Idle Pleasures?

Goats and Sheep

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

“Then they also will answer [a]Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ — Matthew 25:41-45.

Men, at the end of the tribulation, after the sheep are gathered to His right and goats to His left, Jesus will say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. Jesus was given no food while hungry, no drink when thirsty, nor was any other charitable deed done on His behalf. Jesus, with Holy Spirit, searches out the heart of mankind. Jesus grants opportunity for those desiring to be His to be His hands and feet.

If we reject Him here, deny Him here, or disregard Him here, an everlasting fire awaits. “Everlasting” here is as long as the eternity that those on His right will experience.

Those on His left ask when they missed an opportunity to serve Jesus. Jesus answered, when they failed “to do unto the least of these”. Interestingly, this judgment is not about the violation of a command or statute. This judgment is poured out upon the sin of idleness. They did nothing, when they should have done something.

Today, in our time, it is becoming more and more common to withdraw from the world around us and hide behind our castle doors where we have everything brought to us. We numb ourselves to the pain and brokenness around us by immersing ourselves into sports, entertainment and small cliques of like minded peers. Obviously, no one among us can be everything to everyone, everywhere at every time. But to those on His left, the indictment reads, they did nothing. What can you do? And will you?

Move forward men, feeding, clothing, visiting and praying for those in need. We may not have more than a whole hearted hug for a brother in need. So be it. Let that man be held with the love of Jesus through you. Do something, for something for someone in need is more than doing nothing, and doing nothing is damning. Where is Christ’s heart broken within your reach? Go and serve.

Vance Durrance

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Enter Together

Noan and Family Entering the Ark

“You will enter the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” – Genesis 6:18b, NET

This is the first time the family is mentioned to be included in the purpose of the ark. Noah was not to be alone in this large vessel, but to bring along “seven others” (2Pe 2:5), totaling “eight souls [to be] delivered through water” (1Pe 3:20).

Did you know the Chinese word-picture for boat = vessel + eight + people. And the Chinese word-picture for flood = water + total (which breaks down into together + earth + eight). Think about this. I believe this is not only a testament to the validity of a worldwide cataclysmic flood, but a beautiful reminder that salvation is for the family—together.

“For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” -Acts 2:39, NET

This is why God made the instruction of the family central to the prosperity of His people (Deu 4:9). Discipleship starts at home. Much more than a pleasant verse adorning our walls, it should be a defining mark on all our works, our thoughts, and how we live (our goings and comings) (Deu 6:8-9; 1Co 2:16; 2Co 10:4-5). The words of God should be incorporated into EVERYTHING we do—whether we sit, walk, lie down, and get up (Deu 6:7-9). God’s blessings depend upon it (Deu 11:19-25).

Not only this, but everything is futile apart from God (Ecc 1:2), including raising and building a family. If the Lord is not in it, a house is built in vain (Psa 127:1). If Christ is not at its center, then it is a worthless endeavor, for all its labor will be burned up in the end (1Co 3:12-13).

Notice, “you” proceeds the others. In order to instruct, we must hear His commands first (Deu 4:10). So let us make sure as they follow us, we are following the one that provides the rest (1Co 11:1). And we MUST make every effort to enter that rest, assuring that no one behind us follows a pattern of disobedience (Heb 4:11). If we neglect so great a salvation (Heb 2:3), we will surely have the blood of our children on our hands (Psa 95:7-11; Eze 3:18)? At the very least, we will subject our families to wilderness wanderings (Num 14:33).

Do not delay like Lot, being content to live among the world, enjoying the honor of men and their pleasures (Gen 13:10-11; 19:1). Living in anguish over evil is not enough (Gen 19:7; 2Pe 2:7-8). You will end up sacrificing your family to please men (Gen 19:8). Do not wait for the final moment when you are ripped from your home (Gen 19:16), barely escaping with your life and suffering great loss (1Co 3:15). You will only leave behind a legacy of death (Gen 19:26) and disgrace (Gen 19:36).

