Redeeming Time

Ephesians 5:15-16

New King James Version (NKJV)

Walk in Wisdom

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

This incisive expression—“redeeming the time”—occurs also in Colossians 4:5: “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” The Greek word for “redeem” means to “buy back,” to “ransom,” or even to “rescue.” That is, time is a very valuable asset, in danger of being lost forever unless it is rescued or redeemed.

As a matter of fact, time is just about the most valuable asset we have. If we squander our money or lose our health, there is always the possibility of earning more money or being restored to health, but wasted time is gone forever. In our text, those who are wise redeem the time, whereas those who are fools waste or misuse it. The word in the original for “circumspectly” is translated “diligently” in Matthew 2:7. The text thus indicates that those who redeem the time are walking diligently; the parallel passage in Colossians 4:5 says they are walking in wisdom. The time God gives us, therefore, should be used both carefully and diligently.

The marvelous passage in the 139th Psalm which describes the growth of the human embryo concludes with a remarkable declaration: “In thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). The words “my members” are not in the original, and “in continuance” is actually the Hebrew word for “days.” Thus, the verse is really telling us that all of our days were written in God’s book even before we were conceived. Each day of our lives is vitally important in the plan of God.

“So,” as Moses prayed to the Lord, “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). HMM

From:  Daily Praise

Wisdom

Proverbs 2:1-7

A growing number of people in our world fail to seek God for His wisdom. Instead, they strive to satisfy their passions and desires without regard to their futures or to the consequences of their decisions.

This is a spiritually dangerous way to live. When we try to live apart from the counsel of God’s wisdom, we suffer disillusionment, fear, doubt, worry, and frustration. Our lives fall apart when we do not involve the Savior in our decisions.

The wisest approach to life’s challenges is to seek God for His plan, direction, and spiritual insight. But how can we do that? The next time you face a challenge or an important decision, seek God’s wisdom by doing the following:

• Seek Him—If you want to know God’s heart on a given issue or when you have to make a difficult decision, ask Him. Take time to pray—but in your times of prayer, don’t do all the talking. Listen for God’s still, small voice whispering His words of guidance and encouragement to you.

• Meditate on God’s Word—You will gain insight into God’s mind and heart by studying Scripture and meditating on its truth. Difficult decisions become easier to make when God is the One guiding you.

• Obey the principles of Scripture—When you set your heart on obeying God, He will teach you how to apply His truth in your life. Then you will know the way of wisdom.

• Observe the faithfulness of God—The Lord has never failed to keep a single promise He has made. The Bible is full of testimonies that celebrate His goodness and love. Learn to claim His promises as you read His Word.

• Heed godly counsel—God can use a pastor or trusted Christian friend to help you see beyond your weaknesses. Don’t hesitate to share your needs and fears with those who love the Lord and you.

• Associate with wise people—Choose your friends wisely. Include God in every relationship, and you will establish a strong, godly base of counselors to support you in making wise decisions.

Because God loves us, we have no need to worry about the future. He has a plan, not only for our lives, but also for every problem we face. Oswald Chambers said, “All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.” Take time today to renew your trust in God and His ability to provide the wisdom you need.

Broken Cisterns

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)

Nearly 27 centuries ago, the prophet Jeremiah delivered God’s message of pending judgment to the nation of Judah. Some 150 years prior to Jeremiah’s ministry, Judah’s northern neighbor, the nation of Israel, had been taken captive by Assyria. Both nations had capitulated broadly to idolatry. Although Judah had experienced earlier periods of revival, with the death of faithful King Josiah it became a pagan nation, falling into gross immorality, open political corruption, and a deplorable form of cultic Baal idolatry.

God’s Comparison

It is a bit difficult for us to understand the significance of the holy anger expressed by the Lord through Jeremiah toward the nation of Judah. Part of that difficultly lies in our unfamiliarity with the use of “cisterns”— particularly as God identifies Himself as a “fountain of living waters” and condemns the pathetic attempt of the nation to build “broken cisterns” to replace the “living waters” supplied by Jehovah.

