THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY!

“But earnestly desire the greater gifts.  And I show you a still more excellent way.”

1st Corinthians 12:31

 

The church at Corinth is often called Paul’s “problem church!”  The believers there struggled with divisions, religious pride and misunderstanding spiritual gifts.  In chapter 12 of what we know as 1st Corinthians the apostle dealt with the matter of spiritual gifts the Lord has given to each of His children, as well as the gifted men He has given to His churches.  He ends the discussion by pointing to a more excellent way, the way of God’s love.

One day a child asked her mother, “Why does the sun shine?”  The mom’s answer was short and simple, but very profound, “The sun does what it does, because the sun is what it is!”  The sun shines (gives light), because the sun is light to all!  Likewise, God does what He does, because He is Who He is!  God loves, because God is love (1st John 4:7).

In the first three verses of chapter thirteen Paul explains why God’s love is the more excellent way to live and to minister to others.  1) Love adds sincerity to words.  “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”  People, especially young people are quick to discern insincerity in words.  When we speak to others in God’s love we have something real to say.  2) Love adds strength to actions.  “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”  I am always reminded of the layman’s definition of nothing=A zero with the rim knocked off!  That’s NOTHING, and that is what our actions amount to in the absence of God’s love.  Actions taken in the love of God give us something real to do!  3) Love adds substance to giving. “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”  Only when we give in the love of God do we have something real to give!

The early church was not wealthy with this world’s goods and was largely opposed, but it had two formidable weapons expressed by the Greek words Kerygma and Koinoinia!  Kerygma speaks to the word of God, and Koinoinia speaks to the loving fellowship between Believers.  Understand that the ancient world was filled with religions, philosophies and false deities, but the missing element for which people were starving was to know that they were loved!  The world has not changed.  People are still searching for something real, and it is only found in the person of Jesus Christ and in and through those who are His!

 

Jon Moore

Rest

“Come unto Me, (Jesus speaking) all who labor and are weary, heavy laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to “REST.”  I will ease and refresh your souls.  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble and you will find REST (relief and ease and refreshment and blessed quietness) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome, good, not harsh, hard, sharp or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant. My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Matthew 11:28-30   Amplified Bible

Bible REST is by definition when one ceases to become agitated or disturbed, but instead finds a place of quietness.  The Bible speaks of REST some 71 times. Notice that the scripture says, “Come to Me.” Notice the verse also says, “Learn of Me.”  So many times, we try to have rest for our anxious souls without coming to Jesus.  Some go to pills, alcohol, self- help books, busyness, or anything to occupy their troubled minds other than Jesus.  The verse also states that we not only are to come to the Lord , but we must learn of Him. I have found that the more I learn of my Lord the more I can trust that He will do exactly what His Word says. “ For all the promises of God in Christ are yes and amen.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

Then the scripture begins to talk about the yoke.  When the oxen of olden days were yoked together to do work, the older and trained oxen would be yoked with a younger more immature oxen so that older could teach the younger.  Jesus says that His yoke is especially made to fit us, to guide us and empower us as we do the work that He has assigned us here on earth.

When I was a little girl we lived on several acres of land. Every year my daddy planted a large garden.  We also owned an old mule to help with the plowing.  Daddy used to say, as he would harness the mule, that is was very important that the harness was properly fitted or it would rub sore places on the mule. Jesus is trying to tell us that if we will “Come to Him, learn of Him and be yoked together with Him,” He will give us REST (tranquility of mind) and refresh our souls.  No more hurts and sores in our soul trying to do things in our own strength and in our own way. Thank you Jesus……

Joy,

Phyllis

 

ACCOUNTABILITY!

“Now when the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.  When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son.  But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.”  2nd Samuel 11:26-27

One of the most liberating truths about coming to know Jesus Christ is the freedom it brings; Freedom from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin and eventually from the presence of sin (John 8:32).  However, freedom in Christ cannot be separated from responsibility, from accountability.  This New Testament doctrinal truth is illustrated (as are many) in the Old Testament in the life of King David.  David chose to disengage himself from his soldiers and stay at home in a time when kings usually went to war.  During this time of idleness, he saw Bathsheba, lusted for her, committed adultery with her, tried to cover it up and ultimately was responsible for seeing to the death of her husband, Uriah the Hittite.  What some in the world might overlook, the Lord held David accountable!

