Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feigning, Swerving and Jangling

1 Tim 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

The commandment, referred to in verse 5, is the command to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind. Jesus told us that the commandment next to that is to love our neighbors as ourselves. So, the first command ends up causing us to obey the second and that takes place due to charity out of a pure heart and a good conscience.

However, a wrench gets thrown into the works when our faith is faked, or when we swerve away from the commandments to empty jangling, or babbling.

So let's knock off the fakery and and getting off track with talking about nothing and get back to loving God whole-heartedly and loving our neighbors enough to give them the gospel.

My God, I love Thee; not because
I hope for heaven thereby,
Nor yet because who love Thee not
Are lost eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me
Upon the cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails, and spear,
And manifold disgrace,
And griefs and torments numberless,
And sweat of agony;
Yea, death itself; and all for me
Who was thine enemy.
Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love Thee well?
Not for the sake of winning heaven,
Nor of escaping hell;
Not from the hope of gaining aught,
Not seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord.
So would I love Thee, dearest Lord,
And in Thy praise will sing;
Solely because Thou art my God,
And my most loving King.

Francis Xavier, 1506-1552

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stay Focused

Timothy learning at the lap of his grandmother - Rembrandt

1 Tim 1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Paul is admonishing his son in the ministry concerning his pastoral duties. He had been installed as the pastor of the church in Ephesus, where he would later be dragged through the streets by the locals for preaching the gospel and then stoned to death.

Paul was adamant that Timothy and his parishioners stay true to the gospel message and not be sidetracked by nefarious doctrines, urban legends and genealogical interests. It is so easy, even today, to get knocked off track by these very same types of things. It happens to churches all the time.

As I was getting ready to preach a revival in Mexico recently, I was given this same type of encouragement by one of our modern day Pauls. Warren Wiersbe admonished me, "Just preach the simple gospel, stay close to the Word and don't get sidetracked."

What happens is, to illustrate a point, preachers are tempted to use contrived stories that are probably nothing more than fables.

If a preacher is going to use a story for illustrative purposes, which he should, he must employ one that is credible. For example, I read just yesterday about a 61 year old sheep farmer in Australia who showed up to enter Australia's ultra-marathon, a 500+ mile foot race across the continent. He was wearing a coat and had goulashes over his boots. To make a long story short, he won the race with his shuffling, unorthodox style! In our age of information and our day of instant internet verification, it was easy to find this man's story to be true. Here is a usable story to illustrate how that "the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong..."

On the other hand, do you remember hearing preachers tell about how Jacques Cousteau heard the screams of hell while diving in the Devil's Triangle? Or what about the strange proliferation of buzzards in the Valley of Megiddo preparing for the feast of flesh that would be provided by the battle of Armageddon? I could write a book about the fables I have heard from pulpits across America. Add to that endless genealogies and false doctrine (hyper-Calvinism, glossolalia, works for salvation, etc.) and you will find a pastor and church which has gotten the gospel train derailed.

Paul's warning to Timothy, and to us is, stay on track, stay focused on the message.

Monday, August 29, 2011

What Made the Difference?

Ronnie Milsap and Amy Grant both made a song famous, it was written by Archie Jordan, here’s what it says:

What a difference you’ve made in my life.
What a difference you’ve made in my life.
You’re my sunshine day and night.
Oh, what a difference you’ve made in my life.

Which of us, during the course of a week, doesn't think "I need a change!"?
It may be we are thinking of a new job, new scenery, or just some type of a positive shake up in our lives, our families, even in our church!. Most of us have begged God for things to change in our lives.

Perhaps you have come to a point where you are hoping against hope that something might change your situation. That you might find relief, hope, something positive in your life.

I’d like to share with you some stories of people whose lives were changed forever in just a few moments or hours. I’d like us to think about what it was that changed them, what impacted them to the point that things were never the same?

