longer able to stand upon them. The ultimate consequence of casting is death. God has placed significant warnings in Scripture for us to maintain a balance between the study of the Word and its application. The imbalance caused by study without application is strongly condemned in James 1: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror: For he beholds himself and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:22-25). Many pastors of local church have affirmed that the two groups of members who cause the most trouble are those who get too little spiritual food and those who get too much spiritual food (knowledge without application). Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Meditation is that sweet fellowship that comes from worshiping God in Spirit and in truth. "My meditation of him shall be sweet" (Psalm 104:34). Once the steps of memorization have taken place, meditation can begin. In memorization we confirm the interpretation of a passage; in meditation we discover its applications to our lives. There is only one interpretation of Scripture (see II Peter 1:20). However, there are an infinite number of applications. The Holy Spirit guides us to the right interpretation of Scripture as we study the context, the original languages, the historical setting, and the sentence structure of the passage. We are led to correct applications as the Holy Spirit takes the Word and directs it to specific needs and situations. Each application must be in full harmony with the interpretation and must not be contrary to any other Scripture. Paul based sound teaching on Christ’s own words and on that which leads to Christ like living (see I Timothy 6:3). Paul’s teaching is also consistent with the emphasis of Joshua 1:8, “that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein.” Jesus confirmed the need to study the whole Bible when He taught, “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Two other factors must be considered if we are to glean accurate application from meditation: the cleansing of guilt and the removal of bitterness. These two poisons of the soul and spirit will corrupt the Word and cause us to misapply it in daily situations. Great damage is done when Scripture is inaccurately applied. For this reason, we must know the Scriptures, memorizing as much as possible so that when we meditate on them day and night, we can compare spiritual concepts with spiritual realities and enjoy the rewards of spiritual discernment. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Associated Press - A Southern Baptist leader who serves on President Barack Obama's Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships opposes Obama's move to fund embryonic stem-cell research. Rev. Frank Page, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, says he told the White House that he is alarmed at Obama's "consistent pattern of removing any pro-life protections." Page says he wonders sometimes if the president is really listening to his advice and says he is conscious of being a Baptist and evangelical voice on the president's advisory council. "I know that I am representing a huge number of people who are deeply concerned, and as long as I am at the table I have a voice at the table, and I am trying to maintain that and be true to what I feel is a biblically consistent voice," he notes. But after Page objected last week to the removal of conscience protections for medical providers, he says he got a letter from the White House. "Promising me in writing that President Obama would never be a part of forcing anyone to perform an abortion against his or her conscience," he points out. Page says he disagrees with President Obama's move to federally fund embryonic stem-cell research. "I'm just seeing this consistent pattern of removing any pro-life protection, so I am deeply concerned," he admits. "And I have stated that concern and will continue to state it."
Posted by Dr. Greg Patten at 9:38 PM
How are you doing in the area of Scripture memorization? Perhaps your answer is "not really all that well!" The fact is, in this area, you are not the Lone Ranger. However, the good news is God has an answer to your problem. Many who have memorized Scripture have become discouraged because they soon forget what they have memorized. This concern is needless and shows lack of understanding of the true nature of meditation. The purpose of memorization is not to see how many chapters we can quote, but rather to prepare us for the daily process of meditation. This process is of paramount importance to God. The principles of this process are clearly pictured in God’s provision of manna: It had to be gathered each day. Yesterday’s manna became stale, a fact which forced the people to depend upon the Lord daily and to live in proper reverence of Him. There is need to review Scriptures so we can have material upon which to meditate and with which to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth; “for the Father seeks such to worship him” (John 4:23). Simply reviewing chapters may appeal to the sense of accomplishment of our soul and can lead to pride. Actually, there is no loss in forgetting what we have memorized, since there is great value in rememorizing it and getting new insight from it. There is benefit, however, in memorizing as much as possible. The conscious mind may forget a passage; however, the Spirit will bring it to our attention whenever it is needed. Memorized Scripture is like the snow bank described in Isaiah 55:10-11. “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Just as snow comes into a cold atmosphere, we may memorize God’s Word with a cold heart and even forget what we have memorized; however, the snow does not go away and when God warms up our hearts, the Word ‘melts” into our consciousness and accomplishes its purposes. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Friday, March 13, 2009
As we study the eating patterns of sheep we learn many principles that apply of our own "grazing" in the Word. Often while grazing, sheep will swallow sticks and stones along with the grass and plants. These larger objects go into the first compartment of the stomach, the rumen. These indigestible items are not allowed to pass through the digestive system but are brought up again during rumination so that they can be expelled. The digestive system of many animals is activated as soon as they swallow food. This is not true of sheep. Sheep will eat and swallow a sufficient portion of food. Most of this food collects in the first of its four stomach compartments called the rumen or paunch, which is designed to hold larger pieces of food. This compartment does not contain any digestive juices. In our studies of Scripture it is easy to add human presuppositions and inaccurate connotations to what God’s Word is really saying. The truth is there are issues of which we have faulty understanding. Wrong teaching or incomplete teaching, can lead to wrong thinking. Therefore, the vital first step in meditation is to bring each thought that we have under the scrutiny of the principles of Scripture and to throw out those ideas which are not consistent with it. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:4-5). Once the indigestible food is removed from the rumen, the remaining food is passed into the second stomach compartment, called the reticulum. Here, the food is turned into soft clumps which are called cuds. Just as sheep take in large amounts of food before they digest it, so Christians should read and memorize large sections of Scripture. By doing this, we will establish an inward resource upon which to meditate, and as we meditate, we will see each verse from its larger perspective. This practice will decrease the danger of misinterpreting a single verse or a Scriptural idea. It will also allow the Holy Spirit to reveal basic principles and their practical applications so that we can rightly divide the Word of truth (see II Timothy 2:15). The application is obvious; after we take in large portions of Scripture, our minds and hearts must be cleansed of evil or wrong presuppositions that defile us. Then we are ready to begin meditating on God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will bring to our conscious minds those things that offend God, and defile our hearts and minds; as we ask Him to do so. After a time of cleansing we will be able to properly “chew on the Scriptures.” Meditation is building your day and night around Scripture. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Copied: One might pair the lives of the greatest of American Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, and that of the most famous and influential philosopher of science, Charles Darwin, as both were born on precisely the same day, February 12, 1809. This year marked the bicentennial of that event (as well as the sesquicentennial of the publication of Darwin’s most famous book, The Origin of Species, in 1859). Though born on precisely the same day, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin in their beginnings and their legacies could not be more in contrast. Darwin was born in comfortable upper class circumstances in England with prospects for a first-rate education -- with the luxury of changing his focus from medicine (the profession of both his father and grandfather) to religion (for which he was notably unsuited) to amateur naturalist -- and a place in the easy life of English aristocratic society. The other, Lincoln, was the second child of an abjectly poor American pioneer family, the son of an at best semi-literate father and a mother of questionable pedigree. He grew to manhood amidst all the severe disadvantages of the cultural and economic realities of frontier life, and had but small prospects for any kind of education except the most rustic. The panorama of his life held out hope of little beyond an existence of hard and bitter labor in the unforgiving wildness of the frontier. Only a life of unremitting toil seemed to lie ahead; many years of such toil did in fact mark his path from youth to manhood. Both men are buried in prominent memorials, Lincoln in a massive mausoleum in a cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, Darwin in the scientists’ corner of Westminster Abbey, near the markers of such prominent Bible-believing Christians as Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday and Lord Kelvin. Lincoln wrote no books and kept no diaries, but was best known for his speeches -- his debates with Stephen Douglas over the slavery issue in the 1858 Illinois Senate race which brought him national prominence, but particularly his two Inaugural addresses, especially the Second one, and his Gettysburg Address -- the most famous speech of the nineteenth century -- besides some written items such as the Emancipation Proclamation and, inter alia, his letter to the Widow Bixby. Lincoln was an absolute master of English prose. It has been justifiably stated that Darwin’s theory would have never been proposed had the modern knowledge of genetics and inheritance been current in Darwin’s day; they would have simply made his claims untenable. But Gregor Mendel did not begin his experiments until the 1860s, and his results were not published until decades later still; DNA was not discovered until a century after Darwin wrote. Darwin’s legacy is one of progressively intensifying darkness and horror and all that is worst in man. Lincoln’s is that of a conscious dependence on our Creator, Who has revealed Himself to man, and who will hold man accountable for his conduct, particularly his treatment of his fellow man. Darwin’s hypothesis and subsequent worldview is truly a major driving force behind man’s descent -- into the abyss. Lincoln’s worldview sets man in his proper relationship to the Creator, and to his fellow man, “with malice toward none, with charity for all.”
Have you noticed the effect distractions and irritations have on your devotional life? We can learn a great deal about meditation from sheep. Distractions and irritations will stop sheep from ruminating on their food. One source of irritation is insects which are naturally attracted to sheep. Insects are especially bothersome to the head and face of sheep. In order to free his sheep from this damaging distraction, the shepherd will pour a specially prepared oil mixture over the head of the sheep. This mixture contains oil, tar, and herbs. The tar repels insects, while the oil and herbs brings healing to the sheep when they have been scratched by thorns or bitten by insects. There is nothing more damaging or disruptive to the process of meditation than worldly cares and irritating distractions. Our Chief Shepherd has given us the Holy Spirit, Who instructs us not to worry over anything, but to tell God every detail of our needs in earnest and thankful prayer. The peace of God, which transcends human understanding, will then keep guard over our hearts and minds as we rest in Christ Jesus (see Philippians 4:6-7). We need to be preparing for quietness. During the day, get alone in your “prayer closet.” By shutting out the distractions of the world, we can bring up the Word which we have read, studied, and memorized, and use it for prayer, intercession, supplication, and thanksgiving before the Lord. God has promised that those who do this secretly will be rewarded openly. Daniel had major responsibilities as the leading president of a world empire. Yet, three times a day he resorted to his “prayer closet” and worshiped the Lord. The resulting success in Daniel’s life and ministry is a living testimony of the importance of following his example. Further instructions for meditation are contained in Deuteronomy 6:7 “Talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. In order to meditate we are going to have to become intentional about doing so. Perhaps the most important of these four occasions occurs while you are going to sleep at night. This observation is based upon the fact that God designed the day to begin in the evening. “The evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). Furthermore, the last thoughts on our minds before we go to sleep will be on our subconscious mind throughout the night and will set our mental attitude for the next day, either consciously or unconsciously. It is for this reason God gives special commands to meditate on His Word during this time. “Stand in awe and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still” (Psalm 4:4). One of David’s responses to this command is found in Psalm 63:5-6 “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips: When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the night watches.” Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
In this Shepherd and the Sheep Series, we are studying the subject of meditation. God says if we meditate on the Word we will be wiser than all our enemies. "O how love I your law! It is my meditation all the day. You through your commandments have made me wiser than my enemies: for they are ever with me" (Psalm 119:97-98). Sheep are defenseless. They have no way of protecting themselves. They cannot kick, bite, or hide. In fact, they cannot even run away from the enemies that prey upon them. The normal body temperature of sheep is 103 degrees F. If they run very long, their thick coats of wool will cause their body temperature to rise dangerously, and then they will die. Since sheep have no built-in defense system, they have many who prey upon them. Chief among these are lions, bears, and wolves. These predators stalk the sheep day and night, placing the sheep in need of continuous protection. One of the chief functions of a shepherd is to guard the sheep. God compares Satan to a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (See 1 Peter 5:8). False teachers are pictured a ravenous wolves who creep into flocks and carry away captive the young and the weak. Sometimes they enter under the guise of being sheep themselves. Jesus warned, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). We need to learn how to spot vicious enemies. Cults are counterfeits of the Christian faith. They often use the Bible in their teachings, but they distort and misapply verses in an attempt to support false conclusions. The Christian who meditates upon