Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I pray that all may go well with you over the holiday break, and that you will enjoy good health! Until next year...
The Man At The Gate!
I said to the man
Who stood at the gate of the year,
"Give me a light that I may tread safely
into the unknown."
And he replied,
"Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you
Better than the light
And safer than a known way!"
So I went forth
And finding the hand of God
Trod gladly into the light!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
You cannot serve two masters; you will either love the one and hate the other, or hate the one and love the other!
The greater your love for the things of this world, the greater your disdain for Christ. The greater your love for yourself, the lesser your love towards him. Or don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God!
Can the spirit of this world and the Spirit of God partner together? Can the flesh and the Spirit walk in unity? How can two walk together unless they be agreed? Can a yoke of oxen walk in two different directions? So how can one yoked with Christ walk on the broad path, when He is the narrow way?
You cannot date Christ and sleep with the world!
There is no fence sitting! In fact, there is no fence! Just a great divide between the two. A bottomless ravine!
Which side are you on?
Monday, December 29, 2008
a lively interest in the things which concern our eternal welfare, a trembling at God's Word and being suitably affected thereby, hatred of sin, loathing of self, and a childlike love for the Lord.
Ah, we never prize Divine grace so much--as when we have been afflicted by indwelling sin. It is a sense of our pollution and filth--which moves us to turn again to the Fountain open for sin and for impurity!
(Arthur Pink, "Experimental Preaching" 1937)
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Not to say that all other generations were not as wicked, as it says in Genesis 6:5
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
The bible makes it plain: all men are evil! Jesus was quite clear about this!
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:11
But this generation seems to be proudly unashamed of their wickedness!
So how should we live in light of this? What should we do?
What we were called to do! Preach the Gospel! We are called to be faithful to our Lord and Saviour, and to continue preaching the Truth! We are called to take the truth of God's Word and proclaim it to this generation of lost, godless souls! We are called to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations! We must never lose sight of fact that it is our responsibility, our privilege, our commission to reach out in compassion to all who are lost and blindly walking around in the darkness. As Keith Green said, "This generation of believers is responsible for this generation of souls!"
Will they repent? Some, not all! Will they get angry? You bet! Will they hate you? Yes, for they hated Him without cause! Will you be trembling and afraid at times? Without a doubt! Even the Apostle Paul was prone at times to fear and much trembling!
But there are great rewards for faithfully doing as the Lord has commanded, as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" We do it for the Lord! In all that we do, we seek to be pleasing unto Christ!
Do not lose sight of the fact that we don't fight against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers of this dark age. But take comfort, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world!
And importantly, though godless men will rise up against us and oppose the truth of our message, don't forget that it is only by the grace of God that we are not standing beside them opposing the truth also! Just as the Lord brought light and life to us, so too can he save the most vile, God hating, godless man! So, bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:5-6
Saturday, December 27, 2008
by Paris Reidhead
Scripture(s): Luke 13:3-5, John 6:54, Hebrews 2:3
Description: Brother Reidhead addresses many of the sayings of Christ and Paul that cut the most, and the modern errors of thinking that do not show fruit of these verses and concepts; namely: repentance, submission, fellowship with God, and stedfast faith. "Are you prepared to pray in accord with this sovereign and gracious operation of God? If you are then you're going to change your praying. Instead of saying, initially, 'Lord, save Him,' you're going to say, 'Lord, slay him. Bring him to the awareness of his desperate plight. Awaken him to his danger. Convict him of his crimes.'"
Friday, December 26, 2008
much more abound." Romans 5:20
What abundant grace has He displayed!
His forgiveness, how full and free it has been!
No sin remaining.
His justification, how complete!
No defect unforgiven.
His faithfulness, how unfailing!
No hour of my pilgrimage unwatched.
His forbearance, how tender!
No error of my life remembered.
His compassion, how affectionate!
No sorrow of my heart unconsoled.
His recompense, how abundant!
More than I have power to conceive.
What abounding grace has been thus
displayed to a creature so completely vile;
so destitute of all ground of hope or claim
What an amount of guilt has He pardoned!
It is impossible to overstate this.
My original debasement,
my wayward youth,
my rejection of His love,
my rebellion against His authority,
my forgetfulness of His goodness,
my backslidings from His way,
my inconsistent profession,
my vain and sinful example,
the wickedness of my unconverted state,
the errors of my renewed state.
Alas! every day and every act brings up its
separate testimony. And all condemn me!
But He has freely pardoned!
He has blotted out this whole fearful record!
He will remember it no more!
"But where sin abounded--grace did
much more abound." Romans 5:20
(Stephen Tyng, "Practical Meditations")
Thursday, December 25, 2008
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)
The Pharisees were high jumpers. They had become masters, in their own estimation, of jumping over the horizontal bar of God's requirements - and they took great pride in such lofty thoughts! As a high jumper uses the strength in his own legs to clear the bar without the aid of any devices, so too did the Pharisees attempt to leap the great chasm that separates us from God through the efforts of their own self righteousness.
In their own thinking, and of those who beheld them, it seemed that they had succeeded! It seemed they had mastered the apparatus, they had obtained their salvation, they had risen to the heights that demanded entry into the Lambs book of life.
I can almost hear the whispers of the crowd to one another, when Christ exhorted those in his hearing that their righteousness must surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.
It may have sounded like a call to train harder, but he was not coaching them on to greater heights!
Jesus did not raise the bar a few inches in order to push them a little harder, to jump a little higher, to build greater strength in the legs of their own self righteousness! In fact, he did not raise the bar at at! The bar was never lowered! He stood them before the pole vaulting apparatus and said, now jump this.
An impossible task!
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:25-26)
As it is physically impossible for a man in his own strength to high jump the 19 to 20 feet required on the pole vault apparatus, so it is impossible for a man to present himself before God as perfect, spotless, righteous and deserving of eternal life! It cannot be done!
He cannot look within, he cannot dig down deep! He must rely on the ability of another! When the vaulter races in and places his pole in that cup, he rests all of his weight on the ability of the pole to not only hold him, but catapult him to heights he could never go on his own.
It is the same with the believer! When he swings out into eternity, he rests all his weight on the person and work of Christ! And this is not a fearful thing! There is great rest and comfort in this thought. For Christ will not drop you, he will not let you slip - but will carry you safely to His side.
And to thank the Lord for all He has been doing in the lives of us, His children, this year!
It is my prayer that over the Christmas break you will take some time to reflect on the meaning of Christmas, to which end I give you the following e-Card.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Another reason why Christ was despised and rejected, was because He exposed and denounced sin. Ah, this explains why Christ was not wanted here. He was a constant thorn in their sides! His holiness condemned their unholiness! Men wish to go their own way, to please themselves, to gratify their lusts. They want to be comfortable in their wickedness--therefore they resent one who searches the heart, pierces the conscience, and rebukes their evil. Christ was absolutely uncompromising. He would not wink at wrong-doing, but unsparingly denounced it, in whoever it was found. He boldly affirmed, "For judgment I have come into this world" (John 9:41), that is, to unveil men's secret characters, to prove they are blind in spiritual things, to demonstrate they loved darkness rather than light. His Person and preaching tried everything and everyone He came into contact with!
