Gold Mining

Let us mine for gold in God’s Word.  Here are 52 Gold Mines.  Each Gold Mine is based on a letter that I wrote to my best friend, Harry Sieplinga, about my meditations on God’s Word and my attempts to apply it to my struggles in life during that time.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”  Matthew 13:44

TABLE OF CONTENTS             

GOLD MINE 1: DEUTERONOMY 33:12 – THE BELOVED OF THE LORD REST SECURE IN HIM.

GOLD MINE 2: ROMANS 4:5 – FAITH IS RECKONED AS RIGHTEOUSNESS

GOLD MINE 3: RUTH 2:12 – MAY THE LORD REWARD YOUR WORK AND MAKE YOUR WAGES FULL

GOLD MINE 4: I KINGS 17 – MANY ARE THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT GOD DELIVERS US OUT OF THEM ALL

GOLD MINE 5: JOSHUA 1:9 – GO UP TO THE ALTAR AGAIN, THIS TIME WITH YOUR CHILD

GOLD MINE 6: PROVERBS 3:5-6 – GOD WANTS US TO SEEK HIM ON EASY DAYS AS WELL AS DIFFICULT DAYS

GOLD MINE 7: JOHN 6:27-29 – WHAT SHALL WE DO TO WORK THE WORKS OF GOD?

GOLD MINE 8: PSALM 19:7-11 – GOD’S WORD IS MORE DESIRABLE THAN GOLD

GOLD MINE 9: EPHESIANS 2:4-7 – DON’T SEEK ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR DIVERSIONS. BASK IN GOD’S LOVE.

GOLD MINE 10: PSALM 34:5 – LOOK TO GOD AND BECOME RADIANT.

GOLD MINE 11: MATTHEW 18:3-4 – WHOEVER HUMBLES HIMSELF AS A CHILD IS GREATEST IN KINGDOM OF GOD

GOLD MINE 12: PSALM 52:9 – GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOREVER, BECAUSE GOD HAS DONE IT.

GOLD MINE 13: MATTHEW 6:33 – FIRST SEEK GOD; FIRST BELIEVE CHRIST

GOLD MINE 14: JOHN 7:38 – BUBBLING UP AND OVERFLOWING

GOLD MINE 15: PSALM 138:8 – GOD WILL ACCOMPLISH WHAT CONCERNS US

GOLD MINE 16: JOHN 6:16-21 – SEEK CHRIST’S PRESENCE MORE THAN HIS PRESENTS.

GOLD MINE 17: PSALM 34:6-19 – GOD DELIVERS US OUT OF ALL OUR TROUBLES.

GOLD MINE 18: ISAIAH 41:10 – GOD HELPS US IN UNEXPECTED AND DIFFERENT WAYS.

GOLD MINE 19: PSALM 92:4 – ARE WE GLAD ABOUT WHAT WE HAVE DONE OR BY WHAT GOD HAS DONE?

GOLD MINE 20: PHILIPPIANS 2:13 – GOD IS AT WORK IN YOU.

GOLD MINE 21: HEBREWS 12:2 – WE CAN’T FOLLOW CHRIST UNLESS WE KEEP OUR EYES ON CHRIST.

GOLD MINE 22: I CORINTHIANS 2:9-12 – THE SPIRIT REVEALS TO US THE THINGS FREELY GIVEN TO US BY GOD

GOLD MINE 23: LUKE 9:38-43 – AMAZED AT THE GREATNESS OF GOD

GOLD MINE 24: JOHN 14:1-6 – JESUS IS THE CURE FOR DISCONTENTMENT

GOLD MINE 25: ROMANS 8:6 – SELF-IMPROVEMENT OR GOD’S IMPROVEMENT?

GOLD MINE 26: PSALM 92:12-15 – DON’T BE A HORSE; BE A TREE.

GOLD MINE 27: JOHN 14:27 – PRINCE OF PEACE

GOLD MINE 28: JOHN 20:29 – SIGNS AND WONDERS

GOLD MINE 29: MATTHEW 11:28-39 – CHRIST’S YOKE WAS THE CROSS; OUR YOKE IS THE SPIRIT

GOLD MINE 30: I PETER 1:7 – PROOF OF FAITH IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD

GOLD MINE 31: ROMANS 8:28-32 – GOD HAS FREELY GIVEN US ALL THINGS

GOLD MINE 32: PSALM 116:7 – REST

GOLD MINE 33: HEBREWS 11:6 – COME TO GOD SEEKING A REWARD

GOLD MINE 34: I PETER 3:18 – CHRIST BRINGS US TO GOD

GOLD MINE 35: PSALM 33:13-22 – A SWEEPING VIEW OF WHAT IS VALUABLE TO GOD

GOLD MINE 36: PSALM 96:3 – LOOK AT WHAT GOD DID!

GOLD MINE 37: JOHN 6:35 – JESUS IS OUR BREAD OF LIFE

GOLD MINE 38: PSALM 40:10 – ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

GOLD MINE 39: LUKE 10:38-42 – PATIENCE

GOLD MINE 40: PSALM 16:1-2 and GALATIANS 2:20 – ULTIMATE SATISFACTION

GOLD MINE 41: DEUTERONOMY 31:6-8 – GOD SOMETIMES DELAYS DELIVERY TO PROVE OUR FAITH

GOLD MINE 42: ISAIAH 60:11 – JESUS SHINES THROUGH US

GOLD MINE 43: HEBREWS 11 – DON’T HAVE ENOUGH? AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH?

GOLD MINE 44: JOSHUA 21:45 – HAVE FAITH! NOT ONE OF GOD’S PROMISES FAIL.

GOLD MINE 45: PSALM 31:23 – THE LORD PRESERVES THE FAITHFUL AND PUNISHES THE PROUD DOER.

GOLD MINE 46: I SAMUEL 12:6-22 – CONSIDER WHAT GREAT THINGS GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU!

GOLD MINE 47: ROMANS:15-16 – “ABBA!” – “DADDY!”

GOLD MINE 48: LUKE 8:26-39 – TRUST THE POWERFUL RESULTS OF GRACE

GOLD MINE 49: ROMANS 12:3 – GOD EVEN GIVES US FAITH

GOLD MINE 50: COLOSSIANS 1:22 – CHRIST PRESENTS US HOLY, BLAMELESS, AND BEYOND REPROACH

GOLD MINE 51: ROMANS 5:15-17 – WE REIGN!

GOLD MINE 52: PSALM 119:160 – TRUTH IS THE SUM OF GOD’S WORDS

CONTENTS

GOLD MINE 1: DEUTERONOMY 33:12

THE BELOVED OF THE LORD REST SECURE IN HIM.

July 29, 1992

Harry:

God loves us, and we rest secure in Him!

As you may remember, I am going through the Bible sequentially starting with John and reading a chapter or more a day. I have already moved from John through Revelation and then started in Genesis and now I am at Deuteronomy 33.

I came across an unfamiliar verse that I would like to share with you. It presents a beautiful memorable picture. “About Benjamin he said: `Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.'”  Deuteronomy 33:12b

What wonderful love God has for us! It is particularly meaningful to me as I hold my two-year old son, Joshua, in my lap with his chest and head resting on my chest between my shoulders. Joshua falls asleep secure, and I love him and protect him with awe and wonder. Does God love us and protect us any less?!

GOLD MINE 2: ROMANS 4:5
FAITH IS RECKONED AS RIGHTEOUSNESS
August 19, 1992

Harry:

Thank you so much for the photograph of my first home on frozen Lake Michigan taken about 1975.

We certainly had a lot of adventures at this home and on Lake Michigan. I can remember sailing with you on our catamaran, walking on ice, exploring ice caves, surfing with our bodies in big waves, and exploring Whitey’s woods.

I also had times alone when I would just sit at home in my living room and look out over Lake Michigan lake and think about God.

The photo means a lot to me and reminds me of God’s blessings on my life.

Thanks also for the telephone conference today in which I shared my struggle dealing with financial difficulties.

The financial difficulties are not so difficult in themselves, but the fear, uncertainty, and anxiety are difficult.

God has taken care of me in the past. It is just so difficult to trust Him in the future. I would rather trust myself and grab the bull by the horns. However, the Lord is not leading me to deal with my financial difficulties in this way.

He constantly and continually, without exception, tells me to trust Him. He constantly and continually reassures me by His promises.

But I want Him to do the one big miracles and crush my financial difficulties in one blow. He wants to fake me out every time and help me in ways I do not recognize or understand. It seems God always helps me at the last second.

He wants me to trust Him every day, every moment. I want to trust Him for the big miracle and then trust my bank account. He wants me to trust Him 100% and to trust myself 0%. I want to trust Him 50% and to trust myself 50%.

It should not be that tough to trust Him when I can remember His blessings on me in the past. Back around 1989, I listed my blessings. I updated it by adding Joshua on my list on 4/6/90. All of my blessings are from God, not through my own work. Even my sole practice law office is a blessing. If I had my way, I would have worked as an associate for a large firm. Yet, God has given me the freedom of working for myself which I have grown to appreciate.

I remember back when I started Harvard College in 1971 and thought: “What do I want to do with my life?” I knew I could make it as a doctor and have a comfortable life, simply following my father’s footsteps. But I wanted to follow my passion as to what I thought was most important.

To me, what was most important was helping people to do what is right. Thus, I became interested in philosophy and government and law and focused on the question: “How do we do what is right?”

For over 20 years, I have studied that question, trying to find an answer.

Even after graduation from Harvard in 1975, I was driven to seek an answer, and found it difficult to concentrate on getting a job. I “floundered” and was unemployed, studying the Bible, from June 1975 to December 1976. God led me each day to study the Bible, even when I thought I should concentrate on finding a job.

God led me into law which was not unusual or inconsistent with my study, and I went to law school from January 1977 to December 1979.

Again in January 1980 to May 1980, I “floundered” and was unemployed and studied the Bible. I still focused on the question “How do we do what is right?”. Again, God led me to study the Bible each day.

Now, in 1992, I am convinced that I have an answer. We do what is right simply by believing God. Romans chapter 4 very clearly states that righteousness comes from faith, not works. “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,” Romans 4:5.

That we do what is right by simply believing God is so simple, but I am still trying to fully believe it and apply it to my life.

I do experience that my work is easy, whether it is the practice of law or serving the Lord in stewardship, missions, or some other service, when I trust God. God does His work in me. “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.

I was amazed how easy it was being Chairman of Stewardship at Pasadena Community United Methodist Church when God worked in me.

