Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Learned Lord


And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?  John 7:15 (KJV)

As the Jews listened to Jesus they got the impression he was an educated man. When our Lord stood up and spoke, a crowd would gather. There was something about him that compelled attention, though nobody could identify what it was. He was just a carpenter from a small town in Galilee; he had never been in any school to become a Jewish Rabbi, and never graduated from any university. Yet as people listened to him, they recognized he had the knowledge and wisdom of the learned.

It is also an amazing thing that the nearer people get to Jesus the more they recognize his scholarly intellect.  Some people can give the impression of being educated, but when people get close to them they soon become disillusioned. But nobody who came close to Christ was ever disappointed; instead they were overwhelmed by his abilities. The Jews had given their lives to the study of the Scripture; yet when they encountered Christ they recognize that they had met their Master. When they questioned him, he would ask, "What? Have ye not read?" Then, he would he give them understanding of what they had read.  The greatest scholar among them was probably convicted of his incompetence by this extraordinary teacher from Galilee.

The Pharisee’s learning lacked originality or imagination, and usually consisted of endless quotes from other authorities.  They were out of touch with reality with their meticulous details about the law which offered no grace and was the despair of common people; but, our Lord didn’t attempt to create a deep impression by any elaborate parade of knowledge. With perfect and unfaltering ease He handled the most perplexing themes! With common and familiar examples, he enlightened what was dark! Where others stumbled, groping around for big-many-syllable words, our Lord communicated so a little child could understand. There is such perfect mastery about Jesus, such ease of conscious and complete power. He represents more that the excellent intellect; he is the epitome of life. His intellectual processes are stunning, because His life and character are. He unashamedly proclaims, "I come to do thy will, O God."

Christ had the courage to be himself.  Many a young preacher of the gospel who might have had an admirable ministry soon begins imitating somebody else, and when that happens that minister might as well quit.  Jesus received his training at home, and in the synagogue, and faced tremendous pressure from the elite of his day but he refused to be overpowered by the traditions they touted.   He swept aside the status quo and went to the very heart of matters. He recognized the truth that everyone else missed; therefore his revelations were refreshing. No wonder that people who listened found their hearts beginning to burn within them as He talked with them along the way.

Also, everything the Lord gained from Scripture and from nature was obtained while working.  It is commonly supposed that Joseph died when Jesus was still young, and he became the sole support of Mary and the children, working from morning sun till its setting. There was not much leisure time for him to spend studying, but  while he worked he undoubtedly stayed in touch with his heavenly Father who taught him by his Holy Spirit what to know and how to live to God’s glory. Then, when he went out to minister to the public, He was perfectly equipped intellectually and spiritually.  He yielded the sword of the Lord from the very outset of His ministry, even when tempted by the devil to worship him instead of his Father.

Some of us may be just like Jesus and have little time or opportunity for a worldly education, but just remember to be yourself, and do what Jesus did. Don’t forget that the One who was once a carpenter in Nazareth is now sitting by his Father’s throne in heaven. He got there through listening to the One who said: For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:9 (KJV) The Master understands the temptations we face, but we can learn obedience just like Jesus by listening for our Father’s still small voice.

Devine Guidance

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever

 Exodus 14:13 (KJV)

I remember reading these words at a time when I felt like I was in extraordinary difficulties.  I felt helpless; I could not go forward, or back, and felt I was shut in on either side with no visible means of escape, just like those Israelites at the Red Sea. What was I to do I didn’t know.  As I read Moses’ instruction to the people, I decided that although I was in a scary position I would not be afraid, but would stand still until the Lord freed me of my dilemma.  In the meantime, many opposing voices goaded my soul.  One whispered, “Give the Christian way up and quit.”  Another prompted, “you cannot live the Christian life, it is too difficult for the likes of you.” Another pushed “Get up–to-date; people don’t live by those old-fashioned ways anymore!Then, an inpatient spirit shouted, “Arouse yourself: do something.  To stand still and wait, is sheer stupidity!” And finally a presumptuous one yelled, “Whatever is before you, march into it and expect a miracle!”

But, whatever Satan and his evil cronies may urge upon a person, a child of God can’t follow it. His official sanction is for his people to go from the strength to strength he provides, and that is the way his people should go letting nothing turn them from that course. So, what if for a while you are called to stand still, take it as an opportunity to renew your strength for some greater progress at the right time.  That’s why, God would have us stand still, put on cheerful face, be courageous, and even in our worst times, rejoice and trust in his love and faithfulness.

It pays to wait on the Lord. He will not only do something, but will do whatever is needed to put space between us and our tight spot. A person of faith in God  doesn’t listen to the wicked spirits; it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock stands, and waits cheerfully and patiently for that same  guiding voice to issue further orders.  It will not be long before God will have the escape arranged and then will direct, (as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel), “Go forward.”

Praise: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1 (KJV)

Promise: For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.  (Isaiah 41:13 (KJV)

Prayer: O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.  Isaiah 33:2 (KJV)




Saturday, August 3, 2013

Good Ole Hillbilly Sense


Years ago my husband and I had about 200 hogs. Somehow the gate was left unlatched and they all got out. He came running to the house to get me to help him chase them back in.


“Not me.” I said, “I won’t chase them. I will use the welfare system.”


He asked, “What do you mean, use the welfare system? …. .. I need your help.”


“Please stand by the gate and when ‘em hogs are all back in, just close it” I told him. 


I got the feed bucket I always used to feed ‘em; filled it with corn; walked up to ‘em hogs and then began walking toward the pen. They all followed me. You see, ’em hogs were used to being fed, not havin’ to hunt for their own feed, or root it out for themselves.


Later, my husband ask me why I called that the “welfare system”.


“Oh, that’s the system the government is using to keep people in their hog pen—give them what they want, so they will become dependant on the government, instead of themselves,” I replied laughin’.


You see any good hillbilly woman knows that dependant people don’t have to use their God-given mind to figure out how to make it in life; neither do they have to use their own energy, resources, or talents. But, they will also be the losers in the end. Someday, someway they will see that they profit the masters that feed them….


But, when hogs are locked in, they don’t know how to get out.