Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not meat, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But meat is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
I have always found the teaching on milk and meat to be a very interesting one. The reason it is so interesting is because Jesus said that we should be like a little child, (which implies milk drinkers), even though our text says that we should be meat eaters. Both scriptures are true even though at first there seems to be a contradiction.
When Jesus said in Matthew 18:4 that we should be as a little child, He was not suggesting that we be spiritual dwarfs who only drink milk. What He was saying, was that we should remain as humble and trusting as a little child even though we are adults. For an adult to act like a little child when they are grown would be childish and Jesus would never suggest that.
There are those who are no doubt much deeper in the things of God than others. Even though that is the case, one should remain a learner no matter how old they are, and that is what our text is saying.
I have noticed over the years that some folks stop learning at a very early age and other folks stop learning at retirement age. As for me, I am eighty-five years old and I still have so much to learn from almost everybody. As a matter of fact, I try to do something everyday that I don’t know how to do in order to keep learning.
The reason I continue to learn things that I already know is because I have discovered that there are so many layers to learn with every subject. For example, I continue to read my Bible over and over, and each time I read it, it feels like the first time.
Some time ago a preacher told me that he had already read through the Bible one time, so he did not need to do that again. I wonder how much revelation he is missing with such arrogant thinking.
There is an interesting thing about milk and meat … or about the food of the immature and the food of the mature. If one does not drink the milk are eat the meat, then they will spoil. Spoiled milk will not hurt you, but spoiled meat will kill you. Spoiled milk is like buttermilk, or what we call East Texas eggnog. If one refuses to eat the meat, (the word), that they should eat…then they well be judged by the word that was meant to be a blessing to them.
There also seems to be a relationship between success and those who eat the meat of the word. This conclusion comes as a result of our text saying, “for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil”. One might say that a learner is a discerner.
Help our digestive system to cry out for strong meat but do not let it spoil. When you told the Children of Israel to eat all the lamb the night of Passover, You were saying the same thing as our text. Father help us to mature.
Act 12:6-7 That very night, before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, and guards in front of the door were watching the prisoners. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on his side, woke him up, and said, "Get up quickly!" His chains fell from his wrists.
One of the saddest things I know is for a human being to be chained up like a wild animal. This is especially true when the one who is in chains is a man of God like Peter. If there is anything that shows the contempt that the world has for Christians it is in this text.
Peter was going about his business doing the five things that Jesus sent His disciple out to do in Matthew 10. However, those were the very things that antagonized the religious authority so they threw Peter in prison. He was not put in prison for committing crimes, but for doing good. To make matters worse he was chained up between two soldiers. The chains were not meant to keep Peter from escaping, they were meant to intimidate Peter and break his spirit.
However, the soldiers did not count on the power of prayer for which there is no defense. When the Bible says that “one can send a thousand to flight and two can send ten thousand to flight” … that principle was proven that night. As Peter lay in pain and chains, the ordinary folks were holding a prayer meeting in his defense and calling on the name of the Lord for his release.
There was something about their unified prayer that loosed Peter’s chains, opened the prison doors, swung wide the gates and lead Peter to safety. Peter’s first stop was to give thinks to God and the folks whose unified prayer had released him.
Several years ago, when there was a scandal about some big-name televangelist … it seemed as if the media was trying to bring all televangelists down. There is no doubt that wrong had been done but the punishment and treatment seemed so severe.
One such case was with televangelist Jim Bakker. I will never get the image out of my mind of how Jim was treated. They had him chained up like a mass murderer. His wrists were in chains, his waist was in chains, his feet and legs were in chains and he was anchored by two big men as if he could actually get away. When they brought Jim out of the building to put him in the vehicle, news cameras were there from every network recording Jim as he stood there scared and weeping like a baby. I am not sure if the chains were meant to keep Jim from escaping or they were meant to break his spirit. Either way, this was one of the saddest scenes I have ever witnessed.
Our text doesn’t tell us if Peter felt like crying like Jim when he was bound with chains and guards on either side. It does tell us that he had a prayer army who were willing to bombard heaven on his behalf.