In the practice of law, problems that I fear never come to being and the other problems melt away. It even becomes fun to handle them.

I just simply have to believe God and trust God to work in me.

God has taken care of me month by month, week by week, day by day, for over 38 years and I can trust Him to continue for the next day, week, month, even eternity. Just as we are delighted to see our sons play with joy without worry or anxiety, God is delighted to see His children play with joy without any worry or anxiety.

I can trust God who gives us the Bible filled with wonderful promises and stories of love. God has proven Himself faithful without even one exception.

GOLD MINE 3: RUTH 2:12
MAY THE LORD REWARD YOUR WORK AND MAKE YOUR WAGES FULL
August 21, 1992
Harry:

I am still struggling financially. This is a hard fight. “God give me faith”: I pray. The Lord must think that I can bear a lot and have a lot of faith. I think it is more than I can stand through the flesh, but I trust God for strength.

My daily devotion today covered the book of Ruth. God particularly gave me Ruth 2:12: “`May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.'”

What struck me was the focus on the LORD:

1. “the LORD reward your work”

2. “your wages be full from the LORD

3. “the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge”.

The LORD is able to make me stand. He has helped me in the past and delivered me. He can do it now. He can do it later, even when I think it is too late. But He will rescue me. Psalm 91:15.

GOLD MINE 4: I KINGS 17
MANY ARE THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT GOD DELIVERS US OUT OF THEM ALL
September 29, 1992
Harry:

The devotion that I had today was 1 Kings Chapter 17.  It is helping me through another tough time.

I learned two major lessons through 1 Kings Chapter 17. First, just because God helps us through one trial does not mean that there will be no more trials. Second, God helps us often through humble and unexpected means.

In 1 Kings Chapter 17, God delivered Elijah from a drought through a miraculous provision of ravens at Cherith (Kerith) brook. However, the brook dried up. Then, God delivered Elijah through he miraculous provision of a widow and her handful of flour and a little oil in the jar. However, the widow’s son became so sick that there was no breath left in him. Then, God returned the son’s life to him.

Likewise, after God’s financial delivery of me on September 3, 1992, I first though that I would face no more financial trials at least for a while. But now, I am again faced with another financial trial. I cannot depend on circumstances. I cannot depend on having life without troubles. I can only depend on God who delivers us out of all our troubles.

“The righteous cry and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, And saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the LORD delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34: 17-19 (emphasis added).

We cannot determine or know how many trials we will face or how God will deliver us. Too often, I set my hope having no more trials. Too often, I set my hope on receiving a check in the mail. Very often, God uses other and often humble and unexpected means to deliver me, time and time again.

Thanks for your photos, letters and calls.

GOLD MINE 5: JOSHUA 1:9
GO UP TO THE ALTAR AGAIN, THIS TIME WITH YOUR CHILD
October 5, 1992

Harry:

This was a good weekend. Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, I went with seven other men from my former church, Pasadena Community United Methodist Church, to a weekend retreat at the United Methodist campground in central Florida at Leesburg. This was my fifth straight year. It is always a spiritual mountain-top experience for me.

At the retreat, I recommitted myself to pray more and pray every day for my wife, Theresa, and my sons, Jay, John, and Joshua, and I dedicated myself to them. This may be an obvious duty to some fathers. I am more selfish. I tend to think only of my own spiritual condition and maybe say a prayer now and then for my family. I resolved to pray for my family more and care for their spiritual condition more. God gave my family to me. He wants me to take care of them with me, as one family.

My son, John, who had been baptized last Sunday at Azalea Baptist Church, wanted to respond to the altar call at the end of the service and asked me to go up to the altar with him. At first, I hesitated because I knew he had already accepted the Lord and had just been baptized last week. I also did not want others to misinterpret my going to the altar, thinking I needed help, rather than John. But then, I remembered that when I was his age I went up for altar calls repeatedly, maybe five or more times. (Harry, I also vaguely remember when we went up together for an altar call at Maranatha Bible Conference in Muskegon, Michigan.) With that memory and a feeling of a little shame at my pride, I proudly went to the altar with John with thanks in my heart to God.

GOLD MINE 6: PROVERBS 3:5-6
GOD WANTS US TO SEEK HIM ON EASY DAYS AS WELL AS DIFFICULT DAYS
October 28, 1992
Harry:

Yesterday, the Lord answered our prayers and we were able to replace our big old 1976 Dodge with a sleek, low-mileage 1986 used Buick.

Today, it seems like I have little problems. It almost seems like I do not need God. I have no pressing problems or trials at work or home this week. I think I can handle this week.

The Lord taught me that just as I come to Him with heavy and pressing needs and problems and trials, I also need to pray that He will guide me through easy days as well. He brought to my memory that the hardest days with God are easier than the easiest days without God.

God cares for us and takes us by the hand through the easy days as well as the hard days. The easy days often pose the greatest pitfalls to us, because we tend to ignore God and just rely on ourselves.

In the following Scripture, the Lord directs us to acknowledge Him in all our ways. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

It is comforting to me that God loves us so much that He is willing, and in fact wants, to be our Good Shepherd every day of our life, through sunny days on the mountaintop as well as dark days in the valley.

GOLD MINE 7: JOHN 6:27-29
WHAT SHALL WE DO TO WORK THE WORKS OF GOD?
November 19, 1992

Harry:

I believe the clearest and most succinct confrontation between works and faith in the Scripture is John 6: 27-29:  “`Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal. They said therefore to Him, `What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, `This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'”

Man wants to know what he (man) should do to be righteous. He gets up every morning and thinks: “What should I do?” God replies: “Look to Me. Look at what I do. My work is to make you believe in Me.”
                                         

God changes the focus from man to God. God changes the focus from work of man to work of God. God changes the focus from works to faith. God changes the focus from man gaining faith through man’s effort to God giving faith through God’s work.

GOLD MINE 8: PSALM 19:7-11
GOD’S WORD IS MORE DESIRABLE THAN GOLD
 
December 2, 1992

Harry:

On my desk, I have Psalm 19: 7-11 copied and framed. Psalm 19:10 states that Scripture is “more desirable than gold”. This book, GOLD MINING, shows you what gold I have been able to find. Please forgive me for what tarnish my words may be on God’s gold. May my words more and more point to God’s Word and say: “That’s true!”.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3: 16-17.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.

“`BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER.’ And this is the word which was preached to you.” I Peter 1:25.

GOLD MINE 9: EPHESIANS 2:4-7
DON’T SEEK ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR DIVERSIONS. BASK IN GOD’S LOVE.
 
February 1, 1993

Harry:

We want to be loved. Whether we are the Dallas Cowboys doing everything we can to win the Super Bowl or we are a lonely teenager hoping for a date, we want to be approved and loved. We seek accomplishments to be loved. We also seek diversions to try to fill our empty souls.

We think we will be loved if we accomplish certain things. We think we can earn love. We also seek diversions to occupy our minds and souls with other things.

As Christians, even as mature Christians, we may sometimes believe that we experience and feel God’s love only when we accomplish certain things. We think: “If we accomplish something, God will love us”.

Too many mornings, we feel our souls are like empty blackboards. We feel we have to earn God’s love each day. Each day, we start again with an empty blackboard, seeking to fill it with accomplishments so that God will love us.

The glorious news of God’s love should overwhelm us like a wave overwhelms a sand castle. The Gospel is good news, Glorious news of God’s love for us, hitting the earth in an explosion of God’s love.

The Gospel split history in half from “Before Christ (B.C.)” to “After Christ (A.D.)”.

We did nothing to earn God’s love. Our righteousness is dung. We were dead, not near-dead, in our transgressions. We had no hope in ourselves.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7.

God loves us with a great love. Our faith should so be assured of God’s love that His love overwhelms us like a wave overwhelming a small sand castle. We should stand in awe with our mouths wide-open at God’s great love for us that floods our soul.

“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19.

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. …”. I John 3:1a.

“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” Romans 5:5

If we start each day through faith with a heart full of God’s love, what will we do?

A. Seek accomplishments to earn God’s love?

B. Seek diversions to replace God’s love? or

C. Bask in God’s love?

GOLD MINE 10: PSALM 34:5
LOOK TO GOD AND BECOME RADIANT.
 
March 1, 1993
Harry:

“They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces shall never be ashamed.”. Psalm 34:5.

When we look to God, we become radiant.

“For Thou dost light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness”. Psalm 18:28.

God puts light into our hearts.

“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18.

When we behold the Lord, He transforms us into His image.

GOLD MINE 11: MATTHEW 18:3-4
WHOEVER HUMBLES HIMSELF AS A CHILD IS GREATEST IN KINGDOM OF GOD
 
March 2, 1993

Harry:

“…`Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.’

`Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 18:3-4.

Man’s notion of greatness is based on works; God’s standard of greatness is child-like humility and faith.

The Christian life is not meant to be complex; only those who become like children are allowed to enter it.

The Christian life is simple. “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1.

God chose the “foolishness” of faith in Christ to shame the wise and to be the means of our salvation, wisdom, righteousness and sanctification. See I. Corinthians 1:18-31.

“that no man should boast before God.” I Corinthians 1:29.

GOLD MINE 12: PSALM 52:9
GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOREVER, BECAUSE GOD HAS DONE IT.
March 11, 1993
Harry:

“I will give Thee thanks forever, because Thou hast done it,

And I will wait on Thy name, for it is good, in the presence of Thy godly ones.” Psalm 52:9.

Are we happy because God did it? Or, are we happy because we did it?

Whatever success or fruit that we shall bear in life is because God has done it. We should be happy and thankful that God has done it.

Satan tries to pull us away from simple faith in God. He wants us to concentrate on our own works and our own righteousness which are worthless. Satan tries to get us to reason: “If I wait on the Lord, it won’t get done. I should just do it.”

God wants us to wait on Him and concentrate on His divine power and His promises:

“seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust”. 2 Peter 1:3-4.

Give thanks to God, because He has done it. Wait on the name of the Lord for He will do it.

 
GOLD MINE 13: MATTHEW 6:33
FIRST SEEK GOD; FIRST BELIEVE CHRIST
March 16, 1993
 
Harry:

The world tries to press us into thinking that we can or should only seek God on Sunday or at least only after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Our work, profession, livelihood and employment demands our first and deepest attention, according to the world. The world tries to box God into one hour a week of “religion”.