There are two significant things regarding how the Lord held David accountable, and we would be wise to learn them.  First of all there was an afflictive aspect of God’s dealings with him.  The Lord said, “The sword shall never depart from your house…I will raise up evil against you from your own household…You did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel…” (2nd Samuel 12:10-12).  True to the Lord’s Word, the baby Bathsheba would bear would die.  Tamar, David’s daughter would be raped.  Amnon, his son would be murdered by Tamar’s brother.  Absalom, his son who led a rebellion against his father would be killed.  David’s concubines would be ravaged in full public view.  And Adonijah, another son of David would attempt to seize the throne in defiance of David’s stated wish for Solomon to succeed him as King.  Just as surely as the Lord said concerning the Word that comes forth from His mouth, “will not return to Me empty…Without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it!”  (Isaiah 55:11)

But do not fail to see and learn that there is a second aspect of God’s dealing with David, and it was and is REDEMPTIVE!  “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord’ and Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die’”  All of God’s Judgments of His people are ultimately redemptive!  Our freedom in Christ is certain, and His Grace is so amazing that, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:1).  As surely as we confess our sins, “God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”  (1st John 1:9)

In 1992 there was a scandal in Washington DC (really).  It came to be known as “Rubbergate.”  People in congress are allowed to write checks on the “congressional bank” up to the limit of their congressional “salary.”  In 1992 sixty-six congress persons wrote about 20,00 bad checks (more than their “salary”).  The value of these 20,000 checks was $10,846,856.  That brings to my mind Jesus’s last word on the Cross.  It was “tetelestai” which roughly means “completion”.  In the market place it meant “Paid in Full”!  Something tells me politicians are not through writing “hot” checks, but Jesus Christ’s payment for salvation will never be returned for lack of sufficient payment!  Praise the Lord, It is finished!

Jon Moore

A Royal Event

As many already know and watched on television, Prince Harry (the Queen of England’s grandson) and Meghan Markle of the United States were united in married a few weeks ago.  It was quite an exciting Royal event and yes, I watched it.  All the who’s who of England and the United states were there to celebrate all the glitz and glamor of the royal family. People were lining the streets, cheering the couple as they rode down the street in their beautiful carriage pulled by white thoroughbred horses, signifying royalty. Then of course, they were followed by the royal military, also on white horses. Oh so much pomp and circumstance!

As I was listening to the cheering for the royal couple, I felt saddened as I thought about some 2000 years ago when my Lord Jesus, bloody and beaten, was dragged through a street in Jerusalem.  He was headed to Golgotha, the place of the Scull, to be hung on a rugged cross to die a horrific death to pay for my sins.  No cheering for Him, only being spat upon and the jeering of that crowd! Crucify Him, Crucify Him!  But wait, He too is Royalty!  Not just a Prince, but the King of Kings, yet pain and agony was His welcome.  The tears began to flood my eyes.

As quickly as the tears began to flow, the heavenly Father reminded me that “one day” soon, when only He knows, our Lord Jesus Christ will return. The trumpet will sound, and this time He will be accompanied by the angels in heaven cheering His coming, singing; Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!  Let us also rejoice and shout for joy exulting Him! Let us celebrate and ascribe what is due to Him, all glory and honor!!!Hallelujah and praise be to the Lord of Lords, Who is the King of Kings!!!And by the way Jesus also, will be mounted on a white thoroughbred horse signifying His “eternal” Royalty!!!

Joy,

Phyllis

CHEERFUL GIVING!

“Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  2nd Corinthians 9:6-7

One Sunday a pastor sensed the offering time as a “teaching moment” prior to his message, and he asked the congregation the following question, “Do you look on giving to the Lord something you have got to do, or something you get to do?”  He went on to say that if Jesus is our Master, then giving is something we as believers get to do, but if Money is our Master, then giving is something we as believers have got to do!

The apostle Paul had received a pledge from the church at Corinth that they would take up an offering for the believers in Jerusalem who were literally starving due to a great drought in that area.  He would soon be coming to collect their promised gift to take it to Jerusalem.  He sought to encourage the Corinthians to fulfill their promise by reminding them of the results of giving cheerfully by faith.