1. Jacob - Jacob had an all-night smack down with an angel that changed him forever. Gen 32:24-31.
a. He saw God face to face –when you meet God, you will never be the same! If you meet Him on His terms, it will be the best change you could ever have.
b. His life was preserved – he was facing death the next morning as he met Esau whom he had wronged. But God turned a hopeless situation around. If He could do that for a low down wretch like Jacob had been, don’t you think He could do it for you?
c. God touched him and he never walked the same again. “Let me go” “I will not let you go until you bless me” and He did!
d. His name was changed from Jacob (Trickster) to Israel (Prince with God)
So what do we see happened with Jacob? A change was needed. When he was all alone, everything was lost, things looked absolutely hopeless, then God showed up in the middle of the night and changed everything for him.
2. Moses - Consider the difference in Moses before the burning bush and after. Exodus 3:1-14
Moses had been a fugitive for 40 years. He lived as a shepherd on the back side of the desert. Let me bring you up to speed. Moses grew up in the household of Pharaoh. But he saw an Egyptian beating an Israeli. He let his anger get the better of Him and killed the Egyptian. So now, he’s hiding out in the Sinai for 40 years. 40 years!!! Imagine, 40 years with no convenience stores, no air conditioning, no state fair, no mall, no pizza.
He went from living the life of Reilly for his first 40 year to the life of Ahab the Arab the next 40. Do you suppose he was hoping for, needing a change?
So, one day he’s following his sheep and goats through the desert and he sees something that gets his attention. He sees a bush on fire. I am sure in his 40 year desert experience, this isn’t the first time he’s seen that. I am sure he wondered if it was lightening that started the fire, or a campfire, maybe spontaneous combustion. But what was different was that the bush kept on burning and never burned up. So he walked over to try to figure this one out. Then a bass voice comes out of the bush. It wasn’t speaking Arabic or Egyptian, but Hebrew. And it said, “Take your shoes off, you are standing on holy ground.”

Well, he didn’t need any shoes after that because he was on his face!

With that exchange, Moses went from a “Who am I?” (vs 11) to a miracle worker who parted the Red Sea and became one of the greatest leaders in the history of the world?

What was the difference for Moses? He was a stutterer, a murderer, he had anger control issues, he was the meekest man on earth. Now, he would be mighty Moses! The difference? A face to face meeting with God!

If after 40 years of needing some serious change, God could do something unimaginable with a nobody like Moses, what could He do for your situation.
3. The Disciples - There was a huge change in these men from before the resurrection and after the resurrection.
At the arrest of the Lord in Gethsemane, the disciples fled to the 4 winds. They reconvened in the upper room to hide out. They had been faithless, they failed often and when the chips were down, they had fled. That was before the resurrection. But let me tell you about the Apostles post-resurrection.
*Peter preached and 3,000 were saved and baptized in one day. He ended up giving his life for the Lord, crucified up-side-down because he felt he was unworthy to die like the Savior.
*After pastoring in Ephesus, at the age of 90, John was boiled in oil as a martyr for Christ, but he survived and was exiled to the island of Patmos where he received the Revelation.
*Thomas took the gospel to India and was run through with a lance in the East Indies.
*Andrew preached to the Scythians [modern day Georgia] and Thracians [modern day Bulgaria], and was crucified, suspended on an olive tree, at Patrae, a town of Achaia [Greece]; and there too he was buried.
*Bartholomew preached in India, where he gave the Indians the Gospel according to Matthew, and was crucified with his head downward, and was buried in Armenia [modern day southern Georgia].
*James the son of Alphaeus, when preaching in Jerusalem, was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried there beside the temple.
*James, the brother of John, According to the Book of Acts, James was killed by Herod, beheaded with a sword
*Philip preached and was executed in what today is eastern Turkey, crucified with his head downward in the time of Domitian, and was buried there.
*Paul was beheaded in Rome for preaching the Gospel.

Acts tells us that these men turned the world up side down!!!

What was the difference? They had known Jesus intimately, but when they saw Him alive after He had spent 6 hours on the cross, His side run through with a spear. Now, He walks through the wall of the upper room and says to them, Peace, be not afraid. These disciples needed a change and they got it!

What made the difference? The power of the resurrection! If He can change these men from wimps to warriors, he can put some steel in your backbone.

