Recommending the Great Spiritual Doctor

Recommending the Great Physician

A critical Pharisee once asked why Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. The Bible says, “When Jesus heard that, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick’” (Matthew 9:12).When we are sick, it is to our great benefit to see a physician. This trained professional will look at our symptoms, diagnose our issue, and prescribe a course of action that will put us on the road to recovery. If we wish to be cured, we will take the prescription. What would we think of someone who said, “Don’t go to the doctor! Stay sick! Waste away with your disease!” We would rightly regard them as kooks. Yet, this is exactly what this Pharisee was advocating on a spiritual level.

A doctor can heal your wounds, Jesus can heal your soul.

A doctor can heal your wounds, Jesus can heal your soul.

Many take physical illness so seriously. They will spend their livelihood (and the livelihood of others) on treatments of one kind or another in order to be well. When it comes to spiritual matters, however, they are not willing to lift a finger to aid their fellow. Many simply do not know the sickness they possess, and it is the malignancy that goes undetected that deals the greatest damage and death. Would we refuse someone an opportunity to screen themselves from such a malignancy? Do we reflect the attitude of this Pharisee?

Physical diseases may or may not be cured, but there is a sure cure for spiritual sickness—Jesus. He is the great physician, and we need to be directing the spiritually sick toward him. How do we do this? Invite them to worship with us. Give them a tract or DVD. Put them on our bulletin mailing list. There are many ways that we can encourage the spiritually sick to receive treatment. Let’s be like Jesus, not the Pharisee.

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God’s Final Words in the Old Testament

God’s Final Words in the Old Testament

Thirty-seven of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament had been written when Zechariah began his work as a prophet. What had God not reveal to His chosen nation? What more needed to be said before the close of that part of the Bible? The answer to these questions emphasizes the importance of the words of this prophet.

zechariah words

What more could be said? And why?

In the final three chapters of Zechariah, God’s messenger looks to the future to show the Jews that God had some remarkable actions He would take in the New Testament age. It is obvious that these chapters are Messianic because in them God affirms the deity of Jesus and the fact that He would be pierced. “Then they will look on Me whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:10). Do not overlook the importance of the use of the word “Me” in this prophecy. When that soldier pierced the side of Jesus, he likely did not realize he was fulfilling a prophecy made over 500 years earlier about God being pierced, but John quotes Zechariah’s words as being fulfilled by that action (John 19:34, 37).

This same verse in Zechariah speaks of Pentecost. “I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication.” Joel is not the only OT prophet who foretold the outpouring of the Spirit.

In chapter thirteen, the Messianic aspect of God’s final words to the Jews is seen even more clearly. “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness” (Zech. 13:1). One cannot read the New Testament without knowing who that Fountain is. Peter said, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things…but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18-19). The last book of the New Testament describes those who had washed their robes white and made them clean in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:15). Before God closed the Old Testament, He wanted the Jews to know that someday full redemption would come from the Fountain opened in Jerusalem.

God was just about finished with the writing of the Old Testament prophets. When the final two books were finished, God would stop sending prophets to the Jews for the next 400+ years! For two thousand years that had been prophets, but when Zechariah penned his words all OT prophecy was about to end. Yet, God wanted them to know that the time would come when there would be New Testament prophets to reveal His plan for all mankind. The remarkable thing is that even as He foretold the coming of more prophets, He foretold there would be a day when, having finished their works, there would be no more prophets. “It shall be in that day…I will also cause the prophets …to depart from the land” (Zech. 13:2).

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Memory Verse: One Lord…

Memory Verse: One Lord…

As I was growing up at the West Huntsville (AL) congregation, we had an hour-long Sunday night class for all the young people in the church. The class began with each of us saying a memory verse. Obviously, whoever went first got the “good ones” like “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). So, part of my life was finding the obscure verses that were very short which others just would not know. One of my favorites, which others seemed to overlook, was Ephesians 4:5—”One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

Think about what this verse says—one Lord. While it is true that there are many who sit in places of authority on this earth—politicians, policemen, teachers, your boss—there is one Lord above all others and He rightfully is the only true Lord.

Before He left the earth He said—by the way, another short verse—“And Jesus came and spoke to them say, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on  earth’” (Matt. 28:18). Think about the meaning of these words. He is above all heavenly creatures and has dominion over every mortal on this earth! He has all authority.

In the vision Daniel saw of the ascension of Jesus, he saw Jesus’ arrival in heaven and being brought before God. “Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:14). What a momentous event this would have been to witness. All of creation is subject to Him.

However, many have served other lords. The entire basis of pagan idolatry is a rejection of the only Lord and bowing before an image of stone, wood or precious metal. Contrast the concept of asking the help and guidance from any inanimate item and the concept of seeking a personal relationship with a living Lord.

Now consider that much of the religious division in our land today is the result of changing the kingdom/church Jesus received when He came before God. The One who has all authority never gave any mortal any right to change it. It seems that if you do not like the kingdom of the Lord of lords and King of kings, we have ignored His authority and created our own religious body, giving us what we want not what He wants.

Think about how practical it is to honor Him who has all authority. I have no authority, except that which the Lord gives me, over any part of my life. I have no time that is not His, I have no money that is not His, I have no rules of life which are not His. May I suggest that you memorize that short verse and meditate on how it applies to all of your life!

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What Does Your Heart Desire Most?

What Does Your Heart Desire Most?

The older I get as a Christian the more I am convinced that the key to greater spirituality is found in meditating on the psalms. David was a man after God’s own heart. By letting our hearts speak these words which flowed from the heart of David, our hearts will become like David’s heart and at the same time become like the heart of God.

heart psalm

What does your heart desire?