Most of us will remember the Lord Jesus’ interchange with the Samaritan woman recorded in chapter four of John’s gospel. She had come to draw water out of a public well—Jacob’s well in this case—that was very similar in construction to the cisterns of antiquity, which were pits dug around a ground spring (living water) or an underground water table, then enlarged and plastered to hold a significant quantity of water. Most villages and nearly all cities had such a cistern that was maintained by the responsible government of the area and made available to the local citizens.

Some private homeowners built private cisterns, usually on the top of their houses, that were used to catch rainwater or to conveniently store enough for household needs. These private cisterns were rarely used for drinking water since they could easily be contaminated. But the “government cisterns” were constantly cleaned and routinely purged to provide fresh “living water” for the population.

The Samaritan woman came to the well to draw the water she needed to live. Jesus told her that He could give her “living water”—an internal spring of water—that would provide eternal life (John 4:11-14; compare John 7:38). That is the sense in which the Lord told Jeremiah that the people of Judah had forsaken the “fountain of living waters” and were attempting to construct “cisterns” that would not, and indeed, could not, hold any of the eternal water that came only from God. Any cistern we create for ourselves will be a broken cistern.

Rabshakeh’s Taunt

Earlier, during the reign of Hezekiah, Sennacherib of Assyria sent his army under General Rabshakeh to threaten the nation of Judah. Hezekiah—a rare faithful king like Josiah—had recently completed the construction of an underground water tunnel to carry a large stream of “living water” into Jerusalem. He “stopped the water outlet of Upper Gihon, and brought the water by tunnel to the west side of the City of David” (2 Chronicles 32:30) and “made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool” (Isaiah 22:11).

Thus, the city of Jerusalem was given a secure and sanitary source of fresh water for the needs of its population, and was prepared for an Assyrian siege should it come. And come it did as the huge army under Rabshakeh arrived on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The city quickly buttoned up to prepare for war, and Hezekiah sent out an envoy of his key counselors to meet with Rabshakeh and attempt to stave off a debilitating siege and a likely carnage.

Rabshakeh would have no parley. Brazenly, he strode to within shouting distance of the wall of Jerusalem (which was lined with the citizenry) and taunted them to forget the provisions of Hezekiah and Hezekiah’s God. That speech promised the population of Jerusalem that if they would give up control to Assyria, pay tribute to Sennacherib, and worship the much more powerful gods of Assyria, they (the citizens of Jerusalem) would enjoy the benefits of a peaceful relationship with the greatest nation on Earth.

“Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern.’” (2 Kings 18:31)

Revival Came with Judah’s Refusal

Fortunately, King Hezekiah and the nation of Judah listened to God’s prophet Isaiah and refused the bluster and false promises of Rabshakeh. They trusted in the direction and counsel of God and His personal promise of protection given through Isaiah. And God delivered.

“Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: ‘He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,’ Says the LORD. ‘For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’” And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. (2 Kings 19:32-35)

Broken Cisterns

Some things are fairly obvious. Anything that we do that forsakes the living waters provided by the God of creation will fail. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). All “other gospels,” no matter where or how they come, are to be totally rejected (Galatians 1:8-9). Most evangelicals enthusiastically embrace an exclusive gospel that is only provided by the grace of God given through the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary and gloriously demonstrated as effective by the physical resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth—the risen Christ is living proof of His victory!

But not all do so. There are “broken cisterns” being built in seminaries and departments of religion in universities across our land. These man-made cisterns appear to hold water but they leak because their foundations are not built on the Word of God. Some teach a universal salvation—the belief that ultimately all will be saved because God is good and would not eternally punish His creation with an eternal hell. Others promote a cooperative relationship whereby we maintain our salvation by good works and a careful adherence to certain systems and sacraments. Still others propose that salvation is ushered in as mankind becomes more “godlike”—that humanity will ultimately embrace the best of all religions and philosophies, becoming “one” with that which offends no one. These various kinds of theology have one thing in common: They each turn their back on the authority of God’s Word and the efficacy of His gospel. May God rebuke those who teach them.

