May We Be Gracious

Titus 3:1-3 KJV

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

 

The apostle gives a list of responses the Christian ought to have toward the lost world:

  • Be subject to principalities and powers
  • Obey magistrates
  • Be ready to every good work
  • Speak evil of no man
  • Be not a brawler
  • Be gentle
  • Show meekness to all men

 

The motivation for these responses is our own past. Those things God delivered us from should forever compel us to reach those yet to be delivered. We can never allow ourselves to think we are above others. We are only separated by the grace of God; undeserved and unmerited but given to us.

 

As we have received grace, may we be gracious.

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Gracious

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Why Israel Struggles with Palestine

Deuteronomy 19:8-9 KJV

And if the LORD thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers;

If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three:

 

The subject of the chapter is those cities of refuge in Israel. God instructs them to divide the land into three parts and to designate a city of refuge in each part. Then God said that if He chose to give them all the land He had promised.

 

What? If He kept all His promise? Why wouldn’t He keep all His promise? That question is answered in the following verse. If Israel kept all of God’s Word and if Israel loved their God and if they walked in His ways, then He would give them all the land He had promised their fathers.

 

It occurs to me that this is the very reason Israel is in the position she finds herself today. They possess their land and they have their nation but they share it with enemies of their very existence. Their own temple site must be shared with people who wish Israel to not exist. They have their Promised Land but they don’t have all of it.

 

Not coincidentally, Israel today doesn’t love their God and walk ever in his ways. I do not deny that there are orthodox practicing Jews in Israel but I know that they are not the majority. I also know that, for today – right now, walking in God’s ways isn’t in Orthodox Judaism. Today both the Jew and the Gentile are to come to Christ and unite with Christians in a New Testament Baptist church.

  • Israel doesn’t have all God promised them.
  • Neither does Israel love God (in Christ) and ever walk in His ways.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Israel, Palestine

 

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The Duty to Break Fellowship

2 Thessalonians 3:6 KJV

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

 

Sometimes Paul exhorted and urged believers to do a thing. Sometimes he besought them. In this case Paul used the strongest term; he commanded them to withdraw from other Christians who would not follow after and live according to the traditions Paul had given them.

 

Paul later says that in doing so we are not to think of them as enemies, for they are not, yet we still mark them and have no fellowship with them.

 

Christianity in our day is becoming so feeble minded that the very idea of being commanded to do a thing is offensive to us. To be commanded to withdraw from someone and not to fellowship with them would be considered unspeakably harsh. What I see is the importance Paul places on this practice. It’s not a suggestion or even a request. This is so important to the advancement of the Gospel that he issues a command. It is important because it is necessary to prevent the decline of Christian faith and practice into anything a person might want to call Christianity. We have no right, no authority to create our own traditions and culture around our faith. We are duty bound, obligated yes, even commanded to carry on our faith exactly as we have received it.

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Separation

Obedience Over Compliance

Philippians 2:12 KJV

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

 

There is a principle concerning obedience here that needs to be more often emphasized; obedience isn’t only what is done in the presence of an authority or of others; obedience is what is also done when no authority is there to make us and no others are there to inspire us. Genuine obedience is summed up in the words, “always obeyed”. Any other form of obedience is not actual obedience.

  • The child who only cleans their room when a parent is watching
  • The employee who only does his job when a supervisor is pushing them
  • The student who only studies the material when the teacher is looking over his shoulder
  • The adolescent who only behaves when a guardian has him on a leash

These are not truly obedient. They are only ever compliant.

 

The word “obeyed” in this verse is one that means “to hear under” or to “subordinate oneself”. It is to place ourselves below another in rank or order. The Apostle Paul would have been the first to insist that he was above or better than no one else. It wasn’t obedience to him, but obedience to Christ he sought.[1] By such obedience as to subordinate ourselves to Christ in all things and at all times we “work out [our] own salvation.” Not that we are not that we are saved by this obedience but that this obedience is an expression of our salvation.

[1] We might view Paul, or any other preacher, similar to how we would view a work foreman. The foreman does not own the business but is hired by the owner to see that other employees do their jobs. By obeying the foreman the employee is actually obeying the owner.

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Understanding Our Victories

Deuteronomy 9:1-3 KJV

Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,

A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!

Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.

 

I observe immediately that the book of Deuteronomy offers no possibility of Jewish defeat by the Canaanites. It is as if, before the first battle, the war has already been won. Judging from Rahab’s response to Joshua’s spies the conclusion of the war was already decided on both sides. The Canaanite understood they had no hope of winning this war.

 

In the light of this assurance, Israel was to understand that this was God’s battle and God’s doing. They were also to understand that the victory they would achieve was not because they deserved it but because the Canaanite’s did not. Their victory would be an act of grace.

 

This is the foundational truth for outreach and evangelism today. Paul said that he (and by implication we) was a debtor. He did not deserve the grace he had received and therefore owed it to others to share that grace with them. Our place is to reach out to anyone and everyone that God enables us. Whether they respond positively and become saved or respond negatively and remain condemned is a matter entirely between them and God.  The battle is the Lord’s. We merely follow Him.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

 

humility