He reminded them that this ministry produces thanksgiving to God (v10).  The believers in Jerusalem would recognize the giver of the gift being the Corinthians, but the author of the gift as the Lord God Almighty!  Paul also emphasized that their gift would fully supply the needs of the saints in Jerusalem (v12).  Prayers and words of encouragement are good and needful, but tangible gifts fulfill the challenge of tangible needs!  Then Paul pointed out that this gift would spur the saints at Jerusalem to both glorify God for the Corinthians obedience (v13), and also pray in the Corinthians behalf (v14).  Thus by the Corinthians cheerful giving by faith, their obedience would produce praise, provision and prayer!

Some years ago a banker figured out the two small copper coins (quadrans=1/64th of a denarius [one denarius=average daily wage]) the widow gave to the Temple treasury in Jerusalem, drawing 4% interest compounded semi-annually would be worth $4.8 billion-trillion (That is 17 zeroes!)  today!  Cheerful giving in response to the Lord’s leading produces meaningful results both in the giver and in the receiver.

Jon Moore

“My Peace I Give You.”

Have you ever said or heard this statement, “Everything seems upside down in the world today.” The headlines in the newspaper and on every TV news channel are violence, rebellion, anger and just plain scary news.  It is certainly enough to cause fear to rise in our heart. Our heavenly Father’s desire is for us to live in His peace (with undivided trust). Jesus says in Philippians 4: 6 “Do not be fearful about anything, but in every circumstance, and in everything by prayer and petition, continue to make your request known.” Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

A.W. Tozer states, “God has charged Himself with full responsibility for our eternal happenings and stands ready to take the management of our lives the moment we turn and trust in faith to Him.”  There are some 147 times that the word “trust” is in the Bible. I have heard my husband, Jon say on many occasions that if God says something once we can believe it, but when said 147 times He is trying to get our full attention. Because we received the Lord Jesus as our Savior, we now have the Holy Spirit to be peace in us, but not only in us, but also to flow out of us to others that are in need of God’s peace.

The story is told that during the Korean War Billy Graham had the opportunity to minister to American soldiers. While there he learned of an incident that stirred his heart. One Christmas Eve a young marine lay dying on Heart Break Ridge. One chaplain climbed up to the young man and whispered, “May I help you, Son?” The marine answered, “No, it’s alright.” The chaplain was amazed at the soldier’s tranquility. When he looked down at the young man’s side he understood the source. He was clutching in his bloody hand the Bible and his finger was placed on the calm assurance of John 14:27 “My peace I give you.” (Taken from McHenry’s Stories)

Joy,

Phyllis

LATER!

“But as He was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, ‘Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.’”  Acts 24:25

My father’s father, “Grandpa” Moore lived in a day when people, “Never put off until tomorrow that which could be done today!”  It seems to have become more convenient to, “Never do anything today that can successfully be put off until tomorrow!”  Procrastination seems to be the watchword for our day.  That reminds me of a man in the Bible, a Roman governor by the name of Felix who put off his opportunity to place his faith in Jesus Christ, and the results were disastrous for him.  What about you?  Has there ever been a time in your life when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, and in Him alone, for the forgiveness of your sins and a new eternal Life in Christ?

Felix’s first mistake was to assume that he was in control of his life, that he could decide what he would do about the claims of Christ on his life whenever he (Felix) wished.  He made the same mistake the men did on Mar’s Hill outside of Athens, Greece in Acts 17.  When Paul spoke to those men about their need of Christ, “They began to sneer” and said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.”  But Acts 17:33 says, “So Paul went out of their midst!”  And there is no Biblical or historical evidence that after Paul left Athens that he ever returned there.  Those men were listening to him for both the first and last times!  We would all do well to learn that the time to do business with God is when God is doing business with you…

In 1896 William Jennings Bryan was asked to give the major speech at the Democratic National Convention.  The nominee for the Democratic Party for President of the United States that year was expected to be one of two other men.  Mr. Bryan was simply the “favorite son” nominee from his state.  After two rounds of voting neither man had received a majority of votes, and a movement began to elect Bryan as a “compromise.”  After the third round of voting, Mr. Bryan won the nomination.  When asked by the media if his opportunity to speak had made the difference, he reportedly said, “Yes, and that is about all we do in this life.  We are given opportunities, and we either use them, or we lose them!” 