We did learn in our text that there is a power in unified prayer that is beyond our understanding … even to the point of breaking chains and unlocking doors. Our text proves that even though we live in this world, we are not of this world. This world may put chains on us but our world (the heavenly realm), is what loosens those chains.
Help us to understand our text the way we were meant to understand it. Help us to understand the lesson in our text that teaches us the difference between the two powers. The world’s power which is the power of the chains, and heaven’s power, the power of prayer.
My Dad’s Bible
John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
The apostle John gave quite an impressive introduction for Jesus. John certainly did not leave any room to question who Jesus was and how He relates to this world. As we study the life of Jesus, we see that He was no less the creator and light of this world when He was a baby in Bethlehem than He was when He was hanging on the cross at Golgotha.
A lot of things obviously happened between Bethlehem and Golgotha. Jesus started out as a sweet little baby with angels singing at His birth and wise men bringing Him gifts. He ended up thirty-three years later all bruised and battered and hanging on a cross.
The natural mind cannot understand things like this, particularly when it was His Father’s will that He pay such a price, and He obeyed. The Bible says that, “He was the lamb that takes away the sin of the world”, even the sins of those who nailed Him to the cross. That was evident when He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross for our redemption while remaining the “light of the world”.
My dad died eighty-two years ago when I was three years old. Some thirty years after my Dad died, I went to see my Mom and she handed me this old ragged Bible and told me that it belonged to my Dad. This was a total surprise to me because I had never heard anything about my Father, good or bad.
Even though the Bible was very old it was obvious that it had not been cared for either. The pages were torn and the cover had been cut with scissors by a child.
Nevertheless, I took this treasured possession home and carefully began to look at its pages. I not only discovered that dad marked his Bible exactly the same why that I mark my Bible but that he also loved the Lord as I do.
Written in the back of the bible were dates of births, deaths, marriages and even the last words my dad prayed as he was taking his last breath before passing.
Even though my Dad’s Bible was torn and fragile it still had the light of truth on each of those worn brown pages. When I handle Dad’s bible, I do so with all the love and tenderness of a son who is handling the bruised and battered body of Jesus.
Perhaps we should all reread our text and get a fresh understanding of the price that was paid for the Light that every Christian can receive freely.
The truth is always the truth regardless if it is hanging on a cross or its story written on the pages of an uncared for Bible. Lord, I find great peace in reading that old Bible and the story of the birth of Jesus as well as the full price that was paid for my redemption. Thank You Lord for the Light of the world that is now living in me.
Exodus 29:7 Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
All through the Bible we read where people, (as well as things), were anointed. Perhaps there is a lot more to anointing than we first thought. In the following cases it seems that pouring anointing oil or perfume on one is God’s way of spiritually laying hands on us.
For example, God told Moses to anoint Aaron and his sons for the ministry. The tabernacle and the altar were to be anointed for worship. Later on, we see where Saul was anointed as king. We also read in the New Testament when a person is fasting, they should anoint their own head. We see another interesting example in the New Testament when a lady was so overjoyed by Jesus’ presence that she anointed His feet with expensive perfume and wiped them with her hair.
Anointing oil was used for many things throughout the Bible. David was anointed as king seventeen years before he actually became king. Other men were anointed to be prophets.
There is something about anointing that carries the weight of God’s endorsement that the natural mind cannot comprehend. However, we can conclude that the anointing of God falls under the category of miracles. No one can explain miracles and particularly those that come as a result of the anointing oil.
When a miracle takes place it is very easy for the Thomas spirit of disbelief to surface at that point more than at any other time.
In my many years of ministry I have seem a lot of miracles but I have never been able to explain any of them.
As I write this Meditation, I do so with the full understanding that it may cause some to wonder in regards to the following stories.
Sometime ago while ministering in Mexico to a group of pastors, all of a sudden, I felt I should call my wife back in San Antonio. She had no more than answered the phone until she started telling me this strange story about a man from Georgia named Johnny. Johnny was a friend of the prayer ministry she is involved in and he was just an ordinary man who simply loved the Lord.
