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“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”
Philippians 3:7

Christmas is the time of year when much is made of showing love by giving. This is noble and satisfying to our minds leaving us feeling good about ourselves. Is this what God the Father had in mind by sending His Son Jesus Christ in the fullness of time as the advent Savior as revealed in His Word by the Holy Spirit? “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:25-26). For God’s people the Christ of Christmas is who they need, and not only need but cannot live without. This is what makes the church calendar, Advent, Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension such a beautiful part of their life, giving propose and resolve to live for Him. The first advent has come Jesus was born in Bethlehem, has lived and died for His people, has risen from the grave, and ascended into heaven, sitting on the right hand of power guiding and keeping His people with His reappearing on the clouds to bring them to be eternally with Him to behold His glory. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:11-12). This advent longing is stronger than all that world has to offer. To relieve the needy is a requirement of all men at all times not only at Christmas, however does not fill us with spiritual longings for Christ. Many times we grieve because of the lack of longings after Christ. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:10-14). What are you longing for? Is the coming of the Christ of Christmas your desire? Then look up for your salvation is near! “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).

Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

November 25, 2016

 

 

“Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”
Revelation 7:12

We have a wonderful day set aside called “thanksgiving” for the many blessings received from God, and indeed it should be so. The world comes together and is satisfied with material blessings, but God’s people are thankful for them as from the hand of their Father in heaven. The hymn, “Count Your Blessings One By One,” describes the abundance of them. But why are we so blessed while so many live in poverty? Asaph in Psalm 73 was envious at the foolish when he saw the prosperity of the wicked. Yes! We must be thankful for our blessings, but are they deserved? No! We are to give thanks for all things because, God who is the Giver is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving, as commanded in Psalm 150.
To have been at the cross and hear the accusations hurled at Jesus shows us what our hearts are full of. Instead of being thankful, hate and unthankfulness is heard. “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth” (Matthew 27:42-44). This was after they heard the prayer of Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34b). This is man by nature! But listen! Christ’s prayer is answered as the Spirit of Christ opens the heart of the one thief, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (Luke 23:42b). He asks for a thought, he dare not expect more, but Oh Jesus’ rich answer comes, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43b). He (the thief) is still on the cross, he is still suffering pain, but he says no more. The saved thief by his silence is full of true thankfulness. The world is not his home, but as Paul could say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). This can only be learned by the working of the Holy Spirit, who takes our unthankful hearts and reveals the love of God in Jesus Christ. God’s unspeakable gift of salvation makes His people rejoice with thanksgiving. The world does not understand, it is foolishness they say, but at death all their physical blessing will be gone. They will hear, “You had your good things on earth, but His people though they may have had few earthly blessing are now experiencing true blessed forever.”

Psalter 108:1,2,5
I waited for the Lord my God, yea, patiently drew near,
And He at length inclined to me, my pleading cry to hear.

He took me from destruction’s pit, from out the miry clay;
He set my feet upon a rock, and steadfast made my way.

O truly blessed is the man that on the Lord relies,
Respecting not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Written by: Cornelius VanKempen
November 23, 2016

The Guide of the Blind“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

Blindness is one of the saddest impediments brought about by the fall of man in Paradise. To be blind makes one completely dependent on others for everything. “I was eyes to the blind” (Job 29:15a). As sad as blindness is, our spiritual blindness of being separated from God, our Creator and Benefactor, is the saddest situation of all. To make matters worse we do not realize this blindness. Sin brought spiritual blindness into the world, so that the danger of our way cannot be seen. The sad truth is that we only see worldly pleasure and temporal satisfaction. “Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth” (Psalm 73:7-9). This is the way we have chosen, but God opens the blind eyes of our heart by sending the light of His Word into their hearts. “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house” (Isaiah 42:6-7). This was made known in the fullness of time with the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God as the light of the world. “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:9-13). This makes blind eyes to see their need of Jesus Christ, the Guide of the blind. “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way” (Psalm 25:9). Eternity becomes real; to be reconciled to God becomes the bent of our heart. “Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins” (Psalm 25:16-17). This is the cry of those whose eyes have been opened to see their blindness, and they will find Him (Jesus) to make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:37-40).
Written by: Cornelius Vankempen
November 19:2016

 

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:13

Without blood it is impossible to live! It is the most precious and valued fluid. It can be that a person may lose blood do to an accident or sickness and blood from another is given through a transfusion. This blood must be pure, care must be taken or the person receiving it could end up with diseases or even death upon receiving it. God gave clear instruction to Moses in the Levitical laws of how blood was to be used by the children of Israel for their well-being both physical and spiritual. “For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof” (Leviticus 17:14a). God called for a separation between them and the strangers warning them of destruction if they disobeyed.