Two passages in Scripture came to my mind today which overturn this mind set of the world:

1. Matthew 6:33 is the most succinct: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”

2. John 6:27-29 is a powerful passage comparing working for food with believing for eternal life, clearly stating what should be our first and deepest attention. Jesus said: “`Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.’ They said therefore to Him, `What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, `This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'”

1. We should seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness first.

2. Our work is to believe, but that isn’t even truly our work. It is the work of God.

GOLD MINE 14: JOHN 7:38
BUBBLING UP AND OVERFLOWING
March 18, 1993

Harry:

Jesus said:

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, `From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water'”. John 7:38.

Jesus said:  “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life”. John 4:14.

These Scriptural gold mines are what bubbles up and overflows from me. Each of us who believe in Jesus have different works which bubble up and overflow from us. Do we do it out of duty? No! We can not keep it capped. The works just keep bubbling up and overflowing.

Some of us teach or preach. Some of us provide music. Some of us give. Some of us are prayer warriors. Some of us open our homes and are hospitable. Some of us feed the hungry. Some of us feed the hungry. Some of us take care of children. Some of us take care of the elderly.

Some of these works just bubble up and overflow out of us, helping others.

GOLD MINE 15: PSALM 138:8
GOD WILL ACCOMPLISH WHAT CONCERNS US
May 10, 1993

Harry:

As I am reading through the Bible, I came across a verse in my devotion today that just asked to be quoted.

“The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;  Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting;  Do not forsake the works of Thy hands.” (emphasis added). Psalm 138:8

Psalm 57:2 similarly states: “I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me.”

Romans 8:28 states: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:32 states:  “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things”?

I know that I struggle to live by faith. I struggle to believe what I write. Sometimes, all I can see is the “bleak reality”. But, the “bleak reality” is really only a logical future without God. But there is a God who has awesome and infinite power. God fulfills His promises and showers us with His lovingkindness. God can and does turn our “bleak reality” into our “abundant life”.

God does not just sit in heaven and watch what we do or what happens to us. God accomplishes His will through us. He gives us everything we need. God continually encourages us. He give us His Son and His Spirit to dwell within us. He adopts us as His children. God creates the good works for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 God perfects the good work within us. Philippians 1:6. God predestines us. God calls us. God justifies us. God glorifies us. Romans 8:29-30.

Let us stop worrying about what we should do and start praising God for what He has done!

“For Thou, O LORD, hast made me glad by what Thou has done, Psalm 92:4.

I will sing for joy at the works of Thy hands.”

 
GOLD MINE 16: JOHN 6:16-21
SEEK CHRIST’S PRESENCE MORE THAN HIS PRESENTS.
July 13, 1993

Harry:

My minister, Dr. David Fannin of Azalea Baptist Church, repeatedly tells us, his congregation, that we should seek Christ’s presence more than Christ’s presents. I am gaining more understanding and appreciation for that wisdom.

Let us consider some questions to contrast.

Do we try to use Christ as a means to obtain something? Or, do we accept Christ as our end and destination, our bread of life, and our righteousness? Would we rather have Christ’s presents or His presence? Is Christ our means or our end? Is Christ our truth and our life? Or, do we seek something more?

When a storm hits, do we seek calm seas or Christ? When we are hungry, do we seek whole wheat bread or whole life Christ?

When we turn 40 and panic and wonder what we have accomplished in this life, do we seek to number our works or to name our Savior?

In the following three portions of Scripture, all located in John 6, we shall see Christ as our end and our destination, as our bread of life, and as our Savior.

In John 6:16-21, Jesus and His disciples were crossing the sea to Capernaum when the sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. The disciples were frightened. Jesus said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid”.

John 6:21 then simply tells us: “They were willing therefore to receive Him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going”. (emphasis added).

The key to this passage is not that the sea became calm. (It is not mentioned in this passage whether or not the sea became calm.) The key is that as soon as they were willing to receive Him, the boat was at the land to which they were going.

In a storm, man thinks: “I need safety. I need the wind to stop blowing and the seas to calm. If this storm does not stop, I will die. “Jesus, calm the seas.”

The point of this passage is that there is something immensely more important than what Jesus causes or brings. Sometimes, Jesus may calm the seas. However, what is most important is that Jesus’ presence is our end and destination. Even if the wind continues to blow and the sea rages, if Christ is with us, we have the peace of knowing that we are where we should be.

GOLD MINE 17: PSALM 34:6-19
GOD DELIVERS US OUT OF ALL OUR TROUBLES.
August 2, 1993
Harry:

I am walking through “the valley of the shadow of death” called “finances”.  But, I fear no evil for God is with me.

This has been a difficult and frightening valley that requires all my faith and more. I didn’t think I would make it beyond July 31; but here it is August 2, 1993 and God has helped me in four small but important financial ways.

“But the path of the righteousness is like the dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day”. Proverbs 4:18.

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season, And its leaf does not wither, And in whatever he does, he prospers”.  Psalm 1:2-3.

“The righteous cry and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles”. Psalm 34:17.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous;  But the LORD delivers him out of them all”. Psalm 34:19.

“This poor man cried and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles”. Psalm 34:6.

“O fear the LORD, you His saints;  For to those who fear Him, there is no want.  The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;  But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing”. Psalm 34:9-10.

“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;  I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.  He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;  I will be with him in trouble;  I will rescue him, and honor him.  With a long life I will satisfy him, And let him behold My salvation”. Psalm 91:14-16.

“What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things”?  Romans 8:31-32.

“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:19.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness;  and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow;  for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own”. Matthew 6:33-34.

“Ask, and it shall be given to you;  seek, and you shall find;  knock, and it shall be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.  Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?  Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:7-11.

I made it through Monday, August 2, 1993! God has not let me down! God has helped me with my financial struggles. Even when I thought God had let me down, God helped me! God keeps my faith and shows me that He keeps His Word! Although it may be dark in the life of the righteous, “the path of the righteous is like the dawn, That shines brighter until the full day”. Proverbs 4:18.

GOLD MINE 18: ISAIAH 41:10
GOD HELPS US IN UNEXPECTED AND DIFFERENT WAYS.
August 12, 1993

Harry:

Today’s devotion is Isaiah 41. What a great and comforting verse is Isaiah 41:10!

“Do not fear, for I am with you;  Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”. Isaiah 41:10.

How often we do look anxiously about us! We get anxious and panic when the check does not come in the mail. We lose faith when we do not see how God is going to help us. We care more about the check in the mail than we care about trusting God.

God often helps us in unexpected and different ways so that we do not base our trust in what we expect and see. God wants us to trust Him, no matter what we expect and see.

If we trust in just what we expect and see, such as money, then we will love and serve just what we expect and see, such as money. However, if we trust in God, no matter what we expect and see, we will love God.

We should not be anxious, particularly about money. Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:19, and many other verses assure us that God will take care of us.

It may also help us to not be anxious, if we understand that God wants to create, build and finish our faith in Him. How can He best do that? God often helps us in unexpected and different ways so that we do not just trust in what we expect and see. We just trust God to help us and get us through our struggles somehow.

GOLD MINE 19: PSALM 92:4
ARE WE GLAD ABOUT WHAT WE HAVE DONE OR BY WHAT GOD HAS DONE?
October 22, 1993

Harry:

I have not written a “Letter to Harry” in a long time. Today, I feel inspired to summarize what I have been trying to emphasize in many letters to you. I also want this letter to be a special tribute in honor of my beloved minister, Dr. David Fannin, who will be moving from my Azalea Baptist Church to go to Nassau Bay Baptist Church near Houston, Texas in about ten days. I will miss him. He has been a real blessing to me as a preacher and as a friend.

“For Thou, O LORD, hast made me glad by what Thou hast done,

I will sing for joy at the works of Thy hands.” Psalm 92:4.

This should be our attitude! We should not be preoccupied by our works. We should not be preoccupied by what we should do. Rather, we should focus on God’s works. We should be glad about what God has done.

Too often, we dwell on feelings of our own failures or inadequacies. We feel that because we are “mature Christians” we should examine ourselves more often and perfect ourselves.

It is easy to justify this focus on our self. We can pull out selected verses from the Bible that admonish us to do this or not to do that. Messages of failure and inadequacy even come from people we respect: preachers, teachers, and family. It can seem righteous to us for us to feel condemned and inadequate. When worldly wisdom is blended into God’s Word, the resulting half truths are particularly believable and dangerous.

2 Timothy 2:15 exhorts us: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” We should not take verses out of their context. We should read, preach, and teach the meaning of the whole passage. Verses can be selected and isolated out of their passage as long as they are used in the meaning of the whole passage. Beware of sermons or messages based on just one or a few verses. Ask yourself what is the meaning of the whole passage.

Here are three questions that may help you in your study of a Scriptural passage:

1. Is the focus on what man has done or on what God has done?

2. Are we urged to work harder or believe more?

3. Did the victory come from what man did or what God did? Who got the glory?

Here are three portions of Scripture that plainly tell us to focus on the work of God and the faith of man. We need to focus on God more and on man less. We need to believe more, rather than work more.

John 6:28-29
“They said therefore to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'”
Romans 4:1-5
“What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. For what does Scripture say? ‘AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,”
 

Galatians 3:2-5 states:  “This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain – if indeed it was in vain? Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”

In conclusion, focus on God and what He has done. Be glad by what God has done. Sing for joy at the works of God’s hands.

In John 6:27, Jesus said: “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.”

When hungry, a man thinks: “I need bread. I cannot live without bread. `Jesus, give me bread.'”  Esau, likewise, rationalized when he was hungry: “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?”  Esau sold his birthright for stew to Jacob.

Jesus here tells us to not work for food which perishes but for food which endures to eternal life. Jesus tells us that He is the bread of life which we should seek and that he who comes to Him shall not hunger and thirst. In Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus told us not to be anxious about food, drink, or clothing by commanding and promising in verse 33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”

In John 6:28 and 29: “They said therefore to Him, `What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, `This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He has sent.'”

In mid-life crisis, man thinks: “What have I accomplished in my life? I need works to my credit. I won’t be saved or get rewards if I don’t do enough works, “Jesus, help me to do your works.”

However, Jesus focuses on the work of God and faith of man: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He has sent.”

In summary, too often, we seek calm circumstances (safety), money, and works rather than Christ Himself. We seek these goals of safety, money, and works, and we use Christ as a means to obtain them.

We need to understand that Jesus is not just the means; Jesus is the end. Jesus does not lead us to all things; all things under God’s will leads us to Jesus.

Jesus is our harbor, our destination, our bread of life, our Savior, our righteousness, our goal, our truth, and our life.

