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Friday, June 29, 2007

Anti-depressants and Spiritual Conviction

Note: Below is an anonymous article given to the women of our church from one of our newer members. It is anonymous due to the fact that she wishes to protect her former church. I believe that what this member is saying should be heard by many. Please feel free to distribute this to those who might benefit the most from it. (Jim Elliff, of Christian Worldview Network).

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My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
My wounds fester and are loathsome

because of my sinful folly.
I am bowed down and brought very low.


This passage is from Psalm 38, which is subtitled, “Prayer of a Suffering Penitent.” Ladies, have you ever felt as David did when he wrote these words? Have you ever had a burden of guilt too heavy to bear? Remember now a time when you were brought very low by your sin, so low that you went about as if in mourning all day long. Do you have that time or place in mind? Good. Now, praise God for it! Thank Him that you were able to feel the real grief your sin caused, both for you and for Him, and let me explain to you why that is a blessing.

Five years ago I experienced a deep “valley” in my life. My father was very ill. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and heavy smoking had brought him to a place of chronic serious illness. My mother, already dependent on him because of her own health problems, had broken her arm and needed a lot of help. I was home-schooling my two children at the time, co-leading the youth ministry at my church, and fulfilling other key leadership roles in the congregation. We had attended this church for 5 years at the time, and my husband and I were both heavily involved in ministry.

Read the rest of “Anti-depressants and Spiritual Conviction”.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Does God control the weather? What should we expect from God?

By Steve Cornell

When natural disasters strike, some lose their lives; others lose all but their lives; still others are (as we say) miraculously spared. But how does God’s protection relate to natural disaster? When hurricanes pound islands and mainlands–churning out devastating tornadoes and floods, is God in control?

Does God control the weather? Who sends the wind and rain? Why does one part of the world endure unbearable drought while another is devastated by floods? Why do some people get all the so-called “nice” weather? Is this simply “Mother Nature” randomly unleashing her powers? Or, is the Creator himself even in charge of the bad weather?

Read the rest here.

On the Gospel

"The old gospel was about an offended God; the new gospel is about a wounded us. The old gospel was about sin; the new gospel is about needs. The old gospel was about our need for righteousness; the new gospel is about our need for fulfillment. The old gospel is offensive to those who are perishing; the new gospel is attractive." --Gary Gilley, Southern View Chapel (see video below)



“In this new gospel, the great "evils" to be redressed do not call for any fundamental change of direction in the human heart. Instead, the problem lies in my sense of rejection from others; in my corrosive experience of life’s vanity; in my nervous sense of self-condemnation and diffidence; in the imminent threat of boredom if my music is turned off; in my fussy complaints when a long, hard road lies ahead. These are today’s significant felt needs that the gospel is bent to serve. Jesus and the church exist to make you feel loved, significant, validated, entertained, and charged up. This gospel ameliorates distressing symptoms. It makes you feel better. The logic of this therapeutic gospel is a jesus-for-Me who meets individual desires and assuages psychic aches.” --David Powlison, “The Therapeutic Gospel.”

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The answer to, "Can you name that sin?"

The other day I posted this:

"There is no temptation for it, neither does it offer any pleasure to the one who does it;
It is very offensive, yet may be repeated at will;
It causes increasing hardness against Biblical Christianity and distress to every Christian;
It shows the destruction to which mankind is bound, a sure sign of desperation and hopelessness.
(hint: it can be loud)"

Did you figure out what it was?

The answer is: cursing or swearing.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Send the Light!

There’s a call comes ringing over the restless wave,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
There are souls to rescue there are souls to save,
Send the light! Send the light!

Refrain

Send the light, the blessèd Gospel light;
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, the blessèd Gospel light;
Let it shine forevermore!

We have heard the Macedonian call today,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
And a golden offering at the cross we lay,
Send the light! Send the light!

Refrain

Let us pray that grace may everywhere abound,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
And a Christlike spirit everywhere be found,
Send the light! Send the light!

Refrain

Let us not grow weary in the work of love,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
Let us gather jewels for a crown above,
Send the light! Send the light!

Refrain

(Words & Music: Charles H. Gab­ri­el, 1890.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

thinking about: Psalm 55:22 (or, "what to do when stabbed in the back")

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (NASB)

Cast your burden on Jehovah, and He will keep you; He will never allow the righteous to waver.” (MJKV)

Is God interested in our “stuff,” our burdens? We would like this verse to say, “Give your trouble to God and He will fix it” or, “just give it to God and everything will work out” but it doesn’t. The picture comes into focus when we consider how the verse actually reads in the original: “(You) hurl (throw, cast) the lot given to you upon the LORD, and He will make provision for you; He will always never give the righteous (a) shaking (slipping, sliding).”