God’s Word should be able to detect false cults quickly. However, it is also the responsibility of the shepherd to expose false teachers and to protect the flock from them. Learning how to avoid poisonous foods. Lions, bears, and wolves are not the only danger from which the sheep need to be guarded. They also need protection from poisonous plants which grow among the grass they eat. Sheep will eat any green plants they find, even if they are poisonous. Once eaten, these plants will cause severe damage or death. For this reason, the shepherd must go into a field and prepare it for the sheep by searching out, pulling up, and destroying any poisonous plants. The same precautions are necessary to protect sheep from polluted water. On the way to pure streams, sheep may stop and drink from germ-infested puddles. Here they can pick up various parasites and diseases. This preparation is also the responsibility of the “under-shepherds” of Christ. They must identify worldly philosophies and humanistic presuppositions that so easily creep into teaching materials. Collisions 2:8 warns that we are to let no one deceive us “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” We are also commanded in II Corinthians 10:5 to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. We must learn to discern what doctrinal heresy is. Just as sheep can eat too much of one thing, such as clover, and become bloated, so a Christian can overemphasize one truth and become heretical and schismatic. Every Biblical truth has a balancing truth: law is balanced with grace; justice is balanced with mercy; work is balanced with rest; love is balanced with truth. Truth out of balance leads to heresy. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Since the habit of sheep is to remain in the same pastures, a wise shepherd will know when to lead them to different fields and how long to keep them there. The skillful shepherd of Psalm 23 led the sheep into green pastures. Green pastures are not common to the dry, semiarid countryside where most sheep flourish. They must be cultivated by the shepherd, and this task requires tremendous work, time, and skill. First, the land must be cleared of rocks, brush, roots, and stumps. It must then be plowed and seeded with special types of grain. Finally, it must be irrigated or watered. Green fields are essential for the sheep if they are to mature properly and to produce offspring. The one to whom you are accountable for meditation must prepare precise sections of Scripture to assign to you. These passages should relate to your present spiritual condition. If there is any hardness in your heart, the area of resistance must be identified and appropriate portions of Scripture assigned. If there are roots of bitterness or spiritual dryness, related Scriptures should be used to remove them. The entire Bible is a rich green pasture in which we must feed. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The success of meditation comes as we “observe to do according to all that is written therein…” (Joshua 1:8). In another sense, however, the Bible is like a menu of different spiritual food for specific times and needs. Have the one to whom you are accountable select one of the following passages that he or she feels would be most helpful to you at this time then jot down the date by which you should have it memorized. The qualities of a good shepherd are personified in the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. The hireling flees because he is a hireling, and cares not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine: (John 10:11-14). Based on this description, the one whom you become accountable for meditation should have the following characteristics: He should have a personal commitment to those who are under his care. He should be able to persevere through times of discouragement. He should be able to recognize and drive away hindrances to consistent meditation. He must be sensitive about when to move forward on a new section and when to review what has already been engrafted. God has ordained that pastors be His “under shepherds” to the fathers in their congregations and that the fathers are “shepherds” to those in their own families. God has given to fathers strong protective instincts which, when properly directed, will be tremendously beneficial in helping you to become consistent in memorization and meditation. At this point, your father may not feel that he fully qualifies; however, it would be wise for you to explain to him that you desire to be consistent in meditating on Scripture and that you would like him to keep you accountable for your goals. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Think about this: 1. Cows 2. The Constitution 3. The Ten Commandments COWS Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow. THE CONSTITUTION They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq ... why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore. THE 10 COMMANDMENTS The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this -- you cannot post 'Thou Shalt Not Steal' 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians ... it creates a hostile work environment.
Posted by Dr. Greg Patten at 9:33 PM
The following are some basic Scripture passages to be memorized for meditation. Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount. This is a summary of Christ’s message during His earthly ministry. It is rich with foundational principles in all aspects of Christian living. Its significance was further emphasized by Paul when he said that he based sound doctrine on two things: Christ’s own words and that which leads to Christ like living. (See 1 Timothy 6:3). Romans 6-8, tell us how to have victory over sinful habits. Romans 6 explains how we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God by entering into our victory in Christ and daily yielding the members of our bodies to God. Romans 7 describe the law of sin which operates much like the law of gravity; however, Romans 8 explains how we can live above the law of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Exodus 20-22, gives us the principles of God’s Law. The law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, and the righteousness of the law is to be fulfilled in us by the Holy Spirit. This passage summarizes the law and supplies related case studies. It explains the cause-and-effect sequence of the law of the harvest spoken of in Galatians 6:7-10. James 1-5, tell us how to apply faith to practical living. Chapter 1 instructs us how to overcome temptation. Chapter 2 emphasizes the importance of putting our faith to work. Chapter 3 teaches us how to tame our tongue. Chapter 4 explains how to conquer pride and resulting contentions. Chapter 5 gives practical business principles and direction for healing. Hebrews 11:1-6, 12:1-7, 13:1-8, teach us how to understand God’s purposes of chastening. Chapter 11 establishes the absolute importance of faith. Chapter 12 describes the discipline required of us so that we might produce “the peaceable fruit of righteousness,” Chapter 13 lists the vital relationships that Christians must maintain. I Corinthians 13, teaches us how to develop genuine love. This vital chapter defines the love that every Christian must develop by the grace of God. The entire Old Testament is summed up in the command to love the lord and to love our neighbor. By engrafting this chapter and relating it to other sections of Scripture, we will learn how to fulfill the greatest commandment. Romans 12, teaches us how to discover our spiritual gift. Every Christian has a spiritual gift; By using it properly we experience joy, fulfillment, and fruitfulness. This chapter identifies the prerequisites for gifts and the practical use of them in ministering God’s love to others. Romans 13, tells us how to understand and properly respond to authority. Only as we see authority figures in the perspective of this chapter will we be able to respond properly to them and to gain God’s protection and direction through them. Every Christian needs to understand and to apply the essential concepts of power and influence. Ephesians 5-6, tell us how to be equipped for warfare. The first chapters of Ephesians establish our position of victory in Christ. Chapter 5 identifies the works of darkness and the resulting relationships that grow out of being filled with God’s Spirit. Our ability to carry out these relationships depends upon how faithful we are in putting on the whole armor of God listed in chapter 6. 