Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Testament Manuscripts

For those of you interested in seeing scans of ancient New Testament manuscripts Daniel Wallace is in the process of uploading many to the internet for public viewing. Even if you do not have a proficiency in the original languages you can still appreciate that these ancient artifacts. Remember these documents were written by hand by our Christian brothers that have preceded us. God providentially used their work to preserve and transfer the Word of God to the next generations.

Today with the relative ease of printing and the availability of the digital media it is easy to take for granted that we easily can have in our possession something that would have been a priceless treasure just a few centuries ago. I pray that we would take opportunity of the advantages that we possess in this day to read, hear, and obey the Word of God.

"I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure." (Psalm 119:162, NKJV)

Visit www.csntm.org to begin your treasure hunt.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Living Righteously

" And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." (Romans 13:11-14, NKJV)

The apostle Paul concludes his admonition to submit to governmental authorities and to treat your neighbors with love by giving both the motivation and the means to accomplish this task. Notice the motivation is that “salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” The salvation he is referring to is the final culmination of salvation which is living in the eternal state with God as a sinless glorified being. When fighting temptation, remember through Christ the battle is already won. Christ will return very soon and you will enjoy the fullness of salvation. Jesus said, "“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”" (Revelation 22:7, NKJV). Jesus is coming soon!

In Romans 13 Paul also gives the means to accomplish to accomplish this task. Notice two things in verse 14, 1) Put on Christ and 2) Make no provision for the flesh. To put on Christ is to practice a daily renewal of your mind. "…be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:23-24, NKJV). Making no provision for the flesh is to not allow sinful thoughts to linger in your mind. "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15, NKJV)

Lord by your grace may we truly live in expectancy of your return.

" He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20, NKJV)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Regarding Iniquity

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear." (Psalm 66:18, NKJV)

Perhaps one of the reasons we do not see more answers to prayer is that prayers are often made without a consideration of our personal righteousness. For example, we may be praying for God to help us in a particular area and yet we still harbor bitterness towards someone that hurt us. At the conclusion to the model prayer Jesus said, "“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15, NKJV). Daily confession of sin (1 John 1:9) should be accompanied by unconditional forgiveness to those who have harmed us if we expect that sin to be forgiven by God.

Even personal conflicts that do not have a clear offending party need to be dealt with appropriately if we expect to be in communion with God. In His sermon on the mount Jesus admonished, "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23-24, NKJV) If this principle was practiced on a regular basis we would either have empty churches or churches full of worshiping folks empty of hypocrisy.

Fortunately most people I know that are submissive to the Word of God and responsive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit are quick to forgive and fast to repair broken relationships. Yet there is still a third area in which we can be guilty of harboring iniquity. It is hard to see our own faults. Sometimes we are not consciously aware of our sinfulness. David prayed, "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:12-14, NKJV)

Oh Lord search my heart today.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24, NKJV)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Source of Faith

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17, NKJV)


I appreciate the fact that a number of television and radio commentators respect Christians who place their faith in Christ. Generally they acknowledge that someone has a right to their belief system and seldom will challenge any particular ideology. It is usually said that faith is a personal decision based on the life experiences of the individual. Scripture contradicts that notion.

True Faith is not derived from the mind of man, but is a supernatural revelation of God. Moving from unbelief to belief is not simply a matter of weighing the evidence or considering all the facts. The weight of the evidence is clearly on the side of Christianity (Heb. 11:1). People do not see the significance of Christ because they are spiritually blinded to the truth. Paul reminds us that"… the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2 Corinthians 4:4, NKJV)

So how do people go from unbelief to belief? Paul continues, "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:5-6, NKJV)

God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to convict and convince people of the truth of the gospel and the reality of Christ (1 Cor. 1:21). So the challenge for those who believe the Gospel is to trust the power of the Gospel and to proclaim its truth with gentle dogmatism. Because "…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17, NKJV)


Oh, Lord grant us faith to believe in the life changing power of your truth.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thirsty for God

" A Psalm of David When He Was in the Wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water." (Psalm 63:1, NKJV)


Concepts such as thirsting for God found in passages like this one make for great devotional references, but if we are honest thirsting for God is not part of our day to day reality. One of the reasons that we are not as thirsty for God as we like is because we live in a culture that has an over abundant supply of seemingly refreshing streams. Granted none of them are as satisfying as God, yet it is hard to be thirsty for God when you are drunk on the culture. On second glance perhaps David’s thirst for God was not a self manufactured virtue but rather a response to the perfecting grace of God.


Notice the setting for this Psalm is in the wilderness of Judah. Most likely this was when David was fleeing for his life from his son Absalom (2 Samuel 15). Can you imagine David’s circumstances? He was the King of Israel and yet his own son was trying to overthrow his monarchy. He must have felt desperate and alone. Speaking of mixed emotions, he wanted to protect himself and his throne, but at the same time he did not want to harm his own child. Driven into the wilderness and deprived from all other sources of satisfaction the intensity of David’s thirst for God was magnified.


We are all thirsty for God, but it is difficult to recognize that desire outside of dire circumstances. If you are going through difficult times today, why not use this as an opportunity to draw nearer to God. For those who love Christ, remember that God will providentially use what harms you to help you (Romans 5:3-5,8:28). If you are not going through tough times today pray that God will grant you an increased desire for Him that your joy may be increased in Him. (Psalm 16:11).  



"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6, NKJV) 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Denying Ungodliness

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.  Titus 2:11-14 (NKJV)

Although Christians desire to live godly lives too often their behavior betrays their belief. Even the Apostle Paul admitted to struggling with living a righteous life. He stated in Romans 7:18-19 "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." The distinction that Paul made in Romans was that even after a person is made new in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) he still may struggle with what theologians call remaining sin (Rom. 5:20). Remaining sin is that part of unredeemed humanity referred to as the flesh that remains till death (Rom. 6:6). In Christ the believer is given the ability to overcome the weight of sin.

In Titus 2:11-14 Paul points to the key to living a godly life. It is the grace of God. It is God’s grace (unmerited favor) that grants salvation, and salvation does more than enable someone to enjoy the hereafter. God’s grace is powerful enough for the Christian to live a powerful godly life in this present age. The writer of Hebrews admonished us to “… come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV) Those who desire to live godly must develop a thirst for His grace and serve Him with the strength He provides (1 Peter 4:11).

John Newton captured this concept well and shared it with us in the third verse to Amazing Grace.

Through many dangers, toils and snares we have already come.

 T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far and Grace will lead us home.

Oh Father cause us to rely on your Grace now and forever more. Amen