(Arthur Pink, "Christ Despised" 1937)
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
"Make Your ways known to me, Lord; teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me." Psalm 25:4-5
There are two ways of learning of Divine things. The one is to acquire a letter knowledge of them from the Bible, the other is to be given an actual experience of them in the soul, under the Spirit's teaching.
Many suppose that by spending a few minutes in a concordance, they can discover what humility is; that by studying certain passages of Scriptures, they may obtain an increase of faith; or that by reading and re-reading a certain chapter, they may secure more love.
But that is not the way those graces are experimentally developed. Humility is learned by a daily smarting under the plague of the heart, and having its innumerable abominations exposed to our view. Repentance is learned by feeling the load of guilt, and the heavy burden of conscious defilement, bowing down the soul. Faith is learned by increasing discoveries of unbelief and infidelity. Love is learned by a personal sense of the undeserved goodness of God to the vilest of the vile. Patience cannot be learned from books--it is acquired in the furnace of affliction! It is thus with all the spiritual graces of the Christian.
Ah, my reader, we beg the Lord to teach us--but the fact is, that we do not like His method of teaching us! Fiery trials, storms of afflictions, the dashing of our carnal hopes--are indeed painful to flesh and blood; yet it is by them that the heart is purified.
We say that we wish to live to God's glory--but fail to remember that we can do so only as SELF is denied and the Cross be taken up. God's ways of teaching His children are, like all His ways, entirely different from ours!
I asked the Lord that I might grow,
In faith and love and every grace,
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.
It was He who taught me thus to pray,
And He I trust has answered prayer.
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair!
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He'd answer my request.
And by His love's constraining power,
Subdue my sins and give me rest!
Instead of this, He made me feel,
The hidden evils of my heart.
And let the angry powers of hell,
Assault my soul in every part!
Yes, more with His own hand, He seemed,
Intent to aggravate my woe.
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low!
"Lord, why is this?" I trembling cried.
Will You pursue Your worm to death?"
"This is the way" the Lord replied,
"I answer prayer for grace and strength."
"These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set you free;
And break your schemes of earthly joy,
That you may find your all in Me!"
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
With no means to fix a bearing on true north, no matter his greatest efforts, he will ultimately steer off course and be driven onto the rocks! For what seems the right course in his own estimation, will prove in the end to lead him to his destruction.
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Proverbs 14:12
His only hope lay in the bright beacon of salvation - Jesus Christ! The lighthouse of eternal life. The Saviour of our souls! He is the way, the truth and the life. By faith, we must entrust ourselves to him - putting our confidence, not in the flesh, but in the faithfulness of His promises and his ability to save to the utmost all who come to him!
Monday, December 15, 2008
With no one to rule over me,
And nothing to stop me from living in sin,
Not God, especially not He!
To be free to live how I like to please,
To fight the truth to the end,
Oh, how I love to live my own life,
Belief I want to suspend!
Even though I've heard of the truth of his word,
The fact is I love darkness more,
Hating the light, I just want to fight,
Everyone who hopes in the Lord!
God is the object of all of my scorn,
Obnoxious in all His demands,
Detest Him, I do, with all of my heart,
Oh, I hate His laws and commands!
Forgetting that He made me, and I am His,
My heart loves to wallow in sin,
Yet deep down I know I'm fighting with God,
Losing the battle within!
I wish it were not so, the truth I don't want,
For it says of me I am a sinner,
Everything I love will soon be destroyed, my hope is fast getting thinner!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Everyone else will be judged with you too,
Plauged by the sins that you loved to do,
Everything mocked by you will be found true,
No hope for you then, all will be through,
Turn to Him now though - He can save you!
Friday, December 12, 2008
A year or so ago I read the story of brother Yun, the heavenly man, and was challenged by his account of having memorized the gospel of Matthew in 28 days.
More recently, I stumbled across the story of Nadine Hammonds, a lady who has memorized the entire New Testament in about three years.
"Memorizing Scripture, hiding it away in my heart, has been the highlight of my life -- the most thrilling thing" she quotes.
I can think of nothing more fulfilling than becoming intimately acquainted with God's Word - meditating on it day an night and allowing the life changing truth of the living word to sink down deep into the heart - changing you forever! For the scripture says, be transformed by the renewing of your mind!
The Psalmist recognised this, and in the opening chapter, paints a wonderful picture of the man who meditates on the word day and night. "He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and who's leaf does not wither."
Since God has inspired, recorded and preserved the scriptures for us, so that we might know and follow Him who is true, should we not therefore read, memorize and meditate upon them day and night?
It's not a matter of competition, or something that can be done in a few weekends (actually, at a rate of 4.5 verses a day it'll take just short of 5 years), but of knowing Him! Who will join me?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Let me bid adieu to all those vain amusements, those trifling entertainments and sinful diversions, which have robbed me of many valuable hours, and endangered the loss of my immortal soul. Let me no longer waste my time in ease and pleasure, in unprofitable studies, and more unprofitable conversation; but grant, that, by diligence and honesty in my calling, by constancy and fervor in my devotions, by moderation and temperance in my enjoyments, by justice and charity in all my words and actions, and by keeping a conscience void of offence to God and man--I may be able to give a good account in the day of judgment, and be accepted in and through the merits of Jesus Christ, my only mediator and advocate.
(Hannah More, "The Book of Private Devotion")
Monday, December 1, 2008
The case is water-tight. You sit quietly in the dock. You know what the result is going to be. You know that you are guilty, the judge knows that you are guilty, all the spectators watching know that you are guilty – you hear them whispering it amongst themselves in the gallery. The writing is on the wall.
Before passing sentencing, the judge asks if you would like to say anything in your defence. You decline! What can you say?
"How do you plead?" demands the judge. "Guilty, your honour", you whisper, "I have no defense."
The judge pronounces his sentence, "Having reviewed your case and listened to the evidence presented, and in light of the charges laid, notwithstanding your guilty plea, I have no choice but to sentence you to death by firing squad - to be carried out immediately!".
The gallery erupts. Some cheer as others gasp. The deafening roar of camera shutters, and blinding flashes, seem strangely distant as your mind swims in shock!
Before it has time to sink in the prison guards, half dragging you across the room, begin to escort you towards the outer courtyard. You turn towards the judge. He is busy writing some notes on the case. "You Honour!", you cry out, "Please! Have mercy on me!".
"I'm guilty! I'm sorry! Please have mercy on me!", you cry out from the heart as you are shoved through the doors.
It is unusually warm outside. In the centre of the yard you see the execution post. The timber looks as though it has been clawed by a wild beast. The bullets from past executions have, like lead teeth, bitten great splinters out of it.
As an old man roughly ties you to the post, you see five young men dressed neatly in parade uniform form a line ten yards from where you stand, rifles by their side. Before you get a chance to look into their eyes, a dark hessian sack is pulled over your head. You feel the heat of your own breath on your cheeks. It begins to condense, and mix with the beads of sweat running down your face. The itching of rough fibres in the stifling heat becomes unbearable as your pulse begins to quicken.