One day back in Georgia Johnny opened his Bible to Psalms 39 and oil began flowing out of his Bible. Over a period of time the oil that started flowing from Psalm 39 began flowing to the end of the Bible. After a while it began to flow from Psalms 39 to the beginning of the Bible.
Since that time hundreds of people have been anointed with this miracle oil and healed of all kinds of diseases and sickness. Johnny has been on God TV as well as other media. Johnny remains an humble man with no explanation for this phenomena.
When my wife told me that story I was overwhelmed by the anointing I felt. I walked back in the room where the Mexico pastors were and said to one who was standing all the way across the room, “I release the power and effect of this miracle oil on you right now”. Even though he was several feet away he shot backward under the power of God and was out for several minutes. When he came to, he said, “something happened to me … I feel totally different”.
That night while preaching I felt the Lord stop me in the middle of my message to pray for a lady sitting on the back row. I released the same simple prayer on her as I had released on the pastor and she became mute until after the service. Her life was changed. The same thing happed the next night at another service to another lady who became mute until after the service. The people were so overwhelmed at these and other miracles that they could not stop praising the Lord.
I realize that stories like these are not for everyone. However, I do believe they will be an encouragement to others who have had similar unexplainable experiences but are afraid to share them.
Help us walk into the realm of the supernatural more and more. It is impossible for our natural minds to understand the phenomena that Jesus walked in all of His life … but we are trying.
The Unfinished Church
(Act 2:47) Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
If the Lord is adding to the church daily it is because the church is not finished. As a matter of fact, the church will not be finished until Jesus returns for His bride. Our text simply shows the progression of the church and not it’s conclusion. The reason the church is not finished is because folks are still being born again and added to it daily.
The same thing is true with each of us, we are also unfinished works. Our spiritual growth develops the same way that the early church was developed, and that is though the “testing of our faith” (James 1:3). Testing is never fun, but there doesn’t seem to be any other way of maturing us apart from testing. The fact is, one never stops growing, changing or being tested no matter what their age. According to Ephesians 4:12, our being tested is “perfecting us for the work of the ministry”
San Antonio is blessed to still have some of the old Spanish missions that were built back in the early seventeen hundreds. I went by one recently and noticed that its construction had been started but never finished. Work on the old mission had started and stopped over a fourteen-year period of time and then finally stopped altogether.
The thing that sadden me most, was them giving up their vision when they were so close to finishing it. The rock walls were very strong and thick and would have been able to withstand any invasion. However, the construction was stopped just prior to the roof going on … and with that a great vision was abandoned. They turned what was to be their sanctuary into a graveyard that lasted for the next two hundred and fifty years until it was excavated, and the bones removed to another grave site. Abandoning a great vision like this was very sad to me.
No high school graduating class plans to fail in life … they are sure their ideas will make the world better, their politics will unite the country, their science, business, and inventions will be a pattern for future generation to follow.
However, things don’t always turn out the way young minds plan. In far too many cases their visions begin to die soon after graduation. Some lost their lives, some took their lives, many are divorced, others spent their life just barely getting by. But thank God there are others who never lost their vision and completed it in style.
My encouragement is for those who reads this meditation to go back and pick up those unfulfilled visions and prophetic words that are on the shelves and complete them. Don’t be like the Spanish missionary who stopped his work just prior to putting on the roof. Don’t allow your vision to end up being nothing more than a graveyard, or another unfinished church.
Help us to be completers and not stoppers. Help our stickability to be something to be emulated. Help us to be an encourager to others who are prone to lose hope and grow weary in well doing. We want to be known as a completer just like our Father in heaven.
Sing Me a Song
Ephesians 5:19-20, Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
There is something about singing that is not only healing for our soul but also touches the very heart of God. The reason it touches God’s heart is because God is the source of music and therefore music is in all creation.
As a matter of fact, when God created Lucifer, according to Isaiah 14, He created him as a musical being. It says that he was to cover the throne with worship, but he didn’t use instruments … he was the instrument.
In the Hebrew it talks about the very pipes that were in Lucifer’s being, so therefore … he just began to be. And as he began to be, he had the ability to produce music because God created him, and God was music. That means when we were created, we were also created with music in us.