Slow-Leaking Cisterns

There are, however, more subtle breaks than these in the cisterns that men construct to store the “living water” of our great God. As we mature in our relationship with the Lord, much of our faith is dependent on our trust in the accuracy and authority of His revealed Word. The very first sin was brought about through the manipulation of Eve by the Adversary, who deceived her into doubting what God had said. This then led her to entertain the thought that God either could not or would not do as He said He would, and finally to suspect the very character and nature of God, and even ascribe malicious and self-serving deception to the Creator in His instructions for His creation.

Many times in the New Testament we are warned not to fall into the same trap of the “broken cisterns” of man-made philosophy.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked. (2 Peter 3:17)

At the foundation of all false doctrine is the rejection of who God is. The classic overview that our Lord gave to the apostle Paul recorded in Romans 1:18-25 should be sufficient to focus our minds and hearts on the ultimate problem with “broken cisterns.” This passage makes clear that who and what God has done is observable to everyone by “the things that are made.” When anyone rejects that knowledge, there is no longer any excuse. Once the “living water” is rejected—whether by a nation, an organization, or by an individual—any man-made cistern is insufficient to hold the great truths of the Creator because that cistern exchanges “the truth of God for the lie” and sets up a man-made device that worships “the creature rather than the Creator.” The Scriptures are clear! “Living water” comes from God alone. Any cistern that we manufacture from our own knowledge or capabilities will always be broken.

* Dr. Morris is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Henry Morris III, D.Min. 2014. Broken Cisterns. Acts & Facts. 43 (5).

Waiting …..

“Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:4)

Within a week of His approaching death, Christ sat down with His disciples to talk of the future. He would be leaving, terrible persecution would come, but He would return. Purposefully, no date was given. Their curiosity was no doubt great, but Christ had other charges for them. Instead, Christ focused on other issues, and His instructions apply to us just as surely as to the disciples.

Whether things are going well or not, we must not be misled into a false sense of security. The disciples were looking at the beautiful and serene temple and grounds, but Christ predicted unprecedented destruction. “There shall not be left one stone upon another” (v. 2).

Nor should we allow ourselves to be deceived by false prophets (vv. 5-6). Scripture gives ample information to allow us to identify and shun these “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” But to our shame, false teachings permeate our churches and television airwaves.

Furthermore, when natural calamities and world turmoil cascade in on us (vv. 7-8), we must not be frozen with fear. These things must come (v. 7). Persecution must come also (vv. 9-12). We must not allow ourselves to be intimidated in our witness or tripped up by bitterness.

Instead, we must “endure” and remain loyal to Him (v. 13). We must be at work to spread the gospel to all nations (v. 10) in spite of the opposition. And, “take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is” (v. 33).

As the events in the Middle East escalate and take on a character which could lead to the sort of conflagration Jesus prophesied, let us commit ourselves to the attitude of heart and life He commanded. JDM

From:  Daily Praise

Specific Creation

“All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.” (1 Corinthians 15:39)

The doctrine of special creation means that creation took place by supernatural processes and that each created entity was specifically planned and formed by God. This doctrine is clearly taught in the Genesis record, where the phrase “after his kind” is used no less than ten times in the very first chapter.

One such remarkable reference is found here in 1 Corinthians 15:37-44. The distinctiveness of several major realms of creation is set forth as follows:
Botanical: “God giveth . . . to every seed his own body” (v. 38).
 Zoological: “All flesh is not the same flesh” (our text).
 Physical: “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another” (v. 40). Thus, although all celestial bodies may be made of the same basic chemical elements, planet Earth is unique in its complexity and purpose.

Astral: “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory” (v. 41). Even among the celestial bodies, each star is unique.

 Spiritual: “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (v. 44). The Scriptures indicate that although they are genuinely physical bodies, they will one day be supernatural bodies, not controlled by the present force systems of nature.

God has a noble purpose for each created system, and He has specially designed each for that purpose. Although He has made ample provision for “horizontal” changes within the system, never can one evolve “vertically” into a more complex system. HMM  From:  Days of Praise

The Open Door

Just because an opportunity presents itself, and it looks appealing, doesn’t necessarily mean it is from God. And likewise, just because an open door looks a little uncertain, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t walk through it.

