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