Scientist have done some studies with the human DNA and were actually able to decode it. In doing so they discovered that our individual DNA has a musical notation to it. Since we all have a different DNA that means we all have a different song in us. Your body sings a different song than mine.
Music is not only a healing agent, but it also brings peace to the soul.
When I was in the rehab center after my heart surgery, I lay awake one night until early in the morning. About two AM a nurse stuck her head in my room to check on me and I invited her to come in and sit down. She never said a word but walked in and sat down close to my bed.
She was a beautiful young black nurse from the Dominican Republic. I asked her if she knew the Lord and she said yes. I then asked her to tell me her story and she began by telling me that she was the only one in her family who knew the Lord. She said her family was steeped in witchcraft and all of them made fun of her when she got saved and went to church as a little girl.
She grew up and went to nursing college and then came to America and got a job at this rehab center in San Antonio. When she finished her story, I asked her to sing for me. Without saying another word, she began singing my favorite old hymn that I had not heard since I was a little boy. Her voice was so sweet and tender that I could barely hear her. The sound did not seem like it was in the room but was coming from a long way off. It was almost like an echo coming from her island across the water. Even though I could barely hear it I knew that God had sent her to me that sleepless night as a balm of healing. She will forever be in my heart.
When she finished singing, I prayed for her and I went right to sleep. I will never forget the little angel that God sent to me from the Dominican Republic … she will forever be in my heart.
Thank You for that young lady with the island voice that was my healer that night. Thank You Lord for putting a different song in each of us.
Exodus 40:34-35. The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tent. Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tent.
The most awesome and unnatural thing in the world is the Glory of God. It is unnatural to the flesh, but it is natural to the Spirit. The Glory of God, (or the presence of God), in its purest form is like a consuming fire. When God came down on mount Sinai in Exodus 19 He told the people not to come near the mountain or they would die. God was so awesome and pure that the bible said that the mountain smoked like a furnace.
Apparently, there are different degrees of the Glory of God and the degree depends on how much we can handle. In Exodus 40 and Exodus 19 is one degree and in Habakkuk 2:14 is another degree. Habakkuk says, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea”.
If you will notice Habakkuk did not say that the earth shall be filled with the Glory of God … it says it shall be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of God. In other words, the earth is already filled with the Glory of God. Depending on each person’s individual depth in God, we can actually enter into His Glory. One person may enter into His Glory at one level and another person may enter His Glory at another level.
Once while ministering in Canada at a large retreat camp, the Glory of God was so strong that one almost had to be there to believe it. Signs and wonders were taking place each night and folks were being saved, healed and set free. One night after the service a man who had lived a hard life got saved and requested to be immediately baptized.
The camp sat by a large lake and since it was the fall of the year the water was very cold, but the man didn’t care. The man assisting me said I will baptize him, and he and the new convert went out into the lake. The man being baptized took his bible with him and said, “I want my bible to be baptized too”. Down in the cold water they went, both man and bible. When they came out of that cold water the man came out shouting and giving glory to God.
After the new convert dried off he noticed that even though his bible had gone under the water with him, it did not have a water mark on it. With that the people shouted and praised God until after midnight … thanking Him for all the miracles that had taken place.
Strange and unexplainable things happen when the Glory of God is present.
This may not be exactly what Exodus 40 is talking about when it said they could not go into the Tent of Meeting. However, we can conclude that one man can be in a deeper level of Glory than another man, according to Exodus 19. On the other hand all of us are able to walk in a measure of God’s Glory according to Habakkuk 2:14.
Show us the mystery of Your Glory because we want to go deeper and deeper in Your presence. Lord, we want to grow so close to You that we can glow with Your presence as Moses did as He came off the mountain in Exodus 19.
(John 19:30) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
When Jesus yielded to the religious leaders who sought to crucify Him, caused me to stop and think. After all He could have called “ten thousand angles” to deliver Him … but He didn’t.
As I began to meditate on this terrible scene, I suddenly realized that there are many levels of yielding and Jesus showed us the ultimate level.
I also discovered that yielding is a process and not an immediate accomplishment. Perhaps that’s what Paul meant when he said that “we should die daily”. Paul seemed to be saying that yielding is a life journey … and total surrender is when we give up the ghost at the end of that journey.
In my younger days I used to work with horses that needed help. Some were only green broke and needed to learn how to rein, stop, turn and so on. In other words, they needed to learn how to yield their will to the riders will.
One day someone brought to me a beautiful high-strung, high powered thoroughbred racehorse that had only been on the racetrack. The owner loved this horse and wanted it trained to be a good saddle horse.
The horse tended to be nervous and jumped around a lot so I needed to find a way of refocusing its attention.
Next to my farm was a thick wooded area with some marshy land, so I decided to ride this horse through those woods even though he hated it. However, before long his attention had shifted from the race track to reluctantly stepping through thick brush and over fallen trees as he walked through the marsh. After a few hours of that unpleasant experience … I returned home with a very tired horse but one that had learned a valuable lesson. It was valuable because he had learned to yield his will to mine and that seemed okay with him.
He learned that his rider was something more than just a jockey how set on his back while he ran and exerted his own will. The woods, brush and marsh had definitely broadened his scope as he became one with me. From then on, I could go up to him anywhere in the pasture and jump on his back and ride him without a saddle or a bridle and he seemed to love the relationship as much as I did.
Perhaps that’s what Paul meant when he said, “that we must die daily”. In other words, we must learn to yield to the will of God even though it may require us to walk through the marsh lands of life.
Thank you for Your patience with us as we learn the art of yielding while walking over the logs and brush and through the marsh lands of our own life. We want to learn how to yield more to You knowing that yielding is a journey and not an immediate destination. Our nature is to run on the track and exert own will rather than to walk through the difficult areas of life. Be patient with us Lord.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Did you ever have the feeling that maybe you had less to do with your life’s direction than you thought? That is not to say that we do not have a free will and can make our own choices. I am only saying that maybe we had some help in making those choices. You know, a nudge here and a caution there, or maybe a strong thought that suddenly came into your mind and you wondered where it came from.
As I look back over my many years of living, I am not sure I ever had an original thought that was not sub-par. That is exactly why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
In other words, as believers, it’s not whether “we have the mind of Christ” … it is whether we submit to “the mind of Christ”. If not, all of our decisions will be based on our sub-par thinking … and that’s a scary thought.
When I read our text, I feel guided and protected knowing that God’s thinking is higher than my thinking. Because we are a child of God then Proverbs 22:6 can be applied to our relationship, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.
We may not always enjoy our training, but the end result is good. There are many things in life that come our way, that may not be of God, but He uses those experiences to draw us closer to Himself.
One such case was when I was in the hospital. God did not put me in the hospital, but He used that time to remind me of who He is and what He had done for me.
I was in a large room on the top floor of the hospital with all windows on one side of the room. This room felt more like a resort room than it did a hospital room.
I did not want to sleep in my bed that night, so the hospital was kind enough to bring in two large recliners. One recliner was for my wife and one recliner was for me. The only light we had in the room that night was the light of the moon shining through all the windows and the occasional flashing light of a helicopter bringing patients to the hospital.
My wife pulled our recliners side by side so we could be near each other. The presence of God seemed to be especially strong that night as we reclined through the night holding hands. It was one of those unexplainable times when we felt as if we were the only two people in the world. We spent the night praising God and thanking Him for all His blessings and knowing that He had given us so much more than we deserved. I also never felt more in love, or at one with my wife, than I did that night.
God used that time in the hospital to renew my soul and remind me of Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for well-being, and not for calamity, in order to give you a future and a hope. Today I am living in that future and in that hope.
Help me to think Your thoughts knowing You have a plan for my future. Thank You Lord for keeping everyone out of my room that night while my wife and I were with You, as we were surrounded by Your glory.
(Matthew 5:15-16) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
(Proverbs 24:13-14) My son, eat honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb is sweet to your palate; so shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; when you have found it, then there shall be a reward, and your hope shall not be cut off.
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