1 Peter 1-5 is teaching on how to suffer victoriously. By engrafting this book, we can be prepared when fiery trials overtake us. We will view them as opportunities to follow in the footsteps of Christ. The practical instruction of this book is essential for every Christian who wants to influence his or her world, since all those who live Godly lives will suffer persecution. Galatians 5:13-6:10, teach us how to experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit are both defined and clarified by this passage. It also provides clear instruction on how we can demonstrate the law of love to fellow Christians. Psalms 1,15,19,25,34,37,112,139, instruct us on how to be one after God’s own heart. God called David as man after His own heart. The more the Psalms become ours, the more God can say the same of us. Learning the Psalms will teach Christians to pray, to sing, to rejoice, to praise, and to know the God who cares deeply about every aspect of their lives. Proverbs 3 teaches us how to enjoy the treasures of wisdom. Mastering the entire book of Proverbs is essential for Christians who desire to gain wise counsel for daily decisions. Every effort to memorize in this book will be greatly rewarded. Chapter 3 gives practical instruction on how to “find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man.” When you begin meditating (ruminating) on the Word of God you will enjoy success. “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success” (Joshua 1:8). Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sheep belong to the class of animals called ruminants, because they chew and rechew their food through a process of reingestion. We as God's sheep are to ruminate on the Scriptures. "Meditate upon these things; give yourself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear to all" (1 Timothy 4:15). Analogies between sheep and Christians abound in Scripture. Those who minister to Christians are compared to shepherds: “Feed the flock of God which is among you…” (1 Peter 5:2). Christ is pictured as the Chief Shepherd: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear…” (1 Peter 5:4). Christians are the sheep of God’s flock: “...We are the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3). Important aspects of the Christian life are also illustrated by the ways of sheep. Christians are to follow the Lord as sheep follow their shepherd. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Christians wander from truth the same way that sheep go astray. “All we like sheep have gone astray…” (Isaiah 53:6). Sheep do not have the ability to survive on their own. Most people assume that sheep can take care of themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sheep are such creatures of habit that, if left to themselves, they become the victims of their own destruction. They will wander in the same paths and “graze” in the same areas until the pasture is destroyed. Sheep will then pollute the barren ground until it breeds dangerous parasites. When thirsty, untended sheep will drink whatever water is available, even from contaminated sources such as shallow, muddy pools. What are sheep notoriously noted for? They go astray. They get lost easily; sheep are totally dependant on the Shepherd, on Jesus Christ. Of interest are the sheep of the Highlands of Scotland, especially how they are rescued when they wander off and become stranded? The vegetation on those high places is pretty sparse. And yet, down on a narrow cliff about ten or twelve feet below is a little ledge that is grassy. It hasn't been eaten because sheep can't walk down there. But some of them will smell that lush grass and they will go down on that ledge, jumping ten, maybe twelve feet, landing on all fours like a cat and they will eat that lush grass. Well, there's no way to get back up by themselves. Soon their bleating is heard as they try unsuccessfully to return to higher ground. The shepherd does not rush over to rescue him. He lets that sheep stay down there on the ledge for a reason. Why? There's no way he can save him until all the grass is eaten and until the sheep begins to get hungry and thirsty. In time the sheep realizes the food is gone and there is no water down there. Finally the sheep gets so weak that he can't even stand up. It’s at that point, when he's at the bottom of the barrel, when he has run out of his own energy, then the shepherd will lower himself down over the ledge and rescue the sheep. Because the wise Shepherd knows if he comes any sooner, that stupid sheep, will jump over the ledge to its death. This should help us understand why God often waits until we are at the bottom of the barrel. You may be saying I wish He wouldn't wait so long. Maybe you ought to pray that the grass will run out a little sooner. Fear, tension, and aggravation will keep sheep from properly digesting their food. Then, too, the ever-present danger of predators will bring further destruction to sheep who try to make it on their own. No wonder Jesus made the observation of sheep that had no shepherd, “…they fainted, and were scattered abroad…” (Matthew 9:36). This characteristic of sheep explains why most Christians do not meditate on the Word of God. They assume they can do it on their own, but the clear fact of the matter is that they cannot. Their intentions may be sincere, and their motivation may be high. They may even begin a program of memorization, but in a short while they become too busy for it and soon forget about it. If this describes your condition, there is only one remedy—accountability! In order to experience meditation on any kind of consistent basis, you must affirm the following truth and commitment. “Having failed in my own efforts to meditate on a consistent basis, I now purpose to become accountable to another person in order to maintain this vital spiritual discipline." Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
NEW DIVORCE AGREEMENT THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY WELL PUT AND I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT'S BY A YOUNG PERSON, A STUDENT!!! OUTSTANDING. Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al: We have stuck together since the late 1950's, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way. Here is a model separation agreement: Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes. We don't like re distributive taxes so you can keep them. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU. Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O' Don nell (You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them). We'll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street. You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies and illegal aliens. We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's and rednecks. We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood . You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security. We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values.. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N.. but we will no longer be paying the bill. We'll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can find. You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors. We'll continue to believe healthcare is a luxury and not a right. We'll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem. I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute Imagine, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World. We'll practice trickle down economics and you can give trickle up poverty your best shot. Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our flag. Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you ANWAR which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.. Sincerely, John J. Wall Law Student and an American P.S. Also, please take Barbara Streisand & Jane Fonda with you
