Devotional – 200 Million Reasons to Believe

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“The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand.” Revelation 9:16a ESV

2 x 10,000 x 10,000 = 200 Million. A 200 million man army?! For centuries it was virtually impossible to envision that a prophesy of an army 200 million strong could ever be fulfilled literally.

It would be silly to think such an army was possible. It would be silly to read this verse literally. It would be silly not to spiritualize this verse and think it means something other than what it clearly says!

Actually it’s never silly to believe what God clearly says. While such an army seemed impossible in the past, such an army isn’t all too difficult to envision today. With a population of 1.4 billion China could field such an army. With 1.28 billion it is also conceivable India could field an army 200 million strong.

Hebrews reminds us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 KJV.

When prior generations read Revelation 9:16 it required faith to believe what God said. Why? because there was no evidence such an army was even possible! One had to have faith to believe it! Today a simple Google search quickly reveals how plausible a 200 million man army is.

Are you struggling to believe certain portions of God’s Word? Are you struggling to believe what God says in His book? If so, it is necessary to have faith. Faith that God always speaks the truth… even when there is no visible evidence of that truth. For without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

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Credit:
Population statistics http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/ Accessed August 15, 2015.

Editorial note:
Originally published August 16, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – The Pathway of Integrity

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Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways. Proverbs 28:6 ESV

Not all who are rich are dishonest.
Not all who are poor walk in integrity.
However, all who walk with integrity possess something far better than silver or gold.

While there is nothing wrong with wealth per se, the desire to gain and retain wealth has lead many to compromise their integrity.

Our desire to maintain our integrity should always trump our desire to be rich. We must be vigilant. We must be on guard, because the temptation to compromise will come. When it does will you stand the test? Or will you succumb to the temptation to sacrifice your principles to the idol of materialism?

Integrity means nothing until it costs something. Are you willing to forego the riches of this world if the pathway to those riches is crooked? “By faith Moses… considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” Hebrews 11:24,26 ESV.

Integrity ‘cost’ Moses the treasures of Egypt.

What ‘cost’ are you willing to pay to walk the pathway of integrity?

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Editorial note: Originally published August 10, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Are You In God’s Hall of Faith?

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By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God. Hebrews 11:3 ESV

Hebrews 11 is God’s Hall of Faith… the names of Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, David and many others who lived triumphant lives of faith are there.

Did you know you are also listed in God’s great Hall of Faith?
You are… if by faith you ‘understand that the universe was created by the word of God.’

Today, the world’s elite scoff at the idea of a creator God. Our high schools and universities furiously reject any notion of the Lord creating the heavens and the earth.

Have you ever been laughed at or ridiculed for your faith in the Creator of the universe? Take heart for you are not alone! Hebrews 11 goes on to tell of “others” who “suffered mocking… and… were… afflicted, mistreated.”

God did not overlook their faith… He will not overlook your faith either!

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Editorial note: Originally published May 21, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

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Jottings – Leaving The Throne Of Grace?

People sometimes say when wishing to pray, 'Let us come to the throne of grace.' In answer to such an invitation I can only say, I hope we have not left it.

Commenting on Hebrews 4:16:
People sometimes say when wishing to pray, “Let us come to the throne of grace.” In answer to such an invitation I can only say, I hope we have not left it.

 

Stoney, James B. “Readings On The Book of Hebrews.” Food For The Flock. 1878 ed. Vol. 5. London: W. B. Horner, 1878. Page 96. Accessed online in PDF format on Oct. 22, 2014 here: http://www.martin-arhelger.de/brethrenmagazines.htm

 

 

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Jottings – Growing Into the Likeness of Christ

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Commenting on Hebrews 11:1-40 ~ “…Let us beware of the danger of merely intellectually admiring the beauties of a chapter like this. We must not be satisfied with admiration of that which is given us to feed upon, and, while intelligence is much to be desired in reading God’s word, it must ever be accompanied with hearing and obeying its loving voice, if we would grow up into the likeness of Christ. ‘As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.'”

 

A.T. Schofield, “A Few Thoughts On Hebrews 11,” in The Bible Treasury, Vol. 12, accessed electronically on 8/28/14 here: http://stempublishing.com/magazines/bt/BT12/1879_231_Hebrews11.html

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Jottings – The Full Height of New Testament Christian Worship