As we meditate in God’s word the blood takes on a glorious meaning! As in our lives the flow of blood in our veins gives life because of sin blood is the only means for its cleansing. This is not just any blood, but the blood of a perfect righteous man, who is also God. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). This is the blood that must be applied on our heart by the Holy Spirit. Nothing else will do! Many animals were killed and the blood sprinkled, but could not cleanse sins, but pointed to the blood of Jesus the God-Man whose blood took away all sin forever. This is the blood that separates the human race. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). Everyone needs this blood since all have sinned, but only those whose eyes have been opened to see their need flee to the blood. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). They will be eternal citizens of Christ’s kingdom, their identity is the blood. It is the passport to glory. This is the inheritance of those behind the blood. The blood of Christ is the GREAT DIVIDE! Have you been washed in His blood?

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins,

And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day,

And there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its pow’r,

Till all the ransomed Church of God be saved to sin no more.

Hymn by: William Cowper

 

“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”
Psalm 146:3-4

Pride is one of the many things man has no lack of. When things go wrong in our lives, blame is put on circumstances or people. We elevate ourselves above others. God created all things to glorify Himself through them. God gives life, He upholds life, and He sustains life, yes, He is life. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28). Their misplaced trust has brought much misery and sorrow into God’s creation. “For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause. He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.” (Job 9:17-18). Thankfully God not only gives, upholds, and sustains life, but also in His goodness opens the eyes of the rebellious so that they are made willing to trust and obey Him. “The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous” (Psalm 146:8). This brings remorse as they can see no righteousness, but only unrighteousness in themselves. In all this God hides Himself, leaving them to fend for themselves. “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15).
Man has turned away from their Creator, but God’s plan has not changed. “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God” (Hosea 2:23). God had to send His Son, Jesus Christ as a ransom for the salvation of His people to become a reality. He came unwanted and uncalled to reconcile and restore them into communion with God again. As He was being crucified His prayer was, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34b). The love of God for His people turns them from a misplaced trust in man, to love and trust Him completely. Songs of gratitude are heard as they praise the Triune God for this great deliverance.
Hallelujah, praise Jehovah, O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises; of my God through all my days.

Put no confidence in princes, nor for help on man depend;
He shall die, to dust returning, and his purposes shall end.

Heav’n and earth the Lord created, Seas and all that they contain;
He delivers from oppression, righteousness He will maintain.

Over all God reigns forever, through all ages He is King;
Unto Him, thy God, O Zion, joyful hallelujahs sing.
Psalter 400: 1, 2, 4, and 7
Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

 

Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.” (Song of Solomon 4:6)

Shadows are seen when an object is placed blocking the light and can be lengthened or shortened by the angle of the light. Shadows are the image of the object blocked so that by seeing the shadow we know that the object is near. If we know that the object we are looking for is near we must follow the shadow with our eyes to the base and look up, and this is what God’s Word instructs us to do. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17). The Bible speaks of shadows in different ways, In Psalms it brings fear, “Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death” (Psalm 44:19). In another place if refers to the shortness of life. “For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 6:12)? Shadows can mean things to come, or a place of comfort. “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect” (Hebrews 10:1). This is a result of imperfect light of which the text alludes that one day they will flee away.

How can we understand a place without shadows? It must be a place of perfect light, no matter where you turn or go it is never behind, beside or in front, it is always complete. This must be a special place! We learn of this place the great city, the holy Jerusalem. “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:10-11,21-22). Jesus Christ is the perfect light for His people, there will be no shadows there, there is no sin to mar the light, only Christ and His bride with all the holy angels. “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 22:27). It is an never ending day of delight in Him forever. “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done” (Revelation 22:4-5).

Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

October 11:2016

 

 

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”

Psalm 121:1

The journey to Zion by the people of God is a long and arduous journey. It requires strength which they do not have of themselves. “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness” (Isaiah 1:27). Zion is also known as the people of God. They reflect the image of that place, and even more Zion is known as the city of God. “And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah” (Psalm 87:5-6). This is a thought which cannot be fully understood while traveling through the wilderness of this world, but is an ever growing desire of the Zionites. “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten” (Jeremiah 50:4-5). It is no wonder that those born again by the Spirit lift up their eyes for a glimpse of home, it is where their heart is. “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16). What are you focused on? God is the builder, the keeper, and the safety of His Zion. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:3-5). Yes! His Zion is secure in Him forever. “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call” (Joel 2:32). The city of Zion is built on the foundation of the blood of Christ, Who ever liveth as Prophet, Priest, and King for His Zion.

Zion founded on the mountains, God, thy Maker loves thee well;

He has chosen thee most precious, He delights in thee to dwell;

God’s own city, who can all thy glory tell?

Heathen lands and hostile peoples soon shall come the Lord to know;

Nations born again in Zion shall the Lord’s salvation show;

God Almighty shall on Zion strength bestow.

When the Lord shall count the nations sons and daughters He shall see,

Born to endless life in Zion, and their joyful song shall be,

Blessed Zion, all our fountains are in thee

Psalter 237, taken from Psalm 87

Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

October 21, 2016