GOLD MINE 20: PHILIPPIANS 2:13 

GOD IS AT WORK IN YOU.

February 4, 1994

Harry:

In John 6:28, the Jews ask the most important question of all time: “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”. That is the central question of human life.

If you ask a preacher or teacher that question, he or she may answer: “Go to church. Attend Sunday School. Feed and clothe the poor. Tithe. Pray. Witness.”

Of course, all of these works are good and important. However, the source of these works should be God working in us. The question should not be: “What shall we do?”; the question should be: “What is God doing in us?”

It is our tendency as human beings to focus on ourselves, rather on God. Church leaders feel pressured to prove their own righteousness through their own works.

But Jesus answered the Jews with a startling reply: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent”. See John 6:29.

In Jesus’ few words, He was saying: “First of all, you can’t work the works of God. Second, don’t worry about doing the works of God, God does His own work. This is what God’s work is. Third, you should focus on your faith in me, rather than on what you should do. Fourth, you need help to believe in me. In fact, it is God’s work that enables you to believe in me”.

Each day we are faced with pressure to prove our own righteousness, and we are often pressured most at church.

We sit silently as we are taught to do a certain church work “to do the works of God”.

It is hard to trust these words of Jesus. We feel that faith is only a worthless cloud of dreams and that only works get things done. However, Jesus reassures us: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.” John 14:12.

We can say with Jesus: “the Father abiding in Me does His works.” (John 14:10). We can say: “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.

In conclusion, focus on God. Believe God is at work in you. Believe God gives you the will to do His will. Believe God made you as a unique and precise workmanship to do his works. We do not have the same gifts; we do not do the same works. We are unique and do the works which God prepared just for us beforehand.

GOLD MINE 21: HEBREWS 12:2

WE CAN’T FOLLOW CHRIST UNLESS WE KEEP OUR EYES ON CHRIST.

February 24, 1994

Harry:

In a sermon last Sunday, the Biblical text contained the words: “Follow Me.” Let us look at some of those verses:

“And He said to them, `Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'” Matthew 4:19.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, `If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me‘”. Matthew 16:24.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them; and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27-28.

I began to think how important it is for us to look and focus on Jesus. It is easy for us to agree with the point that we should look and focus on Jesus, but I experience in myself and also see in other Christians a tendency or attraction to look at ourselves.

We are more concerned about our own image, especially to others, than we are concerned about the image of Christ. We think: “We are mature Christians, look at us.” We do not quite trust taking our eyes off ourselves to look at Christ. We are more concerned about our own righteousness than “the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith”. See Philippians 3:9.

It should be obvious that if we are to follow Christ, we should above all seek to see Him. If we take our eyes off of Him, we will slow down, fall behind or wander. If we keep our eyes on Him, we can almost effortlessly follow Him. We do not need to think about: “Am I walking fast enough? Am I tired? Am I staying on course?” If we keep our eyes on Him, we will walk with Him.

The Christian life is often described as a walk. (See for examples: “walk by the Spirit”, Galatians 5:16; “If you walk in My statutes”, Leviticus 26:3; “walk in newness of life”, Romans 6:4; “walk in a manner worthy of the calling”, Ephesians 4:1).

We will keep up with Jesus if we keep our eyes on Him,

fixing our eyes on Jesus”. See Hebrews 12:2. 
But, if we keep our eyes on ourselves, we will fall behind or wander.
GOLD MINE 22: I CORINTIANS 2:9-12
THE SPIRIT REVEALS TO US THE THINGS FREELY GIVEN TO US BY GOD
April 27, 1994 

Harry:

“but just as it is written,

`THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN

AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD,

AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,

ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM’.

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. …

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may know the things freely given to us by God”.

I Corinthians 2: 9, 10, & 12.

Not only does God freely give us wondrous gifts that are too good to believe, God also reveals these gifts to us through the Holy Spirit which He also gives to us. The Holy Spirit helps us to believe and understand these gifts freely given to us by God.

GOLD MINE 23: LUKE 9:38-43
AMAZED AT THE GREATNESS OF GOD
May 15, 1994 

Harry:

Luke 9:38-43 tells us of Jesus’ miracle of healing the boy who was possessed by an unclean spirit which the disciples could not cast out.

What was the impact of Jesus’ miracle?

“And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.” Luke 9:43a.

Jesus’ miracle drew out amazement and faith in the people. The people became aware of the great things God had done for them.

Shouldn’t our preaching and teaching have that goal also?

Paul writes: “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God”. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5.

Just as Jesus’ miracle in Luke 9:38-43 and Paul’s preaching in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 drew out faith on the power of God, our preaching and teaching should have as its goal to make a similar impact. Our preaching and teaching should make people amazed at the greatness of God and the great things God has done for them (and can do for them).

 
GOLD MINE 24: JOHN 14:1-6
JESUS IS THE CURE FOR DISCONTENTMENT
September 6, 1994 

Harry:

It is the first day after Labor Day weekend. The kids have the blues because they are starting school. The parents have the blues because they are back at work.

Although by the time you receive this letter, it will be toward the end of the week and the blues may have passed or changed into an excitement for the weekend, I thought I would write this letter if for no other reason than to get away from my own blues. My devotion this morning was John 14:1-6, and some thoughts about the blues and their cure came to mind.

One of the biggest causes of the blues is our search for peace and joy in the weekends, in TV, in the movies, in sports, in our possessions, in our work,, and in our friends and family. Although these are all good, even gifts of God, we cannot find lasting peace and joy in them alone. They can and certainly do give us some peace and joy, but what happens when the weekend is over, our favorite sports team loses, we don’t have what we want, aggravations occur at work, or our friends and family get upset with us?

The best example of this discontentment can be found in watching me watch TV. When I watch TV, I constantly change channels with my remote control: click, click, click, around and around and around. I must believe that there is some peace and joy out there on some channel, but anybody who watches me must think I am a deranged idiot. I know my wife has questions or comments about me.

The words of Jesus beckon us to come to Him: “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me….I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:1 and 6b.

I need to believe and rest upon the fact that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life and stop looking around for the way and the truth and the life in other places that tempt me with quick bits of peace and joy.

Peace and joy cannot be found in the weekends, in TV or movies, in sports, in possession, in work, or even in our friends and family.

Jesus is the way and the truth and the life, not just in an abstract or eternal way, but Jesus is the way for us right now, Jesus is the truth right now, and Jesus is the life right now.

Do not be troubled. Know that God will strengthen, help, and uphold you. Remember He will always be with you.

When the weekend is over, remember that the God who showed you a good time during the weekend is still with you to help you at work and to continue to shower you with blessings.

When you cannot find anything on TV or the movies, read the Bible.

When your favorite sport team loses, remember and rejoice that God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:57)

When you don’t have what you want and TV continues to flash it on commercials in front of you, turn off the TV and look around you. Appreciate your home and the food in your refrigerator. Take a bite to eat, remember and give thanks to God for what He has given you.

When aggravations occur at work, remember Isaiah 41:10 which tells us that God will strengthen us, help us, and uphold us. Remember how He has done it in the past and believe He will do it now again.

When friends and family get upset with you, look at how your kids receive scolding and spankings and yet how they bounce back and love you and you love them. Forget the squabbles, forgive them and forget.

In conclusion, John 6: 19-21 has intrigued me for months. When the disciples were willing to receive Jesus into their boat, although they were out to sea, having rowed about 3 to 4 miles, “immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” When we receive Jesus into our hearts again, even though it is a blue Tuesday after Labor Day, we are where we should be. We are in the middle of truth and life, and we don’t want to be anywhere else.

GOLD MINE 25: ROMANS 8:6

SELF-IMPROVEMENT OR GOD’S IMPROVEMENT?

October 4, 1994

Harry:

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace”. Romans 8:6.

Upon what do we focus?

A. “What can I do to be better?

or

B. “What has God done to make me better?

Too often, we focus on what we can do to be better.

When we focus about what we can do to be better, we set our mind on the flesh. When we focus on what God has done, we set our mind on the Spirit.

We may ask: “But should not I try to be better?!”

Although the Law is good and it is good to be better, the problem is sin within us. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not”. Romans 7:18.

When we focus on ourselves and our own determination, even though we are trying to do what is right in obeying the Law, we are setting our mind on the flesh and are trusting ourselves, instead of God, to do what is right.

This temptation (to focus on ourselves and trust ourselves and just try to do what is right) is particularly strong for “mature Christians” and church leaders. We think: “I should do what is right, and I can do what is right”.

However, Paul reminds mature Christians and church leaders: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3.

We, even mature Christians and church leaders, can not perfect ourselves by the flesh. We can not place the Law in front of us and perfect ourselves by our determination to obey it. Romans 7:15-24.

When we try to do so, we are under a curse. “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, `CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM'”. Galatians 3:10.

“You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.

Galatians 5:4-5. (emphasis added).

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.

We can not perfect ourselves. Only God can perfect ourselves. “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified”. Hebrews 10:14.

When we preach and teach, do we focus on what we should do or on what God has done?

GOLD MINE 26: PSALM 92:12-15
DON’T BE A HORSE; BE A TREE.
December 6, 1994 

Harry:

The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,

He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Planted in the house of the Lord,

They will flourish in the courts of our God.

They will still yield fruit in old age;

They shall be full of sap and very green,

To declare that the Lord is upright;

He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

Psalm 92:12-15 (emphasis added).

Maybe, we should pray:

“I pray that I shall always be

A Christian as lovely as a tree.”

We do not often think of ourselves as trees. Just the opposite, we want to be men or women of action: workers. We would rather be like a lion or eagle or horse; any animal, but not a plant!

However, the analogies between the righteous and trees in the Bible should not be ignored. It may offend our pride, but the analogies are there.

“But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;

I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.

I will give Thee thanks forever, because Thou hast done it,

And I will wait on Thy name, for it is good, in the presence of Thy Godly ones.” Psalm 52:8-9 (emphasis added).

I do not know of any animals that bear fruit. The next time someone asks you what you would like to be like. Think of a tree.

The church is becoming too much like the world. We feel that we should set goals and work toward them. Action is praised; it almost does not matter what fruit is produced.

We do not trust the lovingkindness of God. We would rather do it, than give thanks to God that He has already done it.

A tree does not work to produce fruit. It simply is planted, flourishes, and produces fruit in its season.

Let us think of ourselves as trees planted in the house of the Lord which flourish and yield fruit. Let us think of the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. See Galatians 5:22.