Though muffled, you hear the sharp click of safety catches being released. You draw a deep breath and wait.
"Any last words?", the squad leader barks coarsely. You sigh, and once again apologise for your transgressions. "Please, if there be any way, have mercy on me!".
You pause, hoping that someway, somehow your plea might pave the way to safety. Your heart seems to hold its beat in unison with your hopes as you strain to hear the reply. Nothing.
"Guard, A-tten-tion!". Your legs begin to lose their strength as you release your end is but a shot away. As you lean forward, the ropes stop you from toppling. Your heart turns to wax, and melts.
"Ready!", you hear the sound of shuffling feet and the sharp metallic noise of rifle bolts driving it's deadly round into the chamber.
"Aim!", every muscle in your body begins to tense up in preparation to meet the white hot lead.
Before the executioner can give the final command you hear a shout from across the courtyard, "Hold It!" You flinch, momentarily thinking the shot has been taken! It's surreal, you were expecting it to be more painful than that.
As your thoughts begin to focus, you hear muffled talking and then the sound of someone coming over to you. They cut the ropes that have been holding you up these last few moments, and your legs give way. You pitch forward and fall heavily on the cobblestone paving.
In the confusion you hear the squad leader begin. "Ready, Aim..."
You begin tearing at the hessian bag over your head as your mind races.
"What's going on?" your mind screams searchingly.
"Fire!" The sharp crack of rifles is hurriedly followed by the sickening thud of bullets finding their mark. As you begin to draw the bag from over your head, you hear the sound of a body crumpling on two lifeless legs.
Turning, you see him there on the ground. Lifeless. Bloodied. It doesn't make sense. That should have been you.
You crawl over to base of the post and sweep away the mop of hair from across the mans face. In shock, you gasp, it is the judge who minutes before had pronounced your death sentence.
You see in his tightly clenched hand, a crumpled piece of white paper with crimson red stains on it. You reach for it, and prying it loose, begin to unfold it and read:
"My son. I am a just and righteous judge, and you are a condemned criminal. Because I am just, I must see that justice is done and the law upheld! To let your crimes go unpunished would be a severe miscarriage of justice - a wicked act of a corrupt judge. My son, you begged for mercy, but the law had to be satisfied! You cried out for pardon, but someone had to pay the price! I wanted to save you, but I could not let you walk free and your crimes go unanswered. I was willing to pay that price! I was willing to die in your place, so that you might live! Though I am just, I prefer mercy. You have this day received my mercy and my full pardon. Your sins have been forgiven! Go in peace."
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
1 John 9-10
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Have you ever stopped to think about that? God knows the exact number of hairs on your head - real time! Whether one grows or falls out - he never loses count!
Oftentimes this verse is used as a means of comfort, indeed, Jesus follows on with a word of encouragement for his followers - but have you wondered at the implications of this verse as it relates to sinners!
God knows all things, and he is keeping count!
He knows how many times you have blasphemed his name. Not only that, but of your total life to date, he has a count of how many minutes and seconds that you have spent uttering proud blasphemies, even the count of syllables of all blasphemous words combined.
He knows how many lies that have left your lips - white, black or otherwise - and the number of times you have gossiped about or slandered friends, family, colleagues or strangers!
He knows how many perverted photographs you have viewed, even down to the number of mega pixels in each shot. How many hours, minutes and seconds of pornographic content you have hired from the store or streamed from the Internet using your computer - including the number of bytes downloaded and the time taken to download them all.
He knows how many times you have committed adultery (both physically and in the heart), how many men or women you have lusted after, and how many prostitutes that you may have visited including the amount in dollars and cents that you have paid for services rendered.
He knows every course joke you have ever laughed at, thought about or spoken to others! Including ones about his only begotten Son, whom he loves!
He knows how many people you have hated and precisely for how long you have hated them, even how many times you have given them the middle finger - whether to their face or behind their back! He knows how many times you have got angry at your spouse or children without cause, and how many times you have hit them - even the force of every blow.
He knows how many things you have ever stolen in your life, including, to a fraction of a cent, the total dollar figure of the goods taken (plus interest). Not only that, but He even knows the date and time of each theft or robbery and what you were wearing at the time.
If you have ever thought about murdering someone - he knows it! If you have murdered someone then He knows exactly how long it took for them to die, where you hid the weapon and disposed of their body. He knew how many hairs were on the head of your victim too!
Friends, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So are your heartbeats! He knows how many times your heart will beat in your lifetime, and how many beats are left before it stops!
All of this will come out on that great and awesome day when you stand before the throne of God to be judged! It is all written down!
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
Worried? You should be! If you die in your sins, you will find yourself standing before God wishing you were never born - as he brings judgement upon you swiftly. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
There is hope though! There is good news! There is a gospel! God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. He is both willing and able to save to the utmost all who come to him! Will you not humble yourselves? Will you not turn to God in repentance and call out to Him for mercy?
We are all spiritually bankrupt! We have transgressed all God's laws more times than we can remember! Will you not come to him as a beggar and cry for mercy - which he will freely give out of the rich storehouse of his grace? Please do not have such cruel thoughts of him, as if he would treat you as the rich man treated Lazarus! But he calls all who are poor, blind, naked and hungry:
"Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost."
Do you not know that Jesus Christ came to save fallen creatures such as we? As a doctor does not come to help the healthy but the sick, so it is that the Saviour did not come because we are good, but because we are sinners! If we were righteous, then there would be no need for Christ to shed his precious blood! But there is no one righteous, no not one! We have all gone astray!
This is the good news folks! Jesus Christ does not come to us because we are clean, but because we are unclean. He does not call us because we are worthy, but because we are unworthy. Though our sin is as leprosy, he does not recoil from us in disgust!
"And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean."
Will you not come to him to be clean?
Monday, November 24, 2008
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.
When the great war broke out, the son enlisted to fight for king and country. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.
He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art." The young man held out this package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."
The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.
A few years later the man died too. Since he had no heir, all his paintings were to be sold at auction. Collectors came from all around, it isn't often that such a great collection becomes available.
As the auction opened the first painting on the platform was the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?"
There was silence.
After a few moments, a voice in the back of the room shouted, "Is this a joke? We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one!"
But the auctioneer persisted. "Will somebody bid for this painting. Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"
Another voice angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!"
But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"
Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the young man who's life had been saved all those years earlier during the war. "This man means everything to me! Please let me have the portrait sir. I'll give $10 for the painting, it's all I've got!" Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
"We have $10, who will bid $20?"
"Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters."
"$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?"
The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son, they wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!"
A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now, let's get on with the collection!"
But the auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over."
"What?", the crowd stammered, "Is this some sort of joke? What about the paintings?"
"I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including all the paintings.
The man who wants the son gets everything!"
God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: "My Son, My Son, who will give all for My Son?"
"God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."
1 John 5:11-12
Saturday, November 22, 2008
us by dying for us on the Cross. In an important
sense, this is true. We never could have been
saved, if He had not died for us.
But we are actually saved by our relation to a
living, loving, personal Savior—into whose
hands we commit all the interests of our lives;
and who becomes our friend, our helper, our
keeper, our burden bearer—our all in all.