If he can roll away a stone and come out alive, He can roll every burden off your shoulders.

If He can walk through a wall assure them everything is more than alright, then I don’t think what you are going through is a big challenge for Him.

4. The Early Church - There was the church before Pentecost, with its 120 members and the church a couple of years after Pentecost with 100,000 members. The difference was the coming of the Holy Ghost upon them.
5. Saul/Paul - There was a marked change from Saul the persecutor and murderer of Christians to Paul, the Apostle who left the greatest footprint on earth of any man in history. The difference was the Damascus road experience where he was struck down to the ground and blinded by the light of Jesus. And then there was the time when he was stoned to death and went to heaven and saw such glorious things that he refuse to elaborate lest someone would have him arrested. He came back to life and was never the same. Talk about a great change!!!
6. Isaiah - There was a change in Isaiah before Isaiah 6, where he saw the Lord high and lifted up and his train (the hem of His robe) filled the temple. And he saw seraphim with 6 wings hovering around the throne of God, And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
And Isaiah went from being a sinful man of unclean lips, dwelling in the midst of an unclean people to being a holy prophet, a man of conviction and holy boldness carrying the Lord’s message to the entire nation.

What made the difference for Isaiah, a man needing a change? He saw God and would never be the same, he would never go back to the old ways. The things of this world no longer held any power or influence or control over him. There was no longer any earthly charm for this man who had seen heaven.

What was the difference for all of these people?

Being an eye witness to the glory of God!

*It changes your perspective from temporal to eternal
*It makes you realize the problems of this world are no match to the power of God
*It helps put things in perspective.
*It helps us in daily outlook and attitude. We don't know what the future holds but we know who holds the future
*It changes things from being worrisome to being confident.
*We go from being defeated to being conquerors
So how do we go about seeing the glory of God? Is that just for Bible people? What do you think?

I suggest four ways of seeing the glory of God:
1) You can see Him in the pages of the Bible
2) You can see his hand at work in your life
3) You can experience the presence of the Holy Spirit
4) You can witness Him in the testimony of other who have seen a great change personally.

But you have to open your eyes. Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to live confidently? Are we ready for a heavenly vision for a Damascus road, for a Pentecost, for some Resurrection power, for a backside of the desert, burning bush?
God wants to reveal Himself to you. He wants you to see His glory. But you’ve got to lift up your eyes above the hood ornament on your car. Above the petty problems you face. Above the things of this life that have no meaning. Look to God for a change that makes a difference, that is eternal, that will impact your life and your eternity!

What a difference you’ve made in my life.
What a difference you’ve made in my life.
You’re my sunshine day and night.
Oh, what a difference you’ve made in my life.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Beware of Unfair Comparisons

2 Cor 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

We are what we are because of the grace of God and our cooperation (or lack of) with that grace.

Because of that, we mustn't compare ourselves with each other. It will cause hard feelings. It will cause us to think that God is unfair, or a respecter of persons.

Instead, we ought to accept our limitations, recognize our assets, trust in God's strength and work as a team to do the work of the Lord.

We shouldn't be comparing our numbers, our talents or results. The Lord is in charge of all that. Ours is to obey completely and serve Him unreservedly.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Paul's Treatise on Missions Giving

Because of the Great Commission, the final instructions of the Lord to His church before His ascension, missions is the paramount assignment of the church. We are commanded to take the gospel to the regions beyond. We cannot all pack up and head overseas to live in a grass hut and eat bugs (some people’s idea of missions), but we can send those who have a special calling and equipping of God to do so.

When it comes to giving to missions, which every Christian should do, Paul gives us the following considerations in II Cor 8:1-11
1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the
churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the
abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of
their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their
power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty
that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the
ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first
gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 6
Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also
finish in you the same grace also. 7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing,
in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love
to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by
commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove
the sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through
his poverty might be rich. 10 And herein I give my advice: for this is
expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be
forward a year ago. 11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there
was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that
which ye have.