Let us be still and wait on the Lord. Let us give Thanks for what God has done rather than work to see what we can do.

In conclusion, ask yourself the following question:

Does my life show what God has done or what I have done?

The worker is praised, but never the tree. When we are a tree, God is praised for the tree’s loveliness and fruit.

We have to wait on the Lord and trust His lovingkindness to be a tree, but the loveliness, the fruit, and the glory we thereby bring to God make it worth it.

“A horse is a false hope for victory; Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness.” Psalm 33:17-18.

DON’T BE A HORSE; BE A TREE.

GOLD MINE 27: JOHN 14:27
PRINCE OF PEACE
December 8, 1994 

Harry:

Peace is not pride.

Peace is not place.

Peace is not possessions.

Peace is a Person, The Prince of Peace.

We often think:

1. I will experience peace if I do what is right (pride).

2. I will experience peace if I am in the right place.

3. I will experience peace if I have the right possessions.

We refrain from peace until that future occurrence of pride, place, or possessions.

We need to accept the peace that we already have through Christ.

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;…

Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (emphasis added).

Jesus said: “`Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful'”. John 14:27.

The world gives flashes of peace dependent on pride, place, and possessions that quickly come and go.

Christ gives us His peace that will never leave.

GOLD MINE 28: JOHN 20:29
SIGNS AND WONDERS
March 15, 1995

Harry:

Like many in the church, from time to time, I crave for signs and wonders. I plead for God to show me signs and wonders. I want to see the lame walk. I want to see tongues of fire or hear some heavenly sound. I want to see any miracle. I want to feel something wondrous.

Sometimes, I feel close to God and think: “OK God, I am in the right state of mind. Go ahead and zap some miracle.” I want to see, hear, and feel signs and wonders. If I don’t receive the signs and wonders, I think: “What is wrong?”

What is wrong is my attitude and lack of understanding of the importance of faith at those time of craving and frustration?

As I study the Scriptures, it is dawning on me that God wants us to have faith and hope, more than sight and satisfaction.

After “Doubting” Thomas saw, heard, and felt Jesus, he thought he “believed”. But, “Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'” (emphasis added) John 20:29.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (emphasis added).

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (emphasis added) Hebrews 11:1.

If we see it, hear it, or feel it, we no longer have faith, because it is seen, heard, or felt. There is no conviction of things unseen.

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees?” Romans 8:24 (emphasis added).

“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, `Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.’

But He answered and said to them, `An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;” Matthew 12:38-39 (emphasis added).

We should simply believe, accepting God’s Word by the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen that is faith. We should not withhold our belief until we see, hear, or feel. That is not faith.

Instead of thinking: “Show me one more sign, and I will believe.”, we should think: “Thank you God for what you have already shown me! I already believe you and trust you. You don’t need to prove anything now.”

We do not need more signs and wonders. We need to believe based on the signs and wonders we have already experienced. More importantly, we need to simply believe the promises of God we read from the Bible.

If God shows us signs and wonders that is great. Praise God! But, if He does not show us signs and wonders when we want, we should appreciate that we are allowed to live by faith which is pleasing to God.

God blesses us more by His silence which allows us to live by faith than when He shows us signs and wonders which require no faith.

God has abundantly blessed us and revealed His blessings to us. Let us also appreciate the times of His silence which allows us to walk by faith and please Him.

 

GOLD MINE 29: MATTHEW 11:28-39

CHRIST’S YOKE WAS THE CROSS; OUR YOKE IS THE SPIRIT

March 20, 1995

Harry

Jesus said: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light”. Matthew 11:28-29.

What is a yoke? According to Oxford American Dictionary, published in 1980 by Oxford University Press, a yoke is a “wooden crosspiece”. It is a foundation for pulling or work.

After reading this definition of yoke, I thought of the cross. The cross is a wooden crosspiece that was fastened to Christ as a foundation for His work of carrying away the sins of the world. The yoke that Christ endured was the cross, but the yoke that Christ give us is His Spirit.

The Pharisees lay law upon law on the people: “And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”  Matthew 23:4.

In contrast, Christ tied up the heavy loads of the law and laid them on His own shoulders and gave us His Spirit as a yoke: “in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit”. Romans 8:4.

GOLD MINE 30: I PETER 1:7
PROOF OF FAITH IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD
June 20, 1995 

Harry:

Summer is normally a slow time for business for me, and this summer is no exception. As the summer heat rises, anxiety over finances rises.

As I prayed about my finances, God reminded me that faith pleases Him.

If I always had everything I wanted, I would have no need for faith. I would not need to pray to Him, think of His promises, or trust Him.

“…hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees?” Romans 8:24.

When we have everything, we do not have hope or faith, because we see what we have.

But when we do not have everything, we need hope or faith because we do not see what we need or want.

Although we squirm and are anxious when we do not see what we need or want, such uncomfortable feeling is not bad if it leads us to faith in God. Faith pleases God.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.

Such lack of sight and need for faith should not be seen as an aberration or withholding of God’s blessing. The righteous live by faith. The righteous live by the lack of sight and the need for faith. Abraham did not see his children, and he needed faith that God would fulfill His promise and give him children. See Romans 4.

Hebrews 11 contain the Hall of Fame of the righteous who had faith. “And all these having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,” at the time at which they needed faith. Hebrews 11:39. Later, God fulfilled His promises to them.

All who gained approval of God experienced lack of sight as to what they need or wanted.

Does that mean that they were not blessed? On the contrary, their faith gave them the assurance and conviction that they would receive what they could not see. Hebrews 11:1. And their faith was reckoned to them as righteousness. In regards to Abraham, Romans 4:20-22 states: “yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore also IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

In conclusion, we should not feel that lack of sight is strange and harmful. We should feel that it is part of life of the righteous. We should feel that lack of sight gives us an opportunity to have faith which pleases God.

We please God when we lack sight yet still trust Him. Let us thank God not only for what we receive but also for the opportunity to have faith when we do not see what we want or need.

WHAT IS MOST VALUABLE IS NOT WHAT WE DO WITH WHAT WE HAVE.
WHAT IS MOST VALUABLE IS WHAT WE BELIEVE WITH WHAT WE DO NOT HAVE.

“that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” I Peter 1:7.

 

GOLD MINE 31: ROMANS 8:28-32
GOD HAS FREELY GIVEN US ALL THINGS
August 10, 1995

Harry:

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;

and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:28-32.

God has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness: “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3.

God causes all things to work together for good to us. God predestined us. God called us. God justified us. God glorified us. God freely gives us all things. God grants to us everything pertaining to life and godliness.

What should be our response?

God hasn’t done quite enough. I need to do something more.
OR
WOW! THANKS LORD! “For Thou, O LORD, hast made me glad by what Thou hast done, I will sing for joy at the works of Thy hands.” Psalm 92:4. 
GOLD MINE 32: PSALM 116:7
REST

September 5, 1995

Harry:

It is the day after Labor Day. Yesterday, the LORD led my thoughts to dwell on the subject of rest.

Jesus said: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. ” Matthew 11:28.

Psalm 23:2 describes the LORD as our Shepherd who “makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.”

Hebrews 4:1-11 exhort us to enter His rest to the point that it was judged as disobedience to fail to enter the rest.

Rest in the Christian life comes through complete acceptance and reliance on what God has done for us and will do for us.

“Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; …” Psalm 37:7.

“Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116:7.

We live in a world in which it is hard to rest. “Just do it!”: urges the world. Even in church, the emphasis many times is what we should do rather than what God has done.

In Romans 10:2-4, Paul bears witness to Israel “that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Jesus wanted to gather the children of Jerusalem under His wings, but they were unwilling. See Matthew 23:37.

Are we willing to enter His rest? Are we willing to believe that righteousness comes from God on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ? Or, are we seeking to establish our own righteousness based on our own works? See Philippians 3:4-9.

GOLD MINE 33: HEBREWS 11:6
COME TO GOD SEEKING A REWARD

October 18, 1995

Harry:

If the righteous live by faith, then we, who want to be righteous, should understand “faith” as clearly and thoroughly as we can.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Faith is more than just being convinced about something that we can not see; faith is something “hoped for”. Hebrews 11:1.

One who has faith must believe that God “is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6. “And without faith it is impossible to pleases Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6. (emphasis added). Thus, an element of faith is the assurance of things hoped for or desire for a reward.

This element of faith (a desire for things “hoped for” or a reward) is often shunned by those who want to give the impression of “righteous self-sufficiency”. They don’t want to appear as if they don’t have something that they need or want. They wrongly convince others that it is more righteous to do works for God than to receive gifts from God. They are more concerned about what they have done for God or are going to do for God, than what God has done for them or is going to do for them.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:14 that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these children. Think about children. I have three children, and I know that children can be defined as those who have nothing but want everything.

Jesus repeatedly commands us to ask for what we need or want. “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7.

In Psalm 37:4, we are told to:

“Delight yourself in the LORD;

And He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Be a child of God. Do not only have the conviction of things unseen, have the assurance of things hoped for. Come to God not only believing that He exists. Come to God as a child seeking a reward.

GOLD MINE 34: I PETER 3:18
CHRIST BRINGS US TO GOD

December 18, 1995

Harry:

Merry Christmas!

Thanks for calling last night. It was good to speak to you. This morning, I was inspired by the chapter that I read for devotion: I Peter 3.

When I meditated on verse 18, a Christmas message came to mind: “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit”. 1 Peter 3:18. (emphasis mine).

How wonderful a Christmas message: Christ bringing us to God!!!

I thought of some ways Christ brought us to God and there are other ways:

First, Christ brought us to God by coming to earth to be our Immanuel, “GOD WITH US”. Matthew 1:23.

Second, Christ brought us to God by His sacrificial death. See 1 Peter 3:18 above.

Third, Christ brought us to God by sending us the Holy Spirit to indwell us. See for example John 14:16 & 26, John 16:7 & 13-15; and Acts 1:8.

Fourth, Christ brought us to God by eternal life. “…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23.

Fifth, Christ brought us to God by giving us the right to be His children. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” John 1:12.

Sixth, Christ brought us to God by being the Word and teaching us grace and truth: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.

Seventh, Christ brought us to God by giving us the glory which God gave Christ so that we may be one, Christ in us, God in Christ, that we may be perfected in unity and know that God loves us as God loved Christ.

“And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one;  I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.” John 17: 22-23.

When you begin to focus on yourself this Christmas as to how you can draw near to God, turn your attention to Christ and how He brought us to God.