Christian faith is not merely laying our sins on
the Lamb of God and trusting to His one great
sacrifice; it is the laying of ourselves on the living,
loving heart of one whose friendship becomes
thenceforward the sweetest joy of our lives!
"The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith
in the Son of God, who loved me and gave
Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20
(J. R. Miller)
Friday, November 21, 2008
A WOLLONGONG Baptist minister has admitted telling two Jewish emissaries that Jews suffer from a sin affliction and will face a fate "worse than the Holocaust" because they don't accept Jesus as the messiah.
[The bible says that we are all sinners - irrespective of nationality. As the apostle Paul writes in Romans 3, “Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. There is no one righteous, not even one”! If you are human, you qualify! You are a sinner – it’s that simple!]
The comments have sparking outrage among Jewish groups and interfaith leaders.
[The preaching of Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins will be offensive to some and foolish to others. And this is a problem for all interfaith dialogue! Many faiths say Jesus Christ is a way, a guide, a good teacher. Christ says he is the only way. Christ has made it clear that one must come to him alone for salvation! This will mean that you are either for Christ or against him.]
American-born Pastor Kevin Harris of the Illawarra Community Baptist Church made the comments in a private meeting last Thursday with NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) CEO Vic Alhadeff and education manager Lynda Ben-Menashe, who were touring the area on a bridge-building exercise as part of the JBD's speaker service.
Pastor Harris said he told them that anyone who did not accept Jesus suffered from a "cancer" and that Jews were doomed to face "a period of tribulation worse than the Holocaust", according to Christian scripture.
[Actually, the fact is we all suffer from the ‘cancer’ of sin – irrespective of whether we believe in Jesus Christ or not! Not believing in Christ is not the cause of the ‘cancer’! All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! Because all have sinned, therefore all are condemned! Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. (John 3:18).]
"We don't wish this ill-time upon them. We love the Jewish people. [I'm] just quoting Jesus," the American-born Pastor Harris told The AJN.
[Jesus did say: I am the way, the truth and the life: no one comes to the Father but by me. (John 14:6). If you saw a blind man walking towards the edge of the cliff, would you not warn him? In the same way, if you see a condemned man walking towards the judgement seat – without the saviour – would you not warn him also? To stand back and say nothing, whether the hearer responds or not, is not loving!]
"All of us have the cancer of sin, and there's one solution Jesus Christ. I liken it to cancer to show that it's fatal. Those of us who reject Jesus as the saviour ... all of us, Jew or Gentile, would spend eternity without God in hell."
[Quite clearly the pastor here is pointing out the important fact that he is not attacking the Jewish people, but rather, showing that he himself is also counted with them in this malady. For all have sinned!]
Alhadeff said it was a "chilling experience" to be on the receiving end of the pastor's comments. "We told him we appreciated the candour of his remarks, but found his position completely unacceptable," Alhadeff said.
[All world religions operate, in some form or another, on the principle of working to attain salvation. If I try hard enough to be good, if I try to keep as many of God’s laws as I can, if I pray enough, fast enough, keep religious days, go on pilgrimages… but to put your faith in Christ solely, and not your works, is completely contrary to this position! You will be in one camp or the other! You cannot both try to justify yourself through your own efforts, and also abandon all efforts to justify yourself to rely solely on the promises of Christ.]
"While one is only too aware that there are fundamentalist beliefs and extremist preachers out there, his brazen approach and the fact that he is influencing others on a daily basis are the issues of real concern."
Peta Jones Petach, an expert in interfaith relations, said she does not believe the pastor's comments reflected the official views of churches throughout Australia.
[If that is so, then these churches are not the church of Jesus Christ! Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 1:9) And what did Jesus teach? He is the only way to the Father. Except you repent and believe you will likewise perish (Luke 13:3)]
"Unfortunately, nutters can also become Christian ministers," she said. "I think any of the organised churches would be horrified."
[The true church would uphold the truth of God’s word! The true church of Jesus Christ would not be horrified to hear Christ lifted up as the only way of salvation!]
Jones Petach added that the comments highlighted the current challenges facing interfaith work. "Sometimes when someone makes extreme comments like these, the church recognises they have more work to do, in terms of spreading the true Christian message, which is not about vilifying Jews."
[This is somewhat correct; the true Christian message is not about vilifying Jews (or anyone for that matter). However, the true Christian message is to call all people everywhere to repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ for the salvation of their souls. Regardless of whether you are a Jew, Muslim, Atheist, or professing Christian – if you do not repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ, you will perish! The true church of Jesus Christ will never preach hate! Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him (1 John 3:15). The true church of Jesus Christ will, however, speak the truth in love. “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:32]
Australian Council of Christian and Jews past-president Henry Mendelson added: "This sort of thing has to stop. We have to accept that we're not living in a bible-belt society, and that we've progressed from the narrowness of the attitude that one religion is superior to another."
[Christianity is not about the superiority of the people. All have sinned! It is rather about the grace of God, extended to fallen, sinners! God is just, and because he is just he must punish those who violate his laws. But, because God is full of compassion and mercy, he chose to provide a way of salvation. This salvation was secured by Christ, who bore the sins of all those who would repent and put their trust in him! “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). All those who do not to repent, but continue to attempt to justify themselves (be it through religious ceremonies, prayers, good works, trying to keep the law et al), they will perish.]
NSW Baptist Union general-secretary Alan Soden said Pastor Harris was not a registered member of the union and declined to comment specifically on his comments, but stressed the Baptist Church respected the rights of other faiths to have their own views.
[Despite the exclusive claims of Christ, “I am the ONLY way”, a Christian cannot force anyone to repent and trust in Christ. It is a work that must happen in the heart of each individual man and woman. All a believer can do is plead with people to heed the words of Christ.]
"Major world religions have many differences and a person of faith should not be expected to commit intellectual suicide, in order to follow a particular faith. However, any dialogue must take place in a spirit of mutual respect and goodwill."
[Christ was unashamedly exclusive in his claims that he alone is the only way of salvation. Secondly, trusting in Christ for the salvation of your soul is not merely an intellectual exercise! It is a work wrought in the heart by the God of heaven himself! No one can come to Christ except the Father draw them.]
B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) chairman Tony Levy said the pastor's comments were offensive "not only to Jews, but to billions of human beings around the world, who are not Christian".
[I do not dispute this statement. The gospel will be offensive to some, and seem like foolishness to others, but it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." (Romans 1:16-17)]
He also said the pastor's reference to the Holocaust was particularly distressing for Holocaust survivors.
[The Holocaust was a horrific time in the history of the Jewish people, there is no denying that! Being found guilty on the day of judgement by a holy God will be far worse than anyone could ever imagine. One only has to look at the severity of God’s wrath poured out upon his own Son on the cross to see that God does not, and will not, treat sin lightly.]
"The ADC works hard to combat anti-Semitism and to promote tolerance and understanding in the wider community. Unfortunately, Pastor Harris' shameful views may inflame anti-Semitic sentiments among his congregants and also give succour to those, in the wider community, who harbour and promote anti-Semitic ideas," Levy said.