Sunday, March 8, 2009
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). Food and water are necessities, not luxuries. Our physical life depends on food and water, our spiritual life depends on righteousness. First, we are what we eat. This is not only true of the body but also of the soul. We are basically spiritual beings. We are created in the spiritual likeness of our Creator. The outer man depends upon food and water, the inner man depends on righteousness. The inner man has spiritual appetites that must be satisfied. How many spiritual meals do you miss per week? The inner man has a sense of sight. Paul prayed for the Ephesians that the “eyes of their understanding might be enlightened.” Our Lord lamented that His disciples had eyes, but the saw not. God’s counsel to the church at Laodica was that they anoint their eyes with eye-salve that they might see. For us “salve” is the Word of God applied by the Holy Spirit. The inner man also has a spiritual sense of hearing. “Who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Christ’s sheep hear His voice and they follow Him. They will not follow the voice of a stranger. Immature Christians are “dull of hearing,” because they do not exercise their spiritual senses. There is a spiritual sense of taste. “O taste and see that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:3). The soul has its hunger and thirst; these desires were built into man at creation. God has put eternity in our hearts, and the temporal cannot satisfy the spiritual. Christ is the answer to the hidden thirst in ones life; Jesus Christ is the bread of life. “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). Christ came to give life and that in abundance. “Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” (John 4:13-14). The presence of hunger and thirst is a good thing. Hunger and thirst are evidences of life. Dead people have no appetites. The kind of appetite we have is an indication of the kind of heart we have. The believer who hungers and thirst after righteousness is giving evidence not only of life but of health. One of the first signs of sickness is loss of appetite. When the infection of unconfessed sin is at work in the life of the disobedient Christian, he loses his appetite for spiritual things. 1 John 2:15-17 warns that our spiritual appetite can never be satisfied by the world (It takes a lot to feed an ego). Christ said “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). Jesus fed on the will of His Father, this is what satisfied Him. If we love the will of God then fulfilling the will of God will bring great pleasure. What are the hungers in your life? If the fleshly appetites are stronger than the spiritual you are a carnal Christian. Second, Jesus tells us that the way to be satisfied is to hunger and thirst. It is a hunger for holiness that fills the soul and satisfies the appetite of the inner man. The people of Israel “lusted exceedingly in the wilderness… and God gave them their request but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:14, 15). Some became sick and other died as a result of their lusting. We learn in Psalm 81:16 that had Israel listened to God’s word and cultivated an appetite for His will, God would have “fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock.” What is holiness? To the Pharisees, holiness was conformity to rules; it was an external thing that completely overlooked the needs of the inner man. A mere external piety, born of pride and nurtured by the praise of men, is not holiness. If the beatitudes teach us anything, it is that holiness begins in the heart. The words holy and whole belong to the same family. To be holy involves wholeness. Sin divides and destroys. Holiness unites and builds. Holiness is the basic attribute of God. As God’s children we should desire holiness in our lives (1 John 5:1-2). What have you been eating and drinking, spiritually? Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings
Saturday, March 7, 2009
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Most people have the idea that meekness is weakness. We live in a world that worships power and rejects any evidence of weakness. Meekness is not weakness but power under the control of the Holy Spirit. Nobody could accuse Moses of being a weak, timid man; yet God identified him as the meekest man on the face of the earth. Jesus Christ was the most courageous man ever to walk among men, and yet He said “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). The book of Proverbs shows us the fruit of meekness. (Proverbs 16:32) “He that is slow to anger is better than he that takes a city.” That is power under control. (Proverbs 25:28) “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” That is power out of control. Aristotle said “anyone can become angry. That is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way-this is not easy.” What the great philosopher was talking about is meekness. When fire is under control it is our servant, but when fire is out of control, it becomes our master, and the result is destruction. So it is with anger. The Greek word translated meekness was used to describe a soothing medicine. The word was also used to describe a gentle breeze. It was used to describe a colt that had been broken. Medicine, wind, and a colt all have power in common. Power under control is meekness. First, the best way to understand meekness is to see it at work in the lives of people. A. Joseph is a vivid illustration of meekness. 1. He was mistreated by his brothers 2. He was sold as a slave and taken to Egypt. 3. He was lied about by his master’s wife. 4. He ended up in prison. B. One day Joseph was elevated to become the prime minister of Egypt. 1. He had the power to revenge himself on his Master’s wife but he did not do so. 2. Joseph could have punished his brothers when they showed up for food but he did not. 3. He had power over them but he kept his power under control. C. Meekness shows itself when we are right. D. Take the life of King David, note the meekness he displayed. 1. Saul stumbled into the cave where David was hiding and went to sleep. 2. David could have killed Saul but he didn’t. 3. Another episode recorded in II Samuel 16 tells of David’s son Absalom taking over the kingdom and forcing his father to flee into the wilderness. 4. During that difficult time, one of Saul’s men, Shimei, cursed David and threw stones at him. 5. David’s nephew, said to the king, “Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. David’s answer was “let him alone, and let him curse.” That is power under the control of the Holy Spirit. 6. Saul would have killed David had he caught him in the cave. The difference between Saul and David was that of power, for both had power. The difference is that David’s power was under control. 7. David used his authority to build up people; Saul used people to build up authority. E. The greatest example is our Lord Jesus Christ. 1. It took more power for Jesus to submit than for Peter to draw out his sword and fight. 2. Peter’s action was natural; what our Lord did was supernatural. 3. The Lord Jesus Christ exercised power under control. He could have summoned legions of angels, but instead he “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross’ (Philippians 2:8). Second, how can we tell if we are meek? A. The simplest answer is a question: are we exercising self-control? Is our power under the control of the Holy Spirit? We have physical power, mental power, emotional power, and spiritual power. Are we keeping all of this power under control? 1. The best test of meekness is found in the word attitude. a. What is our attitude toward the circumstances of life? b. How do we respond to difficulties of life? c. Far too many people react by fretting. d. The meek man centers his attention and affection on the Lord, not on himself or his adversary. When we find ourselves fretting because of people or circumstances, we have lost our meekness. B. Another test of meekness is what is my attitude toward God’s Word? 1. When Samuel gave Saul God’s message, the King argued with it and tried to excuse himself. a. He blamed the people. b. He even blamed Samuel. 