Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lead us not into temptation! Satan's Box Canyon.

Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Matthew tells us that Jesus was led by God to this lonely place for the purpose of being tempted of the devil. Mark relates how He was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness for this temptation. (1:12) Luke says that He was full of the Holy Ghost when He went to enter into temptation. (4:1,2)

Why is it that the Savior was led of the Spirit into the enemy's lair for the purpose of temptation?

This was a must because we require a High Priest who can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, One who was tempted in all three areas in which we are tempted, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Our great High Priest endured and triumphed over that temptation, passing His test. Heb. 4:15

Had Jesus not endured this temptation and won the victory, He could not relate to what we go through on a regular basis and therefore, pray for us as we are tempted and plea to the Father on our behalf when we fall to temptation.

Two short chapters later (6:13) He is modeling a prayer for His followers in which He instructs us to ask that the Lord would lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Why was He led into temptation, but He tells us to pray that we not be led into temptation? Because He endured temptation and emerged victorious so that we would be more than conquerors. That is, His victory over sin, the world, the flesh and the devil is sufficient for us,
we have the victory in Him. There is no need for us to face Satan down, he is already the loser, thanks to Jesus. What purpose is there in refighting battles that have already been won? There is only the possibility of unnecessary casualty.

We need to reckon ourselves to be dead to the lust of the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life. Entering into temptation merely gives rise to the possibility of reviving that which is crucified unto Him.

So, do pray that you will not be led into temptation this day, but would be delivered from evil. Satan has traps set for you where he can easily fire his darts at you. But the Spirit has a path for you that will circumvent his "box canyons" where you would be an easy target.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kiss the Son

Mat 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

Mat 2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.

Few lives are as checkered as the life of Herod the Great. Few deaths are as miserable as his was. He was described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis."

His people, the Edomites (Idumaeans) were converted to Judaism under the Maccabees. Therefore they confessed the religion of the Jews and were circumcised, but the hearts of people like Herod were far from God. He tended to worship Caesar and self more than the Lord.

Although he did reconstruct the temple and outlying buildings, employing 1000 priests and slaves in the project, he did few favors for the Jews otherwise. The religious faithful despised Herod.

At 25, Herod was appointed governor of Galilee and at about 35 he was elected King of the Jews by the Roman senate.

In an attempt to gain the loyalty of the Jews, Herod married the teenage niece of his true Jewish predecessor and protagonist, Antigonus. Her name was Miriamne. However, this earned him more spite since he was already wed to Doris and had a 3 year old son, Antipater. He had the 2 of them banished.

3 years later, Herod and the Romans took control of Jerusalem, deposing Antigonus, and he made himself king over all the region.

In the style of the Romans, Herod became a paranoid potentate, killing many of his own family, Jewish priests and even his wife, Miriamne.

Here, we read of this ungodly fool's most egregious sin, the slaughter of the innocents. Not only was his paranoia piqued by the birth of this Galilean Child who was foretold to be born the "King of the Jews," but he was slighted by the wise men of the east. They were told to return to Jerusalem to report to Herod once they had located the newborn King so that he could also go and "worship him." Instead, they returned to their country another way, thus avoiding another meeting with this tyrant.

Our Scripture tells us that when he realized he was mocked of the wise men, he became so enraged that he sent soldiers to destroy all the children in the area of Bethlehem, from 2 years old to the newborns.

Did you catch that? It was the worshipful act of the wise men that angered Herod and triggered one of the most despicable acts of history.

In case you were thinking that God overlooked this massacre of innocents, let's look at history's account of what happened soon after to Herod.

Joseph and Mary quickly fled with Jesus to Egypt thanks to the message of the angel in a dream warning Joseph of the impending danger. While they were enduring their Nile exile, God's vengeance was unfolding upon Satan's henchman, Herod.

It is said that Herod suffered from depression, paranoia, chronic kidney disease and gangrene of the pubic region. Moreover, his last days were plagued with scabies, putrefaction and visible worms in and on his body. These maladies literally drove him to insanity.

I am reminded of God's law of sowing and reaping, that whosoever soweth to the flesh shall, of the flesh, reap corruption. Herod died as he lived, violently, miserably and insanely. All of the sorrow he caused others came back exponentially to visit him in his latter days.

God is not mocked! Herod, who was aware of the Scriptures, should have kissed the Son rather than trying to kill the Son.

Let the kings of the earth hearken to the Scriptures: Ps 2:10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

By the way, the innocents continue to be slaughtered here in our nation to the tune of 1.5 million per year. Those who countenance this great evil will also suffer greatly here and in the hereafter.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Anger Control Problems

Jas 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Shaking your fist at a tailgater, shouting at the kids, cursing out a police officer... I'm with Bush, we need a "kinder, gentler" nation.

Anger has its place. Jesus wasn't exactly laughing as He drove the money changers out of the temple. But He did first go to his friend's house and mull the situation through overnight before taking action.

But sudden outbursts of rage never accomplish anything for God.

Believe me, I have had my share of vengeful thoughts and angry actions, but they never accomplished a bit of good.

You can name a few people that your mind defaults to when you hear the words, "anger
control problem." I hope I am not one of them. :<)

We need to be filled with the Spirit of God so that His fruit would be produced in us. That fruit includes love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (self-control).

As you can see, there is no room for unrighteous anger in the life of a Sprit-filled
believer. If we have love for the lost as well as for the brethren, we know that love (charity) "doth not behave itself unseemly." That is, love behaves. It doesn't lose control. I Cor 13:5

If you are having problems with your anger:

1. Ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit.

2. Do away with some of the things producing stress in your life.

3. See people (family, co-workers, friends, classmates, etc.) as God sees them.

4. Work on being a patient person.

5. Spend less time watching violence and hate on TV, movies and video games.

6. Dwell on the good things mentioned in Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

7. Be slow to anger. That is, have a longer fuse. Take time to think things out. Counting to 10 wouldn't hurt. It would save you a ton of grief.
Pro 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

8. Pray instead of popping off! Give the situation to the Lord. Ask Him to give you
restraint and wisdom.

9. Give a soft answer. Diffuse the situation with humor or kind words. Don't fuel the flames with angry words or by escalating the situation.
Pro 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

10. "Kill them" with the law of kindness
Rom 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Let's pray for each other that we head our anger off at the pass and learn to be a bit more laid back. Flaring up at the drop of a hat never turns out well.

Finally, if you have to, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:" Eph 4:26

Monday, March 28, 2011

OMG – I trust in thee! Psalm 25:2

Jas 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

To err means to go astray, to roam, to be out of the way.

Social Media has been a very revealing source of people straying from the Path. Imagine, people who claim Christ as Savior and using thinly veiled vulgarity for all the world to see. Unconscionable!

Words mean things and just because they are veiled by an acronym, it does not lessen their ungodliness. No Christian ought to ever use filthy or blasphemous language in any fashion, especially before the world in social media. Pastor James asked, "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?" (3:11) We are to use our tongues and our keyboards to bless and not to curse.

And while we are on the subject, we need to go back through all the pictures we have posted for the world to see and remove anything that gives any hint of impropriety. No believer should been seen pictured in a suggestive pose, clothed immodestly, promoting alcohol or in an ungodly environment.

All of these show that we have erred from the path and may cause others to do the same. Once a person is saved, the devil cannot steal their soul, but he can rob them of their testimony. What about yours?

LOL – He is Lord of Lords

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What a Story! No One Is Beyond Redemption!

The Thames, flowing through London, was at low tide, causing the freighter to be anchored a distance from shore. The long plank, which led from the ship across the mud flats to the bank, suddenly began to jiggle precariously. The smallish man who was carefully pushing his barrow across the plank from the freighter to the shore lost his balance and found himself tumbling into the muddy waters. A roar of laughter erupted from the dockers and from the tall worker on board ship, who had jiggled the plank. The muddied man's instinctive reaction was anger. The fall was painful; he was dripping wet and knee deep in muck."This is your opportunity," a voice whispered in his heart.

The victim, unknown to his tormenters, was a clergyman disguised as a docker in hopes of getting to know how the dockers felt, lived and struggled. Perhaps as he gained their confidence and made friends, he could tell them of the love of the Savior, who died to give them new life and hope and joy.

George Dempster came up laughing. A docker made his way to where Dempster had been dislodged, dropped some empty boxes into the slush and jumped down to help him out.

"You took that all right," he said as he helped Dempster clamber back to the boxes he had dropped. His accent was not that of a cockney. He was no ordinary docker.

Dempster told the story of this unusual docker in Finding Men for Christ. He recounted the ensuing events:

"Did I? Well, what's the use of being otherwise?" I replied and followed this by a challenge.

"You haven't been at this game long."

"Neither have you," he retorted.

"No! And I shan't be at it much longer if I can help it.

Tell me your yarn, and I'll tell you mine."

I was watching his face as well as I could with my eyes still half full of mud. He was trying to scrape some of the slime from me and meanwhile becoming almost as filthy as I was. We agreed to exchange yarns. I therefore proposed that we should adjourn to a coffee shop nearby and over a warm drink exchange the story of our experiences, and how we came to be "down under" life's circumstances.

Along we journeyed through Wapping High Street, up Nightingale Lane to London Docks and so "To where I dossed" (slept).

When we reached the Alley and I indicated the door he said, "Do they let beds here?" "Well," I replied, "I sleep here, come in and see."

"Oh! I've often passed this place but did not know they put men up here."

We entered and I instructed that a cup of coffee and something be brought for my friend, while I disappeared without explaining to anybody exactly how I came to be so inelegantly decorated. Mud baths had not yet become a prescribed treatment for certain human ailments, but never could such a remedy, however well prepared or appropriately prescribed, prove so effectual as this one. It had been involuntarily taken it is true, but for like results who would not undertake even such drastic treatment daily? "His ways are higher than our ways." His permissions are all for somebody's good, and in this instance the reason for His permission was not long unrevealed.

A hurried bath soon put me right. After donning my usual attire, while seeking Divine guidance I hastened to return. "Here we are, now for our yarns," I began. He was staring in amazement and was for a few moments lost for reply. "This is your yarn, is it? What do you do this for?" The first part of his question needed no reply, but I did not hesitate to answer the second. "To find you."

He looked perplexed as we sat gazing at each other; then dropping his eyes before my enquiring look, shook his head sadly and rose as if to depart. Restraining him I said cheerily: "Now, friend, a bargain is a bargain. Thank you for helping me out of the river and thus giving me the privilege of meeting you, but you promised, you know, and I want that story of yours. You can see mine."

He was a tall, well-built man in middle life. There were indications beyond his speech that his years had not been spent in his present conditions and surroundings. His features gave evidence of intellect, and the obvious deterioration was recent. His expression was softening even as we stood facing each other. The previous callous demeanor was giving place to something finer. I pursued the question, feeling certain now that here was the purpose of my adventure.

"Come now, tell me if I can be of help to you."

Very decisively he answered at once, "No, you cannot."


"Because I've gone too far."

As I prayed silently, presently he looked me squarely in the face as if measuring whether he could trust me and confide. No words came, so I continued. "Does it not appeal to you as a very remarkable thing," I asked, "that we should be sitting here like this if you have really gone too far?" No answer.

"Was it an accidental thing that I happened to get a job alongside you at that particular wharf this morning? Was it mere chance that those rascals chose me for their rather cruel joke? Is it pure coincidence that of all the crowd you should be the one to fish me out? Or -- did Someone know where to find you and is even now answering someone else's prayer for you?"

From the pocket he drew hastily two photographs. "These are mine," he said, laying them gently upon the table. One was the picture of a fine-looking lady, the other bore the figures of two bonnie young girls of nearly equal age, obviously the daughters of the elder woman. I was looking closely at them when I heard a groan and then a sob as my friend again dropped his head upon his arms.

"Yours! And you here like this? Why?"

It was a sad story, but, alas, only too familiar. Bit by bit I got it from him; although several times with an almost fierce "it's too late," he would have left me. He was a fully qualified medical man with a fine record. He had married into a well-known family where there was no lack of money. Having conducted a splendid practice in the south of England, all went well for him for years. Two girls were born to them, and it was a happy home with a very wide circle of friends. But as so frequently happens, the allurements proved too strong for the man whose gifts and natural endowments made him a popular and welcome guest wherever he went. He was too busy to continue his regular attendance at church; gradually he ceased altogether and always had plenty of excuses to offer when his wife urged him to accompany her.

The girls were sent away to school where they were educated with a view to following a medical career, but he who should have been their guide and helper failed in his obligations because he had become addicted to drink. At first this fact was hidden, but the habit grew stronger until it mastered him. His practice as well as his home and family were neglected. This naturally led to great unhappiness and depression. In spite of the loving devotion and care of his wife and daughters, he went from bad to worse and finally decided to disappear. So by a number of subterfuges he effectually vanished from the world which knew him and became a wanderer.

After years of wander in America and Canada, he returned to London. He had never been discovered; he had never communicated with his kin. Down, down he went, living the life of a casual hand, sometimes finding a job, sometimes literally begging for food. He slept out at night, often in lodging houses with those with whom he had nothing in common save a degraded and sinful way of life. When he could get drink, he took all he could obtain to drown his sorrows.

Once he was lodged in the Tower Bridge Police cells but was discharged and warned. He had simply been found "drunk and incapable," and his identity had not been revealed. Now this thing had happened, and it could not be explained away by saying it was a coincidence. There was more in it than that. "Someone" had known where to find him. Suppose those three whom he had so shamefully deserted had been all the time praying for his recovery? Recovery that he had so foolishly resisted -- so often longed for -- so often dreamed of.

Suppose it were true that God was now "causing all things to work together for good to them" -- those three -- "that love Him"? Suppose that He was at this moment giving him another -- possibly a last -- chance to return?

Such, he later admitted, were his thoughts, and he began to pray for himself. He had known in past days the comforts and consolations of worship. Now he began to pray very deeply and truly as he heard from a friend the old, old message.

Presently he said calmly, "I see," and kneeling by the table, he and I talked with God. Never can I forget his prayer.

At first the halting, stumbling petition of a brokenhearted repentant sinner who felt acutely two things. First, his base ingratitude to a merciful God Who had not cut him off in the midst of his sins, and then the cruelty of his conduct toward those who loved him on earth. As he confessed his feelings in these ways, he seemed to become capable of clearer utterance.

How long we thus communed I do not know, but we were both much moved as we stood to shake hands. I seemed to feel again his grip on mine as I now record these happenings. "And you will stand by me?"

"Yes," I answered, "as well as another man can."

"Then I'll prove what Christ can do."

We then fell to considering whether it would be advisable to write at once to his wife and tell her the news. "No! Not yet. Please God we'll try and improve matters before we do that. I must find out more about the position there first. There are the girls to think about. I must not spoil their careers. About now they must be in the midst of their exams. No! Please wait a while until by God's help I am a little more like a father they need not be ashamed of -- then!"

So we planned. With the aid of a friend who had influence in a certain large, well-known company, he was found a berth in the warehouse, packing drugs and chemicals. In a few weeks, the results were surprising. He was found to be so useful that a better paid job was offered him. Soon it was discovered that he knew a great deal about the contents of the packets he was handling, and when he admitted that the work of a dispenser was not strange to him, he was again promoted.

It was then that he agreed to my suggestions to write to his wife and inform her that he was alive and well. Very carefully I wrote, telling her something of the events above recorded and suggesting that if she would like to see me on the matter I would gladly arrange to meet her.

A letter came back, breathing deep gratitude to God for His wonderful answer to prayer and for His mercy. An expression of appreciation for the human agency He had provided, and an explanation that the two daughters were facing some difficult hospital examinations. It would therefore, she thought, be best to defer any meeting until they were through. But would I please keep her informed of his progress. It was a wonderfully understanding and gracious letter considering all the circumstances.

I showed him the letter.

He was deeply moved as he carefully and eagerly read it, then returning it to me he said quietly, "I must ask you to honor her wishes. Painful as delay is to me, I must submit. I deserve it and much more. Will you now pray with me that I may prove worthy of her confidence and their love?"

Six months passed, each day bringing continuous evidence of the "new birth" and of his loyalty to Christ. There was no wavering or falling back. Whatever struggles he had with the enemy, no one saw the least evidence of any weakness. In every way he was proving that he was "a new creature," that "old things had passed away."

Two brief notes had come from the wife asking more details than my letters conveyed. I gladly told her all she desire to learn.

Then one day there came a letter asking me to arrange a time for her to visit me. This was soon done, and without telling either of them what I had planned, I made my own arrangements. He was not informed of the impending visit but patiently awaited developments.

In due time the day arrived, and the wife kept her appointment. I instantly recognized the lady of the photograph, and to my intense delight she had brought her elder daughter with her. Both were much affected as I told them as much as I deemed needful of the facts. I felt it would be wise to leave the husband to give his own version of affairs.

Then, at a suitable moment, I said, "Would you like to see him at once?" I had not revealed to them that I had him in an adjoining room. But when the wife and daughter said eagerly together "Yes, please," I opened the door and led them in to him. The lady had approached her husband with a smile of welcome and had kissed him; the daughter had put her arms about her father's neck, and I heard just two words, "Dad, darling."

It was no place for an outsider, so I made for my study and there lay the whole case again before the Father, asking that His will should be done. He heard and answered.

For an hour I left them alone. Then he came to fetch me. His eyes were very red, and I thought he walked with a new and firmer step. No word was said, but he looked his deep gratitude as he beckoned me to return with him.

As I entered the room, the wife approached me with an eager look which spoke eloquently of the tense feelings she had. When, after a few moments, she found voice, it was to tell me that it had been arranged to await the second daughter's examinations, which were just pending. This girl did not yet know the purport of her mother's visit to London that day with the sister, who now told me on top of her own success in the exams, she was overjoyed at finding her father.

"Do dare not tell Margery yet. She is rather highly strung, and as Dad says, it might interfere with her progress. But won't she be just delighted. You know she has never ceased praying for this." So spake the daughter, still holding her father's hand, as if unwilling to part again. It was a most affecting scene, and one felt that there was Another present, rejoicing with us. "If all goes well we shall, please God, make home again when Margery is through, and oh what a day that will be."

The mother was now feeling the stress of it all and needed rest and refreshment. A happy little meal was prepared, and thanks were given to Him Who had thus brought His promises to fulfillment. But the best was yet to be.

A happy home was restored.

In a certain south coast town, a place famous for its exhilarating air and for many of its citizens who have made history, there is held every Sunday afternoon a Bible class for young men. Sixty or more of the finest young fellows in that district meet week by week. It has been the birthplace of many splendid young Christians. Some of them have entered the Civil Service and today hold important positions at Whitehall, where I have had the joy of meeting them.

Coming one day along one of the corridors in the colonial office, I met a friend who said, "I'm very glad to see you today, because I promised that the next time you came this way I would ask you to come along with me and meet a man who wants to see you. He has another friend in the home office who also wants to meet you. Have you the time to do so?"

I assented and was led to the room indicated. Here was a man holding a responsible position who, upon being introduced, said, "I'm glad to meet you, sir, because I have an idea that you must be the gentleman of whom a very dear friend of mine often spoke. May I ask if you were acquainted with Dr. ______?"

"Yes indeed, I know him very well."

"Then I guess you are the one of whom he spoke. I owe everything in life after my own parents to Dr. ______. He was a wonderful factor in the shaping of my career and that of many others. How did you come to know him, sir, if I may so question? And do you know his gifted family?"

Of course I could not tell him under what circumstances I had first met the doctor, the beloved physician who had sat in the leader's chair of that Bible class Sunday by Sunday teaching youths the Way of Life, nor that it was he who had helped me out of the river that day when I had my involuntary mud bath.

From Finding Men for Christ by George Dempster, (London: Hodder & Stroughton, 1935). quoted in Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, Ruth Bell Graham, 1991, Focus on the Family Publishing, pp. 85-94.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Will Glory in the Cross

Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Paul had an impressive resume'. His pedigree, education and zeal were all a matter of record. But with everything that was behind him, he chose to forget it and press on to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. In fact, his accomplishments he accounted as dung!

Imagine, you have graduated magna cum laude from an Ivy League school, you have reached the pinnacle of your profession, you have drawn great accolades and respect from your colleagues, but you call all of that a pile of cow patties.

Instead, you choose to glory fully in what God did for you by sending His Son to die a cruel death on a cursed cross.

You see, Paul says that the cross is a dividing line. It delineates between world acclaim and Christian service. You must choose which side of the cross holds your fancy. Do you glory in the BC or the AD portion of your life. Once the cross of Christ has performed its flesh destroying work in your life, you will choose to glory in the cross of Jesus rather than any accomplishments you may have achieved.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Law of Sowing and Reaping

Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

God has made us a promise here. As far as I am concerned, there is no wiggle room. The chickens do come home to roost every time. You cannot sow to the flesh and expect crop failure. It may take a while, but sowing to the flesh will result in corruption of the same.

Conversely, sowing to the Spirit will surely result in life everlasting. What all that entails, I really have little idea, but I can only imagine that it will be something beyond my wildest dreams and expectations.

Therefore, let us continue on in good works in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are going to reap, in this life and in the one to come. And, by all means, don’t give up. It could be today, maybe tomorrow, next week or next year, but the ultimate harvest will take place.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn to setting sun.
Let us talk about His wondrous love and care.
Then when all of life is over and our work on earth is done,
When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break

The family and I are in beautiful Evergreen, Colorado enjoying the beauty of God's creation this week for a well deserved Spring break. I will blog as much as possible throughout the week.

Gal 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The "Christian" Thing To Do

Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Gal 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

Here is Christianity at its very basic. Keep your own nose clean, don't be judgmental and help someone else who has fallen.

May God increase the tribe of believers who practice their faith in this simple manner.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Marvel that You are so Soon Removed!

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

So get this, a person is taken from the pig pen of this world, having been beaten over the head all of his life with innocuous religion. He or she is given a new life, free of sin, baptized into Christ and on their way to heaven. Then that person is fooled into thinking that the old way, or another way is somehow better.

Is it any wonder why Paul was flummoxed? Oh, friend, I have seen it happen a thousand times too. Not only are new converts devoured by the destroyer, but I have seen many confirmed believers turn their back on the truth and go after the fables of Satan.

A few possibilities exist (partial list):

1. THE FISH THAT NEVER GOT HOOKED - The individual never came to a true saving knowledge of Christ. They adopted a form of godliness, but in the end, they denied the power thereof.

2. ROBBED FROM THE NURSERY - They believed and were saved, but were never discipled into the faith. One must become fully grounded in the faith, or else the cares of this world will choke the tender life out of them. Perhaps, because they have no root, the trials of life will cause them to wither away. Either way, babes in the nursery must be guarded, because those that preach another gospel, which is not the gospel, are constantly on the prowl for those babes left unguarded.

3. DIDN'T READ THE FINE PRINT - Some become disenchanted because of hypocrisy in others, or because they were not prepared for a deal they didn't bargain for, that is, the certain trials that accompany the Christian life.

4. BESETTING SIN - Some believers are simply overtaken by fault and never recovered.

These and other maladies cause those who continue on in the service of the Lord to grieve for their fallen brethren. But God never gives up on those who are removed from their faith, for He never leaves nor forsakes those who have come to Him in faith. He will exhaust every effort to bring the wandering sheep back to the fold. The hound dogs of heaven, goodness and mercy, will follow each blood bought soul all the days of their life.

Meanwhile, we marvel at those who believe the lies of the enemy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Attention all Ye Lasses and Ye Laddies!

‘tis true, my sainted great, great, great Grandma Keeney, the blessed Lord rest her soul, hailed from Tipperary in the Green Isles. On account of this, I will be donnin’ the green today and me best lass will be a fixin’ a mess o’ boiled spuds and corned beef and cabbage. Och, aye!

This bein’ the day to honor the blest St. Patrick, I have decided to repost the Patty’s day blog from 2 years ago. I should have called it “A blogging in the bog!”

2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

It is time the truth be told about a great man and a noble ministry.

First, what Patrick had nothing to do with… Patrick had nothing to do with alcohol, driving vermin off the Isle of Ireland, and Catholicism. Surely, the man would roll over in his grave to see what has happened to a day celebrated in honor of him. Of course, he is not in his grave, but with all of the true “saints” in heaven, that is, all of those who have been born again by the Spirit of God and have passed from this life.

When just a young man of 16 Patrick was kidnapped from Wales and forced into slavery in barbaric Ireland. After 6 years he made his escape, sailed back home and found the Lord. Possessing a great fervor for Christ, he was burdened to return to the Emerald Isle to preach the gospel of Jesus.

Many came to Christ under Patrick’s preaching and turned from their heathen practices. Patrick, born in the late 4th century and ministering in the middle 5th century would be better named as the evangelist of Ireland, rather than the patron saint. It should be noted that it wasn’t until 300 years later Rome decided to claim Patrick as one of her own bishops and granted him “sainthood”.

Patrick is famous for using the 3 leaf clover as an illustration of the godhead. God is one, yet possesses 3 distinct personages, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

A proper celebration of Patrick’s day would be to share the gospel with another, as he spent his life doing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and Bible Study

Psa 122:1 A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
Psa 122:2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
Psa 122:3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
Psa 122:4 Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
Psa 122:5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
Psa 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
Psa 122:7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
Psa 122:8 For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
Psa 122:9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.

Tonight is another beautiful opportunity for the family to come together, testify and praise the Lord for His goodness, lean on one another for strength and encouragement, petition heaven for needs to be met, souls to be saved, bodies to be healed and comfort to be granted.

Some don't get too thrilled with the prospects of heading out to the Lord's house, here is a case in point...

Police in Utah say a 7-year-old boy led officers on a car chase in an effort to avoid going to church.

Dispatchers received reports of a child driving recklessly on Sunday morning. One witness said the boy drove through a stop sign, according to Weber County Sheriff's Capt. Clint Anderson.

Anderson said two deputies caught up with the boy and tried unsuccessfully to stop the Dodge Intrepid in an area about 45 miles north of Salt Lake City.

The car reached 40 mph before the child stopped in a driveway and ran into a home.

“Well, if I were to characterize the boy’s skills as driver, he’s not very good, if he were a legal driver," Anderson told FOX 13 in Utah. "As a 7-year-old, we’re really rather impressed with his ability to have not gotten into any accidents."

Anderson said the boy told his dad he'd sped away because he didn't want to go to church.

The child is too young to prosecute and no citations were issued, although police did urge the father to make his car keys less accessible to his children.

Laughing? Me too! May I confess to you something? As Paul said, “bear with me a little while in my folly.” As a pastor, church is not always that uplifting retreat that it is to many a church member. As the work place is to you, so the church can be to the minister. It can be the place where counseling, confrontation, duty, dealing with sin, reproving and rebuking all take place within a couple of hours. Yes, just as you have to drag yourself into work of a morning, sometimes the preacher can feel that same foreboding as he goes to his place of work. Well, thanks for hearing my confession. Now, turn your collar back around!

Now, I have to tell you, I relish the opportunity to minister in such a manner. That’s what God has made me to do. But you have to understand that sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming and lacking in joy.

Additionally, when we look beyond the negatives to the possibilities, that is, when we have dealt with the conflict and resolution has been accomplished, when sin has been forgiven and a soul leaves free and unburdened, when counsel has been accepted and the person goes forth with renewed resolve, when reproof has been accepted and the crooked ways are straight once again, When a sinner leaves as a saint, then church is a ton of fun for the preacher!

I must say, I have not looked forward to church in all of my ministry like I have in these past months. A lot of it has to do with my attitude. Once I quit counting the crowd and focused on counting the blessings, church became a much richer experience for me. Once I refrained from dwelling on who didn’t show up and started rejoicing for and with those who did, church became much more of a joy. When I stopped looking at those not singing and started studying those who were worshiping with abandon, I could get a real kick out of church.

When church becomes a drudgery, it is time for a major attitude adjustment. We need to realize that God Almighty wants to meet with us corporately. He has promised His presence, even if it is just 2 or 3 of us who gather together. And in His presence there is joy, liberty, power, peace, holiness and love. And that beats sitting at home on a Wednesday night and watching Gun smoke, er, ah, American Idol. (Wow! How appropriate is that name?)

Tonight, among our prayers and testimonies, we talk about the #10 sign of a healthy church, Developing Gifts.

I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fix Your Marriage

Heb 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Dear reader, I know that no marriage is perfect. No doubt, you are probably struggling in some aspect of your marriage even now.

When we consider all the aspects of marriage; communication, health, finances, children, in-laws, sex, work, conflict-resolution, etc., we find that the enemy, whose job it is to steal, kill and destroy, has launched an all-out attack on almost every marriage.

It is the Lord's desire that your marriage honor Him, picture Jesus' relationship with the church, and bring us a little bit of heaven on earth. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems a little more like the other place!

I have learned this, whatever can be talked out can be worked out. The marriage you are presently in is worth building into a God honoring, productive, thoroughly satisfying relationship that is an example and encouragement to everyone you know. You CAN and you MUST do it.

I have also learned that love is not an emotion, but a choice. We volitionally will to love somebody. I have heard people say, "I just don't love them anymore." Or, "They have killed my love for them." We are commanded to love our mate, whether we feel like it or not. I understand, strong feelings and goose bumps can wane. However, God wills that you find help in Him, good counsel from others and a resolve to get things fixed as soon as possible.

One evangelist I know says that many a lesbian could have been saved with a rose. How true! Many spouses just need a little love shown to them once again. They could use the same kind of attention showed to them back in the dating stages of the relationship. If we would put our pride aside and take the initiative to begin the rebuilding process in our marriage, amazing results are possible.

I guarantee you that the grass is never greener on the other side. So get some help and start figuring out what steps can be taken to repair your relationship.

A few hints:
Always plan to go the extra mile. Do your part and a bunch more.
Be unselfish.
Give yourselves to each other without reserve.
Get back in shape.
Be romantic.
Speak kindly and never in anger.
Don't let pride, or being right, come in between the two of you.
Put your spouse on a pedestal.
Fight fairly.
Highly prioritize your mate.
Protect your mate, always put up for them in front of others.
Respect and be respectable.
Romance each other.
Express your love daily; kiss, cuddle and tell them you love them.
Relieve their burdens.
Submit to one another.
Go to church together.
Read the Bible and pray together.
Have some common interests.
Don't allow the children to rule the roost.
Have a weekly date night.
Don't allow the TV to dominate your home.
Be aware of devilish temptation, it will damage your marriage.
Beware of ungodly counsel (friends at work, etc.)
As I Cor 13 tells us, be patient, kind, longsuffering and hopeful. behave and be humble. Be not envious or jealous. Think the best about one another.

This is just a partial list of things needed in your marriage.

I am reminded of the woman who said to her husband, “How come you never tell me you love me anymore?” He said, “I told you that way back in the beginning, if anything ever changes, I’ll let you know!”

That kind of reasoning is why so many marriages are in trouble. Too much is taken for granted.

Start today to make your marriage honorable in all.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Not an Eagles Fan

Heb 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

"Brotherly Love," in the Greek, "Philadelphia." I don't think there is a whole lot of it evidenced among the Eastern PA city populace, but fraternal affection among Christians is a must everywhere.

This is the command of the Lord, that we love one another. John 13:34, and also of the Apostle John, Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1 Jn 4:7

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mental Fatigue

Heb 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

It is one thing to be physically tired. A nap, a weekend or a vacation can help a tired body. But being fatigued in the mind wreaks great havoc in life. When our minds are wore out, we become despondent, depressed and prone to giving up. By the way, if you are tempted to throw in the towel, note that pain is temporary, quitting is forever.

Do you sometimes get up on the wrong side of the bed? Do your loved ones say the wrong things or say them in the wrong tone of voice? Does your agenda suffer setback at every turn? Is your to do list as long as January in in Minnesota? Do you have way too much month at the end of your money? Are inflated gas prices making you fearful? Is the housework piling up into mountains you cannot even see over?

Your oil needs changed, your back is nagging you again, your marriage has little fizz left, the kids are unruly, the boss is the north end of a south bound horse, your mom may need to go into the nursing home, cable news gives you a steady diet of jihad, terror, earthquakes, school shootings and rioting. Is it really any wonder that so many of us are wearied and faint in our minds?

Hebrews gives us an answer to mental fatigue. We need compare what we are going through to what the Savior endured. When we do, we will feel a lot better about our plight. He endured the cross. He put up with the shame of hanging naked for 6 hours on a cross with a beaten and broken body, His life blood pouring out upon the ground. Compared to what He went through, most of us have it pretty easy and simple.

The mind is a battle ground. The enemy knows that if he can tire our minds, we will have no strength for the battle. Paul said to gird up the loins of our minds. He said to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseful. And if we realize that the crosses we bear will one day be exchanged for crowns, we can continue on in the strength of the Lord.

In other words, much is to be said about a positive mental attitude, based on the promises of God and His ability to carry us through what He has brought us to.

As I saw one day on the mirror of Roy Acuff, long time emcee of the Grand Ole Opry, "Ain't nothing gonna happen today that me and the Lord can't handle." That's the kind of mindset that will prevent mental fatigue.

Read the Word today, claim His promises, look for the blessings, realize that opposition and setbacks are allowed by the Lord for our growth. Keep telling yourself "God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Eat, Drink and Be Merry, For Tomorrow We Fast!

1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

This is Ash Wednesday, a day in which many of the Catholic faithful will stand in line for a priest to apply ashes on their foreheads. The ashes are made from palm leaves held over from Palm Sunday the previous year. The purpose for this sign of the cross on the forehead is to indicate that the upcoming season of lent will be a time of spiritual examination and adjustment.

In near mockery of the occasion, Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday is Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras is to get all your sin in while you can before Lenten season is initiated. “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we fast!” Imagine, a religious practice encouraging over indulgence in preparation for fasting and self deprivation.

Now, I am not a part of the Roman religion, but I inadvertently participated in Fat Tuesday. A good friend treated me to the Chinese buffet for a pastor appreciation meal – ah, I love it! It was like Christmas in July, only it was Pastor Appreciation in March! By the way, I think this pastor’s midsection appreciated by about 2 inches on that meal.

Then, for the evening meal, our Chaplaincy Corps became a bit more corpulent as we were treated to a fantastic meal by the People’s City Mission. Wow! I think I may move in down there just for the grub. Not a single chaplain nor spouse were able to finish their meal. The Corps has definitely expanded following that meal.

Now, for my Ash Wednesday confession. Upon getting in my car last evening, my belt broke!!! This Baptist boy done outdid the Catholics for Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras was never taken so literally as it was yesterday by me.

I digress. Ash Wednesday. There needn’t be a calendar day to repent of our sins and examine our lives. We should examine our lives daily and make the proper adjustments to align our lives. Giving up a bad habit or a sin, fasting, depriving ourselves, feeling sorrow for our depravity… these should be a regular part of the Christian discipline. I am not Ash Bashing, but I believe we need to deny our flesh and take up our cross to follow Jesus every day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Epitaph of Your Faith

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

I have always been enamored by the summation of the faith of the elders in faith's hall of fame chapter.

"By faith..." is followed by the exploits of godly men and women of Scripture who now compass us as a cloud of witnesses. They cheer us on as we run the race that is set before us.

We read about how they, by faith, lived and died, saw great miracles occur, endured tremendous hardships, obeyed God, pleased God, listened to His voice and acted accordingly. By faith they built, sojourned, led, received, sought, offered, blessed, chose, refused, respected, believed, subdued, worked, escaped, waxed valiant, persevered and suffered.

Generally, only one little sentence or clause summarized what the spiritual giants accomplished by faith. We can call this an epitaph. It boils the essence of a life down to something that can fit on a grave marker. It cuts out all the fat and leaves the lean.

Feel free then, to consider what an eternal record might say of your life, lived by faith.

Finish the following: By faith (your name here) (your exploits here).

Monday, March 7, 2011

King of Righteousness

Heb 7:1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. 4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

What a mysterious and interesting character we have in Melchisedec. We first read his account in Gen. 14:18, and then in Psalm 110:4. The Lord purposely leaves us somewhat in the dark concerning this great king and priest.

Some say he is a Christophanes, an appearance of Christ in the Old Testament. This is a tenable argument when you consider the following:

He is known as the King of righteousness, "King" capitalized in the text. The rabbis expounded this title to "matsdie eth Yoshebaiv," “The Justifier of those who dwell in him;”

He is also known as King of Salem, both words capitalized. As the King of Salem, he is called by the Hebrews writer, the King of peace.

Moreover, this priest and king is said to be without father and without mother, without beginning of days, nor end of life. No mortal can claim this lack of pedigree. The pre-incarnate Christ can claim each description.

In appearance, he was made like unto the Son of God. We recall the heavenly guest walking in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, how that the king looked therein and said he saw a fourth man in the fire who appeared to be the Son of God.

Additionally, Melchisedec abides as a priest continually. Strange wording concerning any mortal, unless you consider the words of Heb. 6:20 ...Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

It is interesting that Jesus said of himself in John 8:56 that Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

However, it would seem a bit strange that Christ Himself be used as a type of Himself.

There are those who conclude that Melchesidec was merely "a Canaanite king, who reigned in Salem, and kept up religion and the worship of the true God; that he was raised to be a type of Christ, and was honoured by Abraham as such." -- Mt Henry

So much more can be said concerning this great king and priest, how he so ably typifies our great King and High Priest Who is eternal. He is Righteousness and Peace to Whom we pay our tithes. He blesses us so and makes intercession for us at the right hand of the Father.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saved Again?

Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

A great debate rages over eternal security. Baptists are accused of believing and teaching that "damnable doctrine of eternal security." But is it a damnable doctrine or a blessed truth of the Word of God?

It is overwhelmingly obvious from many passages and the teachings of Jesus and Paul that one who becomes a child of God can never be lost!

However, there are some difficult passages which, on the surface, may seem to indicate that it is possible to lose one's salvation. Scripture must be compared with Scripture. We cannot pull a verse or two out of context to support a false doctrine.

Only when all the pieces of a puzzle are put in place can a beautiful picture materialize. Let’s find out where this piece of the puzzle fits.

Hebrews 6:4-6 is one of those puzzling puzzle pieces that gives fits to many.

We question, are these people saved? They had been enlightened, had tasted of the heavenly gift, were made partakers of the Holy Ghost and had tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come.

Some would argue that these folks are the ones who knock on heaven's door but never quite enter in. They teach that they actually come to the very cusp of salvation and then turn and walk away.

I can't see it that way. If one is ever made a partaker of the Holy Ghost, that means they have actually participated in and with Him. This IS a saved person. In my mind, there is no other way of viewing that statement.

The writer tells us that there is an impossibility in play here, and that is what we have to focus on, what is impossible?

If this passage refers to saved people, which I am convinced, it does, then it is impossible for them to fall away or lose their salvation and subsequently get saved again, or be renewed by repentance.

For that impossibility to happen, Christ would once again have to go to the cross, and that isn't happening. God sent His only begotten Son once to die for our sins. That substitutionary work of Jesus on Calvary was so complete that once sins are forgiven, His work was done. He ascended to the Father, and is set down on His right hand, signifying that salvation's work is forever finished. There is no more to do or can be done.

In a nutshell, Jesus died and rose again. All those who put their faith and trust in what He did for them are saved and eternally secure. If it were possible for them to be lost again, there would be no way they could ever get saved again, Christ would have to die once more.

Hence, this passage, that is so difficult for many, is a tremendous blessing in that it proves once again, that believers are eternally secure in Christ.

PS, my Facebook friend, Burl Faulk, disagrees with me on this passage. I'd like to share his thoughts on it:
I agree with the end conclusion. I do not however agree with the way he reached it. One mistake that so many people make concerning the Bible is that they don't realize that it is mostly a compilation of letters written to a particular person or group of people. We need therefore to keep the situation that that person or group was in at the time of the writing in mind, because the writer was addressing them in that situation and helping them to understand GOD's will as they faced those problems. The book of Hebrews was written to the Jewish people that had been raised under the law and were then faced with the news that JESUS is the Messiah. Once they realize that fact, having been led to that truth by the HOLY SPIRIT, if they then turn back to the law, GOD will no longer accept their sacrifices under the law. One of the key words in that passage is the word "tasted". You can taste without consuming. Read the passage with these things in mind and see if it doesn't make sense.

And...I do not believe these people were saved. They did indeed partake of the HOLY GHOST, but we all must do that before we are saved, because HE is the one that leads us to JESUS. Without HIS working in our hearts we would have no desire to come to CHRIST. Second, as I mentioned above, they have tasted, not indulged, of the sweet truth of salvation without the rigors of the law. Thirdly if you keep in mind the fact of their Jewish law upbringing and that they were being faced/confronted with the fact that JESUS is MESSIAH for the first time (that they understood it) then the rest of the book of Hebrews is very clear indeed.

Thanks Burl (and Dave)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Milk and Diaper Believers

Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

We love our kids and relish every stage of their growth. Well, some stages anyway. Just like the use of a washing machine in which there are several stages the laundry has to go through, so our kids face many changes and growing pains.

There are those stages, especially for the little ones, in which we wish they could stay. They can be so cute that we wish they'd never grow up. But really, it would be pretty unnatural for that to happen.

The same is so with Christians. They have that initial joy in abundance as a new believer, then a real zealousy, but without knowledge. They can be like a bull in a china closet as they tell others of their need for Christ. Then they could charge hell with a squirt gun, giving people what for about sin and righteousness. Some grow leaps and bounds as they devour all things Christian. Ah, we wish they could just stay that way. But we could never use them in a deacon's office or as a Sunday school teacher yet, they need more tact and maturity.

The shame is, sometimes crusty old do-nothing, feel-nothing Christians model a Laodicean lifestyle to them which stunts their growth. And such is the growth process for many new believers.

But something happens to a vast majority of Christians somewhere along in their growing years. They quit maturing and begin to reverting to earlier stages.

It comes to a point in our Christian walk, where, when we ought to be teaching and serving in greater capacities, we are hamstrung by immaturity.

This is not natural! Every Christian ought to experience growth in his or her spiritual life, pressing on the upward way. They need to quit drinking the pablum of the Word, settling once and for all what they believe about the basic tenets of the faith, and progressing to the meat of the things of God.

Where many ought to have their teaching degree from the University of Ministry, they are toddling around in Bible preschool donning dirty diapers.

Isn't it time to grow up, leave those early stages long behind us, and move on to ministry? Instead, we desire others continue to warm up our milk bottles.

Get a goal to move on to the next stage of your walk with the Lord, leaving the kid stuff behind. You need to be a minister, not a ministry.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wandering in the Wilderness, They Fell Short

Heb 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

These verses trouble me as a pastor. As I read them, my mind starts immediately to picture many who came short of the rest that God gives, not only on the other shore, but right here and now.

Many are the souls who wander this earth, saved, but nowhere near secure in their walk, because their faith is lacking severely.

They will stroll through this life without power because the arm of their flesh will always fail them. How sad, they could live in victory, but will go on in defeat because they found no profit in the gospel.

God's great invitation is open to all who would believe and abide in Christ. It is an invitation to cast all of our care upon Him, to take His yoke upon us and learn of Him, because His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

You have a choice even now, make Him your all in all and find rest or retain control of your own life, traversing from one frustration to another.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Apostle and High Priest of our Profession

Heb 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

"Apostle" by strict definition, is an ambassador of the gospel, one commissioned to carry the good news. We are well acquainted with the Apostolic band of the Disciples. Some of the qualifications mentioned are told us by Paul. An apostle is one who had seen the Lord and had been granted miraculous signs. I Cor 9:1, II Cor 12:12. Also, see Acts 1:21. He was one chosen by the Lord, specifically called and ordained to that high office.

But here, and nowhere else in the Bible, do we see that Jesus is the Apostle of our profession. He was chosen by God and sent all the way from heaven to earth, the very embodiment of the gospel. The title "Christ" also defines this mission. It means "the Anointed One."

The original Apostles were faithful in their mission of carrying the good news to the known world in their day. Thomas went to India, John to Asia Minor, Jude took the Word to Armenia, Syria and Persia. Matthew is said to have gone to Persians, Parthians and Medes. Paul took the good news as far as to Europe.

But our Apostle and High Priest brought the gospel all the way from the throne of heaven to the world.

I think of Squire Parson's classic words:

The gulf that separated me from Christ my Lord
It was so vast the crossing I could never ford
From where I was to His demand, it seemed so far
I cried dear Lord, I cannot come to where you are...

Then He came to me, He came to me, when I couldn't come to where He was, He came to me.
That's why He died on Calvary, when I couldn't come to where He was, He came to me.

He came to me when I was bound in the chains of my sin
He came to me when I possessed no hope within
He picked me up and He drew me gently to His side,
Where, today, in His sweet love I now abide.

Then He came to me, He came to me, when I couldn't come to where He was, He came to me. That's why He died on Calvary, When I couldn't come to where He was, He came to me.

We can never be apostles, that office has ceased. But we can still do the important work of taking the gospel to our world. To whom will you carry the good news today? Ask God right now to lay some soul on your heart and then prayerfully go and tell them of God's great salvation.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Creation ala Louis L’Amour - by Gary Fuller

Riding along in the low country, a soul tends to hanker for the far off hills. Ain’t nothing like a saddle beneath you, strapped to some fine horseflesh and the inverted bowl of blue velvet overhead. Warm sunshine tends to wash the soul and fill a heart longing for human company.

He, the Good Lord, began to cipher all it would take to make this happen for the cowboy that’d be set in time and space, and, suddenly, He began to speak the whole durn shootin match into existence. He had mighty broad shoulders and narrow hips, with efficient muscles showing from underneath a white burlap robe, yet it was the voice that thundered all into existence. ‘Course, that knowing mind had planned it all out first. So, with nary but a word, He formed the clay that would bear hoof falls for thousands of years to come and then He bladed that ground with green grass to sustain all sorts of beasts, particularly the horse.

The peaks of the far blue mountains, He stretched clear up to the azure skies, such a sight it was that the word “good” caught in His throat before escaping into the breeze. Deep inside the hills, He placed the oro and the plata that would cause fallen hearts to covet for their rich beauty. Directly, with an artist’s touch, He carved the vales and canyons, the caverns, depressions, tinejas, sloughs and trenches which would hold the life source for many an animal and Indian.

Separating the restlessness of day from the convalescence of nighttime, the Great Spirit above spread the stars in abundance throughout the skies and from horizon to horizon. They would serve to direct sailors on the sea, natives in the jungle, cowpokes on the range and magi in the desert. He parlayed that great yellow orb into being so’s a body could see proper to mend fence, ride herd or assess horse flesh or a pert gal, ever which a feller would fancy to ‘preciate.

By time it all came to pass, all the worlds were fashioned. Supplies were laid up for a good spell. The high valleys were populated with deer and mountain sheep and flowers that’d make a chap’s eyes pop clear outta his head. Trees were grown that’d take six hombres hand in hand to stretch around, so’s lumber would be t’hand for a sturdy built cabin and a split wood fence to contain the livestock gettin’ fattened up for sale.

Then, if’n that Heavenly Feller’s works tweren’t enough for an eternity of wonder, He up and made a bloke so rough and ready that he’d wear leather out from the inside first! But, knowin that that poke would need someone, at the end of a long day of eatin dust and forming blisters, someone a’fixin him a slab of beef, coffee that’d raise the hair on top of your goose bumps and a pipin’ hot apple pie thick as a wood plank an’ sweeter than a honeysuckle. He done outdid His own self by making a girl so purdy she’d make your toes curl in your pointy boots! He brought that there filly, fashioned from the poke’s rib, right to him in her curvy birthday suit. The cowboy done swallered real hard and exclaimed, Whoa, man! And the Good Lord, He said, “That’s good!”