[The words of Christ are not anti-Semitic! They are far broader in scope – reaching out to all people, of all tribes, tongues and nations. Jews, like gentiles have all broken God’s law. Jews, like gentiles must repent of their sin and put their faith in Christ. If anyone claims to be a follower of Christ and promotes violence or hatred, he is a liar and the truth is not in him. Unfortunately, from a racial standpoint, warning someone that they are enemies of God through wicked works (Romans 1) is now becoming a hate crime – which is the exact opposite of its purpose or intention, speaking the truth in love.]
"We are also concerned that efforts to promote a greater sense of harmony in multicultural Australia could be harmed by such comments, which obviously target, not only Jewish people, but all non-Christians."
[Shall Christians apologise for the claims of Christ?]
Will soon be dead because of my sin,
Torn from this world and all of its din,
I'll breathe my last, and then, what then?
Will I be caught up to heaven above?
To a life of no fear, and no pain thereof,
To be ever overwhelmed by unspeakable love,
And to worship in ways that I've never dreamed of?
Or will I fall deep into hell far below,
Where great thirst abounds, and hot dry winds blow,
Such peace or hope there will I surely not know,
Just great torment of soul in the harsh fires glow!
How can I be sure of the fate of my soul?
Must I work hard, and be good, and sign the church roll,
How can I be sure of my ultimate goal?
How can I be saved when the last bell does toll?
My record is bad, my sins much abound,
My own righteousness cannot make up the ground,
All my “good works” will surely be frowned,
Like a man lost at sea I will surely be drowned!
Is there any sure hope for a man such as me?
Am I destined to be lost for eternity?
What must I do that I might be free?
There is just one thing! Just one thing! You’ll see!
Believe on Him and you'll surely be saved!
He died in your place! He went to the grave!
He made a way! The road He did pave!
He shed His own blood so that you might be saved!
One thing that you lack, and then all will be well,
It is Faith in Him that will save you from hell,
Safe in His arms where like waves love does swell,
Believe in Him! Lean on Him! You will do well.
It is not just enough to know that Christ died,
For the sins of the many He bled and He cried,
But through faith, to Him, must your hopes be tied,
Your sins He took! In your place He died!
When you lay hold of Him, in faith, in this way,
The light of His life will be yours all the day,
Awash with relief “I’ve found rest you will say”,
My soul has been saved! In Him I’m okay!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
To obey the truth, and not to know it--is impossible.
To know the truth, and not obey it--is unprofitable.
For, "Not everyone who says unto me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven--but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven." Saving knowledge is not as the light of the moon--to sleep by; but as the light of the sun--to work by. It is not a loiterer in the market-place--but a laborer in the vineyard.
A man may be a great scholar--and yet be a great sinner. Judas the traitor--was Judas the preacher! The snake which has a pearl in its head--has poison in its body! The tree of knowledge has often been planted, and flourished--where the tree of life never grew! All abilities and gifts--without grace and holiness--are but like Uriah's letters, which were the death warrants of those who carried them!
Mere head knowledge will be as unhelpful to the soul, in the judgment day--as a painted fire is unhelpful to the frozen body, in a cold day. Theoretical knowledge may make the head giddy--but it will never make the heart holy. How many professors are there, who have light enough to know what should be done--but have not love enough to do what they know! Give me the Christian who perfectly sees the way he should go--and readily goes the way he sees!
That is barren ground--which brings forth no fruit. "To him who knows to do good, and does it not--to him it is sin." The sins of ignorance are most numerous--but the sins of knowledge are most dangerous! That sinner's darkness will be the greatest in hell--whose light was the clearest on earth!
There are many who set a crown of glory upon the head of Christ by a good profession, and yet put a crown of thorns upon his head by an evil conversation. By the words of our mouth--we may affect to adore religion; but it is by the works of our lives--that we adorn religion.
As trees without fruits are unprofitable--so knowledge without good works is abominable! Leah and Rachel are fit emblems of knowledge and obedience. Knowledge, like Rachel--is beautiful. But obedience, like Leah--is fruitful.
(William Secker, "The Consistent Christian" 1660)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:10, 11, 12)
It’s not an abstract, intellectual exercise in metaphysics! It is impossible for a man to be born again and not find rest! For Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest". Likewise, it is impossible for a believer to receive the gift of eternal life, by faith in Jesus Christ, and not be filled with an inner joy! Salvation's inevitable joy!
Imagine for a second the plight of a condemned man walking the green mile. At the end of the corridor his death awaits him - no one has ever returned from where he's headed. As he is strapped into the electric chair, a man steps forward and produces a legally binding document declaring his pardon. He has been spared at the eleventh hour. Do you not think that his dread will turn into relief, his terror into joy? In the same way, a when a man receives eternal life from the hand of his Lord, when he realises that his pardon is assured, his salvation is complete and such joy fills his heart!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Your eyes will open wide,
You'll finally understand this truth,
I'm Saved Because He Died!
You'll lay hold of Him by faith,
Such joy will fill your heart,
He'll take your sin and punishment,
And righteousness impart!
Saved by grace through faith,
And this not of yourself,
The best works you can do, you'll see,
Deserve eternal hell!
Why did no-one tell me this?
The thought will cross your mind,
Truth is you heard it countless times,
It's just that you were blind!
No ear has heard or mind perceived,
The truth is mystery,
Until the God of Truth comes down,
And causes you to see!
And when He does you'll prostrate fall,
And glorify His name,
Then full of love you'll get back up,
To pull others from the flame!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
If Genesis refers to something other than literal 24 hour days, then to correctly interpret the text, God must have rested for something other than a literal 24 hour day.
Regardless of whether it was hundreds, thousands, or millions of years - What was Adam doing during this time?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
"Thousands of people witnessed the grotesque execution of Aisha at a football stadium in the port town of Kismayo on Monday.
The 13-year old was led in and forced into a hole in the ground. The hole was then filled so that only her head was showing. About 50 men then started to throw stones at her, according to Amensty’s information.
After a while, nurses were called to check whether Aisha was still alive. The think body was then brought out of the hold and examined. When it was established that she was still alive, she was again placed in the hole so that the stone-throwers could continue.
When some of the spectators tried to storm the stadium to save Aisha, the militia opened fire on the crowd, and a young boy was killed." (Source: aftenbladet.no)
When I read this account my heart was troubled: For Aisha, for her family, for those who participated in her execution. I fear for those men who raped her! I fear for those men who stoned her! I fear for those who gunned down the spectators trying to prevent her murder! I fear for those holding the robes of those that cast the stones and cheered them on! For unless the Lord graciously extends mercy to them and moves among them by His Holy Spirit - such that they come under conviction of their sin, truly repent, and in faith reach out to Christ and put their trust in him - then all that awaits them is the fierce, wrath of God! It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! Not a single one of them will escape His righteous judgement!
I wonder how many of those who cast stones are themselves guilty of committing adultery in the eyes of God? Probably all of them, as the Lord proclaimed in His Sermon on the Mount, for "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." The Apostle Paul has an apt word for them (and us) at this time:
"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?" Romans 2:1-3
Lord, I pray that you would use this terrible event to draw members of Aisha's family, her murderers and those who cheered them on to a place of repentance and faith in Christ! Please have mercy on them Lord, for you are not a God who delights in the death of the wicked! Though these men deserve Divine Justice, please save them through your Son, for you are a God who is full of compassion and mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement!