Look closely at the context of the verse. This Psalm is David’s complaint to God because someone very close relationally has stabbed David (metaphorically speaking) in the back. From the beginning of the Psalm we find David literally throwing himself at God. If the tendency is to think that God should fix the problem, why isn’t David telling the details of the situation? Rather he is pointing to the persons involved, not what is being done between persons. At the close, he makes a point of application for all who listen: Take your lot in life, whatever it is, and give it to God. Why? So He can take care of you, not your burden.

Think of it this way: “The word rendered ‘burden’ signifies a gift and so the words are translated by many, ‘cast thy gift upon the Lord’; what he has given in a way of providence and of grace, acknowledge him to be the author of it.” (John Gill) Whatever you are experiencing right now is God-sourced, and because it came from Him, it’s not broken, so it does not need to be fixed. God actually wants you to throw yourself on Him. Oswald Chambers would probably say simply, “Abandon to God.”

Again, notice the next part of the verse, “and He will sustain you.” God’s attention is not on the burden, but on the one who brings the burden. What He wants to accomplish is provision to the bearer. The word used here for “sustain” is also translated “nourish” or “replenish.” This is a word used to refer to Joseph as the one who provided during famine. This is a drought-drenching word. John Gill again explains one should be inclined to, “pray for a continuance of mercies, and for fresh supplies.” Listen to Matthew Henry:

“To cast our burden upon God is to stay ourselves on his providence and promise, and to be very easy in the assurance that all shall work for good. If we do so, it is promised, that he will sustain us, both support and supply us, will himself carry us in the arms of his power, as the nurse carries the sucking-child, will strengthen our spirits so by his Spirit as that they shall sustain the infirmity. He has not promised to free us immediately from that trouble which gives rise to our cares and fears; but he will provide that we be not tempted above what we are able, and that we shall be able according as we are tempted.”

Remember the words of Jesus: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

YOU cast YOUR burden on the LORD and He will sustain YOU.

What does this sustenance look like? It looks like imputed righteousness, justification and perseverance. He will allow forever non-movement when it comes to your lot in life, whether they be blessings or burdens. He is aiming at providing an abundant life, a life cultivated in faith. Consider what Jesus said about life to people wedged between desert and water: “do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25) God clearly is the giver and sustainer of life.

Consider further the reason Christ died. Was it “for” our “burdens”? Hebrews 2:14-15 and 1 Peter 2:24. Does Jesus save burdens?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Name That Sin

There is no temptation for it, neither does it offer any pleasure to the one who does it;
It is very offensive, yet may be repeated at will;
It causes increasing hardness against Biblical Christianity and distress to every Christian;
It shows the destruction to which mankind is bound, a sure sign of desperation and hopelessness.

(hint: often can be loud)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Are you a member of the Good Church Lollipop?

“Every true soldier is a hero! A soldier without heroism is a chocolate soldier! Who has not been stirred to scorn and mirth at the very thought of a Chocolate Soldier? In peace true soldiers are captive lions, fretting in their cages. War gives them their liberty and sends them, like boys bounding out of school, to obtain their heart's desire or perish in the attempt. Battle is the soldier's vital breath! Peace turns him into a stooping asthmatic. War makes him a whole man again, and gives him the heart, strength, and vigour of a hero.

Every true Christian is a soldier — of Christ — a hero "par excellence!" Braver than the bravest - scorning the soft seductions of peace and her oft repeated warnings against hardship, disease, danger and death, whom he counts among his bosom friends.

The otherwise Christian a Chocolate Christian, dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. Sweeties they are! Bonbons, lollipops! Living their lives in a glass dish or in a cardboard box, each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution.”

C.T. Studd (1860-1931), “The Chocolate Soldier or Heroism - The Lost Chord of Christianity

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Almost Christian

"An almost Christian is one of the most hurtful creatures in the world; he is a wolf in sheep's clothing: he is one of those false prophets, our blessed Lord bids us beware of in his sermon on the mount, who would persuade men, that the way to heaven is broader than it really is; and thereby, as it was observed before, "enter not into the kingdom of God themselves, and those that are entering in they hinder." These, these are the men that turn the world into a luke-warm Laodicean spirit; that hang out false lights, and so shipwreck unthinking benighted souls in their voyage to the haven of eternity. These are they who are greater enemies to the cross of Christ, than infidels themselves: for of an unbeliever every one will be aware; but an almost Christian, through his subtle hypocrisy, draws away many after him; and therefore must expect to receive the greater damnation. "

George Whitefield, "The Almost Christian."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Warning

“[Y]ou know ‘our’ people will warn you, ‘Don't get too spiritual.’ You never heard anybody saying ‘Don't get to rich’, ‘Don't get too much education’ but rather ‘Don't get too much spiritual’ . . . Do you know why? Because they’ve been dragging their feet for the last ten or twenty years, and they’re afraid you’ll get ahead of them.”

Leonard Ravenhill, “Give me Souls or I’ll die!”

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Another Gospel

by A.W. Pink
from Old Paths Newsletter, June 2007

"SATAN IS THE ARCH-counterfeiter. The Devil is now busy at work in the same field in which the Lord sowed the good seed. He is seeking to prevent the growth of the wheat by another plant, the tares, which closely resembles the wheat in appearance. In a word, by a process of imitation he is aiming to neutralize the Work of Christ. Therefore, as Christ has a Gospel, Satan has a gospel too; the latter being a clever counterfeit of the former. So closely does the gospel of Satan resemble that which it parodies, multitudes of the unsaved are deceived by it.

It is to this gospel of Satan the apostle refers when he says to the Galatians, 'I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ' (1:6, 7). This false gospel was being heralded even in the days of the apostle, and a most awful curse was called down upon those who preached it. The apostle continues, 'But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.'

The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great 'brotherhood.' It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to 'the best that is within us.' It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that Christ's absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed."

(A.W. Pink (1886-1952) - An Evangelist and biblical scholar known for his purtianistic teachings. Very well known and quoted in our day, wrote many biblical expositions works and books.)

Friday, June 08, 2007

So easy a child can do it . . . and has!

30 copies of the Gospel of John, with the plan of salvation inside.



One goes in your pocket.

Every Day.

For a month.

Give it away.

One a day.

For a month.

Evangelism is that easy.

(Spanish and Chinese versions available, too)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Rhythmic Strains, Melodious Refrains and the Sound of Redemption in the New Heavens and Earth

I was reading John Piper’s message, “The Triumph of the Gospel in the New Heavens and the New Earth” with Tchaikovsky’s “Suite from the Nutcracker” playing softly just within the threshold of my hearing. Outside, a bird in the tree is singing a melodious refrain (I would have thought the bird was actually part of the music had I not been paying attention). The pitch and volume of both bird and broadcast blended into a perfect concert.

Imagine my escalating joy in Christ Jesus as I read the following with these rhythmic strains as background music:

“Paul’s words in Romans 8:21 are a clear witness to the continuity between the old earth and the new earth: ‘The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption.’ So he understands ‘new’ to mean ‘renewed,’ not replaced. It’s not like, ‘I got a new car.’ When something is set free, it doesn’t go out of existence or get abandoned. It may change, but it is still there, and free.

So one of the things you say to that mom with the disabled child: You know, the Bible teaches that even though your son has been denied a lifetime of leaping and running on this earth to the glory of God, there is a new earth coming, freed from every disease and disability, and he will have not just a lifetime, but an eternity, to run and leap to the glory of God . . .

One might be tempted to say to a suffering saint (parent of a suffering child), ‘You see what the Bible says: The natural order—the creation—will be set free from its bondage to corruption. Well, your body—or your son’s body—is part of that order, isn’t it? Yes. Then you too—he too—will experience this glorious liberation from corruption and have a new resurrection body, because you are part of what is being liberated.’

That is emphatically not the way Paul sees things. It is true that our bodies will be redeemed in the new order. Verse 23b: ‘We wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.’ But our bodies are not drawn up into this newness by being part of creation. It’s the other way around. The creation is drawn up into ‘the freedom of the glory of the children of God.’ Verse 21: ‘The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.’

The freedom of the glory of the children of God comes first. Then having glorified his children with their new and glorious bodies—which Jesus said will shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father (Matt. 13:43)—then the whole creation is fitted by God as suitable dwelling for the glorified family.

So you say to the parents of the disabled child, ‘Your child will not be changed to fit the new glorified universe; the new universe will be changed to fit your glorified child—and you.’ The point of verse 21 is that God loves his children and provides what is best for them.”

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Behold the birds of the air; for they sow not, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them; are you not much better than they are?” (Matthew 6:26)

So to the birds I say, “Sing on!”

"What have you got?"

(excerpt from A.B. Simpson's landmark sermon, "Christ Himself")

"I wish to speak to you about Jesus, and Jesus only. I often hear people say, "I wish I could get hold of Divine Healing, but I cannot." Sometimes they say, "I have got it." If I ask them, "What have you got?" the answer is sometimes, "I have got the blessing", sometimes it is, "I have got the theory"; sometimes it is, "I have got the healing"; sometimes, "I have got the sanctification." But I thank God we have been taught that it is not the blessing, it is not the healing, it is not the sanctification, it is not the thing, it is not the it that you want, but it is something better. It is "the Christ"; it is Himself.

How often that comes out in His Word - "Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses", Himself "bare our sins in his own body on the tree"! It is the person of Jesus Christ we want. Plenty of people get the idea and do not get anything out of it. They get it into their head, and it into their conscience, and it into their will; but somehow they do not get Him into their life and spirit, because they have only that which is the outward expression and symbol of the spiritual reality . . . .

Years ago I came to Him burdened with guilt and fear; I tried that simple secret, and it took away all my fear and sin. Years passed on, and I found sin overcoming me and my temptations too strong for me. I came to Him a second time, and He whispered to me, "Christ in you," and I had victory, rest and blessing . . . .

And so I would say, if this precious little secret of "Christ in you," will help you, you may have it. May you make better use of it than I! I feel I have only begun to learn how well it works. Take it and go on working it out, through time and eternity-Christ for all, grace for grace, from strength to strength, from glory to glory, from this time forth and even for evermore."

HIMSELF
by A. B. Simpson

Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.
Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.

Once 'twas painful trying, Now 'tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.
Once 'twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;
Once 'twas constant drifting, Now my anchor's cast.

Once 'twas busy planning, Now 'tis trustful prayer;
Once 'twas anxious caring, Now He has the care.
Once 'twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;
Once 'twas constant asking, Now 'tis ceaseless praise.

Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me.
Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.

Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He's mine;
Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.
Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the vail.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Is it OK to say ‘Christ died for YOUR sins?’

Which of the following statements is incorrect:

A: ‘God sent his Son to suffer and die on the cross for you.’
B: ‘God loves you so much that he sent his Son to die for you.’
C: ‘Jesus died on the Cross to pay for your sins.’
D: ‘If you die in your sin’s you will go to Hell, that is not God’s will.’
E: ‘Christ died on the cross for sinners.’
F: All of the above.
G: None of the above.

To see how you did, go here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Thoughts on the Bible

“If we once get above our Bibles, and cease making the written word of God our sole rule both as to faith and practice, we shall soon lie open to all manner of delusion, and be in great danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Our blessed Lord, though he had the Spirit of God without measure, yet always was governed by, and fought the devil with, ‘It is written'.”

(George Whitefield, “Walking with God”)

“All men now presume to criticize the gospel. Almost every old doting fool or prating sophist must, forsooth, be a doctor in divinity. All other arts and sciences have masters, of whom people must learn, and rules and regulations which must be observed and obeyed; the Holy Scripture only, God’s Word, must be subject to each man’s pride and presumption; hence; so many sects, seducers, and offences.

I did not learn my divinity at once, but was constrained by my temptations to search deeper and deeper; for no man, without trials and temptations, can attain a true understanding of the Holy Scriptures. St Paul had a devil that beat him with fists, and with temptations drove him diligently to study the Holy Scripture. I had hanging on my neck the pope, the universities, all the deep-learned, and the devil; these hunted me into the Bible, wherein I sedulously read, and thereby, God be praised, at length attained a true understanding of it. Without such a devil, we are but only speculators of divinity, and according to our vain reasoning, dream that so and so it must be, as the monks and friars in monasteries do. The Holy Scripture of itself is certain and true; God grant me grace to
catch hold of its just use.”

(Martin Luther, “Table Talk,” LXI, LXII)

“[W]e do not err when we believe that no Scripture is exhausted by a single explanation. The flowers of God’s garden, bloom not only double, but sevenfold—they are continually pouring forth fresh fragrance.”

(Charles Spurgeon, “The Sure Mercies of David”)

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