1. We need to understand God's grace in the matter of giving, 1
a. He equips us to give
b. He blesses us as we give
2. Understand a mathematical formula, (Abundance of joy + deep poverty) x God's grace = riches of liberality, 2
3. Giving extends from beyond our power (can only mean according to His power), 3
4. There exists an insistence on helping others, 4
5. There must first be an offering of self, 5
6. Godly giving is all of grace, from start to finish, 6
7. We should abound in giving as we would in the other Christian graces (faith, utterance, knowledge, diligence, love), 7
8. Let your love (which is expressed by giving) be sincere, 8
9. As Christ poured Himself out for our enrichment, we should do the same for others, 9
10. Give consistently, with incremental increases according to your faith, 10
11. Missions commitment, set your mind to it, then do it! 11

I hope and pray that you feel the compulsion to get behind the missionaries and the missions program of your church.

Friday, August 26, 2011

God is Faithful (33 years of ministry)

33 years ago, I was sitting at a table in the Field House of Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College, San Dimas, CA. I was busy nervously signing up for my freshman classes. A friend, Rhonda Shook (of the Singing Shooks) introduced me to Bro. Tom McCrary, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Riverside, CA. She knew he needed a music pastor and that I was a music guy, so she would be the head hunting service which brought us together.

On the spot, Bro. McCrary hired me to be his minister of music for the whopping sum of $50 a week, which basically paid for the gas to get back and forth each day from San Dimas to Riverside and to haul PCBBC students to church on Wednesdays and Sundays. I think it also was enough to buy me a couple of grease burgers and fries per week down at the local Greek dive. That place had little TVs on the tables that you fed dimes into. Bible college students were pretty much TV deprived, so it was a popular spot.

For the past 33 years, I have been on this fantastic roller coaster called full time ministry, and what a fun ride it has been! I have to say, I am enjoying it now more than ever, thanks to two wonderful families, mine and the church God has blessed me with.

San Dimas, CA; El Centro, CA; Montrose, CO; East Peoria, IL; Cortez, CO; Ellicott, CO; Mooresville, IN and Lincoln, NE. These have been my places of service over these past 3.3 decades. God has been so faithful to this unworthy, but very grateful servant.

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 1 Tim 1:12

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One Good Turn Deserves Another

2 Cor 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Jesus said:
"As my Father hath sent me, so send I you" Jn 20:21
"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." Matt 10:8
"Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with:" Matt 20:23
"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo,
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matt 28:18-20

Obviously, this Christianity thing has everything to do with being imitators of Christ. In His physical absence, we are His replacements. We are ambassadors for Him in this foreign country. Everything He was while on earth, we are to carry on.

Here, we find that, as Christ came to this world to do the work of reconciliation, we also have been given the ministry of reconciliation.

Interesting, the Greek word for reconciliation is katallagē, pronounced, kat-al-lag-ay', sort of like “catalogue.” It means restore, adjustment, atonement. Therefore, it is our duty to restore people into a right relationship through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Simply stated, our job is to win souls.

Question: you have been assigned a ministry from heaven, how are you coming along on your assignment?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where the Spirit of the Lord is

2 Cor 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

As a preacher, I have often stood behind the pulpit, relishing in the presence of the Spirit as He evidenced Himself in the service. And then, there were those loathsome services where the Spirit was quenched and preaching was akin to pulling teeth.

I see several words in this chapter which cause me to covet the Spirit's presence: Life, countenance, glory, ministration, excelleth, glorious, hope and liberty.

These descriptors all make for a wonderful time in the Lord's house.

There is no set formula for procuring the Lord's presence. The wind bloweth where it listeth. We don't know where it came from or where it goes. Such is the Spirit of God. He moves as He deems necessary. However, it is needful for us do our part in welcoming His presence. I think of the promise of the Lord where He said that if two or three are gathered together in my name, there will I be in the midst of them. We need to gather together, be unified, as they were in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, bathe the services in prayer, have our hearts in the right place, making sure sin is confessed and cleansed.

Humanly speaking, there are a few things we can do to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for the Holy Ghost.

First, we must bathe a service in prayer. Nothing eternal is ever accomplished without a concentrated effort of prayer. Prayer is opening the door, once He knocks, and inviting Him to enter and have free reign.

Second, there must be a submission on the part of the majority of the people. When we line up our desires with His and sacrifice our selfish wishes on the altar of surrender, then He is welcome and active.

Third, we must be careful not to quench Him. As He moves from row to row, heart to heart, each one ought to say yes to God's will. As we turn our eyes upon Him, seeking to please the Lord, we must let the things of the world grow dim and allow the glorious light of the Spirit to flood our souls. Then we must be obedient to Him as that light reveals to us His will.

Fourth, Praise! The Lord inhabits the praises of His children. The more we praise Him, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth, the stronger His presence.

If we provide the Spirit of the Lord an inviting venue for His presence, we could well be rewarded with liberty. Liberty to enjoy church, to witness His power, to experience His presence and to watch Him operate in lives.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Heart of a Pastor

2 Cor 2:1 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? 3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. 5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.

The pastor is, or should be, committed to:
*Salvation of souls
*Security of the sheep (protection of the purity in the body) 3
*Expression of the truth (in love) 4
*Return of the prodigal 7, 8
*Unity of the church 10
*Obedience to the Lord 9
*Defeat of the enemy 11

May God help His true pastors to be faithful and effective in each of these areas of ministry.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Paul's Death Sentence

2Co 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

Who wanted Paul dead?
1. Many of the Jews, his former colleagues. In fact, they did see to it that he was stoned. However, "God...raiseth the dead"
2. The Romans, who imprisoned Paul, first in Jerusalem, then Caesarea, then Rome, where they beheaded him. However, "God...raiseth the dead"
3. Satan wanted this man dead. No other human would impact the world in all of history like this Bible thumper. He had to be silenced. And so, he pulled out all the stops. He saw to it that gangs would lynch him, that storms would sink his ship, that magistrates would jail him, that soldiers would beat him. Yet, "God...raiseth the dead"
4. God, Who struck Saul down on the road to Damascus, ended the life of Saul and raised him to be Paul, the Apostle. "God...raiseth the dead"
5. Paul himself, who said, I die daily, I Cor 15:31. But he is also risen daily to allow Christ to live in him. Gal 2:20.
Indeed, "God...raiseth the dead!

Do you have a death sentence hanging over you? Romans 6 teaches us that the old man is to die and be buried and that we are to be risen again to new life in Christ.

Has your witness so angered the devil and his crowd that they could wish you dead?

Do you despise the works of the flesh so much that you make the daily decision to crucify the flesh and live in the Spirit?

Ah, the blessed death sentence. Now that's living!

Enter In - Steve Green

Nothing chills the heart of man
Like passing through death's gate
Yet to him who enters daily
Death's a glorious fate
Dearly beloved we are gathered here
To be a holy bride
And daily cross death's threshold
To the holy life inside

Enter in, enter in
Surrender to the Spirit's call
To die and enter in
Enter in, find peace within
The holy life awaits you, enter in

The conflict still continues
Raging deep within my soul
My spirit wars against my flesh
In a struggle for control
My only hope is full surrender
So with each borrowed breath
I inhale the Spirit's will for me
To die a deeper death

If mourners should lament
Let them weep for those alive
For only when my will is killed
Can my soul survive

2 Cor 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Never Any Doubt

2 Cor 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen

It is always a huge mistake to doubt God's promises. We mustn't believe the insidious lies of the devil. We each have a choice, in fact, many choices each day as to which we will believe, the lie of the devil or the promise of God.

History, faith and fact all tell us it is safe to trust God. Feeling is what causes us to pause and think of the offer which the devil proffers.

Who are you going to believe today? God's promises are a yes! and an Amen!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Helpers of Your faith

2Co 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

It is a tremendous ministry pastors, teachers, evangelists, and good brothers and sister have for believers who need encouragement in the faith and growth in the Lord.

Iron sharpens iron. These friends in the family of the Lord tend to stretch our faith to match to situations we face. Sometimes that stretching is a bit painful, but oh so needful.

How many times have others cared enough about me to help me along in the faith? They were patient enough to disciple me. They would either overlook the rough edges or have the boldness to help chip them away. They were my helpers in the faith in the areas of music, witnessing, Bible study, preaching, teaching, counseling, etc.

Everybody needs a helper in the faith. If you are a mature believer, there are plenty of newbies who need a spiritual mentor. If you are a babe in Christ, ask your pastor or the one who led you to the Lord to assign you someone who could be your helper in the faith.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Comfort and Consolation

2 Cor 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

A man we know recently came to the Lord. He was scraping the bottom of the barrel in his life. His family is breaking apart and there was nowhere else to turn but to the Lord. Amen! This is exactly what we were praying for, that the events in his life would force him to come to Christ.

Alas, his conversion has not yet improved his family situation. I do know this, life is rough, and sometimes even rougher when we trust Christ. A person, not yet born again is no threat to Satan's kingdom. But once they become a child of God, he becomes their sworn enemy and literally, all hell is going to break lose in their life.

However, in the midst of all these problems, a believer never goes it alone. For we know that the God of all comfort, the Father of mercies comforts us in ALL our tribulation. We, then, are able to comfort others with this same comfort.

If I experience a certain set of difficulties in my life and God gives me consolation and comfort, I am expected to minister to another who is going through similar circumstances. That is my plan of attack in working with my friend.

10 times in these verses, some form of the words comfort and consolation is used. We ought to understand the emphasis that as long as the child of God experiences trouble, he can be assured that he will find God's consolation.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Am What I Am

1 Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Paul was strong to the finish, but not because he ate his spinach!

Paul could say, "I am what I am" because of:
1. Faith.
2. Grace. vs 10
3. The Power of the Resurrection. vs 15
4. Hard work! vss 10, 58
5. Victory. vss 25-28
6. Persecution. vs 30
7. Death to self. vs 31
8. Godly living. vs 34
9. Living in light of the rapture. vs 52
10. Steadfastness. vs 58

Are any of us really what we ought to be? What are you? God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way. Therefore, we are all a work in process. The ten qualities listed above will surely put you on a path to a greater you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gospel Dynamite

1 Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Here, Paul gives us the simplicity of the gospel in just three powerful parts. You could call it the Gospel in a nutshell:
1. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.
2. He was buried.
3. He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

When put in those simple terms, we realize that any one of us is able to believe the gospel, accept the gospel, live the gospel, share the gospel, even preach the gospel.

In Romans, the Apostle tells us that he is not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation. The Greek uses the word Dunamis (Miraculous power) for power. So literally, the gospel is the dynamite of God unto salvation.

Now, most guys love to use explosives. TNT, dynamite gets their juices flowing! Fireworks, home-fashioned bombs, guns, fire, etc. These really excite men, almost turning them back into kids. We like the explosiveness of a powerful car as its engine roars. We love to see the demolition derby as the cars crash into each other. The more violent the hit, the better. We thrill to see a linebacker smash a runner. We call it, "blowing up" the ball carrier. Such is the thrill of power to men.

But what about the power of a dead man bursting forth in victory over the grave! What about Him tossing the massive stone away from the mouth of the cave, the bright flash of light, the empty tomb, the resurrected body?

Oh, the gospel is so simple, yet so powerful. Powerful enough to change lives when nothing else is able. Drunks and derelicts, druggies and dopers come to new life in Christ, changed by the power of the gospel. That which was broken is mended, that which was hopeless is given heaven's breath of new life and a positive future. Such
is the power of the gospel.

Is the gospel real in your life? Look at Gal 2:20, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

There it is, my friend, the power of the gospel available to you so you can live a victorious life. "I am crucified, nevertheless I live." Amen!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

MUTHLABBEN - They that trust in thee

Psalm 9:1-11

Upon Muthlabben, “the death of the son who would carry the name on”
This Psalm was written to be sung in difficult times.

We live in troublesome times, and they are going to get worse. They have to! Prosperity cannot go on unchecked if there is going to be a need for a world economy with a one world currency.

Due to the volatile stock market, one friend of mine lost $26K dollars last week. He is a retiree, not rich, but these were the funds meant to carry him into his golden years. In weeks like last week, retirements, kid’s college funds, etc. begin to dwindle. One man in Mexico lost $10 billion in one day last week!

Our slogan for our ministry for this year is: 1012 A Year of Preparation.
Spiritual, Physical, Emotional and Financial.

That is because, as pastor, I thought it needful for us to be prepared for the worst, which this world is coming to.

So, what if it all comes crumbling down? The economy crashes, gas goes crazy, we have
Hyper-inflation, we lose everything we had in the bank or retirement or savings. What if a person had $50k stashed away and it becomes basically worthless?

“Can’t happen preacher!” Really, tell that to countries like Mexico. A peso used to be worth a quarter, now it is worth nine cents. Can you imagine your paycheck suddenly being worth one-third its value? If you made $6oo a week, now you still make $600 but it will only buy you $200 worth of products or services.

It has happened in many parts of the world and I have no doubt that the powers that be have same thing planned for America.

Soon, in the tribulation period, which I don't plan to stick around to experience, things are going to be so bad that a daily ration of bread will cost a day's wages. See Rev 6:1-6.

So, what is a Christian to do in such difficult times?
1. Vs 1 – Praise the Lord and testify of His great works.
2. Vs 2 – Be glad, rejoice and sing to His name.
3. Vs 4, 7 – Realize that God will take care of you, He will still be on His throne. He will also take care of the bad guys.
4. Vs 8 – Realize that He will minister judgment to the righteous
5. Vs 9 – The Lord will be a refuge for us in the time of trouble.
6. Vs 10 – We will continue to trust God, knowing He will not forsake us!
7. Vs 11 – Same as number one!

Basically, we keep on keeping on. You be faithful in church, witness, study the Word, pray, tithe, help the missionaries.

Hard times can be a real blessing in disguise. We don’t have revival because things are going good. We realize we need the Lord when things are tough. We don’t make positive adjustments in our lives because things are on the up and up. Hard times are what cause us to look up.

I don’t like hard times, but if that’s what it takes to separate the men from the boys and if that’s what gets us on our knees, then so be it!

God help us to prepare for Muthlabben – hard times.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


1 Cor 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the
smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

The local church (there is but one kind of church, and that is local) is likened to a body.

Each member is a body part. Each is necessary. Some are more prominent, some are more feeble. Some suffer, some rejoice, some are comely, some uncomely. Some are honorable while others less honorable. But it takes the sum of the parts to make the whole.

This Lord's day, the parts come together to worship the Lord and to minister to one another. I am not sure what part of the body you are, but I have the feeling if you are absent, the body will not look, or function in completion. Additionally, we’d hate for you to be a lone body part floating around independent of a body!

I hope the body, of which you are a part, will not need an eye patch, a crutch or a wheel chair because you are absent when the body convenes.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Spiritual Gifts

1 Cor 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

I love the study and implementation of the spiritual gifts. Paul
admonishes us not to be ignorant of the gifts that God gives to
believers to serve Him, the church and complete our satisfaction in
our work for Him.

Here are some simple thoughts (would you expect anything but
‘simple’ from me?) concerning spiritual gifts.

1. Every believer has a spiritual gift. Eph 4:7
2. Each gift is important, no gift is to be demeaned.
3. No gifts are to be bragged about.
4. Gifts are given by the Spirit in His wisdom. I Cor 12:11
5. It takes all the gifts being developed and employed by the believers
to mature the church and cause it to run smoothly and efficiently.
6. The believer should find out what his or her gift is/gifts are.
7. Those gifts need to be developed and used to their greatest
8. The use of the gift allows us to fulfill God's purpose and plan for
our lives.
9. Be aware that some of the spiritual gifts are no longer in use
(apostle, tongues, interpretation of tongues, special knowledge, working of miracles, healing) and one has been altered for our dispensation (prophecy).
I Cor 13:8, etc *
10. Tongues are primarily for the edification of the church.