I am reminded again of the account in the book of John, of when the Lord was faced with a blood thirsty mob of men seeking to trap Him...
"At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." John 8:1-11
May we do likewise!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
1 Corinthians 15:10
The true Christian is sensible and mindful of
indwelling sin. He confesses that in everything
he comes exceedingly short, and that his best
services are not only defective--but defiled. He
accounts himself as an unprofitable servant--and
is abased in his own eyes. He knows that all that
distinguishes him from the vilest of men--is the
free grace of God!
He derives all his hope and comfort, as well as his
strength--from Jesus, whom he has known, received
and loved, and to whom he has committed his soul.
He renounces all confidence in the flesh, and esteems
all things as loss--compared to the surpassing greatness
of knowing Jesus Christ his Lord, for whose sake he has
lost all things--considering them rubbish, that he may
(Letters of John Newton)
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
While they do not solve all the mystery of human suffering, the Scriptures show, at least, that suffering is no accident in God's world--but is one of His messengers; and that it comes not as an enemy--but as a friend on an errand of blessing. The design of God, in all the afflictions which He sends upon His people--is to make them more holy, to advance their purification of character.
It is very clearly taught in the Word of God, that suffering is necessary in preparing sinful souls in this world, for heavenly glory. "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." There is no easy way to glory. There is so much evil in us, even after we are born again, that nothing less than the discipline of pain, can cleanse our nature.
Tribulation is God's threshing, not to harm us or to destroy us--but to separate what is heavenly and spiritual in us--from what is earthly and fleshly. Nothing less than blows of pain will do this. Evil clings strongly, even to the godly. The golden wheat of godliness is so wrapped up in the strong chaff of the flesh--that only the heavy flail of suffering can produce the separation. Godly character can never be attained, but through suffering. Holiness cannot be reached, without cost. Those who would gain the lofty heights--must climb the cold, rough steeps which lead to them.
It is God's design, in all the pain which He sends--to make us more Christlike. His puts us in the fire of purification, until His own image shines reflected in the gold! His prunings mean greater fruitfulness. In whatever form the suffering comes--the purpose of the pain is merciful. In all our life in this world, God is purifying us--and suffering is one of the chief agents which He employs.
"We also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope." Romans 5:3-4. Suffering develops in us, qualities of Christian character, which cannot be developed in any other way.
But not all afflictions make people better. They do not always produce endurance. Chastening does not always yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. We all have seen people suffering--who became only more impatient, irritable, ill-tempered, and selfish--as they suffered. Many a life in the furnace of affliction, loses all the beauty it ever had. It is not by any means universally true--that we are made more holy and Christlike, by pain.
Afflictions must be received as God's messengers. They often come in very somber garb, and it is only when we receive them in faith, that they disclose to us their merciful aspect and mission.
We should therefore receive afflictions reverently, as sent from God. We may be assured that there is always some blessing for us, in pain's hot hand. There is some golden fruit, wrapped up in the rough husk. God designs to burn off some sins from us, in every fire through which He calls us to pass. No one who murmurs under God's chastening hand, is ever made better by it.
The true aim of suffering is to get from it--
more purity of soul,
greater revelations of God's face,
more love to Christ,
deeper joy in the heart,
holier living, and
fresh strength for obedience and all duty.
(J. R. Miller, "Living Without Worry")
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
No person can pay the cost of saving his or her own soul! The only way that our sins can be atoned for, that a person can be ransomed from hell, is by the death of Jesus Christ! Choosing to receive this free gift involves turning away from sin, turning away from the world, being committed to following Jesus Christ, and so in a very real sense there is a price tag attached to following Jesus! He is the only way of salvation. You are a fool not to follow him, but before you follow him you need to sit down and count the cost! What its going to mean for the rest of your life to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. To start out on the Christian life, and somewhere in the midst of it it will be to high of a cost and you will want to turn back. You need to look at the price tag! Yes there is trouble in the Christian life but it is nothing like the trouble of those who have no hope beyond this world! Oh there is difficulty in this life, but it is nothing like the difficulty that those who die apart from faith in Christ will face when they stand before God. Oh, the trouble that we face is fleeting! Ah, but the punishment of hell will be eternal! Oh, there is no comparison to the worth of gaining Christ! A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity without a cross will prove in the end a useless Christianity without a crown. Yes, there is a cross involved in following Christ. Yes, there is suffering and rejection. Yes, we must be ready to turn our back on every person and every desire in our pursuit of Jesus Christ - but it is more than worth it! It is more than worth it!
Monday, October 13, 2008
My most gracious Beloved,
I am now going from a prison to a palace: I have finished my work, and am now going to receive my wages. I am going to heaven, where are two of my children, and leaving you on earth, where there are three of my babes. These two above, need not my care; but the three below need thine. It comforts me to think, two of my children are in the bosom of Abraham, and three of them will be in the arms and care of such a tender and godly mother. I know you are a woman of sorrowful spirit, yet be comforted, though you sorrows be great for you husband going out of the world, yet your pains shall be the less in bringing your child into the world; you shall be a joyful mother, though you be a sad widow; God hath many mercies in store for you; the prayer of a dying husband for you, will not be lost. To my shame I speak it, I never prayed for you at liberty, as I have done in prison. I can write much, but I have few practical counsels to leave with you, viz.,
1. Keep under a sound, orthodox, soul searching ministry. Oh! There are many deceivers gone out into the world, but Christ’s sheep know His voice, and a stranger they will not follow. Attend any minister that teacheth the way of God in truth; and follow Solomon’s advice, Proverbs 19:27.
2. Bring up your children in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord. The mother ought to be a teacher in the father’s absence, Proverbs 31:1, “The words that his mother taught him…” And Timothy was instructed by his grandmother, 1 Timothy 1:5.
3. Pray in your family daily, that yours may be in the number of the families who call upon God.
4. Labor for a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God, is of great price, 1 Peter 3:4.
5. Pour not on the comforts you want, but upon the mercies you have. Look rather at God’s ending in afflicting, than to the measure and degree of your affliction.
6. Labor to clear up your evidence for heaven when God takes from you the comfort of earth, so that as your sufferings do abound, your consolation in Christ may abound much more, 2 Corinthians 1:5. Though it be good to maintain a holy jealously of heart, yet it is still ill of you to cherish fears and doubts touching the truth of your graces. If ever I had confidence touching the grace of another, I have confidence of grace in you; as Peter said of Silvanus, I am persuaded that this is the grace of God wherein ye stand, 1 Peter 5:12.
7. O, my dear soul wherefore dost thou doubt, who heart has been laid upright, whose walking has been holy, &c. I could venture my soul this day in they soul’s stead, such a confidence I have in you.
8. When you find your heart secure, presumptuous and proud, then pour upon corruption more than grace: then look upon your grace without infirmities.
