The throne of a human king or judge is elevated by wood or stone and often ornamented by images and symbols to suggest their authority and judgment. But the foundation of the Lord’s throne is “righteousness and justice.” His throne is elevated by His character, which is pure and unchanging. He looks upon us with a face that is the perfect balance of “mercy and truth,” so that neither grace is diminished, but both fully demonstrated in word and deed. So, God sent His Son to go “before” His “face,” as the perfect embodiment of His “mercy and truth” and to fully satisfy both in His death on the cross. As a result, those who have placed their faith in Christ are now able to approach the Lord as “face to face,” to know Him and to be fully known by Him (1 Cor. 13:12).
Who is this promised “seed?” Isn’t this seed which the Lord promised to David, also the same seed promised to Abraham? Surely, it must be. The apostle Paul identified it as Jesus, saying, “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). As today’s Jeremiah reading (Jer. 33:19-22) reminded us, this was an unconditional promise, a covenantal promise. And it was fulfilled in Christ Jesus, whose throne is established forever.
The Lord is the God of salvation. And now, because of Jesus, we can truly call Him the God of “my” salvation. In Christ, we that were far away, have now been brought near. Although we may feel at times as the psalmist did, that our prayers go unheard and our tears unnoticed, we can be confident of our access to the Father through the Son. For all the rights and privileges of sonship are ours in Christ Jesus. Therefore, press on in prayer. The Lord hears. The Lord sees. He may be teaching us to desire Him more by allowing us to grow in persistent prayer.
God desires that all humanity would be saved. Yet, we know from the Scriptures that only those who believe will receive God’s salvation. The tension between what God “desires” for us and what humanity desires for itself is difficult to ease. We tend to overstate one side or the other, either making too little or too much of man’s free will. However, let us just consider the fact that God “desires” to save us, absent the doctrinal conundrum for a moment. This surely reveals to us something about God. He created us. He loves us. And He wants to save us and be known by us. That God “desires all men to be saved” reveals the loving heart of our God that would motivate Him to send His only Son, Jesus, to actually purchase what He Himself desired.
The apostle Paul was thankful to the Lord Jesus for changing him from a persecutor to a preacher. He spoke of the Lord’s enablement–– that it was the Lord who empowered him to preach. He spoke of his calling–– that it was the Lord who “counted” him worthy. In other words, Paul wasn’t really worthy. He wasn’t really “faithful.” But the Lord counted his confession of faith as righteousness. The Lord’s faithfulness was accounted unto Paul, so that it became Paul’s faithfulness. Finally, the Lord “put” Paul into ministry. The Lord had a specific purpose and place for Paul. And Paul was pleased and thankful to fulfill it.
I join the apostle Paul in thankfulness on this Monday morning. I am thankful to Jesus that he enables me, counts me faithful and that he put me into the ministry.
Want to join me and Paul in some Monday morning thankfulness today?
Solomon answers the question, “Can we ever have too much of a good thing?” In short, his answer is, “Yes.” Instead, we should practice moderation, “eating only what we need.”
Our problem: We’re all born with a sin nature that the Bible calls the “flesh.” The flesh always wants more. It is never satisfied. God gave Adam and Eve every tree and every fruit in the garden, but one. Yet, they had to have the one. We are their children. We eat too much, drink too much, sleep too much, say too much… we desire too much, always to excess. We always want more.
Be warned. We have a self-inflicted sickness. It comes from the sin nature, which is the flesh. It has an insatiable appetite. It always drives us to excess. What we need is a new nature, one born from above. We need a new nature that is born again by the Holy Spirit, so that we have the spiritual fruit of self-control. Then, we will be able to enjoy the good things of life… in moderation, “eating only as much as we need.”
This proverb describes how to persuade “a ruler.” In modern leadership parlay, this principle is called, “leading up.” Some may think it impossible to lead a boss or supervisor. Yet, Solomon taught how to do just that.
Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs to give his son wisdom on how to live. It is filled with practical instruction. In this proverb, he taught the importance of “forbearance” and “gentleness” when it comes to leading those who have authority over us. “Forbearance” is the art of patient, self-restraint in offering advice. Solomon called this “long forbearance,” because it takes patience to gain influence as an advisor to your boss. “Gentleness” is the second attribute that Solomon prescribed. It is the art of making sure your supervisor feels no challenge, nor rebellion in you. Being gentle in your feedback, your influence grows as the leader’s trust in you grows.
True leadership is more about influence than position. You don’t have to have a title to have influence. You only need wisdom like Solomon’s, which is ours in Christ Jesus. And He would have us use this influence, in forbearance and gentleness, to lead others to hear the gospel and follow Him.
As the apostle Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). When we share the gospel, we lead up, not down.
Paul prayed for the believers in Thessalonica. In all the things he prayed for them, he prayed that Jesus would get the glory for it. Three questions/observations concerning this glory:
1) What is glory?
Some synonyms are: Honor, credit, renown, praise, worship, beauty, splendor. What is this glory? It is about who gets the honor and who gets the praise.
2) How might Christ’s name be glorified “in you?”
It begins with your self-acknowledgement that all you are and all you have comes from Him. You glorify Christ in your heart. Then, it radiates outward into your words and deeds, so that the name of Christ is glorified in all you say and do.
3) How are you to be glorified “in Him?”
Is this true? Will we share in Christ’s glory? Yes, but not because of our own accomplishment, but “according to the grace” of God, accomplished in Christ. By faith we have become God’s children and “joint heirs” with Christ, so that all that is His, is now also ours, including His glory. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory” (Rom. 8:17). So, this glory is part of our inheritance in Christ!
If we live for our own glory, we will not share in Christ’s. But if we live for His glory, according to His grace, then we will share in Christ’s glory forevermore!
Instructions to the people of God for the poor, the fatherless, the afflicted and the needy:
1. Defend them. They are among the least powerful in society. They need your defense. Stand with them when more powerful people and power centers mistreat them.
2. Do justice towards them. Treat them fairly and with dignity. Don’t join those who look down on them.
3. Deliver them. Give them the message of deliverance, which is the gospel. And with it, help deliver them from their physical needs for food, clothing and shelter.
4. Free them. Many of them are enslaved by addictions. Be involved in ministry to them that would break their changes.
Jesus taught that when we care for the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick and the prisoner, then we have cared for Him. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matt. 25:40).
How will we involve ourselves in this ministry to the “least of these?”
Here we have worship instructions for God’s people. Six ways to get your praise on:
1) “Sing aloud.” Come on! Let loose. Really sing out to God for He is our strength.
2) “Make a joyful shout.” Shout it out. Not just any kind of shout, but a joyful shout. And this to the Lord.
3) “Raise a song.” Get others singing with you. Sing until others join in and raise the roof.
4) “Strike the timbrel.” Now we’re breaking out the percussion. The timbrel was either a tambourine or finger cymbals.
5) “…the harp. Today’s piano.
6) “… the lute.” Today’s guitar.
Worship the Lord. You were made for it. And He is worthy of it.