GOLD MINE 35: PSALM 33:13-22
A SWEEPING VIEW OF WHAT IS VALUABLE TO GOD

January 9, 1996

Psalm 33

13 The LORD looks from heaven;

He sees all the sons of men;

14 From His dwelling place He looks out

On all the inhabitants of the earth,

15 He who fashions the hearts of them all,

He who understands all their works.

16 The king is not saved by a might army;

A warrior is not delivered by great strength.

17 A horse is a false hope for victory;

Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.

18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,

On those who hope for His lovingkindness,

19 To deliver their soul from death,

And to keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the LORD;

He is our help and our shield.

21 For our heart rejoices in Him,

Because we trust in His holy name.

22 Let Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us,

According as we have hoped in Thee.

Psalm 33:13-22 contains a sweeping view of what is valuable to God. Although it is simple, it is hard to believe that God so highly values those who “fear” God, who “hope” for God’s lovingkindness, who “wait” for God, who simply “trust” God.

Mankind’s view of success is that success comes to those who are confident in themselves, who work hard, who “just do it”, who simply trust themselves.

Man believes in self-improvement. God helps those who wait for Him.

What do we teach? How to get more people to help us (v. 16 “mighty army”)? How to get stronger (v. 16 “warrior”)? How to get better tools for success (v. 17 “horse”)?

Or, do we teach people how great God is so that they fear Him (v.18)? Do we teach people how loving God is so that they hope for His lovingkindness (v. 18)? Do we teach people how God can meet their every need, so they wait for Him alone (v. 20)? Do we teach people how infallible God is, so that they trust Him (v.21)?

We all desire success.

It is my testimony that Psalm 33:13-22 is true. The success that I have experienced in life did not come to me, because I was self-confident or worked hard or was self-motivated (to “just do it”) or was independent. The success that I have experienced in life came to me as “unearned” blessings of God’s lovingkindness.

I think of my salvation which is an unearned blessing of God’s sovereign election. See Romans 9:6-26, Ephesians 1:3-5, Ephesians 2:4-9, Romans 8:29-30, and John 15:16. I think of my service to God as merely God working through me for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 and Ephesians 2:10. I think of my wife and my three sons as unearned blessings from God. Psalm Chapters 127 & 128. I think of our health as unearned blessings from God. Psalm 103:3. I think of my whole life on earth, encompassing law practice, home, possessions, and time and place on earth as a gift from God.

Infinitely more important than what I contribute to my success is what God gives me in the first place and what God sustains.

“…And what do you have that you did not receive?…”  1 Corinthians 4:7.

 
GOLD MINE 36: PSALM 96:3

LOOK AT WHAT GOD DID!

January 15, 1996

Harry:

“Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” Psalm 96:3.

This verse reminded me of a prior “Letter to Harry”, dated January 9, 1996 in which I asked: “…, do we teach people how great God is so that they fear Him? Do we teach people how loving God is so that they hope for His lovingkindness?”

The world pulls our eyes down from God to ourselves.

We need to lift our eyes to God. We need to see His glory. We need to tell of His glory.

The world tells us how we can improve ourselves. “Just do it” states a famous commercial.

We need to tell the world about God’s wonderful deeds. “Just believe it”.

The world tries to get us to focus on what we do rather than what God did.

The world says: “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” See John 6:28.

Jesus answers: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” See John 6:29.

What impression do we give people?:

“How great I am!”

or
“How great God is!”

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the one who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him”. John 7:18.

What impression do we give people? “Look at what I did!”, or “Look at what God did!”?

Of course, we can and should work, but God should be seen as the worker. Our works should be seen as wrought in God. Our works should bring attention and glory to God, not to us.

“But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:21.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (emphasis added).

GOLD MINE 37: JOHN 6:35
JESUS IS OUR BREAD OF LIFE
March 21, 1996

Harry:

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.'” John 6:35.

The revelation of Jesus as the bread of life sets Jesus apart from all other teachers. More important than the teachings of Jesus, which many religions copy, is the existence of Jesus as God (John 1), as miracle worker (who has power and authority to change even religious pure water into wine) (John 2), as Savior (beyond just a teacher) (John 3), as living water (John 4), as the personal source of eternal life (John 5) etc.

Too often, we approach Christianity as just a set of teachings. We go to a worship service trying to learn what we should do, rather than approaching Christ as God, as miracle worker, as Savior, as living water, as bread of life, and as the source of eternal life.

It is very significant that Christ wants us to remember Him through Holy Communion where we “…eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood…” John 6:53.

When we approach Christianity and the church trying to learn what we should do, rather than accepting Christ for who He is and receiving life and righteousness from Him, we seek to establish our own righteousness rather than waiting for the gift of righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ.

Although the Apostle Paul had reason to boast, he did not boast. He did not seek to establish his own righteousness by what he did. In Philippians 3:4-6, Paul states his accomplishments. However, he concludes that he counts them as “rubbish” in order that he may gain Christ, “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith”. Philippians 3:8-9.

We, as Christians, are tempted, like the Galatians, to try to perfect ourselves by the flesh, by our own knowledge of the Law and willpower to obey it. However, Paul asks the Galatians: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? … Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and work miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” Galatians 3:3-5.

Even the Ten Commandments, as good as they are, cannot make us righteous: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COVET.’

But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead.” Romans 7:7-8.

The Jews had a zeal for God and for following the Law, including the Ten Commandments. However, Paul laments about the Jews: “For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

In Galatians 3:24, Paul states: “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.”

Christ is our life. The Law is not our life. “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary; “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” Galatians 3:10-12.

We do not live our life by what we should do. We live our life through faith in Christ. “For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:19-21.

Well then, do we have a license to sin? Paul states: “May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:2.

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24.

In conclusion and summary, instead of the depending on the flesh to obey the Law, we depend on Christ to give us life, righteousness of God, and His Spirit which produces the fruit in us of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23.

GOLD MINE 38: PSALM 40:10
ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

April 29, 1996

Harry:

“I have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation; I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.” Psalm 40:10 (emphasis added).

There is a seminar this weekend at my church called: “Seven Attributes of the Godly Man”. It may very well be a good seminar, yet the title made me think: “I wish there was a seminar on “Seven Attributes of God”.

Much more important than improving our righteousness is learning about the righteousness of God. Much more important than trying to be more faithful is learning about the faithfulness of God. Do we want to learn more about ourselves or God? Do we want to learn more about what we should do or more about what God has done for us?

Too often, we look down into our own hearts and try to improve ourselves, rather than look up to God and observe and meditate upon what He has done.

“Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which Thou hast done,

And Thy thoughts toward us;

There is none to compare with Thee;

If I would declare and speak of them,

They would be too numerous to count.” Psalm 40:5.

Many of us would paraphrase Psalm 40:1-2 to be: “I just did it; And God was proud of me. I climbed out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; And I made myself secure.”

However, Psalm 40:1-2 states: “I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay;

And He set my feet upon the rock making my footsteps firm.”

In conclusion, we should point to God’s righteousness and God’s faithfulness. We should point to God’s salvation and God’s lovingkindness. We should point to God’s truth. Speak about God. Write about God. Do not hide God’s righteousness, God’s faithfulness, God’s salvation, God’s lovingkindness, and God’s truth from the great congregation. Find two other “Attributes of God”.

GOLD MINE 39: LUKE 10:38-42
PATIENCE
May 15, 1996

Harry:

How difficult it is to be patient in this world. Business is speed. Even consider how patient we are watching television. Most of us have a clicker in hand and rush around fifty-plus channels. Consider what traffic does to us. This world causes adrenalin to flow like blood. We are always on our toes.

It is interesting to contrast nature with man-made. Man-made products, like cars, planes, and trains, are made to be as fast as possible. We even like our food fast, and we make microwaves and fast-food restaurants.

In comparison, nature is most often slow. Fruit takes months to be produced. The sun is in no rush as it slowly, very slowly, moves across the sky. The slow-moving clouds, the swaying of branches, the soft repetitive waves dissipating upon the shore lull us to sleep.

The world presses us to do more and more things. Computers and Internet connections and downloading are made faster and faster so that we can do more and more business. We can not move through traffic fast enough to get to work. TV and other media demand our attention to its thousands of messages each day. We are even urged to participate in more and more “leisure” and recreational activities. We feel guilty if our children don’t participate in soccer, baseball, football, and all the sports. We can not do enough.

Even in Christian service, we can not do enough. We are like Martha, so distracted by all the preparations, that we really don’t listen to Jesus. We are worried and bothered by so many things.

In the Scripture passage which compares busy Martha with patient Mary who just sat at the feet of Jesus listening to Him, Jesus reminds us that “only a few things are necessary, really only one”. See Luke 10:38-42.

In my Bible’s footnote to this verse 42 which tells us that only one thing is necessary, Psalm 27:4 was cited:

“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the LORD,

And to meditate in His temple.”

If faith is really the only thing necessary, then what is the rush? Why should we be impatient? Why should we be anxious? TO US WHO HAVE FAITH?

For those who do not have faith, today is the day of salvation. They should rush toward salvation for they do not know when they may die or at least have as good of an opportunity to seek and accept Christ by faith as their Lord and Savior. Their hearts may get hardened over time.

But, to those who do have faith, they should be content knowing their names are written in the Book of Life. Consider the seventy whom Jesus sent to go on a mission trip. They returned to Jesus with joy about all the miracles that they performed. Yet, Jesus upbraided them: “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” Luke 10:20.

Are we patient knowing that our names are recorded in heaven? Or, are we like Martha, distracted by all the preparations?

Do we rejoice that our names are recorded in heaven? Or, are we like the seventy, excited only about all our works?

In conclusion, we should not just get impatient about our impatience. Let us remember that God gives us patience as one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22. Let us also remember that fruit takes time to be produced. Be patient; God is at work in us.

GOLD MINE 40: PSALM 16:1-2 and GALATIANS 2:20
ULTIMATE SATISFACTION

May 28, 1996

Harry:

I often experience a little of “the blues” when I return to work after a holiday. This day after Memorial Day is no exception.

Psalm 16:1-2 describes my mood:

“Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in Thee. I said to the LORD, ‘Thou art my Lord; I have no good besides Thee.'”

I have no good besides God; yes, that describes my feeling today. I do not feel that way because of either some recent failure or some upcoming difficulty today. I feel that way because I need God each and every day. Even on the easiest day, I need God.

