Search

Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

Category

Bible

Just a Thought

If we are patient to do God’s will, He will take our weakness and give us His strength


Isaiah 40:31 

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Just a Thought

God doesn’t give us a blank check for superhuman strength to do whatever WE want, but He will always provide what we need to do what HE wants.


Philippians 4:13 

 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Just a Thought

Brothers and Sisters, we are NOT required to roll over in the face of the wolves.


Jude 3 

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Now May Be Such a Time As This

 

Esther 4.14.JPG

 

Esther 4:14

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Most of us are familiar with the story of Esther, but we will recap just briefly here to provide some background for our Devotion. Our text for today’s Devotion is Esther Chapter 4. 

Due to circumstances in the Palace, Esther had managed to get herself married to the King of Persia, Ahasuerus. Readers may recall that at this time, the Jews were in bondage to the Persian Empire.  This story takes place towards the end of the bondage when a large number of Jews had been allowed to return to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding the Temple there. It takes place around the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Esther was a Jewish woman. She also had a cousin Mordecai who had basically raised her into adulthood. Mordecai was obviously Jewish and an official in the King’s government. During the course of time, Mordecai had managed to offend the most powerful man in the Kingdom other than the King himself, a man named Haaman. Haaman was so deeply offended and angry that he tricked King Ahasuerus into issuing a decree ordering all of the Jews in the kingdom to be killed.

Of course, Mordecai was alarmed when he heard of the decree and he right away sent a message to his cousin Queen Esther pleading with her to go see the King and get this order stopped.  Esther had a problem, however; people just could not drop in uninvited to see the King. Doing so was very likely to result in the death of the visitor; the king was entitled by law to have anyone approaching him whom he did not call put to death. Needless to say, this concerned Esther greatly; she sent a message back to Mordecai saying basically: “Hey I can’t do that! I might get killed!”

Mordecai pointed out some important things in his answer to Esther.

  • She and her family would be killed anyway. The death order was for all of the Jews
  • If you don’t do it, God will find somebody else to do it if that is His plan; God will accomplish His plan
  • What if you specifically were put into the palace just to be ready and standing by “for such a time as this?”

Now we get to the meaning of this in our own lives. Few would doubt that today we are living in “such a time as this.” Nobody, at least in this country, is ordering that all Christians be killed. Sadly, that is not the case everywhere. Even in our own country, the environment in which we live is growing dangerous. Our society is degenerating around us. Sin and immorality are running rampant. The family as we know it is under assault from everything to no-fault divorce to the legalization of gay marriage. In some of our schools, our children are not even allowed to pray or read their Bibles.

To speak the truth about certain issues is considered hate speech; if one speaks in support of Biblical marriage it is considered hateful and bigoted. To even share the gospel with a person and tell them Jesus is the only way to God is considered hateful and exclusionary of other “religions.”

It is a dangerous time. People can be publicly admonished and humiliated. Christian activities are sued and threatened with legal action. People have even lost their jobs simply for expressing what they believe the Bible teaches.

Many Christians are remaining silent, and are not willing to speak the truth in this culture we live in. We look around us, see what has happened to others, and become unwilling to speak out with the truth.  We fear what will happen to us; we fear the repercussions of our actions. Does that sound familiar? Esther faced a similar dilemma in our Bible story. In her case it all ended well, as Haaman’s terrible plan was stopped; Esther became willing to step out on faith and speak up in a dangerous environment.  What about us?

  • The decay of society is going to affect us all, whether we speak up or not. Remaining silent certainly will not stop it. Speaking the truth in love is the only way to stop it. If we do not speak, the changes will still affect us in the end.
  • If it is God’s plan for a certain thing to stop, it will stop through us or someone else.
  • What if we have been specifically called and placed in a particular situation? What if we are the person God has placed in a certain time or place for “Such a time as this?”

We can learn much from Esther’s actions in the situation she faced. What we face today in our society is quite similar. If we face such a situation, perhaps we need to consider that we are God’s chosen way to deal with it. Perhaps we are His planned agent for change. We may or may not know if we are or not. God will, however, protect us and keep us safe if we step out and speak the truth in love to a world that is dying around us.

Why are You Standing There Staring?

Acts 1.11.JPG

Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven

In Acts 1:9-11 we see the story of Jesus’ Ascension into heaven after 40 days ministering on Earth after His Resurrection.  Jesus and His disciples had gone to The Mount of Olives, where they spent one last time together, talking and teaching. Here, the disciples had asked Jesus if this was the time when He would restore the Kingdom to Israel. His answer was interesting.

He simply replied that it was really not something they needed to worry about. It was not for them to “know the times or the seasons.” Then in Verse 8 of the passage, He made the promise of the power of the Holy Spirit to them and that they would later be His witnesses to the world.

Then they observed Jesus ascending physically, bodily into the skies until He was finally obscured by some clouds. As the disciples stood there staring(likely with their mouths hanging open), two angels appeared and issued the statement we see in Verse 11 of the text.

The question the angels asked seems important; they asked the disciples why they were just standing there gazing. Jesus had already told them what was coming. They were to return to and stay in Jerusalem. They were to await the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Finally, they were to go into the world and be His witnesses throughout their community and the world itself. They disciples had their marching orders, and those orders were not to stand there doing nothing and debating about His return.

The angels informed them that Jesus would return someday just as He left. Jesus himself had told them already the when of His return was of no importance to them.