The question for today is, What have we done with the opportunity God has given to each of us?  I pray you will use that opportunity, and not lose it, for God’s glory and your own good…

 

 Jon Moore

Marvelous Moments with the Master

Busy, busy, busy! Our lives are so filled with work, children’s activities, frenzied, hectic schedules, just getting through another day. Jesus advised His apostles in Mark 6:31 “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.” We are commanded to “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

A number of years ago I was given a book by Charles Swindoll, “Intimacy with the Almighty.” Many things in that little book made an impact on my life, but one statement that Swindoll quoted from A.W. Tozer touched me so deeply that it led me to a journey of a deeper intimacy with God. “May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the Kingdom like children in the market place, chattering about everything, but pausing to learn the true value of nothing,”

“It is well said, No person can expect to make progress in holiness, who is not often and long with God.” Andrew Murray.

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call on me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things that you know not.”

Psalm 26:8 “Lord, I love the habitation of Your presence, and where Your Glory dwells.”

Psalm 5:3 “In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord I wait for You to speak to my heart.”

What an awesome thing to think that our heavenly Father welcomes us into His presence where we can have the sweet satisfying companionship of our Lord. Psalm 27:8 “Come and talk with Me, O my people.” And my heart responds, “Lord I am coming.”

Lord, I do not want to miss those marvelous moments with You.

Joy,

Phyllis

THE INNER LIFE OF CHRIST!

“Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!” Philippians 2:5-8 Amplified Bible

More and more believers today are expressing frustration over their failings in living the Christian life. Often asked questions are, “Why can’t I have victory in my prayer life? In my family life? In my financial life?” The answer to each question is found in the questions themselves, the repetition of the personal pronoun “I”! Victory will never be found apart from the Victor Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is the key, the essence, the Life-source! We are instructed to let Him be our example in humility (v 5). That humility is seen in two ways. First, He stripped Himself of all privileges and rightful dignity, the attributes that make God God (v 6,7). Secondly, He abased and humbled Himself still further, and carried His obedience to the extreme of death (v 8)!

In short the relationship between Jesus the Son and the Heavenly Father is to be the example for our relationship between the believer and the Son. Jesus Christ lived His life on earth as a man (He consistently referred to Himself as the Son of Man), yet not just any man, but man as God intended man to be! He was yielded to the Father, occupied by the Father and totally available to the Father for His exclusive use! He said, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.” John 6:38 Believers are not called upon to live a “copy” of Jesus’s life, but to yield ourselves to Him, rejoice in the knowledge we are occupied by Him (in Christ, and Christ in us) and daily make ourselves available to Him for His exclusive use! Just as the Father expressed Himself in both words and deeds through the Son’s humanity, Jesus Christ stands ready to express Himself in both words and deeds through each believer’s humanity…

Jon Moore

A High Price to Pay!

As I was getting our home all decorated for soon to arrive Christmas, I couldn’t help but think how Jesus left the “splendor” of heaven those many years ago to come to be born in a barn in an animal feeding trough. He then walked the dusty roads to heal the sick and raise the dead. His journey’s end in this old sin driven world was to be beaten unmercifully and hung on an old rugged cross to die for me and you. Because of that great love for us, the Bible in Romans 8:29 states that we who have accepted Christ as our personal Savior have been destined from the beginning to be molded into the image of God’s dear Son. Jesus paid the highest price that could be paid, His precious blood for us to be transformed.

Oh, what a price!

Several years ago I heard a preacher share a story (fiction or true, I am unaware), but it sure illustrates my point. In a small village in Africa it was time for a young man to be married. As was the usual custom, he would go around the area and visit all the eligible ladies. At that point the fathers would begin to state how many cows it would take to buy their daughter. Not one had ever been worth more than six cows. Most had no more value than 2 or 3 cows. A very strange thing happened when this young man saw a young woman and told her father that he would pay 8 cows. WHAT 8 COWS? No one had ever paid that, especially for a somewhat sad and undesirable prospect. Several years later when the young man and his 8 cow wife came back to the village to visit her family, people were in awe of her beauty and grace. WHAT HAPPENED was the talk of the village. The young man made this statement, “I paid more for my wife that has ever been paid so that she could become what I paid for her!”

Oh, my friend, didn’t Jesus pay the highest price that has ever been paid that we could be being changed into His likeness day by day by the power of the Holy Spirit.

WOW, what a Savior!

Joy,

Phyllis