9. Study the covenant of grace, and merits of Christ, and be troubled if you can; you are interested in such a covenant that accepts purposes for performances, desires for deeds, sincerity for perfection, the righteousness of another, viz., that of Jesus Christ, as it were your own alone. Oh! My love! Rest thou in the love of God, the bosom of Christ.
10. Swallow up your will in the will of God. It is a bitter cup we are to drink, but it is the cup of our Father which has been put into our hands. When Paul was to suffer at Jerusalem, the Christians said, “The will of the Lord be done!” Oh! Say ye so, when I go to the Tower-Hill, “The will of the Lord be done!”
11. Rejoice in my joy. To mourn for me inordinately argues, that you either envy or suspect my happiness. The joy of the Lord is my strength; Oh! Let it be yours also! Dear wife, farewell: I will call thee wife no more: I shall see thy face no more: yet I am not much troubled, for now I am going to meet the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, to whom I shall be eternally married.
12. Refuse not to marry, when God offers you a fair opportunity; but be sure you marry in the Lord; and one of a good disposition, that he may not grieve you, but give you a comfortable livelihood in the world.
Farewell dear love, and again I say farewell. The Lord Jesus be with your spirit, the Maker of heaven and earth be a husband to you; and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ be a father to your children – so prays your dying,
Your most affectionate friend till death,
The day of my glorification.
From the Tower of London, August 22, 1651
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I have been thinking over the account of Simon Peter walking upon the stormy sea, for it seems to be an accurate account of my own life of late. Faith turning to fear in the face of the stormy trials of life.
Peter's rebuke has been ringing in my own ears "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Oh Lord, I lost sight of you! I lost sight of your glorious face! My eyes and ears turned upon the trials of life. My attention was snatched away by this vanity fair. Oh Lord, I fell in with doubt because I lost sight of you! Please forgive me Lord!
Faith has its birth in looking to Christ and its death in looking away, and so it is that the enemy tries with such tenacity to distract a believer and draw his gaze onto something else... anything else but Christ.
One thing I have come to learn the hard way is that the enemy doesn't always prowl around (outwardly) like a roaring lion, though he is always one within. More often than not he will come to you as an angel of light. Full of trickery and deception, his subtle means of drawing your focus from Christ oftentimes come in seemingly innocent forms, and from the least likely places.
Take the story above for example: the enemy comes to Peter as an angel of light while he is walking on the water, and with the appearance of helpfulness veiled by a false concern about Peter's well being, he whispers in his ear: Careful Peter, watch out! Here comes a wave, watch it.
So subtle are his means at times, that before the believer knows it, he will find himself full of fear and overwhelmed by the approaching storm - without even realising that he has lost sight of Christ!
To my own shame I have found myself many times coming to the realising I have lost sight of Christ! Woken up to find fear in place of faith.
But praise God he is faithful!
Thank you Lord that when we call to you, you immediately reach out your hand and catch us from sliding completely beneath the waves!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Looking for a good church? Join the club. Church-shopping can be a long and painful process. To shorten your search, call the pastor of the church before you visit and ask the following questions. This might save you a lot of Sundays.
1. What is man's biggest problem, sin or self esteem?
Seeker sensitive and felt-needs churches focus on man’s hurts and problems. The Bible says that man’s biggest problem is sin.
2. What must a man do to inherit eternal life?
Repent and trust is the Biblical answer. If the word “repent” is never used, say, "Thank you."
3. How do you deliver the salvation message?
Ask the pastor to describe specifically what he says. Does he encourage people to simply say a prayer? Does he tell people to ask Jesus into their hearts? The salvation message should include: God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, God’s response (hell), God’s kindness (Jesus on a cross), man’s response (repentance and faith).
4. How hard is it to become a Christian?
The "formula" is simple (Repent & Believe), doing it is not. It is not easy to believe.
5. How often do you talk about sin, righteousness and judgment?
Balance is key. This should not be the only emphasis, but it should be a regular emphasis.
6. How seeker sensitive is your church?
It is o.k. for a church to be "seeker aware" but seeker sensitive means that they lean toward seekers and not the saved.
7. Who do you do church for, seekers or members?
"Both" is not acceptable. Church should be done for members and the unsaved are welcome to attend.
8. Do you dumb down your sermons?
If he says yes, he is probably not trying to wean his members from milk to meat. Answers like, "We try to make our sermons accessible to everyone" are sermons that are not meaty.
9. What is your mixture of topical vs. expository preaching?
Topical preaching is fine, but if a pastor never or rarely preaches expositionally (verse by verse), then you are going to be learning from the pastor and not God’s Word.
10. Do your sermons emphasize theology or are they just relevant?
Everyone should say their sermons are relevant, what you are looking for is if they teach theology.
11. Describe your youth programs.
If fun and games is the major (and usually first) emphasis, you have a youth program that is trying to compete with MTV.
12. Describe your evangelism programs.
Don’t just accept, "We have an evangelism committee." Dig. Are they serious about saving souls? And from what!
13. What church growth model do you follow?
Hopefully they don’t have one. Churches should be reaching out to the lost, but churches that are plugged into new church growth models tend to follow man’s modern ideas rather than the Bible.
14. How much do you give to missions and the hungry?
Again, this reveals the heart of the church. While most churches give to missions, many never consider the poor.
15. Do you believe the Bible contains no errors or contradictions?
No equivocation allowed here.
16. Do you believe in a literal 6 day creation?
Jesus did (Matt.19:4).
17. Do you believe in a literal hell and eternal punishment?
Jesus did (Matt.25).
19. When you distribute the Lord's Supper, do you emphasize the need to examine yourself?
Paul did (I Cor.11:27-32)
20. Can a person who is living in a persistent lifestyle of sin inherit eternal life?
Sinners can certainly be forgiven, but practicing sinners cannot inherit eternal life (I John3:8,9).
21. Does your church exercise church discipline?
Paul said we should (I Cor.5).
22. Do Sunday school teachers, nursery, and youth volunteers fill out an application to answer questions about their core beliefs and salvation, or are all volunteers accepted because of a lack of volunteers?
23.What are the essentials of the faith?
Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Salvation through faith alone, the inerrancy of Scripture.
24. Do you have a cross in your sanctuary?
Many remove it because they fear it will turn off seekers. They should glory in the cross.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
- Charles Spurgeon
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Man's Problem: The Enticement.
He wants to rule his own life! He wants to be God! He wants to call the shots and make all the decisions - all of which are to this one end... the of pleasing self.
The Determination; The Conception.
Man decides I will be the God of my own life. He rebels against God and steals his own life away from His creator. He has gone into the God business for himself!
The Result: The Death.
Man is living in open rebellion towards God. In his heart he cries out to God, I am the god of my own life and You WILL bow down to me! You will let me have my way. You will let me make my own decisions. If you do not then I will make a god in my own image who will bow down to me.
How to determine if you are in the God business for yourself?
God is the standard of all Truth and Morality. All that He is, thinks and does is perfect in every way. He does not conform to a standard (as if there was an external standard above Him) but the standard, that is, the law, by definition, is Himself. This is also His will. His will is that all be in perfect conformity to Him.
We know that we are in the God business for ourselves when WE begin defining both truth and morality... When Truth and morality becomes relative to us, molded by our own corrupt imaginations and evil desires of the heart.
