Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Most Beautiful Women in the World

The mirrors of Old Testament times were nothing to write home about. They were mostly made of bronze and were round, oval, square and most of the time they had a handle. Rust would develop on them and they would need to be restored. Later in ancient Rome mirrors were sometimes made of tin, silver and even gold.

But still, ancient mirrors were nothing like modern glass mirrors. The reflection they produced was imperfect, and yet to the ancient world these mirrors were of great value. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning the knowledge of God, he said, "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then, face to face." (1 Cor. 13:12). Even in the first century looking glasses were somewhat flawed.

The value of ancient mirrors makes the statement of Exodus 38:8 turn into one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible - "He made the laver of bronze and its base of bronze, from the bronze mirrors of the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting." In reference to Bezaleel, artisan of the tabernacle, Moses writes that the bronze laver, used in the ceremonial washings of the priests before they entered the tabernacle, was commanded by God to be made of bronze. Of necessity the women were willing to give up one of their most prized possessions - their mirriors - to complete God's place of worship.

Women have always been interested in their outward appearance. They want to be beautiful. They want society to see them as attractive, and they especially want their husbands or boyfriends to find them so. Billions of dollars are spent worldwide every year on fashion and beauty products. This is a part of the female's identity, that she reflects beauty in every way. The mirrors of the Israelite women were their only means of measuring their outward appearance. Yet out of their love for God, they gave this luxury up because they wanted to sanctify the tabernacle. In my estimation this gesture made these women more lovely then any mirror could ever prove them to be.

The most beautiful women in the world are not the ones seen on the cover of fashion magazines. They are not the skinny, big-city, runway models. They are not necessarily the popular girls at school, the girls on the cheer squad, or the girls who spend all their time at the mall. They are not the women of fitness and bikini posters. The most beautiful women in the world are those who put God's kingdom first, who are far more interested in inward beauty, who spend their hours at the doors of the house of meeting, who love the Lord with all their heart, who are willing to sacrifice.

"Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"There Goes God!"

When our son Daniel was a few years younger we had an incident during worship that taught us a lesson on giving. We would prompt our children for the offering by always telling them that it was time to give money to God. On this particular Sunday, as a man came to our aisle with the tray and Daniel put in his money, he said, in reference to the man who carried it off, "There goes God!"

Children associate things differently than we do because they do not know all the facts. The great advantage children have (yes, they have an advantage) is that they bear less responsibility. Their roof, meals, and clothes are provided. When it comes to the offering, my children put in their money without an ounce of worry. They don't know what a budget is yet. In fact, with great anticipation our 5 year-old daughter begins to say about the offering plate, "Here it comes!" She can't wait to give her money away.

Adults are often just the opposite. We worry and forget that God takes care of sparrows (Matt. 10:29-32). We know about the house payment, the car payment, and the other bills. Sometimes when we allow Satan to let us care too much about physical things, we become insecure in our heavenly treasures. This leads those of us who are adults to express about the offering plate, "Oh no, here it comes!"

Are you secure enough in your relationship with God to give to Him without worrying? Perhaps we need to be more trusting like our children. Perhaps we need to be looking with anticipaton down the aisle for God to come and take what is already rightfully His.
"Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? ~ Matthew 6:30

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Zija, Advocare, or Jesus?

Everybody seems to be promoting something these days. I am invited several times a week to try new products. These products are always going to "change my life." I have no doubt that there are many good products out there. Sometimes I can be persuaded to try something new and sometimes I can even become a regular buyer of a product or two. If this were not the case with me as it is with others, no one would be selling anything.

First of all, to you who are out there promoting these products, I give you a great deal of credit. I admire people who are in sales. You really have to want people to buy the product enough to promote it. You really have to care enough to be persistent and invent new strategies to sell your product. You have to go the extra mile. You have to believe in the product. You have to make sacrifices to be successful with it. My comments in this article only salute you and attempt to use your gumption and your nerve and your faithful dedication to make a point.

How do we really feel about Jesus? I have a lot of Christian friends who work for hours every week to sell Zija, Advocare, and other products that are the newest thing that I cannot live without (please understand my friends I support you - and do like some of these products). I just wonder what kind of difference we would make if we promoted Christ and His church with as much dedication and fervor as we do some of the things in this world.

I am of the opinion that the church would steadily grow if everybody simply kept asking and encouraging people to come to worship - or to study the Bible. Let's face it, once we make such invitations we know that we'd better be equipped to follow up with these people and continue to help them along. Maybe it is our lack of dedication to Bible study, or soul winning, or investing in souls or the work that is involved that is prohibiting us from growth.

And then there is also the fact that when it comes to persuading people about Christ - there isn't any money to be gained. We work hard in business to put ourselves out there because we are trying to put food on the table. There is a real need we are addressing when we work, so such is very commendable. And people are so hard working! Everyone I know who promotes these products arleady has a job they work full-time.

It just occurs to me, that if we loved Jesus as much as we claim to, that as the sellers of these products never stop talking about them, we would never stop talking about Jesus either. It just occurs to me, that if we valued souls as much as we valued putting food on the table, we would never stop working at winning them. It just occurs to me, that if all of these products are going to change my earthly life, then it makes even more sense to talk about that one thing that can change eternity.

I believe in many things. I put my faith in many things. But supremely and above all others in every way, I am going to believe and put my faith completely in Jesus, the Bible, and His church. And if that is really what I am doing, it should not seem to you as if it were a secret.

"By long forbearance even a ruler is persuaded, And a gentle tongue breaks a bone." - Proverbs 25:15

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It is still in the Bible

Monday evening at the Freed Hardeman Lectureships, Jay Lockhart made a statement that every person needs to understand. When speaking of the concept of "patternism" he simply said that 2 Timothy 1:13 is still in the Bible. Paul instructed in that passage, "Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus."

The message in Jay's message was that we need to respect the authority of the Scriptures. We need to preach the whole counsel of God. We cannot be afraid of pressure from the world, the church, or any other entity that would have us sacrifice the message of the Holy Spirit. It is in what is written that we can find God's message of love, instruction, comfort, transformation, and hope. When the rest of the world is choosing to only accept the things that are comfortable or currently popular - let us cling to the Bible and rest our faith on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

I was thinking of many truths that are still in the Bible that are sadly being rejected today...
  • That Jesus is our only way to God is still in the Bible (John 14:6).
  • That there is only one church is still in the Bible (Eph. 4:4-6).
  • That repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins is still in the Bible (Acts 2:38).
  • That we are to worship God according to the truth and with the right attitude is still in the Bible (John 4:24).
  • That we should not willfully sin by forsaking the assembling of ourselves together is still in the Bible (Heb. 10:25-26).
  • That we are to go into all the world with the gospel and make disciples of every nation is still in the Bible (Matt. 28:19-20).
  • That we should always and in every way endeavor to keep the spirit of unity in the bond of peace is still in the Bible (Eph. 4:3).
  • That would should strive to have the mind of Christ is still in the Bible (Phil. 2:5).
  • That we should do everything for the cause of the kingdom with love is still in the Bible (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
The Bible is God's mind given to us in the human tongue. God does not change, and His will is perfect. Let us hold fast the pattern that was given to us at the beginning by Christ, that will endure long after this world has ceased to exist. I am comforted that these truths are not just in the Bible, but that they will always remain there.

"Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him..." ~ Hebrews 2:1-3