2. Later God gave Saul another chance. a. Instead of slaying the enemy as he was commanded, he kept the best for himself. b. Then he blamed the people. c. Saul was not a meek man; he refused to submit to the Word of God. 3. David was a meek man. a. David’s chaplain Nathan took his life in his hands when he confronted the king with his sin. b. Nathan said “thou art the man and David received God’s word without arguing, making excuses, or defending himself. He was a man after God’s own heart. C. A third test of meekness is what is my attitude toward a brother who sins? 1. Do I receive the news gleefully and start to spread it? 2. Am I pleased that he has sinned, because his fall makes my walk look better (Galatians 6:1)? 3. When a Christian brother had fallen into sin, we have the power to hurt him; but meekness is power under control. I also have the power to help him. 4. Shimei threw stones at David when David was at his weakest physically and politically; yet David proved himself to be the stronger man spiritually. Later when David’s throne was restored, Shimei came to beg forgiveness and David forgave him. 5. The word restore means to set a broken born. A broken bone is a painful thing, and the setting of it can be an even more painful experience than the breaking of it. D. A fourth test of meekness is my attitude toward division in the Church. 1. The Christian who exercises meekness is not interested in taking sides; he is interested in ‘being diligent to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” 2. He follows the example of Abraham who said “let there be no strife I pray thee, between me and thee…for we are brethren (Genesis 13:8). Third, how can the believer cultivate this grace of meekness? A. Meekness is not something we manufacture it is the fruit of the Spirit. 1. Moses “the meekest man on earth", became angry and killed an enemy. 2. It was in the school of hard knocks that Moses learned to be meek. 3. Saul never learned meekness, he used an excuse. Billy Sunday said “an excuse is the skin of reason stuffed with a lie.” 4. David profited from the trails of life and in spite of his failures learned to be meek. David said of God “Thy gentleness hath made me great,” 5. Saul of the Old Testament never learned meekness but Saul in the New Testament did. God said to Paul it is hard for you to kick against the goads. Suggesting that Saul was like a wild animal that had never been broken. But God broke him, and there came into his life a spirit of meekness. From the World’s point of view, meekness is the first step toward failure. The answer is to submit to God, let Him be in control. To inherit the earth means to reign as king over yourself and your circumstances through the power of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Friday, March 6, 2009
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:18-33). “When home is ruled according to God’s Word,” Said Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “angels might be asked to stay with us, and they would not find themselves out of their element.” The trouble is that many homes are not governed by God’s Word-even homes where the members are professing Christians-and the consequences are tragic. The answer is the Holy Spirit of God. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can walk in harmony as husbands and wives, parents and children. The home can be heaven on earth if each family member is controlled by the Spirit. Note three way in which Spirit control will affect each family member. First, the Spirit filled family member will be joyful (5:19). Joy is one of the fruit of the Spirit. Christian joy is a deep experience of adequacy and confidence in spite of the circumstances around us. This kind of joy is not a thermometer but a thermostat, it determines the spiritual temperature of the home. To illustrate this joy, Paul used the familiar experience of drunkenness (v. 18). The drunk is under the control of another force. The drunk is not ashamed to express himself, nor can he hide what is going on in his life. Transfer this picture to the believer who is filled with the Spirit. God controls his life, and he experiences a deep joy he is not afraid to express to the glory of God. The drunk calls attention to himself, while the Spirit filled believer is a witness for Christ. Second, the Spirit filled family member will be Thankful (5:20). Someone defined the home as “the place where we are treated the best-and complain the most.” A grateful heart promotes harmony in the home. The grateful person realizes that he is enriched because of others. Paul commanded his readers to be thankful for all things at all times. We need the Spirit of God to help us be thankful for suffering, disappointments, and bereavements. When a Christian finds himself in a difficult situation, he should immediately give thanks to the Father to keep his heart from complaining and fretting. The word gratitude comes for the same root word as grace. Thank and think also come for the same root word. If we would think more, we would thank more. Third, the Spirit filled family member will be submissive (5:21-33). The fact that Paul uses Christ and the Church as his illustration is evidence that he has the Christian home in mind. Wives submit yourselves (5:22-24). He gives two reasons for this command. 1. The Lordship of Christ (v. 22). 2. The headship of the man in Christ (v. 23). Husbands love your wives (5:25-33). Paul had much more to say to the Christian husbands than to the wives. 1. He set a very high standard “Love your wives even as Christ also loved the church (v. 25). Paul was lifting married love to the highest level possible. The Christian home is an illustration of the relationship between Christ and the Church (v. 32, 33). 2. God established marriage for many reasons. It meets man’s emotional needs. “It is not good that the man should be alone (v. 31). Marriage has as social purpose in the bearing of children to continue the race. Marriage has a spiritual purpose, as the husband and wife experience the love of Christ. 3. If the husband makes Christ’s love for the Church the pattern for his wife, then he will love her sacrificially (v. 25). 4. The husbands love will be a sanctifying love (vv. 26-27). 5. The husbands love for his wife should be a sastisfying love (vv. 28-30). We must claim the promise of John 7:37-39: “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink!” By faith yield yourself to Christ; by faith ask him for the fullness of the Spirit. By faith receive. When you find yourself joyful, thankful, and submissive, you will know that God has answered. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Letter from Eric Hovind Dear Friends, As many of you know, the past several years have been a whirlwind of activity for Creation Science Evangelism and the Hovind family. In November of 2006, my dad, Dr. Hovind, was convicted on three federal charges, and in January of 2007 was sentenced to ten years in federal prison. Despite the bad press, and the many misunderstandings, I am convinced that my dad is totally innocent of the charges brought before him. Currently he has served two and one-half years of his ten-year sentence and is in South Carolina at the Edgefield Prison Camp. My mother was also convicted on one charge, and in July of 2007 was sentenced to one year and a day in prison. However, she was granted a stay request pending the outcome of an appeal. On January 1, 2009, I received the notice that the 11th Circuit upheld every decision made by the district court and now my parents are both imprisoned. We took my mother, Jo, to prison on January 20, to begin serving her sentence. Please pray that God will give her strength as she goes through this difficult time. Our attorneys sought to have the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reexamine the case because the decision appears to legally conflict with previous Supreme Court rulings. However, the 11th Circuit denied hearing the case any further. This recent decision