Every Man In His Place

“Let all things be done decently and in order.” —1 Corinthians 14:40

My wife has our kitchen well organized.  Nothing is “out-of-place.” There is a specific place for the spices, towels, cereal, flying pans, silverware, etc.  It would be total confusion if each item was not in its specific location.

While reading Numbers chapter two this week I was impressed by the organization of how the tribes of Israel encamped around the tabernacle.  Considering there were over a million people, it would have been very confusing when Israel stopped to camp in the wilderness. But God, being a God of order, instructed each tribe exactly where they were to camp in relation to the tabernacle. On the east side of the tabernacle the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun set up camp. On the south side were the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad. On the west side camped the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin. Then on the north side God put the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. Every man in every tribe knew exactly where his place was. Now that is being organized.

David said of his human body, “I am fearfully and wonderful made” (Ps. 139:14).  The human body is a divine miracle. It was not put together in a haphazard way.  The eyes, ears, mouth are exactly where they function best. Can you imagine the problems you would have if your nose was turned up instead of down.  Every time it rained, your nose would fill with water and you’d drown. And, how strange it would be if your mouth was located where your armpit is!  Aren’t you glad God put you together the way He did?

The same is true in the body of Christ (a picture of the local church).  God has “assembled” it so every member has a specific place and function. 1 Corinthians 12:18 says, “God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”  If you are saved, God has placed you in the body of Christ exactly where He wants you (1 Cor. 12:12-27). You may be a foot, or a hand, or an eye, or an ear, etc.  You have a function in the body of Christ. If you are a “foot” you cannot do the job of the “ear.”

God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Confusion results when God’s order is not observed.  Since God has a specific place of service for each Christian in the body of Christ, it is our responsibility to recognize where God has placed us and do our job. Do you know your place in the body? Are you doing your job?  When one body part fails to function, it handicaps the efficiency of the whole body.

Let’s work together and get the job done God has placed us to do.

PATIENCE

Ye have need of patience — Hebrews 10:36
     No one is born patient.  Babies come out of the womb with no patience at all.  What they want, they want it NOW.  If they don’t get it immediately they will let you know loud and clear!
Patience does not come naturally.  If patience was natural, why does God command us to “be patient” (1 Thess. 5:14; James 5:7)?
Patience is a virtue that must be developed over time. Peter tells us that patience is something we must “add” to our faith (2 Pet. 1:5-7).    Paul tells us the trials help us to develop patience (Rom. 5:3). Patience is also part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).  When you and I are impatient, it shows we are walking in the flesh and not the Spirit.
When will find ourselves in the grip of impatience, it is time to cry out to the Lord and commit our situation into His capable hands. God may, or may not, immediately resolve the source of your impatience.  It is often a process.  We cannot pray, “Lord, I want patience, and I want it NOW!”  As the words of the gospel song goes, at times He removes our mountains one stone at a time. If we will just be patient, we’ll notice our mountainous problem is getting smaller with time.
As James 1:4 says, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Bearing Your Cross

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” —Matthew 16:24

The cross mentioned has been erroneously explained to mean the hardships; afflictions or trials Christians suffer as they follow Jesus.
A popular hymn says:

Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for every one,
And there’s a cross for me.

 

The truth is, Jesus DID bear the cross ALONE, that I might go free. Believers do not share with Christ any part of the payment for their sins. Jesus’ blood shed upon Calvary’s cross ALONE was enough to atone for every sin ever committed.

The adversities of life are not crosses we must bear to follow Christ. Even the unsaved have their share of troubles, but these are not “crosses” God has given them to bear.

Then what is the cross that we are to bear? First, the context of Matthew 16:21-24 reveals it to be a CROSS OF REJECTION. Jesus was about to be rejected. As followers of Christ, we can expect to suffer the rejection of loved ones and so-called friends.

Second, it is a CROSS OF RECKONING. Jesus rebuked Peter saying, “…thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” When we bear OUR cross, we reckon the things of God to be of greater value than the things that be of men.

Third, it is a CROSS OF RESTRAINT. Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF, and take up HIS cross…” Instead of living for SELF, we live to DENY SELF. That doesn’t agree with this modern age of “self-love,” “self-help,” and “self-esteem.” Yet, Paul predicted in these last days men would be preoccupied with SELF instead of denying self (2 Tim. 3:1-2).

Lastly, it is a CROSS OF REDIRECTION. We now follow Christ. Where He leads me, I will follow.

Have you taken up YOUR cross?

 

ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last…” —Revelation 22:13

Have you ever thought about how many things about us are constantly ending and beginning?  2016 has ended and 2017 has begun.  Today will end with the beginning of night and night will end with the beginning of tomorrow.  Brian Wilson wrote and sings a song about it titled, “Midnight’s Another Day.” Amen, that’s right.

Our Lord is both the beginning and ending of everything!  2 Corinthians 5:17 speaks to us about some endings and beginnings within our own lives: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passing away, and all things are becoming new.”

For the believer, there is a constant change going on. Life is being re-shaped. It begins in a new-birth experience and as we grow in the Lord we are reshaped into the image of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.

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10 STEPS TO THE DECAY OF A NATION

Isaiah 3:1-24

This is not only true of a nation, but also of a church:

  1. Removal of great leadership (vs. 1-3).
  2. Elevation of incompetent leaders (v. 4).
  3. Selfishness (v. 5a).
  4. Disrespect of elders (v. 5b).
  5. Affluent people neglecting their civil duties (vs. 6-7).
  6. Opposition to God (v. 8).
  7. Flagrant immorality (vs. 9-11).
  8. Loss of strong masculine leadership (vs. 12, 25; 4:1).
  9. Social injustice (vs. 14-15).
  10. Emphasis on a woman’s physical beauty and outward adornments over inner beauty (vs. 16-24).

Leading from Redemption to Spiritual growth…