Being Trustworthy

 

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them” (Heb. 11:13

 

Hebrews 11:1-1

It is appropriate to consider one moral implication, and it is this: Because God is trustworthy and because we are to emulate God’s character to the fullest possible extent, it is vital that believers also be trustworthy.

We all have felt the pain of being let down by another human being. People constantly disappoint us. A friend offers to help you move some furniture on a Saturday morning, but he never shows up. Your daughter tells you she will be home at 10, but it’s 11:45 before she returns; “I lost track, of the time,” she says. Your manager at work promises to let the boss know about your key role in that big project, but he takes all the credit for himself. A neighbor constantly lets his dog dig in your shrubs—even after you ask him not to. You’ve been ask for a hand in marriage, but they never follow through.  There are myriad examples of one human being failing another.

It is not so with God. As we have seen, He bound Himself to keep His promise to Abraham by swearing by Himself. He pledged that He would cease to be God before He would let His promise go unfulfilled. It is true that God reserves the right to fulfill His promises in His own time. But that does not impugn His trustworthiness. The Word of God over and over again declares that God does what He says He will do. Numbers 23:19 says, “ ‘God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?’ ” 1 Samuel 15:29 tells us, “ ‘The Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.’ ” Psalm 110:4 declares, “The Lord has sworn and will not relent.” And James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” God is faithful and true, utterly trustworthy. And such should be the character of those who name the name of Christ.

Obviously, none of us will ever be perfect in this area. We will fail people just as they fail us. But we should be known as people who are trustworthy and dependable in an ever-increasing measure. These character traits serve as a powerful testimony in today’s world and bring glory to the God we emulate.

 

Do you have a reputation for dependability? Or do others think of you as less than trustworthy? If the latter, how can you address this problem? Simply put: promise cautiously, deliver studiously. Do not say you “forgot” or make other excuses. Repent of this sin. Pray today that God would make you into a person on whom others can rely.
Cathey Lynn

The Fight Of Faith

Revelations 2:10

10) Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

First, He encourages, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer.” He does not say He will take away the suffering, tacitly acknowledging that they will suffer. He is admonishing them to reorient their focus so that they fear Him rather than their circumstances. Revelation 21:8 says that the fearful and the unbelieving will go into the Lake of Fire, and this happens because they fear the wrong things. Thus, they have no part with God.

In many ways, what Revelation 2:10 describes is entirely foreign to us, yet many passages warn us that God’s people will face tribulation. Peter writes, “Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (I Peter 4:12). We are so unaccustomed to persecution that we do indeed think it strange, but Paul tells Timothy, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12).

Jesus warns us that we will be hated by all for His name’s sake (Matthew 10:22), even delivered up to tribulation and death (Matthew 24:9). He prophesies that the time will come when whoever kills God’s people will think he does God a service (John 16:2). John 16:33 is both cautionary and encouraging: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

In Revelation 2:10, Jesus says that the Devil is about to throw some of them into prison to test them. A test perpetrated by Satan may not make much sense to men. It may not be over anything as dramatic as keeping the Sabbath or holy days or refusing the Mark of the Beast. It could simply be that, because the society has become so litigious and the civil law so overbearing, these saints become entangled without actually having done anything wrong. Nevertheless, as a test of their faith, God will allow Satan to jail them, for whatever reason—legitimate or not. God does this so that He and they know where their convictions stand—to see if they will compromise to ease their captivity, to see if they will remain faithful to God and His truth, and to see if they will trust Him even in tough times. It is during tumultuous times like the present that a person’s character is revealed.

However, God is also merciful, telling Smyrna that its tribulation will be of limited duration. The church there can expect persecution and tribulation, but God has set limits on it, just as He did for Job (Job 2:6). He will not allow His saints to be tempted—proved, tried—beyond what they can bear (I Corinthians 10:13).

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life,” He says to conclude Revelation 2:10. Because this follows right on the heels of the Devil throwing some of them into prison, it almost sounds as if they will be in prison for ten days and then die, but it need not mean this at all. His exhortation to be faithful until death is universal, not just applicable for those thrown into prison. Whether we, like the apostle John, are allowed to die a natural death at an advanced age or, like Stephen, suffer martyrdom shortly after conversion, the command is the same: We must be faithful to our last breath. We cannot rest on the fact that we were faithful last year or last decade. Our faithfulness should be strong right to the finish line.

If we maintain our faithfulness, Christ gives us a crown of life. He similarly admonishes the church at Philadelphia to “hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Revelation 3:11). Paul calls it an “imperishable crown” (I Corinthians 9:25) and a “crown of righteousness” given “to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return)” (II Timothy 4:8, Amplified Bible). James adds, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12,
Cathey Lynn

Destined To Be Holy

It is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” —1 Peter 1:16

We must continually remind ourselves of the purpose of life. We are not destined to happiness, nor to health, but to holiness. Today we have far too many desires and interests, and our lives are being consumed and wasted by them. Many of them may be right, noble, and good, and may later be fulfilled, but in the meantime God must cause their importance to us to decrease. The only thing that truly matters is whether a person will accept the God who will make him holy. At all costs, a person must have the right relationship with God.

Do I believe I need to be holy? Do I believe that God can come into me and make me holy? If through your preaching you convince me that I am unholy, I then resent your preaching. The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it is designed to reveal my unholiness, but it also awakens an intense yearning and desire within me. God has only one intended destiny for mankind— holiness. His only goal is to produce saints. God is not some eternal blessing-machine for people to use, and He did not come to save us out of pity— He came to save us because He created us to be holy. Atonement through the Cross of Christ means that God can put me back into perfect oneness with Himself through the death of Jesus Christ, without a trace of anything coming between us any longer.

Never tolerate, because of sympathy for yourself or for others, any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God. Holiness means absolute purity of your walk before God, the words coming from your mouth, and every thought in your mind— placing every detail of your life under the scrutiny of God Himself. Holiness is not simply what God gives me, but what God has given me that is being exhibited in my life.

Oswald Chambers
Cathey Lynn

 

 

The Great Sculptor


I will lay thy stones with fair colors (Isa. 54:11).

The stones from the wall said, “We come from the mountains far away, from the sides of the craggy hills. Fire and water have worked on us for ages, but made us only crags. Human hands have made us into a dwelling where the children of your immortal race are born, and suffer, and rejoice, and find rest and shelter, and learn the lessons set them by our Maker and yours. But we have passed through much to fit us for this. Gunpowder has rent our very heart; pickaxes have cleaved and broken us, it seemed to us often with out design or meaning, as we lay misshapen stones in the quarry; but gradually we were cut into blocks, and some of us were chiseled with finer instruments to a sharper edge. But we are complete now, and are in our places, and are of service.

“You are in the quarry still, and not complete, and therefore to you, as once to us, much is inexplicable. But you are destined for a higher building, and one day you will be placed in it by hands not human, a living stone in a heavenly temple.”

In the still air the music lies unheard;In the rough marble beauty hides unseen;
To make the music and the beauty needs
The master’s touch, the sculptor’s chisel keen.
Great Master, touch us with Thy skillful hands;
Let not the music that is in us die!
Great Sculptor, hew and polish us; nor let,
Hidden and lost, thy form within us lie!

Cathey Lynn