is a huge disappointment for those who realize the many questions of law involved in the case and who have prayed so fervently for the case to be overturned. This appeal would have provided opportunity to present arguments which could have released Dr. Hovind, dismissed Mrs. Hovind's sentence, and rescinded the confiscation of CSE property. With this most recent decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court has determined that CSE may be forced to forfeit its property to the government. We are currently in litigation concerning this very issue. We are seeking God's direction in this matter, and we pray that these legal problems will not get the best of this vital ministry. I have no interest in fighting legal battles. I just want to win souls. This is why CSE exists, and I hope that you will join us in praying for God's will concerning this situation. One thing we know for sure, God will glorify Himself, regardless of the outcome. For those interested in a more detailed update, we have arranged a series of conference calls. Click here to view the conference call schedule. Despite the legal battles, our team continues to push forward presenting the creation message in a fresh new way. Thank you for your faithful prayers and support! Letter from Dr. Kent Hovind Dear Friends, The 11th Circuit denied our appeal without addressing many issues. Meanwhile, my wife was ordered to report to prison on January 20, 2009 to serve her one-year-and-one-day sentence. Lindsey Springer is gathering money and support to take this case to the Supreme Court. There are several key issues in our case that, if won, could help scores of churches, ministries, and individuals in the future. Meanwhile, the assistant U.S. attorney continues to attempt to seize the ministry property. The government figured that the "damages" our "structuring" caused was $3,500, yet they want to seize $430,000 from me based on Title 21 drug laws! Because I do not have the money, they want to seize and auction off the ministry property! There are nearly twenty-five people living on the premises that would be displaced. Pray for Eric and the church attorney to have wisdom to stop this. The ministry continues to send out DVDs in twenty-nine languages and reports come in every day of saved souls! If I were the devil, I would hate this outreach and try to stop it as well! Like Joseph (Gen. 40:15), Job (Job 2:3; 27:5; 31:6), and Paul (Acts 25:10), I continue to maintain my innocence and integrity. God will be the final Judge (see Hebrews 9:27)! Be ready for that day! My prison life is easy compared to many in the Bible and in Muslim and communist countries today. I am safe, rested, and in shape, and I have lots of time to read, write, and witness. Of the 490 men here probably one hundred are active in Christian studies and services. Frequently Asked Questions 1. Q: Where are Dr. and Mrs. Hovind? A: Dr. Hovind is being held at a minimum security prison camp in Edgefield, South Carolina. He has been there for the past eighteen months of his incarceration. Jo Hovind is being held at a minimum security prison camp in Marianna, Florida. 2. Q: What were the accusations against Dr. Hovind and what was his defense? A: 1. Failure to withhold employee-related taxes: Explanation: From the start of the ministry, Dr. Hovind sought legal counsel on the proper way to compensate those who would serve with him in the ministry. He was told by several attorneys that as a 508 organization, CSE was not required to withhold taxes and that each person serving would be responsible for paying their own income taxes. For seventeen years the ministry operated without incident, and no notice was ever given to CSE or Dr. Hovind that the IRS wanted any changes made on this issue until the day the charges were brought. 2. Structuring cashing transactions in order to evade bank reporting requirements: Explanation: Up until 2003, CSE withdrew cash in order to compensate those who served at CSE. There was no knowledge of bank secrecy laws and never any intention of evading Internal Revenue Service regulations. 3. Threatening and impeding the investigation of a government agency: Explanation: Because Dr. Hovind filed papers questioning actions of the IRS, which was his legal right, he was charged with "impeding" the agency. They also believed he "threatened agents with bodily harm" by praying for those involved on public radio. Click here to read the entire brief to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. 3. Q: When will Dr. Kent Hovind be released? A: Currently scheduled for release on August 11, 2015. 4. Q: What does this mean for the CSE ministry? A: The United States government has placed leins on CSE property as a substitute for payment of fines imposed upon Kent Hovind. Creation Science Evangelism is currently defending its property against such seizure. It continues under the leadership of Dr. Hovind's son, Eric Hovind, and is fully complying with any requests made to them by the IRS. Creation Science Evangelism remains one of the foremost authorities on science and the Bible, reaching countless people with the Gospel through the creation message. 5. Q: What has CSE done to remedy the situation? A: Creation Science Evangelism is fully complying with requests made by the IRS and believes itself to be in good standing. The ministry is using an employee-leasing agency to withhold employee-related taxes and conform to proper tax laws. It is now represented by a firm of certified public accountants to ensure financial accountability. 6. Q: What is the next legal step? A: On February 25, 2009, a final appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta was denied. An agency is being used to raise support for an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. Intentions of this appeal must be filed within ninety days of February 25, 2009. 7. Q: Who is handling the appeal? A: So that CSE can remain true to its mission of creation evangelism, we have appointed an outside agency to handle the appeal. For further information, please contact Lindsey Springer at 1-918-748-5539. 8. Q: What is the expected cost to appeal to the United States Supreme Court? A: We anticipate three stages necessary for a complete appeal. The expected costs associated with each stage is 1. Preparation to go before the Supreme Court - $35,000 by April 25, 2009 2. Briefs for review by the Supreme Court - $65,000 3. Argument at the Supreme Court - $150,000 Please direct futher questions to Lindsey Springer at 1-918-748-5539. 9. Q: How can I help? A: Please consider supporting the appeal to the United States Supreme Court. For more information on how you can be involved, join a conference call by Lindsey Springer at 1-916-233-0500 (pin #6921). 1. Thursday, March 5, 7:00 p.m. CST 2. Saturday, March 7, 6:00 p.m. CST 3. Monday, March 9, 7:00 p.m. CST Please check this Web site for future conference call schedules. 10. Q: How will money be dispersed? A: Only monies indicated for the legal fund will be spent on the legal fund. As always, all other donations to Creation Science Evangelism are used for the spreading of the Gospel through the creation message. In the event that excess money is raised through the legal fund, it will be used by Creation Science Evangelism for the furthering of the creation message. 11. Q: Can I visit Dr. and Mrs. Hovind? A: Unfortunately, visitation is limited to close friends and family only. Please feel free to write and encourage Dr. and Mrs. Hovind at the addresses listed below. 12. Q: Can I write to Dr. and Mrs. Hovind? A: Yes, they love to get encouraging letters and testimonies. Please understand that while every letter is read and appreciated, it may not be possible for Dr. and Mrs. Hovind to send a response to each one. * Kent Hovind #06452-017 FPC Edgefield D-2 PO Box 725 Edgefield, SC 29824 * Jo D Hovind #06453-017 FCI Marianna Satellite Camp PO Box 7006 Marianna, FL 32447 13. Q: What can I send to Dr. and Mrs. Hovind? A: Please limit correspondence to letters and postcards only. Unfortunately, books, CDs, and DVDs are not permissible.