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Commenting on Psalm 28:2 KJV “‘Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I life up my hands toward Thy holy oracle.’ And now we get a suggestion here of the difference between Old Testament worship and New Testament worship. The Old Testament saint knew nothing of what you and I through grace should know and understand. In all of the Old Testament dispensation God was hidden behind a heavy veil. He dwelt in the thick darkness and only the high priest could push that aside and enter once a year, bearing the blood of atonement. But now it is altogether different. The Old Testament saint said, ‘I lift up my hands toward Thy holy oracle.’ But what about the New Testament saint? Look at Hebrews 10:19-22 KJV and see how different our position is, ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water,’ or with ‘the water of purification,’ referring to the nineteenth chapter of Numbers, undoubtedly. Look at the difference. The Old Testament saint was truly a child of God, truly forgiven, but he knew nothing of immediate access into the holiest because the veil was not yet rent. The precious blood of Christ had not yet been shed, and so these Psalms do not rise to the full height of New Testament worship. That is why we need to be careful when we try to use [the Pslams] as vehicles of Christian praise, testimony, and adoration. The tone of worship never rises to the New Testament heights until we enter into the holiest through the value of the precious blood of Jesus. The Old Testament saint says, ‘I lift up my hands toward Thy holy oracle.’ Suppose I were to try to sing that today. I will not do anything of the kind. The oracle was the holiest of all. I belong in the holiest of all. I enter, in all the infinite value of the precious atoning blood of Christ. On the other hand, a great many of the Psalms are beautiful expressions of praise and worship, but they all reach just a certain height. You get the full height of Christian worship in the Revelation where we read, ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever’ (Rev. 1:5-6 KJV). I wish I could write music. I would like to write an anthem on those words, for that is what we are going to sing in Heaven”

 

Harry Ironside, Psalms. (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers; 1952), pp. 169-170.

 

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1 Corinthians 3:1-3 – Growing Up & Maturing

 

 

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 KJV

 

Last week we discussed the fact that many Christians are baby christians.

I have taken another week to look at the topic in a bit more detail. The reason being that God does not want us to remain as ‘baby christians’ but He wants us to grow and make progress in our Christian faith. We cross refer in the session to Ephesians 4, Hebrews 5 and 1 Peter 2 to draw some lessons so keep your bible handy.

If you are like me you might feel that this week is a bit like a personal stocktaking and review. I believe that it is good to stop and consider where we are in our walk with God from time to time.

 

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This is the 20th video in a series of teaching videos on the book of First Corinthians.

Jump back to the first video in this series…

Jump to the next video in this series…

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Jottings – God’s Rest

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Speaking on the “rest” of Hebrews 4:1-11:

 

“God can only rest in that which satisfies His love and holiness. God’s rest will be reached when God’s love has fulfilled all His mind for those He loves. When righteousness is established, and sorrow and sighing flee away, God will “rest in His love” (Zephaniah 3: 17). “Holiness cannot rest where sin is; love cannot rest where sorrow is” (J.N.D.).”

Hamilton Smith, Hebrews, electronic ed.

 

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Jottings – The Priesthood of Christ

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Regarding Hebrews 4:11-16: “If the Word of God has full play in our understandings and consciences we shall become very conscious of our own insufficiency, and our weakness in the pilgrim way. How delightful then to turn to the second thing brought before us here — the priesthood of Christ.”

F.B. Hole, Hebrews, electronic ed.

 

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NT Tuesday: Exhort [encourage] One Another

Large crowd of peopleLast week I explained why I thought that the “one another” verses in the New Testament ought to be considered a New Testament principle. Simply put, principles should change our practice – it’s that simple. If we are going to adhere to New Testament principles, than our lives (not just our meetings, but our individual lives) ought to look much, much different than the world.

Last week we looked at “pray for one another” and “confess our sins to one another”. This week we will look at “exhort one another.” The verses are found in Hebrews 3:12-13 “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

A couple things are really interesting as you meditate on this verse. First, if we are going to exhort one another (or encourage, if you feel more comfortable with that word) every day (EVERY DAY!), that presupposes a close state of fellowship. How often do you go from Sunday to Wednesday and then Wednesday to Sunday never seeing or hearing from a member of the local Body? I hope the answer is NOT often. (Thankfully, and mostly because of my amazingly hospitable wife and the blessing of owning a business where I employ members of the local body, I NEVER go through a week without some form of fellowship with a member of the local body on a daily basis!) Now, one might ask “How does that happen?” And the answer is “Not by accident.” You have to plan on investing in the lives of the Lord’s people – through visitation, phone calls, text messages, emails, etc.

Secondly, we also see the necessity of this. Exhortation or encouragement from another believer is a spiritual vitamin! There is so much emphasis on taking care of our physical bodies that it seems that people are so busy juicing, training for races, dieting, fasting, etc. that they have no time for the Lord’s people! The Lord Jesus said to Peter “feed my sheep” and He wasn’t talking about organic grass, He was talking about feeding their spirit.

Ask yourself – today, have you spent more time ministering to your own physical body than you have to the Lord Jesus’s Body?

A person cannot encourage or exhort his fellow brothers and sisters without entering into close fellowship and without faithfully attending the meetings of the local assembly. Hebrews 10:24-25 provides a similar command as the one we are looking at in Hebrews 3.

We cannot live our lives in a bubble – we ought not to be isolated from a lost and dying world that needs to hear about God’s Gospel according to His Son, nor can we live separated from our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we are going to be obedient to the Word of God and truly encourage and exhort one another every day, then we must live purposefully, fixed on that goal, we must allow other Christians to exhort us, and stop blaming the elders for not doing the job – this proves that the New Testament principle of relating to one another is not an “elder” thing – it’s a believer thing.

Until next week – fulfill your ministry!

 

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Photo credit: Public Domain

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