In 1 Samuel 1-5 we find the corrupt sons of Eli, priests, unwilling to heed their father’s instructions. They cause the children of Israel to despise the sacrifices of the Lord. Then the Philistines slaughter the Israeli army and carry off the Ark of the Covenant. In the midst of all this God is still faithful to fulfill His will, keep His promises, and He providentially raises up Samuel to be a prophet and a priest.
Then, in chapters 6-10, Israel, who has never been satisfied with the leadership and awesome power of the Lord, desires an earthly king to rule over them. He had guided them out of bondage and into the Promised Land. He had set over them righteous representatives to lead them (Moses, Joshua, the Judges, and now Samuel), yet they continued to rebel. Now they want a king like the nations around them.
Let me posit this question, “Whose side are we on?” If not on the Lord’s side we are His enemy. But He will conquer and every enemy defeated (Matthew 11:30). “Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:9).
While we are often hard on the children of Israel maybe God is trying to get us to see our own nature. He has provided us with divine, kingly leadership in His Son. But that isn’t good enough for most people. He is King of kings and Lord of lords! Will you allow Him to rule your life. Here’s a test… have you and are you obedient to and subject to Him?
That transformation which occurs when one becomes a Christian is so remarkable. The apostle Paul emphasized this to those new Christians in Corinth. In his second letter to that church he spoke of all he was in Judaism before becoming a follower of Jesus. No one excelled his credentials, yet he gave it all up. He reminded them of this truth and then applied this transformation to all Christians. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
The old guilt of sin had passed away. Under that Old Testament law, every year there was that Day of Atonement (modern Jews call it Yom Kippur) when God remembered the nation’s sins, and His displeasure was “satisfied by the offering of animal sacrifices. It was a religion which easily created guilt for there was no real forgiveness. When one becomes a Christian God “remembers their sins no more” (Jer. 31:34).
What Has Become New? Under the New Testament all of this had changed. There is now freedom of choice. The old law was a yoke of bondage (Acts 15:10), but Jesus’ new law is easy and light (Matt. 11:30). There is now eternal forgiveness-God no longer remembers our sins because Christ has become our eternal, atoning sacrifice. There is now a new relationship with God-Jesus’ model prayer begins, “Our Father who is in heaven.” John said it this way, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God” (1 John3:).
What has become new? Paul’s answer is “all things have become new.”
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land'” Jeremiah 17:5-6).
My grandfather worked as a truck driver emptying salt water from oil tanks in west Texas. The water was hauled off and disposed so that the land would not be destroyed. One time, we drove through an area of land that looked like it had been bleached. I asked, “What happened here?” The reply: “A salt water spill.” Sometimes the salt water would leak out of the oil tanks. It left a barren patch of dirt on which nothing would grow killing everything
Jeremiah’s description of a person who trusts in mankind alone reminds me of these barren patches of land. The ultimate abode of a person who only trusts in the wisdom of man is isolation, loneliness, depression, and an empty life. It is when we trust in God first that life becomes a rich panorama of colorful seasons filled with fruit and gladness. God makes real fellowship with others possible. He is the basis upon which we have successful relationships with others. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 22:37-40). Let us be diligent to love God and to love our neighbor to reap the abundant life (John 10:10).
Someone said, “To err is human; to forget, routine.” Sometimes it is good to forget. God Himself forgets our sins when we repent of and turn from them. In Hebrews 8:12 God promises their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” It is healthy to forget and forgive what God forgets and forgives in myself and others. Tragically, some people are too forgetful, for they fail to remember what God commands us to never forget. Six hundred years before Christ, through the weeping prophet Jeremiah, God asked with a broken heart, “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, Or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.” People can, and often do, forget God. In 2 Timothy 2:8 the apostle Paul reminds Timothy to do what we would think no preacher, elder, or Christian would ever need to be reminded to do: “Remember Jesus Christ.” The Lord’s Supper itself is a memorial service designed to remind us every Lord’s Day of the awful price paid for our spiritual freedom. If not careful, we can forget what it is the memorial service itself is supposed to help us remember. Memorial Day to many means nothing more than a holiday celebrated the last Monday in May with picnics and hot dogs and cook-outs, the day that begins summer vacation season. But Memorial Day was originated to help us remember the service and sacrifice of dead servicemen and women of all wars. We must never forget that our physical and spiritual freedom have come at a high cost. At a Veteran’s Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1985, President Ronald Regan spoke words which have both patriotic and spiritual application: “It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray-haired. But most of them were boys when they died. They gave up two lives-the one they were living and the one they would have lived When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old up everything for their country, for us. All we can do Will men. is remember. Jesus up everything for gave us we remember?
Meekness does not mean weakness. Humility does not mean timidity. As Christians we need to remember that we have been adopted into a (the) royal family. We are children of the King. We are nobles!
Every Christian should live in such a way that their nobility is evident to the entire world. Timothy was “well reported of by the brethren” (Acts 16:2). In Philippi Paul and Silas conducted themselves with nobility. The Bereans “were more noble” then those in Thessalonica. And Paul stood proudly upon Mars’ Hill and proclaimed to the Athenians the one true and living God.
