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Reading - Exhortation - Doctrine
Friday, 14 January 2005
God's Thoughts
Now Playing: What is our standard of comparison; how does God look at it ?
Topic: Discernment
The question then comes, "Who hath despised the day of small things?" Some, if not all, had been tempted to do this (Ezra 3: 12); for they had compared the meanness of the present building with the glory of that of Solomon. They had been thus discouraged by comparing the present with the past, and, in their discouragement, they had low thoughts of the work on which they were engaged.

They are now shown that, in this state of mind, they were not in fellowship with the mind and heart of God; that the question was not concerning the outward glory of their work, but what were God's thoughts about it. They had been repining and were unbelieving while God's heart was upon His people, and His eyes were waiting to express their joy when they should see the building completed for this is the meaning of the plummet in the hands of Zerubbabel.*

It would be well for us if we carefully treasured up this instruction; for we also are slow to learn that the importance of any service depends upon God's estimate of it. If we have once lost fellowship with Him as to our work, our spiritual energy and perseverance are gone, we cease to look to the only source of our strength, and give place, at the same time, to doubts if not despair, because we have commenced to walk by sight instead of by faith.

Let us learn then, with these returned captives, that the meanest service, as to its outward character, is worthy, of all our devotedness and zeal if the mind and heart of God are upon it, if He has put it into our hands, and that nothing is to be despised, no day of small things, when it contains in itself the pledge and guarantee of the fulfilment of the purposes of God.

E. Dennett

Posted by dondegr0 at 9:37 AM EST
Wednesday, 12 January 2005
Now Playing: Are we looking at this world from a Biblical viewpoint ?
Topic: Discernment

Those outside of Christ are familiar with looking at the world through rose-colored gflasses. The glasses cast a lovely hue across the landscepe, hiding in most cases the true condition of things. Political and financial leaders would tell us that things look bright for the future, when any who look realistically through clear, well-focused lenses can see the handwriting on the wall. The nation is falling apart morally. We are moving rapidly toward days similar to those which preceded God's judgment in Noah's day.

Not only is there an opening of the floodgates to immorality of the worst kind, but there is a corresponding increased hatred for the tings of God. Citizens are free to boldly flaunt their "alternate lif-style," while other openly denounce Christianity.

We as Christians need to take off the rose-colored glasses as well. Somehow we are lead to believe that politically we will preserve the nation, and in some eyes even stop the world from collapsing. We need to be realistic. God, in His word, tells us clearly of dispensation after dispensation which were commited to man's charge that failed. This includes the church age. Truthfully, most of what Christians fight for politically is to maintain their comfort zone.

If we take off the rose-colored glasses we see failure all around us, and, yes, even in the Church! In addition to the many divisions that have been introduced down through the ages, we now see clearly the world making its way into the church in a variety of ways. Sadly, many who are wearing their tinted glasses of various shades see little or none of it. Music no different from the world's, and in many cases worse, in that it bears the name of Christ, fills the churches, and the ears of our teens. Dress that appeals to the flesh and which saints many years ago would have immediately associated with the world is prevalent.

The casual approach to holy things is seen in the actions, words, and dress of many. Buildings which rival the world's stadiums, both in size and technology lure thousands to a gospel often void of sin, judgment, repentance, and conviction. The activity and social schedules arec often larger and of greater importance than the spiritual gatherings of the church. Of course, if one wears those rose-colored glasses all of these things have a beautiful and appealing tint to them.

Sadly, it isn't just [the rest of] Christendom, or the evangelical churches that view things with rose-colored glasses. Assemblies do as well. Perhaps taking their lead from the atmosphere of the charismatica movement, "everything is great and wonderful." We all love each other and agree not to allow doctrinal differences to disrupt our unity. Sadly, when looking through the tinted lenses, most, if not all, discernment is lost. They are unable to see the true spiritual condition of things as they focus on the present, ignoring the long-term impact of their decisions and emphases

Some view the good number of young people playing volleyball or softball, and enjoying the other youth activities provided, and they sit back in ease, seeing the future as bright for the assembly. With discernment diminished by the rose hue, they fail to see the the lack of conversion and/or commitment in many of these young people. The little interest in Bible study or assembly spiritual gatherings, the horrid music plugged into their ears, and the disdain shown for the older generation is somehow hidden by the excitement of their playing sports together.

Sadly, I fear in far too many cases, in just a few short years those same young people will have lives filled with activities and will have no spiritual interest, and may not even fellowship at the assembly. Lack of conviction will allow them to simply slide away to a fellowship where commitment and spiritual exercise are not required. Worse yet, they may simply fade away into the crowd who sink into the quicksand of the entangled life.

We need to see things the way they truly are. We need to ask the hard questions. "What is the true spiritual condition of our assembly?" "What is the true spiritual condition of our young people?" "What spiritual growth do we see in them that is manifested in a daily walk?" "Are there any potential godly leaders among the assembly youth?" : Could the saints, including the youth, give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in us?" (1 Peter 3.15) "Is there any interest in doctrine, or is that considered heavy, unimportant, or perhaps even as divisive?" Is separation a forbidden word, and often equated with legalism?"

What is needed is to face reality, and if necessary, take off the rose-colored glasses, and look at the real spiritual condition of the assembly and/or its youth.. Many have surpisingly found that there are young people, who when given exposure to sound teaching of the Word, found it enjoyable and wanted more time devoted to it, and less to the physical activity, which in time fades with age (1 Timothy 4.8).

The Lord allowed some to depart in order that He may find those in whom He could invest Himself. His emphasis was on the spiritual, not entertainment (John 6.66-67). While not desireable, we too may find those seeking activities also leaving when spiritual activities are emphasized.

Is all hope lost? Far from it! We need to get back to the plan the all-wise God has given us in His Word. We need to concentrate on spiritual training. Training that builds spiritually-minded saints! (1 Timothy 4.8; 2 Timothy 3.15).

(From Milk and Honey, October 2004)

Posted by dondegr0 at 8:58 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 13 January 2005 9:36 AM EST

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