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10). Having described our spiritual possessions in Christ, Paul turns to a complementary truth: our spiritual position in Christ. First he explains what God did for the Gentiles in particular. The sinner who trusts Christ has been raised and seated on the throne (2:1-10), and believing Jews and Gentiles have been reconciled and set into the temple, that is the body of Christ. What a miracle of God’s grace! We are taken out of the great graveyard of sin and placed into the throne room of glory. We were taken off a patch of disgrace and planted on a patch of amazing grace. Perhaps the easiest way for us to approach this long paragraph is to see in it four specific works. Work number one, sin’s work against us (2:1-3). In these three verses, Paul gives us a full-length picture of the terrible spiritual condition of the unsaved person. He is dead (2:1). His spiritual faculties are not functioning. All lost sinners are dead, and the only difference between one sinner and another is the state of decay. Our world is one vast graveyard, filled with people who are dead while they live. He is disobedient (2:2-3a). This was the beginning of man’s spiritual death. Three forces encourage man in his disobedience-the world, the flesh, and the devil. He is depraved (2:3b). He is incapable of doing anything to merit salvation or meet the high standards of God’s holiness. Jesus said that lost sinners do good to each other, and to their children, but they cannot do anything spiritually good to please God. Some unbelievers have more character and integrity than some believers. He is doomed (2:3c). The sentence has been passed, but God in His mercy is staying the execution of the sentence. Man cannot save himself, but God in His grace steps in to make salvation possible. Work number two, God’s work for us (2:4-9). The focus of attention now is on God, not on sinful man. He loves us (2:4). God has two kinds of attributes: Those that He possesses of Himself (such as life, love and holiness). And those by which he relates to His creation (relative attributes such as faithfulness and justice). Love is one of God’s intrinsic attributes, but when this love is related to sinners, it becomes grace and mercy. He quickened us (2:5). This means He made us alive. This spiritual resurrection puts us in union with Christ. He exalted us (2:6). Our physical position is “in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” We have been called from the grave to sit with Christ and enjoy His fellowship. He keeps us (2:7-9). Grace means that God does it all for Jesus sake. The word "that" in verse 8, in the Greek, is neuter; while faith is feminine. "That" refers to the whole experience of salvation. Work number three, God’s work in us (2:10a). Our conversion is not the end; it is the beginning, the word “workmanship” gives us our English word poem. Christ is equipping us for our walk and our work here on earth. To do this He uses three special tools. The Word of God (I Thessalonians 2:13). Prayer (Ephesians 3:20-21). And suffering (1 Peter 4:11-14). As we read God’s Word the Word goes to work in our lives to cleanse us and nourish us. As we pray, God’s Spirit works in us to release power. As we suffer, the Spirit of God ministers to us. Suffering drives us back to the Word and prayer and the cycle is repeated. God cannot work through us unless He works in us. God spent 40 years working in Moses before He could work through him. Joseph suffered 13 years before God put him on the throne of Egypt. Paul spent three years in Arabia after his conversion. Work number four, God’s work through us (2:10b). The unbeliever walks “according to the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2), but the believer walks in the good works God has prepared for him. This means God has a will for our lives. We discover God’s will for our lives as the Spirit reveals it to us from the Word. The Word of God is the will of God. God has worked for you; now let Him work in you and through you, that you might have an exciting, creative life to the glory of God. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the common wealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:11-12). “Peace in our time! Peace with honor!” Those were the words of British Prime minister, Sir Neville Chamberlain, when he returned from conferences in Germany in September 1938. He was sure that he had stopped Adolph Hitler. Yet one year later, Hitler invaded Poland, and on September 3, 1939, Great Britain declared war on Germany. Chamberlain’s great peace mission failed. From 1500 B.C. to A.D. 850 there were 7,500 “eternal covenants” agreed upon among various nations with the hope of bringing peace, no covenant lasted more than two years. The only “eternal covenant” that has lasted—and that will last—is the one made by the eternal God, sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ. It is Christ’s peace mission that Paul explains in the following section. Note three very important words that summarize this great work. First, the word without, this is what the Gentiles were (2:11-22). The one word that best describes the Gentiles is without. They were without Christ (v. 12). The Ephesians worshiped their famous goddess, Diana. Those who claim that pagan religions are acceptable to God will have a problem here. Every unsaved person, Jew, or Gentile, is outside Christ. They were without citizenship (v. 12). God called the Jews and built them into a nation. Israel was God’s nation, in a way that was not true of any Gentile nation. They were without covenants (v. 12). While the blessing of the Gentiles is included in God’s Covenant with Abraham, God did not make any covenants with the Gentile nations. The Gentiles were “aliens” and “strangers”-and the Jews never let them forget it. Every good Pharisee prayed daily “O God, I give thanks that I am a Jew, and not a Gentile.” They were without hope (v. 12). Historians tell us that a great cloud of hopelessness covered the ancient world. Their philosophies were empty and their religions were powerless to help men face either life or death. Only Biblical Christianity can do that. They were without God (v. 12). It has been said that it was easier to find a god than a man in Athens. But the pagans did not know the true God. The first 11 chapters of Genesis; and from chapter 12 on (the call of Abraham), it is the story of the Jews. The Jews were in God’s favor 2,165 year; the Gentiles have been for the last 2,000 years. Second, enmity is the key word in this section (3:13-18). There was enmity between Jews and Gentiles (2:13-15). God had put a difference between Jews and Gentiles so that His purposes in salvation might be accomplished. Once those purposes were accomplished, there was no more difference (v. 14). The cost of destroying the enmity was the blood of Christ (v. 13). In Jesus Christ, Jew and Gentile become one (v. 14). The verb to make in v. 15 means “to create,” The Church, the body of Christ, is God’s new creations. There was enmity between sinners and God (2:16-18). Not only did the Gentiles need to be reconciled to the Jews, but both the Jews and the Gentiles needed to be reconciled to God (v. 16). As the Judge, He could have come to declare war, but in His grace, He came with the message of peace (v. 17, 18). Third, the word one, what Jews and Gentiles are in Christ (2:19-22). Paul gives three pictures that illustrate the unity of believing Jews and Gentiles in the Church. One nation (2:19a). Israel was God’s chosen nation, but they rejected their Redeemer and suffered the consequences. The kingdom was taken from them and given to the Church. In the Old Testament, the nations were reckoned by their descent for Shem, Ham, or Japheth. In Acts we see these three families united in Christ. Acts 8-Ham-Ethioian treasurer. Acts 9-Shem-Saul of Tarsus. Acts 10-Japheth-household of Cornelius. There is one family (2:19b). And one temple (2:20-22). Today God dwells in every believer, we are the temple of God. Have you personally experienced the grace of God? If you are a true believer in Christ, are you helping others to trust Him? Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.