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Think On These Things, Issue #008
August 15, 2014
Think On These Things
A Bimonthly E-Zine of Bible Studies With Chris
Table of Contents
What's NewSince the last mailing, things have been extremely busy. This is what has been happening with appliedchristianstudies.com
God displayed His power in Egypt when He visited upon the nation ten plagues. In the great exodus as Israel was being pursued by the Egyptian army, God showed His might by parting the Red Sea allowing the Israelites to escape. He was with them in the wilderness providing food, shelter, and clothing as they wandered forty years. He cast out the inhabitant of Canaan to give the land to His people.
Through all that God had done for them, the children of Israel constantly questioned the ability of God. They complained that God led them out of Egypt only to kill them at the Red Sea. They complained that God led them into the wilderness only to die of starvation and thirst. They complained that God led them to Canaan only to fall to the Canaanites. Over and over again, they challenged God’s ability to get them through. The Psalmist wrote about the Israelites when he penned these words: “Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel” (Ps. 78.41; cf. vs. 19,20).
It is virtually impossible to count all the ways that Christians have been blessed. God has provided for His people so much that many times we fail to see His hand in it all. The things we take for granted, the rising of the sun in the morning, the food in our cupboards, even the air that we breathe all come from God.God has done so much for us. But then we call His power into question, and in our minds, limit what He is able to accomplish. In this economy we limit God’s ability as we wonder if God can truly provide the material needs of His children. We forget that “if God can so clothed the grass of the field…will He not much more clothe you…” (Matt. 5.30)? We put limits on God and say that God is unable to remove my sins. We forget that “He is able to save to the uttermost” (Heb. 7.25). We limit God’s power and say that no one can change a stubborn heart like mine. But we forget that we can become “a new man…created according to God” (Eph. 4.24).
God does have limitations. But those limitations come from what we impose upon Him. If we refuse His influence thinking that He cannot help, then He cannot help. God can only provide for those who are willing to reach out and accept the help that He offers. Do you put limits on God?
The Brave Christian
General McKenzie was in charge of the Navy when he went to see his colleague, General Marshal, who was in charge of the Army. They began to have a discussion on who had the bravest men. General McKenzie argued that the men who served under him in the Navy were the bravest in the entire armed forces. General Marshal disagrees saying that the Army had the bravest men in the armed forces.
General McKenzie, not content to merely accept General Marshal’s word on it challenged him to prove that his men are the bravest. So General Marshal called one of his soldiers and said, “Private Johnson, go stand in front of that tank and try to stop it with your body.” The young soldier protested, “Are you crazy? There’s no way I’m gonna stand in front of that tank. It would kill me!” And he stormed off. General Marshal then turned to General McKenzie and said, “You see, you’d have to be pretty brave to talk to a General that way.”
Being a Christian takes bravery. Peter showed incredible bravery when he spoke up to those in authority saying, “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5.29). Remember that “the cowardly…shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone...” (Rev. 21.8). Will you be brave enough to live the life of a Christian in spite of the challenges and difficulties you may face?
The Enemies of God
The enemies of God are not content to humiliate or ridicule the people of God. It is their intention to destroy them. Nothing would make God’s enemies happier than to rid the world of those who stand for righteousness and proclaim the way of God through their word and their lives. Psalm 83 contains a plea to God to not allow the way of the wicked to prosper. VERSE 1: "Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, And do not be still, O God!" Contained within this descriptive psalm is the nature of the enemies of God.
The enemies of God “…make a tumult…” (Ps. 83.2). Those opposed to God and His ways are often vocal. From making appearances on the news speaking out for a woman’s right to abortion to marching on the streets promoting the gay and lesbian lifestyle, God’s enemies create quite a stir.
The enemies of God “…have lifted up their head…” (Ps. 83.2). With great arrogance and pride, the enemies of God are confident in their position. Their self-righteousness is clearly evident believing that their way is a way of peace and love while calling the people of God close-minded and prudish (Luke 18.9ff).
The enemies of God have taken “…crafty council…and consulted together…they form a confederacy…” (Ps. 83.3-5). In the days of the psalmist it was the Assyrians, Edomites, and Moabites. In the days of Jesus it was the Pharisees, Sadducees, and chief priests. Today it is the gay rights movement, the abortion rights activists, and the New Age Movement. The enemies of God form groups and conspire together to overthrow the ideology of the New Testament.
The enemies of God will be “…confounded and dismayed forever…” (Ps. 83.13-18). It may seem that there is initial success in their cause, yet the enemies of God will never overcome and eliminate the ways of God. With the righteous living among the world we are confident that “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Pet. 2.9).
The enemies of God surround the righteous and seek to destroy all that is good in the name of self-promotion and self-gratification. But if the world sees us as their enemy, then we must be doing something right (John 15.18,19).
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