The key is knowing how to discern if an opportunity is really an open door from God. I don’t want to miss those open doors because I was afraid to walk through them. But I also don’t want to take every opportunity that comes along, assuming it is from God’s hand and has his blessings attached.

In a recent conversation with a friend we talked about the faith and courage to walk through a door that God is holding open for us, even if we’re not exactly sure of what’s on the other side. But then the question came up: How can you tell if God is the one opening the door?

The Bible gives us some principles to help us discern if an “open door” or opportunity is really from God:

1. The Door that God Opens Will Never Contradict His Word

Many Christians see opportunities to make more money as an open door from God, even though the opportunity means a job that will keep them from regular fellowship or service in their church. However, God’s Word tells us not to neglect meeting together for worship (Hebrews 10:25). Some women have told me that they believe God opened a door to a dating relationship for them, even though it meant being in a situation where they were “unequally yoked” with an unbeliever, which Scripture also warns against (2 Corinthians 6:14). God will not lead you toward an opportunity that contradicts what he clearly says in his Word. Nor will he open a door that would require personal compromise or disobedience in order for you to enter. As humans prone to sin, we have an excellent way of turning a clear mandate of God’s completely around and justifying it by our circumstances, but that is not how God works. If there is a compromise in any way, or we have to bend Scripture to justify our “open door” then it is likely not a door that God is opening for us. I would call anything that contradicts his Word a temptation, rather than an open door from God. And God’s Word clearly says that God does not tempt us (James 1:13-14).

2. The Door that God Opens Will be Accompanied by Confirmation 

In Matthew 18:15-16, Jesus laid out instructions for confronting sin among believers saying “But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses’.” I believe the same applies when it comes to God confirming something in his Word. He will often confirm or establish a matter by “two or three witnesses” whether they be verses from the Word of God, advice from a pastor or well-respected person who is grounded in Scripture, or a non-compromising circumstance that continues to present itself. Through prayer, discernment and seeking godly counsel, you should be able to tell if that “open door” and its confirmations are truly coming from God.

3. The Door God Opens Will Require You to Depend on Him

God is not going to give us something that will alienate us from him or make us believe we no longer need him. He is a God of relationship, and a God who insists upon being first in our lives (Matthew 6:33). Therefore, if you find yourself saying “I can’t do this unless God goes before me,” or “I can do this, but only with God’s help and leading” I would say, in my personal experience, it’s likely something God is calling you to do. Hebrews 11:6 says: “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.” Many times an “open door” from God is one that allows our faith to be stretched and strengthened. That, after all, is God’s objective for us: to grow in faith and Christ-likeness.

Take your opportunity or “open door” to God and ask for his confirmation – through his Word and godly counsel from others – and his peace in the decision, and you can have the assurance that you aren’t just choosing a door at random, but you’re carefully walking through the ones he wants you to enter.

Cindi McMenamin is a Bible teacher, national speaker and author of several books, including When Women Walk Alone, When Couples Walk Together, and God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart. For more on her books, ministry, or free resources to strengthen your soul or marriage, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com.

We are brothers

Pope Francis sent a video message to a gathering of U.S. Pentecostal leaders, voicing his “yearning” that separation between Catholics and other Christians may end.

As log as the Pope kiss stone and wood and call it holy, he can never be called my brother.

As long as the Pope kiss stone and wood and call it holy, he can never be called my brother.

“We have a lot of cultural riches and religious riches. And we have diverse traditions,” he said. “But we have to encounter one another as brothers.”

“Let’s give each other a spiritual embrace and let God complete the work that He has begun,” he said, adding that “the miracle of unity has begun.”

The Pope quoted a character from Alessandro Manzoni’s novel “The Betrothed,” who says “I’ve never seen God begin a miracle without Him finishing it well.”

“He will complete this miracle of unity,” the Pope emphasized.

Pope Francis’ message was delivered to a meeting of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Kenneth Copeland Ministries by Pentecostal Bishop Tony Palmer, who had recorded it on an iPhone in a Jan. 14 meeting. Palmer knew the Pope from his time in Argentina when the pontiff was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. The video was later uploaded to YouTube.

Source: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

My comment:

Since Paul the Apostles warns us about “different” Jesus being presented to us, we can not automatically accept this invitation from the papacy.