Today, I have just returned from a “camping trip” (We used cabins.) with a group from Pasadena Community United Methodist Church. Today, I have nothing difficult on my calendar to handle at work in the office. It is an easy day; yet, I still feel that I have no good besides God.

Psalm 73:28 elaborates on this feeling:

“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Thy works.”

When I was camping this past Memorial Day weekend, there were times when my mind dwelt on nothing but the pleasure of easy rest. I thought then that easy rest, without the feeling of the nearness of God, is empty. I need God in easy times just as I need God in difficult times.

Even as mature Christians, we need Christ each and every moment. Our self-righteousness can not carry us through the day. We need to focus on Christ each day, particularly the easiest days. In the difficult days, we seek God early in the day because we know that we need Him. But in the easiest days, we don’t seek God early because we don’t think we need Him, at least not in the early part of the day.

Christ is not some medicine that we take only when we need it. Christ is our life. Galatians 2:20 states: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

Our ultimate satisfaction is not easy rest or great accomplishment. Our ultimate satisfaction is knowing and meditating on the fact that Christ lives within us each moment of the day.

If we don’t set our minds on this fact that Christ lives within us each moment of the day, should it surprise us that we feel empty, without any good?

But, when Christ dwells in our hearts through faith, we know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge and we are filled up with the fullness of God. See Ephesians 3:17-19.

GOLD MINE 41: DEUTERONOMY 31:6-8
GOD SOMETIMES DELAYS DELIVERY TO PROVE OUR FAITH

June 6, 1996

Harry:

God delivered me from a pressing financial trouble! The Lord did not fail or forsake me. The Lord comforted me through the time that tested my faith. He helped me to have faith and endure. “…He will not fail you or forsake you.” See Deuteronomy 31:6 and 8.

When I was struggling through the financial trouble, which was typically slow summer business, I read prior “Letters to Harry” dealing with similar financial troubles. It comforted me to see how the Lord delivered me before. It comforted me to read verses that helped me before, such as Psalm 34:17: “The righteous cry and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”

The struggle involves anxious thoughts that maybe the Lord will fail me this time or maybe I am not doing something right.

Yet, the Bible promises that the Lord will deliver us out of all our troubles.

1. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19.

2. “This poor man cried and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:6.

3. “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.

4. The Lord may not deliver us from our trouble when we want or how we want, but God will deliver us out of all of our troubles.

As I was struggling with the financial trouble, I thought:

“Lord, I have been good. I have been doing the right things. I have had faith. Why don’t you deliver me now?!”

I began to understand that the Lord’s delivery is not dependent on how good we are or how right we are in doing the right things or how much faith we have. We can’t treat God like a cosmic bubble gum machine and insert a coin of “good work” or “faith” and immediately receive the bubble gum of “deliverance”.

The Lord may delay delivery sometimes to allow the testing by fire of our faith. “that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 1 Peter 1:7.

GOLD MINE 42: ISAIAH 60:11

JESUS SHINES THROUGH US

June 14, 1996

Harry:

“Arise, shine; for your light has come,

And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.”

Isaiah 60:11.

I have this verse framed with a picture of a rising sun over the ocean. It is a beautiful combination of verse with picture.

When I purchased it, I first thought of the emphasis of “Arise, shine”. However, now I think the emphasis should be on “your light has come”.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to shine without light either shining on you or in you. We will flash a pearly white smile and think we are shining.

But, we can’t shine without a light shining on or in us. But when the light has come, it is easy to let the light shine through us.

Jesus, the light of the world, lives in us. We should consider ourselves as the transparent glass surrounding the filament. The filament lights up when the electricity passes through it. Jesus is the filament; we are the glass.

Let Jesus shine through you in such a way that Jesus can light up the world and that people can see and recognize Him in you.

We can’t shine without the Son, but now that we have the

Son, the Son’s light shines through us.

We should be transparent to allow the full light of Christ to shine through us.

We should also be transparent so that we will not distract attention from Christ. Consider that we are fishers of men. A fisherman does everything that he can to be invisible to the fish so that the fish only sees the bait. A fisherman will even avoid putting his shadow on the water. A fisherman will be as quiet as possible. A fisherman knows that if the fish senses him, the fish will not bite the bait.

Likewise, we must try to only show Christ, and not show ourselves. What attracts a person being saved is that “fragrance of Christ” within us. See 2 Corinthians 2:14-16.

We need to be careful that we do not draw attention to ourselves away from Christ. Sometimes, we draw attention to ourselves away from Christ by our accomplishments or behavior. We emphasize or otherwise lead people to focus on us rather than on Christ. People may be impressed with us, but do they see Christ clearly?

Jesus said in John 7:18: “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the one who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

Seek the glory of Christ. Christ is the light of the world. Be transparent; let the full light of Christ shine through you. Be transparent; let Christ be the attraction, not you. Don’t distract the attention away from Christ to yourself. You only shine because Christ shines in you.

GOLD MINE 43: HEBREWS 11
DON’T HAVE ENOUGH? AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH?

June 24, 1996

Harry:

I periodically think: “If the Lord will do this for me, then I would be able to do more for the Lord.” I should not think like that. The Lord can do His will through me with what I have and with who I am.

It will be interesting to get to heaven and learn what produced the most fruit and what was most pleasing to the Lord.

I think what produces the most fruit and is most pleasing to the Lord are those times when we didn’t have enough to do the job or when we were not good enough to do the job, and yet we trusted the Lord and invited the Lord to work in us with what we had and with who we were.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.

When we have enough or are good enough to do the job, we don’t need faith, because we have sight. In such a situation, we rely on ourselves to get the job done.

But faith pleases God. The righteous live by faith. Those men and women who gained the approval of God didn’t have what they needed or weren’t good enough to do the job by themselves. They had to trust in God. The proof of our faith is more precious than gold to God. See 1 Peter 1:7.

 
GOLD MINE 44: JOSHUA 21:45

HAVE FAITH! NOT ONE OF GOD’S PROMISES FAIL.

June 24, 1996

Harry:

I am reading the Bible. Today, I was plodding through Joshua Chapter 21. My eyes glazed over verse after verse which seemed the same to me.

But then, I came to a nugget of gold, the very last verse of Joshua Chapter 21: “Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” Joshua 21:45.

What an encouragement this verse is to us! When we think that a promise of God may slip by unfulfilled, we can be reassured by Joshua 21:45 that not one of God’s promises fail!

Also, the reading of Joshua Chapter 21 was a mini-lesson. I could have given up on reading that chapter, because I did not see anything worthy of my attention in that chapter. But, I had faith in the power of all of God’s Word, and I kept reading as bored as I was. Finally, I came to verse 45 which tremendously blessed me.

Psalm 19:7-11 tells us how perfect, sure, right, pure, enlightening, clean, enduring, true, righteous, desirable, and rewarding God’s Word is. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all Scripture is inspired and profitable. Psalm Chapter 1 tells us of the blessedness of the man who meditates on God’s Word day and night.

GOLD MINE 45:  PSALM 31:23

THE LORD PRESERVES THE FAITHFUL AND PUNISHES THE PROUD DOER.

July 17, 1996

Harry:

“O love the LORD, all you His godly ones!

The LORD preserves the faithful,

And fully recompenses the proud doer.” Psalm 31:23.

Notice the comparison between the faithful and the proud doer. The faithful one is full of faith and is preserved; the proud doer “just does it” and is punished.

We should build faith by focusing on and telling what God has done. We should encourage people to trust God.

We should not just focus on and tell what we should do. We should not just encourage people to “just do it”.

Let us focus on the LORD’s doing.

“The stone which the builders rejected

Has become the chief corner stone.

This is the LORD’s doing;

It is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:22-23.

Let us turn our eyes to what the LORD has done and is doing, rather than on what we have done and are doing.

“What shall we say then?

That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.

Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,

just as it is written,

`BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE,

AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.'”

Romans 9:30-33.

Bill

GOLD MINE 46: I SAMUEL 12:6-22

CONSIDER WHAT GREAT THINGS GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU!

July 29, 1996

Harry:

“Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

1 Samuel 12:24.

My devotion today was 1 Samuel Chapter 12 which covered Samuel’s Address to Israel. Verse 6 is a common beginning for Addresses to Israel: “It is the LORD … who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt.” Notice the focus on God and what He had done for Israel.

Samuel contrasts what God had done for Israel with what the Baals and the Ashtaroth had done for Israel: “futile things which can not profit or deliver” (verse 21).

“Even now, take your stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes. … So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.” (verses 16 and 18).

Samuel assured Israel in verse 22: “For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.”

In conclusion, the LORD has also been pleased to make us a people for Himself. He will also not abandon us on account of His great name. Focus on the LORD and what He has done for us.

Bill

GOLD MINE 47: ROMANS:15-16

“ABBA!” – “DADDY!”

August 9, 1996

Harry:

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, `Abba! Father!'” Romans 8:15. I have learned that the word “Abba!” carries the meaning of close affection and love similar to the word “Daddy!”.

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” Romans 8:16.

The close father-child relationship that we have with God should never be forgotten by us. Sometimes, sermons and messages emphasize so much our position as sinners or servants that we forget our position as sons. When we forget our position as sons, we experience fear again.

Most of us do not think of our earthly father as “Mister”. We think of our earthly father in close affectionate family words such as “Dad” or “Daddy” or “Father”.

Yet, sometimes we distance ourselves from God by thinking of God just as “Almighty God”, rather than as “Father” or “Abba” (“Daddy”). We also sometimes distance ourselves from God by thinking of ourselves just as “sinners” or “servants”, rather than as “sons”.

Consider how we listen to a sermon or read the Bible. Do we approach a sermon as the voice of our Father or as the voice of our sentencing Judge. Do we approach the Bible as the testament of our rich inheritance or as the judgment of our punishment?

The power, majesty, glory, and holiness of God does not require us to relinquish our father-child relationship to God. Rather, God gives us a spirit of adoption by which we cry, “Daddy!”.

Also, our humility does not require us to relinquish our father-child relationship to God. Instead, our humility requires us to “put no confidence in the flesh” and to “worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 3:3.

And yet, we often forget or mentally relinquish our father-child relationship to God. I heard one minister preach on how he would react if God walked into the church. He said he would fall to the ground, face to the ground, and beg for mercy. Although my first thought was that reaction was a proper humble and righteous reaction, the image began to bother me. I thought about what my reaction would be.

I thought: “As soon as God opened the door of the church and I saw God, I would run my fastest and jump into His arms and hug and kiss Him. (I can’t say that I would call God “Daddy!”, but I would feel close affection to Him. I probably would call God “Father”, combining my love and awe towards Him.)