I am not sure which psalm appeals to you, for the one that appeals to me is determined by what is happening in my life as I read them. One important psalm answers the question, “David, what is the one thing you have desired of the Lord?” If I asked you the same question, how close would your answer be like the answer David gives in Psalm 27?

“One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek…” Receiving from the Lord is dependent on our seeking His help in finding it. Our service to Him cannot be far down on our list of the most important things in our lives. The Bible speaks of “with all your heart” nine times in the book of Deuteronomy (4:29; 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 13:3; 26:16; 30:2, 6, 10) and each shows the importance of seeking Him with our all.

“…that I may dwell in the house of the Lord…” It is likely that David’s house of the Lord was the tabernacle given at Sinai. It was a tent, yet David said that his desire above all things was to dwell in that house. God was there. How important is it in your life to be in His presence to worship Him?

“…all the days of my life…” As a young man who was facing Goliath, he looked back to past events which had happened and said, “God delivered me from the … lion and … the bear,” and then added, “He will deliver me…” (1 Sam. 17:37). He believed deeply in the providence of God as a youth and all the days of his life, even as an old man (Psa. 37:25).

“…to behold the beauty of the Lord…” David knew that it was in the house of the Lord he would be able, not just to glimpse at His beauty, but to behold it. We come into His house, to sit at the table of the Lord and view the most beautiful manifestation of the Lord as we commune with Him at the cross.

“…and to inquire in His temple.” We come into His temple and listen to Him speak His words to us in Bible classes and worship. Bible study by its very nature generates questions as we seek for deeper knowledge and the closest relationship we can have with Him. Every time, without fail, we inquire of Him and His will for our lives He gives the answer. The Creator of the world longs to have fellowship with us and provides the answers our souls seek in His temple.

How close does your one desire parallel the one thing David desired of the Lord? Think about your answer.

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Your Spouse is More than a Piece of Meat

Your Spouse is More than a Piece of Meat

“I love a good steak.” I’ve probably said that dozens of times in my life. And while I do enjoy a good steak—in all honesty, I do not “love” a steak. In fact, my plan for that piece of meat is not to cherish it, but to devour it. In my mind that steak is something that will bring me pleasure as it is eaten—it is something I plan to act upon.

When I look at the biblical definition of love that Paul wrote about to the Christians in Corinth, it certainly does not represent my feelings toward a steak. Paul wrote, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

These words do not represent my relationship with a steak. Do I “love” a steak the same way I love God, my wife, my children, and my friends? Of course not—there’s a BIG difference between my feelings for my wife and my feelings for a steak. And scientifically, my brain actually corresponds to this difference. When my wife or children walk into the room, a portion of my brain lights up that corresponds with caring and endearment. When I view a steak, a totally different portion of my brain lights up—the part that commonly lights up when I think about tools and using them. Simply put, I view the steak as an object.

And sadly, this is how I fear many young Christians view their spouses. I am seeing it happen more and more—and I pray it is not becoming a trend: young couples whose marriages are ruined by pornography.

I suspect many of these young people are getting addicted to pornography in college. They don’t realize the damage it will do to future relationships. They don’t comprehend that neurons that fire together usually wire together—meaning they are rewiring their brains.

Here’s my fear—these young men (I say men because pornography is primarily used by men—although it is increasing in women too) lose the ability to view women as humans with souls and as a result they don’t know how to truly love. All they know how to do is view their spouse as an object—a piece of meat. This is not the relationship God intended between a husband and wife.

A recent study presented at the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago clearly revealed that when men see photos of scantily clad women their brain registers the women as objects to be acted on.

Here’s what Nicholson wrote: “Princeton psychologist Susan Fiske presented findings from a new study this past Sunday, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Chicago, where she and her colleagues compared, ‘…heterosexual men’s perceptions of scantily clad women, scantily clad men, and fully clothed men and women.’”

And what they found is the 21 male subjects had the best memory for photos of sexy bikini-clad women. No surprise.Then they had the men look at the photos while their brains were scanned and what she found was that, “…this memory correlated with activation in part of the brain that is a pre-motor, having intentions to act on something, so it was as if they immediately thought about how they might act on these bodies.”

Fiske explained that the areas, the premotor cortex and posterior middle temporal gyrus, typically light up when one anticipates using tools, like a screwdriver. “I’m not saying that they literally think these photographs of women are photographs of tools per se, or photographs of non-humans, but what the brain imaging data allow us to do is to look at it as scientific metaphor. That is, they are reacting to these photographs as people react to objects.”

Paul wrote: “ For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).

Young men need to be taught by parents and the church how to possess their own vessel in sanctification and honor! How many more marriages are we going to watch dissolve, all because some guy got hooked on porn in college, has no self-control, and has lost the ability to really love his spouse?

There are three things I want you to think about:

1) Viewing your spouse as a piece of meat is not a reflection of Christ and His bride; 2) Pornography is causing erectile dysfunction (ED) in young men (under 40) at alarming rates, causing many to turn to prescription drugs; and 3) While drug addicts need more drugs to get that same high, porn addicts don’t need more…they need something different (or more intense).

And far too often, this means doing things to a spouse that cause pain and discomfort, or seeking pleasure outside the marriage bed.Young men, stop viewing porn and stop viewing your wife as a piece of meat. She is a daughter of the King. Cherish and adore her. Learn (and practice) self-control! Stop destroying your marriage because of your selfish desires for porn. You are a Christian. Act like one!

“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

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