Are we living lives of nobility? Are we conducting ourselves as children of the King? How do we live noble lives? Believe on the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31) and on His word (Acts 16:32). Study the word (Acts 17:11) and stand boldly for the truth. Be the Lord, the kingdom, our neighbors, and our Be faithful and proud as a noble Christian!
Mothers of faith instill faith in their children and are praised by God for their godly service (2 Tim. 1:5). As we honor our mothers today, please notice some of the things with which a mother’s day ought to be filled.
A mother’s day is:
A day of joy. The day of giving birth to new life is a great day of joy and gladness (Jno. 16:21). Yet, even while motherhood brings joy it is also attended with sorrow. Mary, the mother of Jesus, had great sorrow as she witnessed her son Jesus being horribly mistreated (Lk. 2:34-35).
A day of love. Godly mothers seek the welfare of her children before herself. She “watches over the ways of her household” with love (Prov. 31:27). Blessed is the family whose mother wraps her children in the security of warm affection and constant care (Titus 2:4).
A day of instruction. Mothers are daily teachers of the next generation. Her words, values and character are instilled in the hearts and lives of her children. Mothers, be careful to teach your children “with wisdom” and the “law of kindness” (Prov. 31:26).
A day of devotion. Hannah devoted herself to giving her son Samuel to the Lord (1 Sam. 1:11, 22, 27-28). Your children will not be Christians by accident. Mothers, you have a tremendous part in the faith of your children. If you are not devoted to God it is unlikely your children will be. Set them a godly example every day. They will “rise up and call (you) blessed” (Prov. 31:28).
In Romans 12, Paul offers a number of short exhortations to his readers. The King James Version translates the first part of verse 11, “Not slothful in business.” The Christian should be diligent for his employer, but the context this verse has more to do with the business of the church.
We sing a song, “I want to be a worker for the Lord.” Do we mean those words when we sing them? Do we truly want to “be busy every day in the vineyard of the Lord, Of are we just giving lip service?
All disciples are to be actively engaged in the work of the Lord’s church. We should be busy making disciples Matthew 28:19), encouraging each other (Hebrews 10:24-25), and helping the needy (Galatians 6:10; James 1:27).
We do not always see the fruit of our labors, but we must not give up. If we are mocked or rejected or persecuted by those around us, we keep obeying God (1 Peter 2:19-20). The things we do in the name of the Lord are not done in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). May we never lag in diligence when it comes to the Lord’s work.
Forgiveness is more than just speaking the words. It must be sincere and from the heart. It must be patterned after the forgiveness God has granted to us. It must be accompanied by actions which befit true forgiveness.
Forgiveness involves a kind attitude all animosity and hatred. All bitterness, anger, abandoning – wrath, clamor and evil speaking should be put away (Eph. 4:31). We can hold no grudges. One must deny the impulse to get even and seek to do the forgiven one good.
Forgiveness involves forgetting (Heb. 8:12), but what does it mean to forget? It is impossible for a person to completely obliterate the wrong from his mind. Rather it means to not hold the person accountable for it anymore. When forgiveness is granted that should end the matter. It should never again be dredged up or held against the one who.
has been forgiven.
Forgiveness should be given by the “golden rule” (Matt. 7:12). One should always be willing to forgive– even at repeated offenses. Matthew 18:21-22 has the apostle Peter asking, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Excerpted from: The Tomb Was Found Empty, Wayne Jackson
Christ’s resurrection is attested by the empty tomb: the women found it empty; Peter and John found it empty; the angels said it was empty; the Roman guards terrifyingly declared it to be empty; the chief priests believed it was empty; the grave clothes were evidence that it was empty; and even modern skeptics reluctantly agree–it was found empty.
On resurrection Sunday, Jesus Christ was seen by: Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-10); by the other women (Matthew 28:9-10); by two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32); by Peter (Luke 24:34); by the apostles (with Thomas absent) gathered in the upper room (Luke 24:36 John 20:19).
Over the next 40 days (Acts 1:3; cf. 10:41; 13:31), the Lord was seen by the apostles (with Thomas present, John 20:26-31); by seven apostles at the Sea of Galilee (John 21); by his disciples in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20); by 500 brethren at once (1 Corinthians 15:6); by James (1 Corinthians 15:7); by those who saw him ascend to heaven (Acts 1:9-10); and “last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared unto me [Paul] also” (1 Corinthians 15:8; cf. Acts 9:3-7, 27).
Therefore, Peter preached Jesus Christ, “whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.. This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:24, 32).
In Deuteronomy 8:17, we read, “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.” Moses was speaking to the children of Israel about what would happen after they entered the land of Canaan and began to experience all the wonderful blessings that waited for them there. The temptation would be that they would begin to think that they earned these blessings because of their own righteousness. The next verse (18) says, “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Do we face the same temptation today?
Like the Israelites, we can sometimes forget that God is the One from whom all blessings flow, and we can begin to think that we have earned these blessings through our own righteousness. We should never forget Ephesians 2:8-9, “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.” Remember what Jesus said, “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty” (Luke 17:10). I am so thankful that Jesus always got it right, and that through Him I have my salvation. Now, I can put my faith and trust in Christ to save instead of my own ability. Doing this means that I will obey Jesus, and that His grace will cleanse me of my sin (1 John 1:2. Let’s remember the warning Moses gave the Israelites and never think to take credit for God’s gifts.