Let us start with looking at the possibility that Jesus of the Bible and the “Jesus of the popes” are different.

1. Jesus of the Bible is the only mediator between God and man.  You shall simply not go through others, but communicate with Him, only.

“Jesus” of Rome disagree. He is is need of his mom, to be able to fully catch all the prayers.  And a couple of thousands other “saints” and Roman Catholic “madonna’s”.

As they communicate back from outer space: “Houston, we have a problem”.

2. Jesus of the Bible explains that God is spirit, and the true worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

“Jesus” of Rome disagree. True worshipers must worship in flesh, and in the presence of idols made by stones or wood. If there is no idol present in the room, Roman Catholics do simply do not know what to do. They have been told that this simply can not be a “Church”.

3, Jesus of the Bible explains that the Holy Spirit is His replacement on Earth.

Jesus” of Rome has no idea of this exclusivity of the Holy Spirit, but can only work perfectly through the Papacy. The Bishop of Rome has to be the head of the Church, if a perfect relationship with God and men shall be establish.

So the message back to the Pope is. Repent, and take a stand against all your blasphemies and sins. Then come back and show me fruits of repentance.

Written by Ivar

U R G E N T  :  Prophecy Alert

Nations that forget God

“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17)

The subject of hell is widely ignored today, even by evangelical teachers and pastors. Heaven is commonly mentioned at funerals, of course, since almost everyone attending a funeral wants to think that the deceased has gone there (assuming there turns out to be such a place). Hell is rarely acknowledged as even a possibility, on the other hand, even for mobsters or other criminals.

Nevertheless, hell is real and it is going to be more fully populated than heaven. The Lord Jesus said (and He should know!), “Broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: . . . narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

But just who are the “wicked” that will be turned into hell? According to the Bible, “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), and “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). By the principle of Hebrew poetic parallelism, our text would indicate that “the wicked” are those who “forget God,” where the connotation of “forget” is “become oblivious to.”

Can whole nations become oblivious to the true God of creation—and do business and legislate and conduct all their affairs just as though God no longer existed? If so, those nations (or at least those citizens of those nations who practice such wickedness) are in mortal danger. “Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross” (Psalm 119:119).

But “Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6) and “blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12). We who trust Christ therefore surely need to work and pray earnestly for our nation, and its people, that they return to genuine love of God and His Word. HMM

From Daily Praise

Mist of grey…

“Be still and rest in the Lord: wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.”

Psalm 37: 7  Amplified Bible

Fret Not Thyself

“Far in the future

Lieth a fear,

Like a long, low mist of grey,

Gathering to fall in dreary rain;

Thus doth thy heart within thee complain;

And even now thou art afraid, for round thy dwelling

The flying winds are ever telling

Of the fear that lieth grey

Like a gloom of brooding mist upon the way.

 

But the Lord is always kind;

Be not blind,

Be not blind,

To the shining of His face,

To the comforts of His grace.

Hath He ever failed thee yet

Oh, fret not thyself, nor let

Thy heart be troubled,

Neither let it be afraid.”

—Amy Carmichael

In Toward Jerusalem

The Perfections of God

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

 Since God is Creator of the universe, all that He does is right, and all He says is truth, by definition. The world He created was perfect; the Word He inscripturated is perfect; every work He accomplishes is perfect; all the ways He follows are perfect, and the will He reveals is perfect.
His perfect world: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Of course, because of sin, the creation is now groaning in pain, but it was perfect as it came from God in the beginning. It will again be perfect in the ages to come, when God makes “all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

His perfect Word: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7). God has given us His inspired Word, providing perfect guidance for every need, “that the man of God may be perfect” (2 Timothy 3:17).

His perfect works: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). Not only His work in creation but also His works of redemption and reconciliation—all His works throughout history.

 His perfect ways: “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him” (Psalm 18:30). His ways may not be our ways (Isaiah 55:9), but always, they are the best ways.
His perfect will: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that . . . perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). His will is invariably right.
Thus God is our standard of perfection, and we must never set a lower standard for ourselves. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (our text). HMM
From:  Daily Praise