Tag Archive | Lord

The Lord’s Care for His Own

Matthew 18:10–14 “It is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (v. 14).

After a brief interlude in which Jesus warns us to separate ourselves from those things that tempt us, our Savior returns in today’s passage to a discussion of how the children of the kingdom must treat one another. Matthew 18:10 records His warning that we not “despise one of these little ones.” Given that chapter 18 has thus far emphasized our need for humility (vv. 1–9), Christ is telling us that we must not become puffed up with self-pride and look down on other Christians. Despising another believer means to treat him with disrespect, refusing to receive him as our equal in God’s eyes (see v. 5).

Dr. John MacArthur gives a fine summary of what we are to learn from verses 10–14, namely, that to treat “any fellow believer with contempt is extremely serious since God and the holy angels are so concerned for their well-being” (The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p. 1,157). First of all, the angels in heaven dwell continually before our Creator, beholding His face (Matt. 18:10), which probably means in this context that they are attentive to the Father’s will and always ready to obey His commands. Should He release them, these angels will move at His order to minister to His children (Heb. 1:14). Fear of reprisal from these creatures should be enough to make any of us treat our fellow Christians well.

Secondly, and far more significant, God’s “care extends itself to every particular member of the flock, even the lowest” (Matthew Henry). He shepherds His people, working to keep errant believers from finally perishing (Matt. 18:12–14). Since we are called to imitate God (Eph. 5:1), to some degree we all must minister to one another. Of course, the elders of the church are the primary shepherds of the Lord’s flock (1 Peter 5:1–5). Nevertheless, we must still bear the burdens of one another (Gal. 6:2) and love wandering brothers and sisters back into the fold. Oftentimes, we will not reach out to others who are stuck in sin or who have harmed us because we think they are beyond redemption. Such an attitude betrays an arrogance that believes we who live holy lives are more deserving of God’s love than others. Such an attitude is not the mark of our Father’s humble children, who alone will inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:1–4).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

God is not willing that any of His own should perish (Matt. 18:14), and so He shepherds us, using His staff to discipline us if that is what is necessary to keep us in the fold. One way in which the Lord exercises this shepherding is through the love of Christians one for another. We must all grieve when we see brothers or sisters stumble and do all that we can to rescue them. Especially if you are a church leader, do not abandon your sheep.

For further study:  2 Samuel 5:1–5

The Bible in a year:  Psalms 56–58

Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

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Kinder and Gentler

What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness? 1 CORINTHIANS 4:21

Ellie Kay, the wife of an Air Force pilot and the author of Heroes at Home: Help and Hope for America’s Military Families, reveals what can sometimes happen when her husband, Bob, returns from a turn of military duty. After months of flying and fighting and barking commands, he is often still in a giving-orders mood when he re-enters civilian life. That’s when Ellie uses a little code phrase to bring him back to her world: “K and G.”

Kinder and gentler.

It’s a signal to her husband, who likely doesn’t even realize how harsh his words may sound, to throttle back. To tone it down. Save it for his subordinates. We all know you don’t have to be a soldier in uniform to bring home a military manner at the end of the day. You can be in a business suit, casual pants or coveralls and still treat your wife as though she’s just another item on your checklist, just one more employee needing a grade on her efficiency. It can work the same for women who work outside the home.

Like Bob, we often aren’t aware that we’re doing this. We’re still in our office or job mode without realizing we’ve left it on. If our wives confronted this attitude, would we listen? Would we respond?

My suggestion is to find a spot along your usual way home—some recognizable milestone or visual marker—to remind you that it’s time to shed the necktie and get ready to meet your wife. Leave the workday behind someplace where you can pick it up again tomorrow. And go home ready to love and listen, not to push and prod.

Be K and G.

DISCUSS

How often do you bring the pressures and attitudes of work home with you? How do they manifest themselves at home? Talk about how you can remind one another to be K and G.

PRAY

Instead of bucking your mate for confronting a bad attitude in you, thank the Lord for putting someone in your life to help you be more like Christ.