There are takeaways for us here as well. Are we standing there staring up into heaven, so to speak? Are we so preoccupied with that and when it will be that we have forgotten we still have a mission to carry out here? We, too are to be His witnesses in “Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

So, let’s quit staring into heaven and get busy!

 

Have We Wiped Out Our Caananites?

Deuteronomy 7 4.5.JPG

Deuteronomy 7:4-5 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire

Reading Deuteronomy Chapter 7, we can see that The Lord gave pretty clear instruction to the Israelites as to how they were to deal with the people in the lands they were about to be given. Some of what we read may seem disturbing and harsh to us today, but God had very clear reasons for His instructions. He knew what would happen if any remnants of the inhabitants of the conquered land or their ways remained when His people occupied the land. He knows that any influence from the Canaanites would cause the people to turn from the one true God to the idols and ways of the Canaanites.

Of course, God was right. The Israelites failed to eradicate all of the inhabitants of the land and their ways, and time and time again this caused them to fall away from God and incur His wrath and anger. And the reason all the inhabitants of the land were not destroyed is that the people made conscious decisions to allow them to remain.

When we are saved, we need to follow a similar pattern in our lives as we eradicate the sin in our lives. The Canaanites are somewhat a picture of our sinful lifestyles; we have to make a conscious decision to blot them from our lives. Will we wake up the day after we are saved and be sinless? Of course not! God didn’t expect His people to deal with the people of Canaan all at once either. They were to deal with them town by town, piece by piece. But the important thing was that they were to not allow remnants to stay in their midst.

We, just like the Israelites, choose to leave little pockets of bad behavior in our lives. We do this for many reasons; we do it because we think we can manage it, and we do it because we like it.

We have to wipe out the things from our past that are our problem sin; if we allow them to remain, they will return and haunt us. If drinking was your problem, why are you hanging out with your old friends at the bar? If sexual temptation was your problem, why are you watching that show or reading that magazine? If laziness and sloth was your problem, why are you laying on the couch watching TV? The list of possible questions goes on and on.

We have to wipe our Canaanites; if we do not, then they will certainly emerge from the tiny pockets we left them in and turn us away from our God.

A New Commandment

John 13.34 35.JPG

John 13:31-38

How are we to love one another? Well, Jesus just told us! We are to love each other like He loved us. That doesn’t mean we have to climb up on a cross and die, just like us picking up our cross is not to be taken in an ultra-literal sense. When we talked about picking up our cross, we came to understand that to follow Jesus we ought to “sacrifice,” ourselves in service to Him. So, the same applies here. If we are to love others in the same way He loved us, then we need to only take a look at what that means. This is easy. Jesus put my needs, your needs and the needs of the entire universe above His own. Jesus the man, literally gave everything to us. This is not rocket science, friends. To love the brethren as Jesus loved us, we just think of them first and ourselves second.

The real issue is WHY we ought to do this, other than the pretty clear idea that Jesus commands it. While that should be enough, our Lord was gracious enough to explain why this matters. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Friends, we don’t prove to the world we are Christians by going to church, abstaining from sin, calling out sin or even by preaching Jesus on the Street corners. I actually think those things are pretty good ideas, but they prove nothing.The only thing that proves to the world that we are the real deal, in the end, is our love.

Jesus Sees the Inside

John 13.21.JPG

John 13:18-30

Jesus knew what lay waiting for him later this evening; as God, in the flesh, He knew not only that He would be betrayed, but who the betrayer would be. That of course, was Judas Iscariot. What is interesting is that none of the other disciples had a clue; in fact, the passage tells us that they assumed Jesus had sent Judas out to purchase things for the needy or even for themselves. Something to remember here is that Judas was likely thought well of and held in some esteem by the rest of the group. They trusted him enough to be the keeper of their funds after all!

So here we have it, a man held in high esteem and placed in a position of trust; yet, he would be the one to sell our Lord for 30 pieces of silver. Judas played the part, said the right words and did the right things. In all respects, he was what we would call today “the perfect Christian.” He was the one we would say of, as we often do when someone falls, “Wow, we never saw THAT coming; they were so proper and faithful.”

Judas had them all conned, and nobody knew the truth. That’s not quite true is it, friends? We know from our story, that one knew, and the one was Jesus.

Jesus knew then, and He knows now. It doesn’t matter what airs we put on. It doesn’t matter how “faithful” we are. It doesn’t matter how nice we dress, or how nicely we speak. Jesus knows. Our Lord is able to look into our hearts and know the truth of our lives and our relationship with Him. If He is looking in our hearts (and He is, by the way), what is He seeing?

The Job Jesus Wants Us To Do

Matthew 4.19 20.JPG

Matthew 4:18-22

Any believer should want to know and execute God’s will for their lives. If you are patiently waiting for God to reveal that will, then I have good news for you. He already has. While God has a specific will for each of us, He also has some things for every saved child of His. We cannot just sit around waiting for that specific will when He has clearly given guidance applicable to us all. If we are not willing to do the clear things revealed to us all in God’s Word, why would our Father reveal more? If we will not do the smallest of things, why would He give us the big ones?

We have talked much about the “follow me” part of this; God has gotten specific here, just for us. He wants each and every one of us to be “fishers of men.” This is, as our title today states, the job Jesus wants us to do. This is the primary purpose of every single saved child of God. Anything else we do in God’s service is a supporting role for the primary mission, which is the spread of the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

We are not all the same, and will not do this job in the same way. Some will still fish, simply presenting good bait and waiting. Some will ride the raging rapids in search of the more difficult catch. It is clear, however, that we are all to be fishing.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: