Wednesday, December 31, 2008

As you prepare for the New Year . . .

A very practical man was known to confess: "I have too much religion or too little; I must either give up what I have or get more. I have too much religion to let me enjoy a worldly life, and too much worldliness to let me enjoy religion."

He solved the dilemma triumphantly by a wholehearted acceptance of Christ as his living Lord. He put an end to divided loyalty and doubtful obedience.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Why don't people ask us about our hope?"

"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." (1 Peter 3:15)

"The answer is probably that we look as if we hope in the same things they do. Our lives don't look like they are on the Calvary road, stripped down for sacrificial love, serving others with the sweet assurance that we don't ned to be rewarded in this life. Our reward is great in heaven (Matthew 5:12)! 'You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just' (Luke 14:14). If we believed this more deeply, others might see the worth of God and find in Him their gladness."

John Piper, "Don't Waste Your Life."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Why would God have bothered to create such a microscopic speck called earth and humanity and then get involved with us?"

"Beneath this question is a fundamental failure to see what the universe is about. It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. God made man small and the universe big to say something about Himself. And He says it for us to learn and enjoy--namely, that He is infinitely great and powerful and wise and beautiful. The more the Hubble Telescope sends back to us about the unfathomable depths of space, the more we should stand in awe of God. The disproportion between us and the universe is a parable about the disporportion between us and God. And it is an understatement. But the point is not to nullify us but to glorify Him."

John Piper, "Don't Waste Your Life."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Matthew 2:1-12 (NASB)

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.

They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 'AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.'"

Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him."

After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Matthew 1:18-25 (NASB)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US."

And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Message to Holiday Depression

"Depressions of spirit, humiliating thoughts of one’s self, deep and grievous bondage—all these, the children of God are well aware of. With Paul we have, at times, to cry, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Beloved, it is well for us to know, as I am sure we do know experimentally, that in this matter of barrenness and desolation the creature can do but little. It is the Spirit that quickens—the flesh profits little. When we get into this state, we feel like a man who cannot swim. And the more we kick and struggle the more rapidly we sink. It seems as if all human energy were but the energy to sin and a power to make us yet more dead to true spiritual life.

Well, what are we to do, then? Why, let us remember that the text is addressed to us in just such a state. 'Sing, O barren! Break forth and cry aloud you that did not travail with child.' But what can I sing about? I cannot sing about the present. I cannot even sing concerning the past. Well, but yet I can sing of Jesus Christ, can I not? I can turn to that which precedes the text and I can sing of visits which the Redeemer has before paid to me! Or, if not of these, I can sing of the great love with which He loved His people when He came from the heights of Heaven for their redemption!

I will go to the Cross again! Come, my Soul, you were once heavy laden and you did lose your burden there. Come again, come again! Once you did wash in yonder fount and you were clean. O my poor bespattered Soul, come and wash again! A prodigal I once returned— He fell upon my neck and kissed me then. I will go to Jesus once more. Though my sins rise like mountains, I will be obedient to the Word which says, 'Return, you backsliding children, for I am married unto you, says the Lord.'"

************
Charles Spurgeon, "Songs for Desolate Hearts: Isaiah 54:1" preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1865.

Luke 2:8-20 (NASB)

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."

So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas mood

Sherwood Wirt of Decision magazine (he went to be with the Lord in November 2008), once wrote of the mood of the day when Christ was born:

"The people of that time where being heavily taxed, and faced every prospect of a sharp increase to cover expanding military expenses. The threat of world domination by a cruel, ungodly, power-intoxicated band of men was ever just belowe the threshold of consciousness. Moral deterioration had corrupted the upper levels of society and was moving rapidly into the broad base of the populace. Intense nationalistic feeling was clashing openly with new and sinister forms of imperialism. Conformity was the spirit of the age.

Government handouts were being used with increasing lavishness to keep the population from rising up and throwing out the leaders. Interest rates were spiraling upward in the midst of an inflated economy.

External religious observances were considered a political asset, and abnormal emphasis was being placed upon sports and athletic competition. Racial tensions were at the breaking point.

In such a time, and amid such a people, a child was born to a migrant couple who had just signed up for a fresh round of taxation, and who were soon to become political exiles. And the child who was orn was called, among other things, Immanuel, God with us."

Luke 2:1-7 (NASB)

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Luke 1:67-80 (NASB)

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant--as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old--salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES, and FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US; to show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS; to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Penn comments on a gift . . .

The Magician Penn Fraser Jillette, of "Penn and Teller" is an athiest. Listen and watch what he has to say about the gift he received, and the giver:

The Binding of Satan as Seen in The Birth (and Survival) of Jesus

by Daryl Wingerd

Jesus once said, "No one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man" (Mark 3:27). The "strong man" Jesus was alluding to was Satan, and his house was this world—Satan's realm of influence and power.

The Old Testament speaks repeatedly of God's intention to enter Satan's house and plunder his goods, that is, to save many who were "being held captive by him to do his will" (2 Tim. 2:26).

Satan knows the Scriptures (Matt. 4:5-6), and he is acutely aware of current events (consider, for example, his awareness of Job's prosperity). He is a highly intelligent being who hates God, has plenty of evil resources at his disposal, and would love to foil God's redemptive plan. Yet concerning this great redemptive "burglary," God gave him all the details in advance. He told Satan exactly when, where, and how He would enter his house to plunder his goods. He didn't announce His plan in secret codes or change it at the last minute. He revealed it publicly and repeatedly, and performed it exactly as announced.

Genesis 3:15—God spoke to Satan directly, telling him that his head would one day be crushed (indicating total defeat) by One born of the woman. Isaiah 9:6 magnified this threat by describing the rule of absolute authority that would be given to the Seed of the woman.

Isaiah 7:14—God told Satan when and how the Child would enter the world. It would be an event that would draw a great deal of public attention because it would involve a virgin conceiving a baby.

Micah 5:2—God told Satan where the child would be born: "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah . . . from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel."

Matthew 1:18-19—God reminded Satan of the immanent birth of Christ. In fact, He gave him 9 months warning. Mary, a virgin, conceived a child, plainly fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14. It is impossible to hide a pregnancy for long, even from people, let alone from Satan.

Luke 2:4-5—God gave Satan yet another notice that the birth of Christ was soon to occur. Mary, who was due to give birth any day, left with Joseph to go to Bethlehem—an obvious fulfillment of Micah 5:2.

Luke 2:8-14—Immediately after the birth of Jesus, when He was a helpless infant at His most vulnerable point in life, a multitude of angels broadcast His birth to shepherds in the hills around Bethlehem.

Luke 2:15-20—These same shepherds went to see the baby Jesus, and then they told many others what they had seen and heard: The Messiah has been born in Bethlehem!

Matthew 2:2—God ordained an astronomical event to broadcast the news about the birth of Christ as far away as Persia. All who knew the Scriptures and how to read the signs in the heavens now knew both when and where the Messiah had been born.

Matthew 2:1-7—Herod, an evil instrument of Satan, learned of the birth of Jesus through the wise men and the chief priests. They told him where Jesus had been born. Herod clearly understood that this Child, who represented a serious threat to his authority, was living among peasants in Bethlehem, unprotected by any human authority. Amazingly, however, Herod took no immediate action to have the baby destroyed. Instead he waited for the wise men to return, as though he were dependant upon them for information he already possessed.

Revelation 12:1-5—Satan, portrayed as a great red dragon, clearly knew all of the above facts related to the birth of Christ. He also had many instruments of murder at his disposal. The Bible describes him as a dragon waiting before the woman to devour her Child at birth. What an easy kill this would be. And yet the dragon failed!

An intelligent and powerful being like Satan should have been able to prevent the birth and survival of this Baby. After all, he was given God's plan well in advance. Yet Jesus was born, survived, grew, and went about Israel preaching and teaching about the kingdom of God and performing miracles. He even empowered his disciples to cast out demons, further demonstrating the loss of Satan's authority. Many attempts were made to kill Him before His appointed time of death, but they all failed. Satan's servants were only able to bring about His death when He chose to lay His life down (John 10:18), and when it was God's predestined purpose for Him to suffer and die (Acts 4:27-28).

Satan is a devil to be sure, but He is a bound devil. To this day his house is being plundered by the One to whom all authority has been given "in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28:18). Satan is a defeated "strong man." Bow down to King Jesus, who has bound him forever!

Copyright © 2008 Daryl Wingerd
Permission granted for reproduction in exact form, including web address.
http://www.bulletininserts.org/binding.html

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Luke 1:57-66 (NASB)

Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her. And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. But his mother answered and said, "No indeed; but he shall be called John."

And they said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name." And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called.

And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, "His name is John." And they were all astonished. And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God.

Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, "What then will this child turn out to be?" For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

Anybody who reads this blog will note that I do not post on Sunday's but this is a double exception (another post will come later today). Here's a little "sump'n, sump'n" I got for my darling wife . . .

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Luke 1:39-56 (NASB)

Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."

And Mary said: "My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. 'AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.' He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. 'HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS;' and sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever."
56And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.

Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1

Marcellus to Horatio and Bernardo, after seeing the Ghost,

"Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,
The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time."

(Shakespeare)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Luke 1:26-38 (NASB)

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."

Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God."

And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word."

And the angel departed from her.

Sarah A. Adams (1988 - 2008)

Thank you, God, for Sarah.

We love you Erick, Ann, William and Jeanelle.

Looking for a Gift?

Don't Waste Your Life.
Click on cover for details:


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Isaiah 11:1-10 (NASB)

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.

What have you got?

What is Christmas?

Strip off the date, the name, Santa Clause, the cards, the presents, the tree and the food, and what have you got? Nothing! Absolutely Nothing! It isn't biblical, it isn't Christian. It is nothing.

So, why do it, if it is nothing?

Christmas is important because it gives Christians the opportunity to catch the world barely aware of Jesus, and give them the gospel truth, that God loved the world so much He gave Himself in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ because of our sin: born in a manger, died on a cross and risen from the grave!

Spurgeon said, "Look, Christmas is here. We might as well live with it and take the opportunity to exalt Christ."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa Luke 2:8-15 (Kringle Jingle Version)

8 And there were in the same country children keeping watch over their stockings by the fireplace.

9 And, Lo! Santa Clause came upon them; and they were sore afraid.

10 And Santa said unto them: "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people who can afford them;

11 for unto you this day will be given feasts of turkey, dressing and cake; and many presents;

12 and this shall be a sign unto you, ye shall find the presents, wrapped in bright paper, lying beneath a tree adorned with tinsel, colored balls and lights."

13 And suddenly, there appeared a multitude of relatives and friends, praising you and saying,

14 "Thank you so much, for it was just what I wanted!"

15 And it shall come to pass as the friends and relatives have gone away into their homes, that parents shall say to one another, "What a mess to clean up! I'm tired, let's go to bed and pick it up tomorrow. Thank goodness Christmas only comes once a year!" And they go with haste to their cold bed and find their rest.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Tradition

The song says, "Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled." What Christmas traditions do you observe that can be used to communicate the gospel to a world barely aware of Jesus during this time of year?

My family gives away Gospels of John to nearly everyone we meet when we go out during the month of December. We just walk up to people and say, "Merry Christmas! Here is a gift for you." One lady started to take a Gospel of John, then drew her hand back and asked, "Are you Jehovah's Witnesses? I won't take it if you are a Jehovah's Witness . . ." What a gospel opportunity!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's your Christmas Excuse?

Christmas is an excuse to get drunk, have a party, get something, give something, leave work, get out of schol, spend money, overeat . . . ;

or,

Christmas is an excuse for us to exalt Jesus Christ in the face of a world that is at least tuned in to His name.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Humility

"Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble."

Andrew Murray (1828-1917)

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Hello Lord" by Sara Groves

Hello Lord, it's me your child I have a few things on my mind Right now I'm faced with big decisions And I'm wondering if you have a minute, cuz Right now I don't hear so well And I was wondering if you could speak up I know that you tore the veil So I could sit with you in person And hear what you're saying but Right now, I just can't hear you.

I don't doubt your sovereignty I doubt my own ability to Hear what you're saying And to do the right thing And I desperately want to do the right thing But right now I don't hear so well And I was wondering if you could speak up I know that you tore the veil So I could sit with you in person And hear what you're saying but Right now, I just can't hear you.

And somewhere in the back of my mind I think you are telling me to wait And though patience has never been mine Lord, I will wait to hear from you

Oh Lord, I'm waiting on you Right now I don't hear so well And I was wondering if you could speak up I know that you tore the veil So I could sit with you in person And hear what you're saying but Right now, I think you're whispering

Still touching lives

In 1990, the president of Columbia International University (then called Columbia Bible College), Robertson McQuilkin resigned from his position to care for his wife Muriel who was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease. The words from his resignation letter still touches lives around the world.

Most recently, those words were featured on a Christmas-themed radio program of Proverbs 31 Ministries. To hear the program go to:
http://proverbs31radio.blogspot.com/2008/12/priceless-gift.html


Today, McQuilkin serves as president emeritus of CIU.

Posted on CIUNet by Bob Holmes

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Sin For Which There Is No Excuse

[by Charles Spurgeon, from sermon #1763, delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington]

So that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful”—Romans 1:20, 21.

Now we come to consider the second sin. May the word which I may have to say about it, be blessed to many of my hearers by the power of the Holy Spirit! Have you ever thought of it in this light before—that men were without excuse because when they knew God they were not thankful? Unthankfulness is a sin for which there is no excuse if it be attended with knowledge. I fear there are thousands who call themselves Christians, who are not thankful, and yet they
never thought themselves very guilty on that account. Yet you see these sinners were without excuse, because they were guilty of a great sin before God, and that sin was unthankfulness. I tremble both for myself and you when I see want of thankfulness thus set in the front rank of sins. How is it that we may be unthankful?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Check your . . .

Have you checked the oil in your car?
The air pressure in the tires?
The weather?
The news?

Is everything in order?
Ever run a check on your god?

  • Has your god created man on the earth or done anything like that?
  • Has any people heard the voice of your god from the midst of the fire and survived?
  • Has your god tried to take for himself a nation from within another nation?
  • Has your god shown his might and power as God did in Egypt before so many witnesses?
  • Has your god been heard from heaven?
  • Has your god disciplined you because he loves you, as a father loves his children?
  • Has your god driven out nations before his people?
  • Has your god given you an inheritance?
  • Has your god given commandments, that it may go well with you and with your children, that you may live long?

(Deuteronomy 4:32-40)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Santa Christ?"

by Sinclair B. Ferguson

I took the hand of my toddler son (it was several decades ago now) as we made our way into the local shop on the small and remote Scottish island where earlier that year I had been installed as minister. It was Christmas week. The store was brightly decorated and a general air of excitement was abroad.

Without warning, the conversations of the customers were brought to a halt by a questioning voice from beside me. My son's upraised index finger pointed at a large cardboard Santa Claus. "Daddy, who is that funny-looking man?" he asked.

(Go on over to Lingonier Ministries Blog for the rest of the article.)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure

"A depressed Christian is a contradiction in terms, and he is a very poor recommendation for the gospel . . . . Nothing is more important, therefore, than that we should be delivered froma condition which gives other people, looking at us, the impression that to be a Christian means to be unhappy, to be sad, to be morbid, and that the Christian is one who 'scorns delight and lives laborious days.'" (D. Martin Lloyd Jones)

Click on cover for more details:




Friday, December 05, 2008

Awash in White

Ever stop by one of those sunglass places and try on different colored lenses? Those silver-grey tinted ones sort make everything look overcast. Some yellow lenses seem to liven, sharpen the scenery. Red-tinted lenses make everything look red, and blue-colored lenses make everything look cartoon-ish (to me, at least).

"South Pacific" is considered to be one of the greatest musicals of all time; but, the 1958 film is the version everyone loves to hate. The musical sequences of the film already help lift the story out of the harsh realities of WWII, but the director thought he would assist the fantasy by filming the musical sequences through filtered lenses. When the studio got the film, they sharpened the lens colors so the entire musical sequences are presented in nearly other-worldly colors: brilliant yellows, soft oranges, deep blues, tense greens, etc.





Yes, when you look through a colored glass, everything is awash in that color.

When we stand before God, having broken His moral laws, no measure of good can color the wickedness we have done against Him. He cannot simply say we are clear and let us go.

When we repent of our sin and "put on" the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and rose again, God looks at us through Christ our Savior. Instead of the seeing the darkness of our sin, God sees the white holiness of His Son through His shed blood.

"'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the LORD, 'Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.'" (Isaiah 1:18)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

LARGE FONT

“We ought to be Christians in large type [font] so that it would not be necessary (for others) to be long in our society, or to regard us through spectacles, in order to detect our true discipleship. The message of our lives should resemble the big advertisements which can be read on the street-boardings by all who pass by.”

(F.B. Meyer, 1847-1929)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Abstaining From Sexual Sin

Read the transcript and/or listen to this two-part message by Dr. John MacArthur.

Abstaining from Sexual Sin, Part 1
Abstaining from Sexual Sin, Part 2

Monday, December 01, 2008

I wonder if Nikola Tesla saw this one coming?

A wireless device has been developed that can pick up and record a conversation taking place inside a building--three miles away. No microphones are in the room. This listening device is simply pointed at its target and "viola!" Eavesdropping!

From the distance of three miles.

Yet some people doubt that God can know everything about us . . .

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ingratitude

A boat was wrecked in a storm on Lake Michigan at Evanston. Northwestern students formed themselves into rescue teams. One student, Edward Spencer, saved 17 people from that sinking ship. When he was carried exhausted to his room, he asked, "Did I do my best? Do you think I did my best?"

Dr. R.A. Torrey related this incident many years later in a meeting in Los Angeles, California. A man in the audience called out that Edwards Spencer was present, in the room. Dr. Torrey invited Spencer the platform. An old man with white hair slowly climbed the steps as the applause rang out.

Dr. Torrey asked him if anything in particular stood out in his memory about that shipwreck. "Only this, sir," he replied, "of the 17 people I saved, not one of them thanked me."

Friday, November 28, 2008

National Day of Listening

This holiday season, ask the people around you about their lives — it could be your grandmother, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood. By listening to their stories, you will be telling them that they matter and they won’t ever be forgotten. It may be the most meaningful time you spend this year.

National Day of Listening.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Of Thankfulness to God

[by John Gill (1697-1771): Baptist minister, theologian, and biblical scholar. Author of A Body of Divinity, The Cause of God and Truth, and his nine-volume Expositions of the Old and New Testaments. Visit the John Gill Archive.]

Thankfulness follows contentment: a discontented man is not thankful for anything, but a contented man is thankful for everything. Thankfulness is a branch of godliness: none but a godly man is truly a thankful man. There are some things not to be named among saints and are not becoming them; but this is, and rather becoming them than many other things (Eph 5:3, 4).

An unthankful saint is a very odd sound, if not a contradiction. “Unthankful, unholy,” are characters joined together and agree (2Ti 3:2) and [likewise] “unthankful” and “evil” (Luk 6:36).

And particularly none but an holy man can give thanks “at the remembrance of the holiness of God” (Psa 97:12).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One Special Duty

[by Thomas Manton (1620-1677): Non-Conformist Puritan preacher and Oxford graduate who preached until forbidden by the Act of Uniformity of 1662. From 1662 to 1670 he preached in his own house, but was arrested and imprisoned for six months. He later became the preacher for London merchants in Pinners’ Hall. James Ussher called him “one of the best preachers in England.”]

At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee, because of thy righteous judgments”—Psalm 119:62.

ONE SPECIAL DUTY WHEREIN THE PEOPLE OF GOD SHOULD BE MUCH EXERCISED
IS THANKSGIVING. This duty is often pressed upon us: “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise continually, which is the fruit of our lips” (Heb 13:15), giving thanks unto His name. There are two words there used, praise and thanksgiving.

Generally taken, they are the same; strictly taken, thanksgiving differeth from praise. They agree that we use our voice in thanksgiving, as we do also in praise, for they are both said to be the fruit of our lips. What is in the prophet Hosea, “calves of our lips” (14:2), is in the Septuagint, “the fruit of our lips.” And they both agree that they are a sacrifice offered to our supreme Benefactor or that they belong to the thank-offerings of the gospel. But they differ in that thanksgiving belongeth to benefits bestowed on ourselves or others; but in relation to us, praise [belongs] to any excellency whatsoever. Thanksgiving may be in word or deed; praise in words only.

Well then, thanksgiving is a sensible acknowledgment of favors received or an expression of our sense of them, by word and work, to the praise of the bestower. The object of it is the works of God as beneficial unto us, or to those who are related to us, or in whose good or ill we are concerned, as public persons [or] magistrates: “I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplication, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority” (1Ti 2:1, 2); pastors of the church: “You also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many on our behalf” (2Co 1:11); or our kindred according to the flesh or some bond of Christian duty: “Rejoice with them that do rejoice” (Rom 12:15).

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From “Sermon LXX” included in Several Sermons upon Psalm 119.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Disposition of God's People

[by Richard Sibbes (1577-1635): early Puritan preacher, who greatly influenced John Cotton, Thomas Goodwin, Richard Baxter, and others. Author of The Bruised Reed, The Soul’s Conflict, and numerous other works.]

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort”—2 Corinthians 1:3.

We see here the heart of the blessed apostle, being warmed with the sense and taste of the sweet mercy of God, stirs up his tongue to bless God; a full heart and a full tongue. We have here the [over-flowing fullness], the abundance of his thankfulness breaking forth in his speech. His heart had first tasted of the sweet mercies and comforts of God before he praiseth God. The first thing that we will observe hence is, that:

It is the disposition of God’s children, after they have tasted the sweet mercy and comfort and love of God, to break forth into the praising of God and to thanksgiving.

It is as natural for the new creature to do so as for the birds to sing in the spring. When the sun hath warmed the poor creature, it shows its thankfulness in singing . . . it is natural for
those creatures so to do, and we delight in them.

It is as natural for the new creature, when it feels the Sun of Righteousness warming the soul, when it tastes of the mercy of God in Christ, to show forth itself in thankfulness and praise; and it can no more be kept from it than fire can keep from burning or water from cooling. It is the nature of the new creature so to do.

The reason is, every creature must do the work for which God hath enabled it, to which God hath framed it. The happiness of the creature is in well-doing, in working according to its nature. The heathen could see that. Now all the creatures, the new creature especially, are for the glory of God in Christ Jesus. All the new creature, and what privileges it hath, and what graces it hath, all is, that God may have the glory of grace. Why then, it must needs work answerable to that which God hath created it for. herefore it must show forth the praise and glory of God.

Blessed be God,” saith the apostle (Eph 1:3); and the blessed apostle Peter begins his epistle, “Blessed be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath begotten us to an inheritance immortal and undefiled, which fadeth not away, reserved for us in heaven” (1Pe 1:3).

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From “An Exposition of 2nd Corinthians Chapter One” in The Works of Richard Sibbes, Vol 3, reprinted by Banner of Truth.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Righteousness

The Chinese character (word) for "righteousness" (yi) is very interesting. The character is formed of two separate characters, on on top of the other.


The top character (yang) means "lamb."
The bottom character (wo) means "me," "self" or I."

When they are put together, the "lamb" is placed directly above "me," the word "righteousness" (yi) is formed.

This is no accident. Because of His shed blood on the cross, Jesus satisfied the wrath of God, making payment for sin. When we repent, turn from our sin and put our faith and trust in the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ, He receives me and I become righteous in His sight. Between me, the sinner, and God, the Holy One, there is interposed by faith, the Lamb of God.

True righteousness is gained therefore by putting self under the lamb, our Lord Christ Jesus.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shave, shave, shave

This is what grabbed me today from Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness:

"for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:13)

"God's provision for [holiness] consists in delivering us from the reign of sin, uniting us with Christ, and giving us the indwelling Holy Spirit to reveal sin, to create a desire for holiness, and to strengthen us in our pursuit of holiness . . . . He makes provision for our holiness, but He given us the responsibility of using those provisions."

"The Christian should never complain of want of ability and power. If we sin, it is because we choose to sin, not because we lack the ability to say no to temptation. It is time for us Christians to face up to our responsibility for holiness. Too often we say we are 'defeated' bu this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient! It might be well if we stopped using the terms, 'victory' and 'defeat' to describe our progress in holiness. Rather, we should use the terms 'obedience' and 'disobedience.' When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibilty. I am saying that something outside of me has defeated me. but when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me."

************

Martin Luther said that a man's beard is like original sin: "although we daily destroy its manifestations, it constantly reappears."

So: Shave, shave, shave.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The BIG question is . . .

What do the following verses teach about our holy standing before God?

  • Romans 5:19: we are made righteous by the obedience of Christ.
  • Hebrews 10:10: we are made holy by the offering of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Peter 3:18: our Lord Jesus Christ died for sins in order to bring us to God.

What do the following verses teach about holy living?

  • Ephesians 4:1, 30: walk in the manner consistent with our calling, holy; do not grieve the Holy Spirit through inconsistency, which is disobedience.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:7: God did not call us to be impure, but holy.
  • Titus 2:11-12: salvation teaches us to deny ungodliness, worldly lusts and teaches us to live sensibly, righteously and godly.

Why is holiness not optional for the Christian?

  • Psalm 66:18: Holding on to the sin from which He saved us shows how serious we are about our walk in holiness--God will not hear us when we pray!
  • Romans 8:13-14: Die if you want to live. Be led by the Spirit of God, as a child of God does.
  • 2 Timothy 2:21: to be useful to our Master, we must be clean.
  • 1 John 1:6: God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

Here's the big question for your discussion: if God "just forgives," can He demand holiness of the unrepentant, one who will not turn from their sin?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holiness is not an option

More observations as I read my book:

One cannot in himself merit salvation through personal holiness.

Scripture repeatedly refers to the obedience and righteousness of Christ on our behalf (Ro 5:19; 1 Peter 3:18) Two aspects of Christ's work on our behalf:

1. Active obedience--Christ's sinless life on earth, perfect obedience, absolute holiness;
2. Passive obedience--His death on the cross through which He fully paid the penalty for our sins and placated the wrath of God toward us.


Conclusion: Our holiness before God depends entirely on the work of Jesus Christ for us, by God's will.

Scripture speaks of both a holiness which we have in Christ before God, and a holiness which we are to strive after.

The purpose of our salvation is that we be "holy and blameless in His sight" (Eph 1:4).

To continue to live in sin as a Christian is to go contrary to God's very own purpose for our salvation. [see "A Strange Kind of Salvation" post, 11/17/08]

No one can trust in Christ for true salvation unless he trusts Him for holiness.


Holiness is required for:


1. Fellowship with God;
2. Our own well-being;
3. Effective Service to God;
4. Assurance of Salvation

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Greatest

Louis XIV died September 1, 1715. This same Louis who called himself "the Great" is also the same monarch who declared, "I am the State!" His court was the most magnificent in Europe (he reigned for 72 years), and his funeral was said to be quite spectacular.

During the funeral, as his body lay in a golden coffin, orders were given that the cathedral would remain dimly lighted, and a single special candle was set above the coffin.

Thousands waited in hushed silence.

Bishop Massilon began to speak: slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the single candle and said, "Only God is Great!"

The dying words of "the Great" were, "Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina (O Lord, make haste to help me)."

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Strange Kind of Salvation

". . . just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him in love . . . " (Ephesians 1:4)

"What a strange kind of salvation do they desire that care not for holiness . . . . They would be saved by Christ and yet be out of Christ in a fleshly state . . . . They would have their sins forgiven, not that they may walk with God in love, in time to come, but that they may practice their enmity against Him without any fear of punishment."

--Walter Marshall (1692), quoted by A.W. Pink, "The Doctrine of Sanctification"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Holiness and the Christian

1 Samuel 13:13-14, "Samuel said to Saul, 'You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man afer His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.'"

God does not compromise and expects His commandments to be kept. He is light, and in HIm is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). Keeping God's commands are closely knit with our love for Him (John 14:15). Saul lost the kingdom because he did not seek after God's heart, which was evident by his failing to obey God's commands. There was no contrition on Saul's part after he lost the kingdom. Picture the child who when he cannot get his own way, storms off and says, "Fine! I didn't want to play anyway." I wonder how much I have lost when I've sinned against God by faltering in my love for Him and not keeping His commandments . . .

Psalm 51:4, "Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge."

David sinned against God, but when made to realize how God saw his heart, he wept and repented. He surrendered his selfish love and threw himself on the mercy of God. He readjusted his love-motive and did not lose the kingdom. When we agree with how God sees our hearts and the evil we do in His sight, we are without excuse and can either receive the due penalty for our sin, or repent and find grace, forgiveness, love and restoration. Confession of sin is a major step toward walking in holiness.

Isaiah 6:1-5, "In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.' And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, 'Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

If we see God as He is, just as we are, then we are destroyed--that's really what Isaiah said, "I am destroyed." I often wonder at those who say they've had visions of God, yet remain unchanged. I often wonder at those who seek to encounter "God." Do they know what they are after? The whole earth contains two kinds of evidence concerning God: first, that He is; and second, that He is perfect. God's character is seen as absolutes that show up like His own fingerprints on the canvas of nature: breath-taking beauty; majesty; goodness; love, to name a few. How can we see these things and not marvel at His Majesty and our smallness.

Isaiah 40:25, "'To whom then will you liken Me that I would be his equal?' says the Holy One."

How dare we even consider the thought.

Jeremiah 51:5, "For neither Israel nor Judah has been forsaken by his God, the LORD of hosts, although their land if full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel."

God does not forget those to whom He has promised. Nor does God take lightly those who have sinned against Him.

Ezekiel 39:7, "My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I may the LORD, the Holy One in Israel."

God has a reputation and He will protect His reputation which is summed up in His Holy Name, which is high and lifted up. Everything about Him is uncommon, so He will not be lowered nor let His reputation be profaned by any degree. When all is said and done, the nations will know that He is the Lord. This should be taken seriously, as He has made certain of this before. Read Exodus 6:2-8; 7:5; 7:17; 8:10; 9:14; 9:29; 10:2; 12:12 for some examples.

Romans 6:14, "For sin shall not be master of you, for you are not under law but under grace."

We. Do. Not. Have. To. Sin.
God's grace has covered our guilt and God's mercy has covered our shame.
Walking in Holiness means we must be mastered by the God of holiness.

Revelation 22:11, "Let no one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Case Study in Justice

The story is told of a man who was caught stealing a loaf of bread. When the judge investigated he found that the man had no job, could not get work and since his family was hungry, he felt he needed to steal the loaf of bread.

The judge told the man, "I'm sorry, but the law can make no exceptions. You stole, therefore I have to punish you. I have to assess a fine of ten dollars." As he said this, the judge reached into his pocket, pulled out a ten dollar bill and handed it to the man. "I want to pay the fine myself," the judge said.

As the man took the money, the judge added, "Now, I also want to remit the fine." This means the judge laid the fine aside. He released the man from the guilt or penalty of the fine, which means the man could keep the money.

"Furthermore," the judge said, "I am going to instruct the bailiff to pass around a hat to everyone in this courtroom, and I am fining everybody in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a city where a man has to steal in order to have bread to eat."

When the money was collected he gave it to the defendant.

What are your thoughts about the point of this story?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cheap Grace in a False Gospel

The tract simply read, "Overwhelmingly The Greatest Life Insurance and Investment Plan Ever Concieved: A Contract Everyone Can Afford with Unlimited Assets, All Benefits (Free Health Care), Great Building Policy Underway."

At the end it said, "Just sign here and you've got Jesus!"

Another tract said, "Free! Beautiful Homes Given Away in the Perfect City! No Bills! Pure Water! Beautiful Music!"

No wonder people are confused.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

'Why Believe in a God?' Ad Campaign Launches on D.C. Buses

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. —

You better watch out. There is a new combatant in the Christmas wars.

Ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," will appear on Washington, D.C., buses starting next week and running through December. The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday.

In lifting lyrics from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," the Washington-based group is wading into what has become a perennial debate over commercialism, religion in the public square and the meaning of Christmas.

Read the entire article on FoxNews.

How To Hang A Pardoned Man

It all started in 1829. A Philadelphia man by the name of George Wilson committed multiple acts of robbery against the U.S. Mail and jeopardizing the life another person during the act of robbery. Wilson and his accomplice was arrested, brought to trial, found to be guilty and was sentenced to be hanged.

Some friends of Wilson's intervened on his behalf, and were finally able to obtain a pardon for him from President Jackson himself. When Wilson was informed of the pardon, he refused to accept it.

The Sheriff had a problem. How could he hang a pardoned man?

He sent an appeal to President Jackson, who equally perplexed, took the problem to the Supreme Court to decide the case. The Chief Justice gave this ruling: "There is nothing peculiar in a pardon which ought to distinguish it in this respect from other facts; no legal principle known to the court will sustain such a distinction. A pardon is a deed to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him."

In other words: a pardon is a piece of paper, the value of which depends on its acceptance by the person implicated. It is hardly supposed that a person under the sentence of death would refuse to accept a pardon, but if it is refused, it is no pardon at all. George Wilson must be hanged.

So George Wilson was executed, although his pardon lay on the Sheriff's desk.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Three Facets of Foolishness

1. Stubbornness

The fool hates being told what to do: Proverbs 1:22
The fool is complacent: Proverbs 1:31
The fool rejectes wisdom: Proverbs 8:5

2. Arrogance

The fool won't listen: Proverbs 12:15
The fool is right in his own eyes: Proverbs 12:15
The fool mocks at the consequences of his sin: Proverbs 14:9

3. Pride

The fool talks for the sake of talking: Proverbs 17:7
The fool find sport in wickedness: Proverbs 10:23

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Laser beams and light bulbs

Have you ever wondered what makes the difference between a light bulb and a laser? How can a medium power laser burn through steel in a matter of second while the most powerful spotlight can only make it warm? The difference is unity.

A laser can be simply described as a medium of excited molecules with mirrors on each end. Some of the excited molecules naturally decay into a less excited state. In the decay process they release a photon, a particle of light. It is here that the most unique process of the laser begins. The photon moves along and "tickles" another molecule, inviting another photon to join him on his journey. Then, these two photons "tickle" two more molecules, and invite two more photons to join the parade. Soon there is a huge army marching in step with each other. It is this unity that gives power to the laser.

A light bulb may have just as many photons, but each is going its own independent way, intereffing with the other photons. As a result, much of the power is wasted and cannot be focused to do any useful work. However, because of its unity, the laser is luke an army marching in tight formation, and is able to focus all of its power on its objective.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

They will know we are Christian by . . .

Last night was a different night for us in Five Points. Tim and I went downtown early to see what night life is like earlier in the evening. We usually meet the later crowd. We made our way to Starbucks, where Bill sat playing chess with friend. Bill is the most unique person I've ever met. The last time we talked was nearly a year ago, and not only was it the strangest conversation I've ever had (I could not even BEGIN to reconstruct it much less explain it), but his beard and his baseball hat reminded me quickly who he was.

When we walked through the door, he turned to see who was coming through the door and he greeted me as if we met yesterday. After exchanging some small talk, I told him, "Thank you for your kindness in remembering me."

"Oh," he said, "It's not so much that I remember you, but it's easy to tell you are a Christian."

"How so?" I wondered.

"Bulging pockets. You give yourself away, carrying all that literature in your pockets." He moved a chess piece.

I thought, "Gee. Do I look I have saddle bags or something?"

"Besides," he went on. "You guys are always stopping to talk to people, especially the younger crowd. Nobody else around here does that kind of thing. You Christians will talk to anybody."

"Yes, I suppose you are right," I said.

He gave us one of his tracts, and he spoke for minute about the ignorance of people in the Bible belt concerning scripture. Tim gave him a Ten Commandments coin, for which he was extremely grateful.

Later on in the evening, as we were leaving, we met with the CIU team who had just arrived for their shift. As we talked, a man came up behind our circle and said, "excuse me. Are you guys Christians?"

Of course we are.

He stepped into our circle (I suppose groups of party-ers don't stand in circles. Once a guy approached us when we were walking in teams and asked if we were Christians. How did he know? "You guys always go in pairs!") and got right to the point. "I'm a drunk and a drug addict. I am tired of it. Please pray for me."

The men laid hands on him and the women circled. Most everyone prayed for him. He heard the gospel in our prayers and was given the chance to repent and throw himself on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus for salvation. Tearfully, he prayed, taking the cigarette from behind his ear and breaking it into tiny pieces as a sign of repentance.

I gave him a Pocket Testament, a Roman's Road tract and we each gave him words of encouragement.

Amazing how, when the light shines, the darkness is exposed for what it really is.

CIU Enters into Partnership with Army Chaplaincy

Columbia International University and the U.S. Army have entered into a partnership that provides a CIU scholarship to a student enrolled in the Army’s Chaplaincy program. The student receiving the annual $4,500 scholarship must also be enrolled full time in CIU’s Seminary & School of Missions.

For more information on the CIU Chaplain Candidate Scholarship visit http://www.ciu.edu/chaplaincy/

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thinking about Holiness

Some thoughts concerning Holiness as I read and work through the study guide:

Exodus 15:11, "Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?"

God has just delivered Israel (from the beginning of the plagues to the destruction of Pharoah's army through the closing of the Red Sea waters) whereby they saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, resulting in their fearing and believing in the Lord (Ex. 14:31). Their jubilant song celebrating God's deliverance contains this declaration concerning the incomparible nature of God: He is not on the same level (to be worshipped as) a mere god of water, frogs, insects, cattle, health, weather, light or darkness, life or death. This God has no comparison. Any other god is an idol, competing against another, lacking in majesty, without awe or praise and working no wonders. The true and living God is separated out, far above and beyond.

Leviticus 19:1-2, "Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy."'"

This holy, incomparible God calls His people to be like Him. God's people are not like other people, counted among the rest but separated out, different by His doing.

Psalm 89:35, "Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David."

God's Word is established on His Holiness--it does not waver nor change. This promise rooted in His holiness refers to the covenant that the throne of David will stand forever, referring ultimately to the Messiah. In other words, the one who sits on The Throne will be representative of God's unchanging perfection.

Isaiah 57:15, "For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is holy, 'I will dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite."

God is far above and beyond, yet He is in the midst; that is, God is everywhere, but not simply anywhere. The one who sees his heart as God sees it, and turns from his sin, allowing God to bring him to life again, will be made into God's exalted dwelling place. This no mere "asking God into your heart" or "we all have a divine spark."

