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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Washington replied, “You walked sixty miles in this weather to save the life of your enemy?  I will grant you his pardon.”

Miller hurried to the place of execution, pardon in hand, arriving just as the man was being led to the scaffold.  Seeing Miller, Widman remarked, “There is old Peter Miller.  He has come to have his revenge gratified by seeing me hanged.”

But Miller placed the pardon in the captain’s hand, and Widman’s life was spared.

Romans 5:10 says, “for if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconcilied to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconcilied, shall we be saved through His life!”

During the American Revolutionary War, Peter Miller heard that an aquaintance named Widman had been sentenced to die as a traitor.  He hurried through a storm to General Washington and pleaded for Widman’s life.

Washington replied, “I would like to release Widman, because he is your friend, but I dare not, even for that consideration.”

“My friend!” exclaimed Miller.  “He is my worst enemy!”

The church has every reason to still believe in the second coming of Jesus.  It may seem to be taking a long time, but we humans have a very limited view of time.  In the context of Christ’s second coming, Peter wrote, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” [2 Peter 3:8]. 

What seems like a long time to us is like nothing to God.  In other words, we shouldn’t get discouraged at what seems like a delay, at what seems to us, from our perspective, like a long time.  We must remember, we are on God’s time, not our own, and they are two very different things.  Sure the New Atheists will continue their attacks on the Second Coming. 

In that sense, they are no different from the old atheists of every era, who have done the very same thing.  Yet we shouldn’t be surprised by this.  On the contrary, the very mocking itself, along with the sorry state of the world, and the clear promises of God about the Second Coming, all give evidence that we ca not only still believe in the return of Jesus but that we, more than ever, should believe in it.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.  I pray that, according to the riches of His glory, He may grant that you be strengthened in your inner being with power through His Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.  I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever.  Amen.  [Ephesians 3:14-21]

Jesus was not really saying that we have to give away everything we own to have eternal life.  For a different young man with a different set of circumstances he may have suggested something different.  Jesus needed to know what the young man loved most, and his request was a simple but effective test.

The disciples were amazed.  If this young man could not get into heaven, who could?  Like most of us, they were impressed by what they saw on the outside.  In fact, their culture taught them that wealth was a sure sign of God’s blessing.

But God is interested in our hearts, and so Jesus said something that seemed very odd to them, and even to us.  He said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven, a startling image to say the least.  

If a rich man cannot get into heaven, who then can be saved, the disciples asked.  That’s when Jesus said, “for mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”  And then He began to explain what the kingdom of God is really like, a place where “the first will be last”  [Matthew 20:16].

What Jesus promises is God’s help for difficult things:  not just physically difficult things, like going through the eye of a needle, but emotionally and spiritually difficult challenges as well.  Sometimes it is hard to know God, or love God, or believe God.  But He can and does give us what we need to do just that.  Because with God, nothing is impossible.

He said this in the context of something that was difficult for His disciples to even imagine.  A young man had come to Him and asked how to get eternal life.  This was no ordinary young man, however.  He was a young man of privilege and responsibility.  He had gone to good schools, come from a good home, and done many good things.  He was rich and devout, the model of Jewish propriety.

Jesus did not answer his question with any doctrinal formulation nor with any calming reassurance that he was on the right track.  Instead He got to the heart of the matter.  “Go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor,” He said.  “Then come, follow Me.”

The young man could not or would not do this.  The Bible says, “He went away grieving, because he had many possessions.”

From our perspective, a lot of things look tough.  There is the responsibility of maintaining a long-term commitment to our spouse and children, even on days when they are not exactly endearing.  There is the responsibility of dealing fairly and kindly with our coworkers, even when our boss is being a jerk and our peers are self-absorbed and mean-spirited.  And then there is God’s expectation that we will put Him first in our lives.

Practically impossible, we say.  But Jesus said we do not have to do everything by ourselves; in fact, with God’s help we can do the inconceivable.  With “God all things are possible,” Jesus said.  [Matthew 19:26]

Factor 9 ~ self-control

What is that special power that we need so greatly?

The dictionary defines self-control as “the ability to check or regulate, to restrain, and to govern self in all aspects of life.”

We can possess purity of thought, purity of heart, and purity of life even in this day and age by controlling our thoughts with the power of the Spirit of God blessing our minds. 

“… overcome evil with good.”  [Romans 12:21]

Keeping the mind busy with thoughts that will elevate and ennoble one’s character is the formula to success here.  To do just that try memorizing God’s Holy Word, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,”  [Psalm 119:11]

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”  [Proverbs 23:7

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?  or who shall stand in his holy place?  He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart”  [Psalm 24:3,4]

Victory through Christ ~ what a majestic experience!  Prayers that will produce high dividends for the kingdom of God are ours to experience and enjoy now.

Factor 8 ~ meekness

In a world that promotes self-esteem and self-exaltation on every side, God’s people need as never before a precious heavenly trait that adorns the character of Christ ~ meekness.

To be unpretentious, humble, and submissive to God’s will is of great value ~

“Thus saith the high and loft One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones”  [Isaiah 57:15]

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