Do You Want To Hear A Mystery?

Fighter Verse for 12–13–15

”Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." –1 Corinthians 15:51–52

At 42 years old, I feel the weight of a perishable body more and more each day. I have recently added a stretching routine to my daily exercises because my body doesn’t want to get out of this category called stiff.

There is a mystery to be known for the people of God. Jesus is coming back! And when he comes back, he will come back in a moment. There will be no time to repent real quick before the trumpet blasts. It will be too late for those slumbering in unbelief now. The trumpet blast will not only quicken the ears, but will change our perishable body into an imperishable one. If it happens today, my stiff and freshly stretched out frame will experience an unfathomable change from mortal to immortal. If it happens 80 years from today; my petrifying corpse laying six feet under the earth will rise from the grave in imperishable perfection. This is such good news! What a kind Lord we serve to do for us what we in no way deserve. We will be in our eternal body so that we can forever be with our eternal God!

Godly Contentment 

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” –1 Timothy 6:6–7

Our fighter verse for the week is 1 Timothy 6:6–7. It teaches the great gain that comes through godly contentment. Why? Because this life is not where we expect our greatest gain to come from. We live our entire lives gathering and collecting things of supposed gain. But in the end, all will be left here. It’s like the man who was adamant he be buried with all his money so that he could take it with him. His wife on the other hand decided it would be best if she just wrote a check for his full worth and placed it in the coffin with him.

We cannot take any earthly object with us when we pass from this world. The greatest gain we can gather here is not something physical, but rather spiritual. It is the gift of redemption symbolized by the blood of Christ. This is the gift we can take with us when we pass from this world. The believers greatest gain comes after he or she passes from this life and into the eternal. The unbeliever on the other hand gets his best life now. I suppose it is better for them to gain all he can now because it is the closest to heaven he or she will ever get; and likewise the closest to hell for the believer.

Generous For The Glory Of God! Fighter Verse For 10-25-15

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. –2 Corinthians 8:9

2 Corinthians chapter 8 is all about generosity. There is mention in this chapter of a group of Christians who were in need. Along comes these people in Corinth who begged the apostles earnestly for the favor of helping to relive the needs of these saints. Paul sets them out as an example to follow. He then shows both them and us that our ultimate example of generosity is the Lord Jesus.

Jesus was rich. This is not speaking about Jesus’ bank account and portfolio. No he was rich in glory.

“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” -Philippians 2:6–8

He became poor by his incarnation into this world. The glory he emptied himself of is depicted as wealth. His earthly existence is depicted as poverty. He, as the Son of God, emptied himself of his glory and took the form of a servant. He became poor so that by his poverty, you and I might become rich. We become rich by embracing the free inheritance of eternal life and forgiveness of all sin. What a generous Savior we serve!

Because we serve such a generous God, we ought to go out into his world and display his generosity by giving to the needs of the poor. Our motive for giving is to display the glory and generosity of God!

Slow To Anger #fighter verse

Slow To Anger:

Our Lord desires all of his followers to be slow to anger. There are a boat load of cross-references in Proverbs that all mention the foolishness of the hot tempered man. These verses exhort us not to be such individuals, nor to even be around them. The thing that blessed me this morning though is the kindness of God towards hot tempered folks. God himself gets angry. He made us to be a certain type of way and understands our anger.

Jonah was a man like you and me. He despised the people of Nineveh. He fled from the Lord because he knew that his God was a merciful and forgiving God. He couldn’t get himself to preach the good news to the city because he was filled with a deep seated anger towards these folks. God knew this about Jonah and leads him through the valley of the shadow of death. Quoted below is chapter 4 of Jonah. I have highlighted a few places that mention the anger of Jonah, and the slowness of God to anger.

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “ O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?

We, like Jonah, get angry at things we shouldn’t. Because Jesus took the full force of the wrath of God, the Lord is not quick to come down and rebuke us because of it. He is slow to anger. And because he is slow to anger, he woos us towards love by his kindness. Do you see the way the Lord loves on Jonah even while his servant is angry? Our God is equally patient and kind to us when we sinfully are quick to anger.

The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God takes away the anger of man through kindness and love.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. –1 John 4:10–11

Slow To Speak #fighter verse

Fighter Verse For 10–18–15

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. -James 1:19–20

Some Slow To Speak Cross-References:

  • Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. -Ecclesiastes 5:1–2
  • When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. -Proverbs 10:19
  • Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. -Proverbs 13:3
  • Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. -Proverbs 21:23
  • If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. -James 1:26

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be slow to speak. The desire of our God is that every Christian be slow to speak. This does not mean that we are not to speak. Our gospel is a message spread by words. So what does it mean?