1 Peter 1:14-16, "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'You shall be Holy, for I am Holy.'"

Simply upholding the moral law will not erase the damage done through those former lusts which were ours in ignorance. The Holy One Himself does not merely call us to "clean up our act" but to be cleaned by Him. We are no longer bound to the power of sin, but are free to do everything Holy.

Habakkuk 1:13a-b, "Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favor."

The justice of God is built on the foundation of His Holiness. He cannot simply ignore or dismiss sin.

Zechariah 8:17, "'Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love prejury; for all these are what I hate,' delcares the Lord."

When I lay down at night, what goes through my head?

James 1:13, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone."

God will only do that which conforms to His nature, and He expects the crown of His creation (man) to be like Him: Holy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Vote Casting

I gave a gospel tract to a man coming out of Wal-mart. The tract told him that the public office is a high position, but there is a higher position we must attain. We must:

1) Accept the fact there is none righteous (Romans 3:10);

2) See self as God sees: all have sinned (Romans 3:23);

3) Sin hinders the race (Romans 5:12);

4) The race is more costly than any campaign funds could cover (Titus 3:5; Isaiah 64:6);

5) Someone has paid the price and the race is won (Romans 5:6);

6) The debt is paid (Romans 10:9-11);

7) Satan votes against you (1 Peter 5:8);

The office of Christian is not one taken lightly. One must count the cost and either serve the true and living God, starting with repentance; or, one may receive the due penalty for his sin by rejecting what God has done through the cross.

The vote is yours.

Will you cast you vote away, like this man did?




Tuesday, November 04, 2008

How Will You Vote?

The Issues:

  • There is a God. He is holy, just, righteous, true, all-powerful, all-knowing, full of love, light, mercy, and compassion (Psalm 22:3; 116:5; Genesis 17:1; 1 John 1:5; 4:16). Everyone must personally deal with Him (Romans 14:11,12).
  • You have a never-dying soul which is going to be either eternally saved in heaven or eternally lost in hell (Matthew 25:46).
  • You are a sinner. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). God, being holy, cannot allow you into heaven until your sins are removed. You cannot work enough, give enough, or be good enough to remove even one sin from yourself (Ephesians 2:8,9). But God, in His great love, has reached out to you--"For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16,17). You see, God's love and mercy has provided a way for you to be saved (Romans 5:8). But if you reject His free offer of salvation through Jesus Christ, your sins remain on you, and God has no choice but to send you to hell. "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3).

The Promises: God, who can never lie, has promised many wonderful things to those who accept His offer of salvation. Here are a few:

  • Cleansing. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
  • Eternal Life. "The Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
  • Peace. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).
  • Freedom. "Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).
  • An Inheritance. "An inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4).
  • Power. God the Holy Spirit lives in all believers to help, guide, and empower them (Ephesians 1:13; Romans 8:9; John 14:16,17).


The Decision:
You know the issues. You know what's been promised. Now you must either cast your vote for Jesus, by repenting of your sins to God and placing your trust in Jesus for salvation (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9), or you cast your vote against God's provision and reject His salvation. It is either one or the other (John 3:36). Don't be deceived into thinking that there is a third choice. There is no other way. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6).

Face this vital matter right now. "Now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2). Read and carefully consider the issues stated before. Look up the Scriptures--they are God's Word. Weigh the facts carefully and soberly. Then cast your vote below. You must choose one or the other.

[ ] I admit that I am a sinner in God's sight, and accept Christ who died for my sins and rose again to be my Saviour. I will therefore live with Him forever in heaven.

[ ] I do not accept Christ as my Saviour. I reject the loving payment He has made for my sins, and choose instead to bear the punishment myself. I will therefore spend eternity apart from God in the torment of hell.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Time For A Change

Fueled by unfulfilled promises, unrealized hopes and mounting difficulties, "It's time for a change" is frequently heard from both politicians and the general public.

There Have Been Changes in the Past

Within the recent past, changes have occurred with surprising suddenness. Governments once thought to be stable have been toppled. Financial institutions have failed. Once-successful businesses have collapsed. More serious than all, the moral fabric of society has been shattered by turning away from God and the principles of His Word, the Bible. The "Do what feels good" philosophy--casting off restraint and the rejection of authority which is really lawlessness, the essence of sin--has broken up families, ruined lives and brought the disillusion, disease, death and destruction we see all around us.

There Will Be More Changes

When Jesus Christ was asked what the signs of His second coming would be, He replied, "Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars ... and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:6-8).

Also, the Holy Spirit through Paul in 2 Timothy chapter three reveals the coming apostasy, the "falling away," which is the result of professed Christians deliberately rejecting revealed truth concerning the Person of Christ and His work on Calvary. This has already set in, and in verse 13 we read, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." This rapidly increasing apostasy will soon bring a swift change. Instead of God's grace being still offered to all men whereby they may be saved, His judgment will fall upon this godless world of unbelievers to their eternal destruction.

There Must Be a Personal Change

To escape the judgment of God upon sin you need to be changed. The Lord Jesus desires to change you from death to life, from darkness to light, from sin to salvation, from judgment to glory. To enable this change He died on the Cross for you. There He "suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). That work is finished and sin's penalty has been paid. The proof of God's acceptance of that payment with Jesus' shed blood on your behalf is seen in that He rose from the dead. The Lord Jesus lives, and now from heaven, through His Word, declares the way by which you may be changed.

What Must You Do To Be Changed?

The Lord Jesus declares, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3,5). To repent means to change your mind as to the wrong course you are following without God. It means you accept His verdict that you have sinned and come short of His glory, and you can do nothing to save yourself. You must REPENT!

Secondly, He says, "Ye must be BORN AGAIN" (John 3:7). New birth is spiritual birth from above--from God. It is brought about by receiving Christ as your Saviour and Lord. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power [authority] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name" (John 1:12). To receive Him is to believe on Him. To believe He died for you makes you a child of God. You receive everlasting life, and thus become a completely new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is the change you must have, or else perish in eternal separation from God.

The Time For a Change Is Now

"Now is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians. 6:2). Trust Christ and be changed in this day of His grace. "Flee from the wrath to come" (Luke 3:7).
--D.T.J.

Posted with permission of Moments with the Book

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What she knows

I stood near the fountain in Five Points watching the crowd drunkenly sway to the band playing though Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." Joe and Tim and I were milling around, trying to talk to people who were a little less drunk in order to give them the good news of God's love through the cross. While I had a number of good tracts, Joe had a pocket full of Trick or Treat Million Dollar Bills--I took a few from him and went conversation-hunting.