Even when we sin and God punishes us, God wants us to remember: “FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” Hebrews 12:6.

Whether God is giving us a gift and we joyfully cry, “Daddy!”, or whether God is scourging us and we painfully cry, “Daddy!”, we can always call God “Daddy” or “Father”.

God is forever “Daddy” or “Father” to us! Although we may be the prodigal son and forget or mentally relinquish our father-child relationship to God, God is always “our Faithful Father“!

Bill

GOLD MINE 48: LUKE 8:26-39

TRUST THE POWERFUL RESULTS OF GRACE

September 12, 1996

Harry:

I am teaching a Wednesday night Bible Study on “Grace” at Bethany Reformed Church. Last Wednesday night, the message was based on two Scripture passages: Luke 7:36-50 and Luke 8:26-39.

These passages demonstrate both the power of Grace and the confidence of Christ in the powerful results of Grace.

In Luke 7:36-50, Jesus forgives the sins of the woman who had anointed his feet with perfume. He told her: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (verse 50).

In Luke 8:26-39, Jesus cast out the many demons out of the man who called himself “Legion”. Jesus told him: “Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.” (verse 39).

It is significant that Jesus did not say to the woman: “Sin no more.” He just confirmed the fact that she was saved and he let her go in peace without instruction.

Likewise, it is significant that Jesus did not say to Legion: “Stay away from people until you prove that you are safe. Don’t go around naked anymore! Don’t be violent anymore! Be respectable! Wear clothes! Live in a house! Get a job!” Jesus didn’t give Legion any such instructions.

Not only does the lack of instructions show the confidence that Jesus had in the powerful results of His Grace, the fact that Jesus told Legion to go home and tell people about what great things God had done for him also shows the confidence Jesus had in the powerful results of His Grace. Jesus made Legion to be a minister or at least a messenger for Him!!

As Christians, we are too eager to give detailed instructions which really just show our lack of faith in the powerful results of Grace and which don’t add anything to the powerful results of Grace.

What does Jesus say? Simply, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” And on another occasion of His grace, simply “Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.”

Have confidence in the powerful results of Grace!

Bill

GOLD MINE 49:  ROMANS 12:3

GOD EVEN GIVES US FAITH

October 31, 1996

THIS GOLD MINE IS DEDICATED TO MY MOTHER, YVONNE HELEN POUSMA HORNBECK, WHOSE BIRTHDAY WAS OCTOBER 30, AND WHO WAS TAKEN TO HEAVEN ON AUGUST 25, 1996. MOM RECEIVED A STRONG FAITH FROM THE LORD, AND WE WERE BLESSED, COMFORTED, AND STRENGTHENED BY IT.

Harry:

This letter arose out of a testing on my faith by pressing financial needs. I found that my prayer requests were not being answered as I asked and expected. I found that I was struggling to maintain my faith that God was going to deliver me from my financial troubles.

I concluded that if my faith was dependent on my ability to maintain it, then I would lose it. I needed help from God to maintain my faith. I began to examine the source of our faith.

Is God just sitting in heaven watching us to see if we will be able to maintain our faith? Or, is God actively involved in our faith? Does God stoop down from heaven to give us faith, even faith for each day?

I have concluded that God is actively involved in our faith. God does stoop down from heaven to give us faith, even faith for each day.

Just as God gave us the initial saving faith, God gives us faith each day to handle each day’s troubles. God gives us the shield of faith, as part of the armor of God, to protect us each day. See Ephesians 6:10-17, particularly verse 16.

Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is “the author and perfecter of faith”. Not only is Jesus the author of our initial saving faith, Jesus is the perfecter of the faith in us.

Ephesians 2:8 states: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” Faith is a gift of God.

I Corinthians 12:9 specifically includes faith as one of the gifts of God.

Romans 12:3 states: “…God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” James 2:5.

Through grace, we believe. See Acts 18:27, Acts 13:48, and Acts 16:14.

Galatians 5:22 tells us that faithfulness is one of the fruit of the Spirit. Faithfulness, which is the characteristic of being full of faith, is a fruit of the Spirit; it is not a work of mine.

The apostle Peter admitted that he and others received faith: “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:” 2 Peter 1:1.

Should this surprise us? Do we subtly think: “I am wise enough to have faith in God. I am a mature Christian with ‘my own faith’ which I maintain and build.”?

Paul would chasten any presumption of `my own faith’ by asking: “For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” I Corinthians 4:7.

We can trust God for helping us each day, even giving us faith to help us get through each day.

Bill

GOLD MINE 50:  COLOSSIANS 1:22

CHRIST PRESENTS US HOLY, BLAMELESS, AND BEYOND REPROACH

November 11, 1996

Harry:

I wonder what I really want. Sometimes, I see a commercial on TV of a tropical paradise. I see the blue water, the sandy white beach, palm trees, and the peaceful scene of one lying on the beach. I think that the peace of a continual vacation is my goal. Other times, I think I want to be a World Champion professional athlete who experiences the thrill of victory.

The Scripture presented by Pastor Gary Hofmeyer (at Bethany Reformed Church) made me think again about what I really want, “yet He (Christ) has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him (God) holy and blameless and beyond reproach-” (parenthetical identifications are mine) Colossians 1:22. “Holy and blameless and beyond reproach”, that is what I really want!

The Lord never promises us that we will be able to live our lives in the peace of a tropical paradise or in the thrill of victory. We certainly can enjoy those experiences, but most of the time they are fleeting experiences that come and go. We have to be careful to not base our happiness and joy on them or else we will get depressed when the peace and victory are gone. We should not be only happy or only joyful when we are on vacation or when we experience some thrill of victory.

What is better: to be lying on the beach in some tropical beach or to be presented by Christ to God “holy and blameless and beyond reproach?”

We are exhorted throughout Scripture to be glad and rejoice in the Lord. For instance, Psalm 32:11 exhorts us: “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice you righteous ones, And shout for joy all you who are upright in heart.”

We can enjoy mountain top experiences and the thrill of victory, but when those experiences are gone, we do not become depressed. Our focus remains on what is most important and that is what Christ has done for us. Nothing can change what Christ has done for us – Christ has presented us to God “holy and blameless and beyond reproach”. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. See Romans 8:31-39. Rejoice always!

Do we base our happiness and joy on what we have done? Do we base our happiness and joy on whether we are in a tropical paradise or whether we won or whether we have the material things we want?

Or, do we base our happiness and joy on what Christ has done for us, that He has reconciled us to God to present us to God “holy and blameless and beyond reproach”?

Bill

GOLD MINE 51:  ROMANS 5:15-17

WE REIGN!

March 12, 1997

Harry:

“…where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” Romans 5:20.

Despite what the Scriptures state, many Christians lament the state of the world as if sin was increasing more than grace. These Christians focus on sin and appear as righteous by their wringing of hands. Sometimes, it almost seems like a competition of who can call the world more sinful. The more sinful they paint the world, the more righteous they appear.

Often, we bystanders, who so well know of God’s grace and the abundance of God’s grace and the predominance of God’s grace, often stand by and nod our heads in apparent agreement as to the image of sin increasing more than grace.

But, the Scripture states that grace abounds all the more than sin:

“…For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.” Romans 5:15 (emphasis added).

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ”. Romans 5:17 (emphasis added).

Christ assures us of His victory: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

Paul writes: “but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:57.

Do we talk and walk as victors, or do we talk and walk as victims?

We reign! Let us act like victors!

Bill

GOLD MINE 52:  PSALM 119:160

TRUTH IS THE SUM OF GOD’S WORDS

August 13, 1997

Harry:

I came across a verse that helps me to understand “truth”, the concept of truth.

“The sum of Thy word is truth, And every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting.” Psalm 119:160.

Truth is the sum of God’s words. Whatever God says is true, because God says it, not because God’s words conforms to a higher, independent standard of truth.

This is very important, because we can trust God when he says he has justified us. We can take him at His word without outside, higher, independent confirmation.

Some people wrongly think that God’s words are true because they comply with a higher, independent standard of truth. When God’s words or actions seem to violate what they think is that higher, independent standard of truth, they question God and His Word.

Some people wrongly think that it is impossible to become righteous by faith in Jesus Christ because they believe one can only act rightly by complying with that higher, independent standard of truth. “Just do it”: they say.

When you begin to believe that God is so great that the standard of truth is simply the sum of God’s words, it helps you to believe God can make us righteous through our faith in Christ. It also helps you believe His other precious and magnificent promises. We realize that truth can be found in God’s Word; rather than outside of God’s Word.

Once we understand how great God is, we can more easily believe that God can give us His righteousness through our faith in Christ.

Once we understand: “The works of His hands are truth and justice; …” Psalm 111:7 and “The sum of Thy Word is truth,…” Psalm 119:160, we can more easily believe that God can make truth and justice. We can more easily believe that whatever God says is true, just because He said it. We can more easily believe that God can give us righteousness.

If we understand from Jeremiah 9:24 that God: “exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth”, because God “delight in these things”, then we can more easily believe that God can and wants to give us righteousness.

If we truly believe that God can and wants to make us righteous, then we just take Him at his Word without placing the Law against us to see if we are really righteous.

When we place the Law against us to see if we are really righteous, we are seeking to be justified by the Law. When we try to measure up to the Law, we place the Law above God. We don’t quite trust the promise of God to make us righteous. We only trust the Law to ultimately determine whether or not we are righteous.

Do we trust the Law or God to make us righteous? Is the Law higher than God? Or, is God higher than the Law? Is God just, because God complies with the Law? Or, is the Law just, because it is the work of God’s hands?

A good understanding of the greatness of God is so important, because if we do not understand how great God is, then we will trust the Law to make us righteous. Galatians 5:4 warns us: “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.”

“…AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” Romans 9:30-33.

Truth is the sum of God’s words. We are justified by God, just because He did it and said it. John 1:1 tells us that the Word was God, and John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is “the truth”. Believe in God; believe also in Christ. John 14:1.

Bill

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Responses

  1. What a great Spurgeon quote!

  2. Bill, enjoyed reading the devotions again.
    Dob Sieplinga

  3. Thank you Mr. Sieplinga!

    It is sure nice to hear from you and to receive that encouragement!

    Yours truly,
    Bill

  4. What a great one you’ve in here. I really hope I can see more writers like you whodiscusses this issue. Thanks to you.

    • Thank you. I appreciate your encouragement.

      Best wishes,
      Bill


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