Endeavor whole-heartedly to bring your family aboard the ark of life. Only sons (of God) and wives (of the Lamb) may enter salvation (Gal 4:7; Eph 5:32; Rev 21:7,9). So make every effort to enter together, expending our lives to bring others into the family of God and thus into His great ark of salvation.

Billy Neal

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Covenant

covenant“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark,” –Genesis 6:18a, ESV

There is such a disconnect for us when it comes to covenant keeping. Our society thinks little of integrity, honor, and honesty. We have developed complex and crafted contracts, because we are always looking for loopholes, ways to escape responsibility. We miss the visual of “cutting a covenant” (Gen 15:9-11,18), the gore of sacrifice, the flowing blood that is trampled upon by the parties that pass through it—symbolizing the future of those that do not hold the word as binding.

“The Lord said to him, ‘Take for me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.’ So Abram took all these for him and then cut them in two and placed each half opposite the other, but he did not cut the birds in half. When birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. When the sun went down, Abram fell sound asleep, and great terror overwhelmed him.” –Genesis 15:9-12, NET

So we think little of God’s covenant with mankind, our inability to uphold our part to be “blameless” (Gen 17:1), no matter how much we promise (Exo 19:8; 24:3,7; 32:1-6; Jos 24:16-21). No wonder Abram was terrified. He saw the assurance of his doom.

But God does not abandon His people to their futility and shame, but upholds the covenant with a promise (Heb 6:17-18). His predestined plan, made before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4-12), will be accomplished by His immense power (Eph 1:19-21). It is impossible for man to thwart it (Job 42:2), even in our stubborn rebellion (Num 11:23). And in this “everlasting covenant,” God Himself walks through the blood for us (Gen 15:17—He is Spirit, and so His presence is represented by type and shadow), atoning for our guilt and shame (Eze 16:63).

“When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking firepot with a flaming torch passed between the animal parts. That day the Lord [cut] a covenant with Abram.” –Genesis 15:17-18a, NET

“I will establish my covenant with you, and then you will know that I am the Lord. Then you will remember, be ashamed, and remain silent because of your disgrace when I make atonement for all you have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.” –Ezekiel 16:62-63, NET

O LORD, press upon our hearts Your great sacrifice. Let us see the enormity and preciousness of the blood paid on our behalf. Let our minds perceive the judgment to come and race to enter your ark of rest—Jesus Christ!

Billy Neal
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Serving Up Proper Food in Due Season

lunch lady

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. — Matthew 24:45-47

Men, the end will come, like a thief in the night, but in the meanwhile… “who then is a faithful and wise servant?” Jesus says that He will make servants “rulers” over His household, to “give people food in due season”. “Blessed is that servant whom his Master, when He comes, will find so doing.”

Jesus is “the Word”, who called Himself “the bread of Life”, who gives “living water”. The servants of God serve people the Word, the message, the Way the Truth and the Life. As a High School lunch lady comes early, prepares the appliances and ingredients, taking responsibility for the needs of all who come in hungry, the faithful servants will be found at the end diligently, prayerfully seeking the Truths, Wisdoms, Counsels and Revelations of the Lord our God in the Law, the prophets, history, and the narrative provided to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus says that His servants will be given authority in His household to administer to the needy out of the abundance of His own household. Ephesians tells us “we have been given every Spiritual blessing under heaven for good works”. It has been “given” to us.

We already possess the tools, wisdoms, truths and knowledge for all good works as a faithful servant, but we fail to access that “food” from His household. We fail to wield the provisions appointed for use by His servants in the storehouses of heaven, God’s household to meet the needs of those surrounding us. Jesus says the faithful will provide appropriately in “due season”. Not all the hungry are ready for a 4 course banquet. In Christ’s household is milk for the young and meat for the mature. His sufficiency is all inclusive.

Move forward men, blessed when He returns as He finds us diligently working to provide the sustenance of His Word in accordance to the appetites of the hungry who need the bread of Life to strengthen and sustain them. Feed His sheep, all who love the “Son of Man”, the Lord our God.

Vance Durrance

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