No sooner had I gotten the tracts in my hand, I saw a young lady approach the fountain from one of the side streets, admiring the work of the pumpkin-carvers who left their creations along the fountain wall. I approached, held out the Trick or Treat Million Dollar Bill to her. "Did you get one of these?" I asked as she lit her cigarette.


"Oh, cool!" she said, taking it from me.

"Happy Halloween!" I wished her, as she admired the bill, folded it and stuck it in her pocket. The bandana around her head and black apron was a clue she worked in one of the restaurants nearby.

"On a break?" I asked.

"Yeah, just came out to see what was going on and have smoke for a minute." She smiled and took a drag.

"We need break everyonce in a while," I said. "So, will you be dressing up for Halloween?" I asked.

"Nah. Gotta work. I'll be wearing this as my costume," she directed attention to her attire. We laughed.

"Ok, well, if you were going to dress up, what you wear?"

"Probably the same tired thing I've been wearing the past 6 years . . . a 'good demon' outfit I have." She chuckled at herself.

I crossed my arms quizzically and asked, "What's a 'good demon'?"

She thought about it for moment. "I dunno. Just a demon that's . . . not bad, I guess."

"Is that possible?" I asked. She admitted the irony behind it.

I pressed, "Do you think people dress up the way they really feel inside? Do you think good people wear things that represent 'good' and wicked people wear the more 'evil' stuff?"

She looked away, cocked her hip, pursed her lips, thinking about it. "You know, I suppose they do . . ."

"Well, what do you think, dressing as a 'good demon.' Would you consider yourself to be a 'good person?'"

She got thoughtful again as she took a drag. "Yeah, I suppose I do. Sure. I'm a 'good person.'"

"How do you know?" I asked. "What standard do you use to come to that conclusion?"

"I dunno. I help people, try to be good. Things like that." She puffed and blew smoke.

"Have you ever told a lie?"

"Yes . . ." she replied, smiling.

"And you are still a 'good person?'" I smiled back.

"Maybe . . ."

"Ever stolen anything?" I asked.

"When I was small," she confessed.

"And are you are still a 'good person?'" I kept smiling back.

"Well . . ." she got lost in her thoughts for a moment.

"You know, when we take a look at the Ten Commandments, it's like looking into a mirror. We catch a good look at how God sees our heart. We think we are 'good' and suddenly we discover that if we've lied, we are liars. If we've stolen, we are thieves. If we've looked with lust, we are adulterers. The Bible says that sin is lawlessness . . ."

She interrupted. "Yeah, I've heard this before. My dad's a preacher."

"So you have a Christian background, then?" I asked.

I listened to her story for a few minutes as she described her upbringing and what she was doing now--working in bars and not living a clean life. She said repeatedly how she believed in God, and that she knew she was not right--the moisture level was on the rise in her eyes as she spoke. She talked about her husband, who, she learned after they married, did not only NOT believe in God, but thought of religion as worthless--she spoke of her hurt and shock and failure to please God. She promised she would try harder and would get cleaned up.

I took down my more casual stance and faced her square-on. I showed her from scripture that our good works are like filthy rags--stop trying. She looked as if I'd slapped her, then relaxed. She was softening.

I spoke to her about how God did the work for us through the cross. I reminded her about the need for repentance in order to find forgiveness, stressing the atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. She needed to repent and confess her sins and walk in obedience. Her eyes stayed wet.

She knew what I was saying was true and bowed her head, seeming to submit to the truth. She was quiet.

I asked if she had a Bible (she did) and if she would promise to go home and read Psalm 51 tonight--make it her prayer.

She would.

She put out her hand, reminded me she was still on the clock, shook my hand and we confessed that God had arranged our meeting--this was no accident.

She agreed.

I wished her a good evening, and we parted ways.

Last Saturday

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to host an "evangelism table" at a local festival. Check out the short vid and the photos.






I actually was not able to stay for as long as I wanted to, because I had to leave on a family emergency; but, many MANY people got some good tracts and literature in their hands.

Pray for the harvest!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Great Election Day

It was voting day in Jerusalem. An enormous crowd had gathered, and what excitement there was! There had never been a day like it before, and there has not been a day like it since. Pilate, the governor, was presiding over the gathering, and took the vote of the people as to whether they were for Barabbas--a murderer, or for Christ Jesus the Lord--the Saviour of lost sinners.
The governor asked, "Are you for Christ?"

"No," they cried out all at once. "Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas." Their choice was made. Their vote was recorded. They had rejected Christ, and instead chosen the murderer Barabbas.

"What then shall I do with Jesus?" asked Pilate.

"Away with Him: crucify Him," they all shouted. So Christ, the rejected Son of God, was taken out and nailed to a cross on Golgotha's hill. There He hung between heaven and earth as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world.

The same question that was posed that fateful day in Jerusalem some two thousand years ago must still be answered by everyone who is born into this world. "What then shall I do with Jesus?" What about you--have you cast your vote for Him or against Him? You cannot be neutral.

The vote of the world is still the same today as it was then. Satan, the god of this world, is blinding the eyes of people as to the real issues that they should be concerned about. The focus in the world's elections is placed upon matters that attempt to improve people from the outside, such as the role of government, education, the economy, and the environment. However, despite the very best efforts of men, the world without Christ is doomed to destruction because it has not dealt with the root of all of its problems--sin. There is no political candidate, no legislation, and no budget allowance that can change a person from the inside, that can take away sin and all of the associated effects.

But praise God that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15), therefore meeting the real need of mankind. By His death and through the shedding of His blood on the cross, He paid sin's penalty for all who will repent of their sins to God and trust in Christ alone as their personal Saviour. He is now risen from the dead, and desires for "all men to be saved" (1 Timothy 2:4).

You must decide. Your "great election day" is today. You can either join with the world, represented by the crowd who said "away with Him," or you can put your trust in Jesus, and let Him take away your sin and guilt.

Jesus has promised that "I will come again" (John 14:3). When that time comes, it will be too late for you to decide. By not accepting Him now, you are rejecting Him. "He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18). Refuse no longer His offered gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). Come to Him in faith, believing that He died for your sins. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).

Today is the time to set Jesus Christ on the throne of your heart and life as Lord. He will give you now the joy and peace of sins forgiven, as well as eternal life with Him, sharing in His glorious kingdom, when all the hopes and desires of mankind will be fulfilled in Him, "the King of kings and Lord of lords" (1 Timothy 6:16).

Posted with permission of Moments with the Book

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