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."
Saturday, November 29, 2008
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?"
Friday, November 28, 2008
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
[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
[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).
From “Sermon LXX” included in Several Sermons upon Psalm 119.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
[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).
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
Saturday, November 22, 2008
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
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
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
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
". . . 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
The fool talks for the sake of talking: Proverbs 17:7
The fool find sport in wickedness: Proverbs 10:23
Sunday, November 09, 2008
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
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.
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
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.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
- 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).
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
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).
Posted with permission of Moments with the Book
Saturday, November 01, 2008
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.
"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 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.
I wished her a good evening, and we parted ways.
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to host an "evangelism table" at a local festival. Check out the short vid and the photos.
Yesterday my wife shared this video with me. She watched it in one of her Communications courses with a view toward understanding the power...
"During the previous winter I had become ill with one of those carefully named difficulties which are the whisper of approaching age. ...