Children brought to Christ, not to the font

 

‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.’ Mark 10:14

Suggested Further Reading: Deuteronomy 6:4–7

We can say with the apostle John, ‘I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.’ We continue, therefore, to bring them to Christ by daily, constant, earnest prayer on their behalf. As soon as they become of years capable of understanding the things of God, we endeavour to bring them to Christ by teaching them the truth. Hence our Sabbath schools, hence the use of the Bible and family prayer, and catechizing at home. Any person who shall say, ‘Do not teach your children; they will be converted in God’s own time if it be his purpose; therefore leave them to run wild in the streets,’ will certainly both ‘sin against the child’ and the Lord Jesus.

We might as well say, ‘If that piece of ground is to grow a harvest, it will do so if it be God’s good pleasure; therefore leave it, and let the weeds spring up and cover it; do not endeavour for a moment to kill the weeds, or to sow the good seed.’ Why, such reasoning as this would be not only cruel to our children, but grievously displeasing to Christ. Parents! I do hope you are all endeavouring to bring your children to Christ by teaching them the things of God. Let them not be strangers to the plan of salvation.

Never let it be said that a child of yours reached years in which his conscience could act, and he could judge between good and evil, without knowing the doctrine of the atonement, without understanding the great substitutionary work of Christ. Set before your child life and death, hell and heaven, judgment and mercy, his own sin, and Christ’s most precious blood; and as you set these before him, labour with him, persuade him, as the apostle did his congregation, with tears and weeping, to turn unto the Lord.

For meditation: Christian parents should bring their children up ‘in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4). This may be harder in non-Christian marriages when only one of the partners becomes a Christian, but it is not hopeless (1 Corinthians 7:14); Timothy was proof (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15).

Sermon no. 581
24 July (1864)

 

Living in a Season of “How Long?”

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Psalm 13:1 (NIV 1984)

Several years ago my husband Scott began to experience health problems that were extreme and unexpected, especially for someone his age. We had no idea when he’d get better. Weeks and months dragged by. Wondering, “How long?” took its toll on us.

Facing our uncertain future left my faith weak and I questioned if God had forgotten me. Despairing, I felt tired and lonely, and I wanted out.

King David was in a similar place of questioning God as we see in today’s key verse. “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1) David’s circumstances had turned from promising to troublesome.

He’d been anointed king but didn’t step into his role immediately. While he waited for God’s plan to come to fruition he served the current king, Saul. During this time David gained respect and affection from the people of Israel, as well as those in King Saul’s court. Because of this, Saul became jealous of David and threatened his life numerous times.

As David wrote Psalm 13, he was on the run from King Saul and found himself in a hard place of losing hope. He needed encouragement and strength. In his desperate place of darkness, he asked God “How long?” The words that filled his heart fell from his lips as he cried out to the Lord.

Are you living in the unbearable days of “How long?” How long will I be unemployed? How long will my child be a prodigal? How long will I live with this life-threatening diagnosis? How long will I be lonely?

Sometimes our stay in “How long?” seems indefinite. The long stay causes us to become discouraged and lose hope for deliverance.

Knowing King David asked God “How long?” can strengthen our weakened faith. God used David’s words to strengthen Scott’s faith and mine. Praying his words in Psalm 13 renewed our communication with God by helping us realize the “right” words weren’t necessary. We could simply let the words filling our hearts fall from our lips as we cried out to God for help. Our strengthened faith equipped us to walk the long medical road to a diagnosis, treatment plan, and trust in God’s faithfulness through our “How long?”

Dear Lord, thank You for King David’s vulnerability. His words strengthen my faith and renew my hope for deliverance from my “How long?” Help me remember the lesson You’ve taught me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:
Are you currently living in a season of “How long?” Carve some quiet time out of your day to write your own “How long?” psalm. Let the words that are filling your heart pour from your lips.

Has God delivered you safely through a season of “How long?” Carve some quiet time out of your day to write a psalm of praise. Let the words in your heart pour from your lips.

Power Verses:
Psalm 17:1, “Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer — it does not rise from deceitful lips.” (NIV)

Psalm 51:15, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” (NIV 1984)

© 2012 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.