1. Is Truth relative to you?
2. Is Morality relative to you?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Limpets don't know much I'm sure, but one thing they do know how to do well is cling fast to that rock when you fail to get them off in the first go.
At the first sign of trouble they hold tight! Not to themselves, or each other, but to the rock. The immovable rock!
In the first chapter of James we read these encouraging words to the saints: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
Just like the limpet, during times of trial, we are to cling to Christ with all our might. He is the immovable rock of our salvation! And we would do well to consider these trials a blessing as they drive us to press further into Christ - our rock, our fortress our shield!
During each storm, as we cling to Christ our Salvation, our faith grows as we see again and again that He has kept us soundly safe.
Sometimes faith is little more than a simple clinging to Christ; a sense of dependence and a willingness so to depend. When you are down at the seaside you will see limpets sticking to the rock. You walk with a soft tread up to the rock; you strike the mollusk a rapid blow with your walking-stick and off he comes. Try the next limpet in that way. You have given him warning; he heard the blow with which you struck his neighbor, and he clings with all his might. You will never get him off; not you! Strike, and strike again, but you may as soon break the rock. Our little friend, the limpet, does not know much, but he clings. He is not acquainted with the geological formation of the rock, but he clings. He can cling, and he has found something to cling to: this is all his stock of knowledge, and he uses it for his security and salvation. It is the limpet's life to cling to the rock, and it is the sinner's life to cling to Jesus. Thousands of God's people have no more faith than this; they know enough to cling to Jesus with all their heart and soul, and this suffices for present peace and eternal safety. Jesus Christ is to them a Saviour strong and mighty, a Rock immovable and immutable; they cling to him for dear life, and this clinging saves them. Reader, cannot you cling? Do so at once.
- Charles Spurgeon (All of Grace)
Friday, September 19, 2008
It is nothing more than: If this condition is met then, if this variable equals that value then, do until this condition is met and so on.
At its most basic level all decisions are made on the basis of whether an expression evaluates to a Boolean value of True or False. If it is not True, then it is False. If it is not False, then it must be True. There is no such thing as relative truth. Partly True is still False.
The following expression 1 = 1 evaluates to a value of True. 1 = 2 evaluates to a value of False, as does 1 = 3 and 1 = 4 and 1 = 5 and so on! 1 = 0.99999 is no closer to being True than 1 = 1000, both are False.
Truth is, 1 = 1 and that's it! But there are an infinite number of False permutations! 1 = ? (where ? is not 1).
The point I am trying to make is... the existence of logic is the evidence of absolute truth. Logic does not exist if truth is not absolute!
If truth were relative, programming would be impossible!! 1 = 2 to you and 1 = 4 to you and 1 = 1 to me... absolutely absurd!
There is only one truth!
It is no different spiritually. There is an absolute truth spiritually speaking!
Jesus Christ asserted that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life! Logically, if this is True, then every other way must be False. It is not a case, figuratively speaking, of all roads lead to Rome. According to Christ, only one way leads to God - Him! Accepting or rejecting that fact is accepting or rejecting the Truth.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
TITLE I. CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
CHAPTER 272. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER
Chapter 272: Section 36. Blasphemy
Whoever wilfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, his creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior.
If the state were to enforce this law, would it not cause more people to see how they have transgressed the Holy Law of God - to whom they must give account on the day of judgement?
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain. Exodus 20:7
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Tony Miano does a wonderful job presenting the gospel to this young man! He clearly takes him through the law, points out why God's wrath abides on him, and then gives him the good news... the gospel!
Law to the proud, grace to the humble.
Jesus came to save sinners... that is, he came to save all - for all have sinned! When we repent of our sin, of our unbelief, of our self righteousness, and turn to Christ, crying out for mercy and putting our trust in Him - He will save. He will not turn them away who come to him broken and humbled!
"Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." - John 6:37
No limit is set to the duration of this promise. It does not merely say, "I will not cast out a sinner at his first coming," but, "I will in no wise cast out. " The original reads, "I will not, not cast out," or "I will never, never cast out. " The text means, that Christ will not at first reject a believer; and that as he will not do it at first, so he will not to the last.
But suppose the believer sins after coming? "If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." But suppose that believers backslide? "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. " But believers may fall under temptation! "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. " But the believer may fall into sin as David did! Yes, but he will "Purge them with hyssop, and they shall be clean; he will wash them and they shall be whiter than snow"; "From all their iniquities will I cleanse them. "
"Once in Christ, in Christ for ever, Nothing from his love can sever."
"I give unto my sheep," saith he, "eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." What sayest thou to this, O trembling feeble mind? Is not this a precious mercy, that coming to Christ, thou dost not come to One who will treat thee well for a little while, and then send thee about thy business, but he will receive thee and make thee his bride, and thou shalt be his for ever? Receive no longer the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby thou shalt cry, Abba, Father! Oh! the grace of these words: "I will in no wise cast out."
- Charles Spurgeon
Thursday, August 14, 2008
There never was anyone in all humanity so lonely.
He was alone in holiness. How the sin of his disciples and those around him must have grieved him. How their arguments about who would be the greatest must have wearied him who was infinitely greater than all!
He was alone in righteousness. There is no one who does right, no not one. He had no other companion, no other man to the right of him. All were to the left.
He was alone in wisdom and understanding. He had much to say but they could not bear it, or even hear it.
He was alone in truth. He understood, comprehended, beheld and experienced the truth in all its glory but had no one of like greatness to share that with, no one who could comprehend.
He was alone in ministry. Every single person that came to him needed or wanted something from him. He borrowed nothing from them but supplied them with all. Like beggars to a rich man!
He was alone in companionship. As the Father declared during the creation of the world that it is not good for man to be alone, so it is that we were designed to have a help mate. An intimate companion. A husband or wife.
He was alone in zeal. There was no one else who share the same passion, the same zeal, the same fire for glorifying God, for preaching Truth, for proclaiming freedom to the captives and sight to the blind!
He was alone in prayer. No one could pray as Jesus prayed, no one could pray alongside him as his equal (that is why the disciples said - teach us how to pray Lord). He often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
He was alone in temptation & testing. No one from the beginning of time until now has been tempted & tested with such intensity, such persistence, such relentlessness, to the point of bloodshed when praying in the garden of Gethsemane.
He was alone in suffering. His appearance was marred more than any man. No one (I believe) has ever suffered worse physical punishment that our Lord.
He was alone in death. Crucified outside of the city, amongst the refuse in the dump. Naked, torn, hung on a tree. Forsaken by man and forsaken by God!
As we become more like Christ, we will in greater degree share in his loneliness. There will be less who understand, less with that intensity, passion and zeal, more who take, more who misunderstand, more who accuse, more resistance, more suffering, more testing, trial and temptation…
Christ had only one to rest in, one to lean on, one through whom and by whom he was able to accomplish all he was sent to do... the Father. So it will be with those who are becoming increasingly more like Christ. There will be no one else that satisfies, no one else that strengthens, no one else that encourages, no one else that teaches...but the Father through his Holy Spirit