The word slow actually means “stupid, dull, and inactive.” Teenagers who hear this might think “O Yah! I can do that perfectly for the glory of Jesus!” But the idea is that as far as our speaking faculty is concerned; it’s as if our mouth becomes inactive and unable to move until the other person who is speaking is done. Our minds are not dull, but our mouth is until the opportunity arises for us to open it. And open it, we must; but we are to be slow in regard to the speed at which we speak forth words.

The bad news of the Bible tells us no man can tame the tongue. The good news of the Bible is that Jesus perfectly tamed his tongue, and was the pinnacle example of how we are to be slow to speak. When he was led to the slaughter, he opened not his mouth. Jesus not only died for our sinful actions, but for our sinful and foolish speech as well.

Quick To Hear #fighter verse 

Fighter Verse For 10-18-15

…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. –James 1:19–20

Quick to Hear:

How often are we quick to hear? I think our flesh is more easily quick to hear juicy words of gossip then fruitful words of wisdom. God desires for his children to be quick listeners. And he would not have had his servant James tell us to be a quick listener if God was not one himself. This helps us to see the importance of prayer. God sits upon his throne in heaven quick to hear the prayers of his saints. This is a sweet thought to me. O how we need to mimic our Father in heaven!

The Nearness Of Christ In Brokenness #FighterVerse

Fighter Verse For August 16, 2015

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. –Psalm 34:17–18

Job 5:7 says that “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” We are a people who are in constant trouble and in continuous need of help. Our delivering God wants for us not to remain silent, but rather to cry to him for help. He promises that he hears our cries and will deliver us from all of our troubles. The deliverance may not come today or tomorrow. It may not even come while we are clothed in our earthly bodies. But our promise is that he will deliver us in time.

Not only does God hear our cries, but he is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. One of the purposes of Christ’s entrance into time and space, was to bind up the brokenhearted.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; –Psalm 34:17–18

Sin breaks us and makes us a slave in captivity. The Spirit of the Lord brings healing salve and bandage wraps to bind up those of us broken in sin. There is liberty for those who cry to Jesus for help. He hears and comes near those crushed and broken in spirit.

The Whistle Tone Of The Righteous #FighterVerse

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. –Psalm 34:15–16

We have been going to the Wednesday services at Long Lake Regional Park. About a month or so ago, I was looking for my smallish daughter Elsa by the playground equipment. A friend came up to me and asked what I was doing. I told her I was looking for Elsa. She said to me, ”you need a whistle.” Not an actual whistle mind you, but a distinct whistle that my children know is from their father’s mouth. She told me that she has a whistle, and no matter what’s going on, when her son hears the tone from mom, he comes a running. In other words, her son’s ears are open unto the cry (or the whistle tone) of his mom.

Our great God manages everything there is to manage upon this earth. He is never too busy for us, nor shrinks back when we call. His eyes are always searching for the righteous (those covered in the blood of Christ), and his ears are always attentive to the tone of each of our cries.

Living The Good Life #FighterVerse

Fighter Verse For August 2, 2015

What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. –Psalm 34:12-14

Our fighter verse for the week reminds us that all people desire a good and happy life. The question of the psalmist is not intended to wonder where the person might be who desires a long and happy life. But rather where the person is who would pursue long life and happiness through God’s means.

A long and happy life is sustained through the normal means of our heart, our mouth, and repentance. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, James tells us. So in order for the tongue to refrain from speaking evil deceit, the heart must be free from such things. The heart can only be free from such things by being washed in the blood of the slain and risen lamb Jesus. Through regeneration we are given a new and healthy heart. This new heart is able to live a life of repentance. Repentance from our text is first of all turning away from evil. We never turn away from something without turning towards the opposite. And repentance requires us not only to turn away from evil, but to turn towards good and do it.

The good that we are required to do is the seeking and pursuing of peace. The Lord has not called us to a life of passivity and laziness. It is not enough to turn away from evil, turn towards the good, and then set up the lawn chair and stare all day at the good life. We are to seek peace and pursue, or run after it. What person is there that is doing this daily? Are you?

The Father Who Fears The Lord #FighterVerse

Fighter Verse For July 26, 2015

Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. –Psalm 34:9-11

Children are intended to be taught the fear of the Lord from their father. King David is the author of the psalm. He calls for the children to come close and listen to him because he will teach them the fear of the Lord. Doing this is a lifelong process. It is one that must begin by the father himself fearing God, and then turning to instruct his children what he has learned. If the father does not fear God first, he will inevitably teach his children to despise the Lord on account of his hypocrisy.

So how is it going for you? David commands you first to fear the Lord. He tells you that if you fear him, you will lack no good thing. And then he substitutes the word fear for the word seek. Fearing God begins with seeking him.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah‬ ‭55:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬)