Quit . . .

Vol. 3, No. 47

Quit the evil deeds of darkness . . . put on the armor of right living. –Romans 13:11-14

Siren, in Greek mythology, was a creature half-bird, and half-woman, living on the Grecian islands. She lured sailors to destruction by the sweetness of her song.

The Greek hero Odysseus, advised by the sorceress, Circe, escaped the danger of Siren’s song by stuffing the ears of his crew with wax, so that they were deaf to the Sirens. Yet, he himself was able to hear the music and had himself tied to the mast so that he could not steer the ship out of course.

His response was to quit, run for his life.

Paul focuses instead on the positive . . . put on.

Another story tells about the ships sailing by these islands, Orpheus sang so divinely that none of the sailors listened to the Sirens. They had found something more satisfying. The difference between lust and love.

Saint Augustine, during the late summer of 386 AD, experienced intense spiritual struggle. His desires were out of control. As he was lying on the grass under a fig tree, Augustine heard a voice calling out to him: “tolle, lege; tolle, lege,” (take up and read; take up and read).

He got up, sat on the garden bench, and out of a Latin Version of Romans, he read, “rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the fulfillment of the lusts of the flesh” (Romans 13:13-14). The passage led to the conversion of Augustine, who became one of the great leaders of the church in the fourth century.

For purity and victory, one must not just plug their ears with religious was, nor strap themselves to the mast of the local church.

Put on the armor of light, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. The first is armament; the second is clothing. The first is for protection, and the second is for personal spiritual defense.

Wake up in verse 11; clean up in verse 12; and then make sure you grow up in verse 14. We grow based on the food we eat. This is why God warns us not to make provisions for the flesh. If we feed the flesh, we will fail; but if we feed the inner man the nourishing things of the Spirit, we will succeed. –Warren Wiersbe

Do you hear Sirens? Is the flesh giving you a hard time?
God’s Word, if we would only take it in, is as potent now as ever, showing in itself God’s power with infallible proofs.

A thought from Paul Tripp . . . Come Let Us Adore Him

That baby in the manger came as our ultimate substitute. Everything He would do, He would do on our behalf, for our salvation.
The first Adam was created by God and placed in a perfect world; in perfect relationship with God. Adam literally had it all. . . . but in an act of outrageous rebellion against God, he took his life into his own hands and stepped outside God’s boundaries.
He miserably failed.
[Then God did the unthinkable!]
God sent the One person whom He knew was qualified to be the second Adam: His Son.
Everything Jesus did, from the first moment of His birth until His ascension to the right hand of His Father, He did as our substitute.
God sent One in our place who would do infinitely better than we could ever do, because our salvation depended upon it. The Christmas story is the most glorious stand-in story ever!
Have you read the story?

Note: I hope that you have purchased Paul Tripp’s devotional book, Come Let Us Adore Him. It is an excellent read – but more, it is a book that will draw you and even you family close to the heart of God during this Christmas season. It is about the real story. Do not miss it.

Obey the government . . . why?

Vol. 3, No.46

Obey the government, for God is the One who has put it there. –Romans 13:1

Citizenship is a prized possession.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Thus stated, it is the “title-deed” to our rights as American citizens. Other countries have their supreme law of their land.

In the days of the Apostle Paul, under Imperial Rome, citizenship spoke of privileges to be preserved, of traditions to be maintained, and of glory to be kept untarnished.

Citizenship, however is spiritual, not just political.

With privileges come responsibilities. Some pray, “Lord, help me be a good citizen.”

In the thirteenth chapter of Romans, three things stand out to indicate what we as believers must do.
First, we must be subject. That simply means obedience. It is an old Latin word meaning “under authority; owing allegiance to.”

Second, do that which is good. If I break the law, I have reason to be in fear. If I want to be safe and secure as a citizen, then I must be a good, law-abiding citizen. It is the guilty, the disobedient that ought to have reason to fear.

Third, pay your dues. Nothing could be clearer or more simply stated. Paying taxes is just as Christian as praying at the church house. When a Christian does not pay their taxes, they are disobedient to the government and to God.

Paul’s teaching to the church in the first century is a red hot issue for us in the 21st century. Render to ALL their dues.

1. Tribute to whom tribute is due (personal, income, and property taxes).
2. Custom to whom custom is due (import or export taxes)
3. Respect to whom respect is due (proper respect to those in high places)
4. Honor to whom honor is due (respect to those in charge over us; emphasis upon duty, but also courtesy and graciousness to governmental officials)

Paul goes further. Paying taxes is not enough. Telling the IRS, “Here is your money, now get out of my office,” should never be on the lips of a Christian. That is not respect for the sake of the office. Paul says to honor them. God has allowed that they be placed in their position.

Whose responsibility is it when government officials mishandle their positions? It is first of all God’s responsibility. He is dependable and will have vengeance in His time.

A thought from David Tripp . . . Come Let Us Adore Him

The incarnation of Jesus Christ pointedly preaches our inescapable need for radical, personal, and moral rescue and forgiveness.
One of the primary purposes of the incarnation of Jesus is to humble each and every one of us. Only when you accept the very, very bad news of Jesus’ birth will you then be excited about its very, very good news. Good news is only every good news to people who know that they need good news.
God came, in the person of Jesus, to live the way that we were created to live, but would never live, to die the death that each one of us deserves to die, and to rise out of the tomb, defeating sin and death because there is simply no other way. God knew that our condition was so desperately grave that He was willing to go to this extent to reach and rescue us.
Ponder that.
The beautiful news of Christmas is that God was not willing to leave us in our tragic and desperate state.

Celebrate the wonderful good news.

Heaping coals . . .

Vol. 3, No. 45

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if your enemy is thirsty, give him to drink; thus, you heap coals of fire on his head. –Romans 12:20

I’ll let no man ruin my life by making me hate him!

So spoke the black chemist and experimenter. Born of a slave woman in 1860, George Washington Carver had tough going during his early years. He firmly believed that God never makes junk.

He was denied schooling, rejected by fellow scientists, and heavily criticized by other blacks as too humble, and as an Uncle Tom. Yet this small, mild, soft-spoken, innately modest man researched the peanut with over 300 derivative products (such as plastics, dyes, ink, soap, medicinal oils, and cosmetics).

He discovered 118 products from sweet potatoes. Among them are rubber ink, postage stamp glue, vinegar, molasses, and a synthetic rubber.

George Washington Carver – part believer, part scientist, and part ‘a performing black bear’ took censure and castigation with a gracious and quiet spirit.

He was not a tit-for-tat, eye for an eye, or “I will give you a dose of your own medicine” kind of person.

Deal with the negative was in his heart and mind; avenge not yourself.

Paul is speaking to men and women in the Roman Empire who had a passionate desire to handle private wrongs. He is dealing with not just external acts, but down to the core, thoughts and feelings.
Have you been there?

Paul says, “Take the positive; heap coals of fire on his head.” Do that which will melt and soften the heart. There may indeed be the inclusion of the burning pangs of shame felt by a person whose evil and lack of compassion is answered by good.

Timing for such a thing is important. Give food and drink only when the other person is hungry and thirsty; otherwise things could go from bad to worse. Know that you cannot grasp God’s thunderbolts; but His love you can copy. Vengeance may break the spirit; but kindness will break the heart of the merciless.

Yet, we must take care about gloating when we see an enemy squirm. That enemy needs help. Nothing is so hollow and empty as getting revenge . . . it leave one flat and unhappy. You can help fix that.

Happy are those who strive for peace . . . they shall be called the sons of God.

A thought from David Tripp . . . Come Let Us Adore Him

The angels sang a glory song because Glory had come to earth to unleash His glory on all who would put their trust in Him.
I love Christmas . . . the excitement, the gift giving, the cookies, decorating, the special moments with people I love. Most of all, I love the deep, encouraging, humbling, and hope-giving story that is at the heart of the season.
There is something particularly glorious about the hymns that explain and define the significance of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
If you or I had been writing the big redemptive story, we would have never conceived something so amazing and miraculous as God actually coming on a rescue mission as a real human person.
Glorious.
The Savior who rescues your heart claims your song.

Have you joined the choir?

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