Have you 'detected' your spiritual gifts? There are a number of
spiritual gift tests online, however most of them include tongues.
Simply don't answer the questions concerning tongues and

I encourage you to find out what your gift is, speak with your ministry
leaders and put them to work in regular and active ministry in your

To read more about the spiritual gifts, see I Cor 12 and 13, Rom 12 and Eph 4

Bless you as you serve!

*Please be aware that I am a Christian first and a Bible believer, then a Baptist. Being such, I personally do not subscribe to the use of the 'sign' gifts in our age. I do believe they will be employed once again in the Tribulation period. I believe that tongues were known languages, though possibly unknown to the speaker, and not an ecstatic utterance.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Follow the Leader Who Follows the Leader

1 Cor 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

Not all leaders deserve a following. There are those who usurp a position of leadership but have disqualified themselves by hypocrisy. They may be very dynamic, effective and have a winsome persona, but their lust for power, control, money and/or sex renders them unfit for ministry and leadership. Yes, God forgives, but once one of these birds develops a track record for untrustworthiness, they need to get out of the ministry and get help!

Pastors who exhibit a clear calling from God and who follow the Lord closely are worthy of ministerial authority. For every jaybird who sullies the ministry with their ungodliness, there are hundreds of faithful ministers of the gospel who merit a listenership.

Paul gives us the key. He encourages the Corinthian believers to follow him as he follows Christ. This is not saying that mistakes aren't made. Decisions go awry, judgment calls are missed, tempers flare. This is endemic to the human condition. But the humble servant of God is given to reconciliation and yearns for righteousness.

Find a local church which stays true to the Word of God and whose pastor is a gifted and godly individual who concerns himself with God, ministry, family and soul-winning. Then follow them only as they follow Christ.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Church in the Wildwood

1 Cor 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

Paul employs a great allegory here, relating the local church in Corinth to the local congregation that Moses led in the wilderness.

They all became one body through blood and baptism. New Testament believers are saved by the blood of Christ, they become related by virtue of being born into the family of God. Then they follow the Lord in Baptism which places them into the local church. The wilderness family was baptized in the cloud and by passing through the waters of the Red Sea. Remember, this is an imperfect picture, don't get too bogged down with specifics. Enjoy the general likenesses which Paul is employing.

Pastor Moses was charged with the ministry of leading Israel from bondage in Egypt to the brink of the Promised Land of Canaan. His 40 year stint as leader of the flock included much sorrow, setback, loss and faith-building.

Unfortunately, every adult who began the journey died in the wilderness. There were church squabbles and splits, gainsaying and rebellions. Serpents afflicted gripers. The earth opened to swallow usurpers. Many were the adversaries along the way. Needs arose and God miraculously supplied them. Manna fell from heaven, water appeared from a rock, quail came out of nowhere to meet the physical needs. Shoes and clothing lasted for decades without even becoming threadbare.

The congregation went from having a slave mentality to that of seasoned soldiers.

It was a long, drawn out, growing, 2-steps-forward, 1-step-back affair. But they made it!

Now if that doesn't sound like a Wikipedia summary of most any Gospel preaching church, I don't know what does.

Corinth was such a church. The folks were saved, got baptized, (1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.) and went from victory to crisis to blessing to sin to miracle to rebellion, time and time again.

Like the "Church in the Wildwood", Corinthian church goers all feasted on the same messages, spiritual meat. They had all heard Paul, Cephas and Apollos preach. They were all dunked in the same body of water to show their commitment to Christ, the common faith and their church. Christ was their Savior, their Rock.

But Corinth, like Israel in the wilderness and like many a church today, took opportunities to displease God, allowing the enemy to overthrow them in the wilderness.

So, the Corinthians had the children of Israel as their example to stay on the path, and we have both Corinth and Israel as examples to stay close to the Lord and steer clear of iniquity.

Let us take Paul's advice to not lust after evil things; to not be idolatrous; to avoid fornication; to not tempt the Lord our God; to not murmur against the Lord and His ordained leadership.

Canaan land awaits the faithful church, don’t let this wilderness get to you!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Passion, and a Plan, for the Lost

1Cor 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the
law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak
became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all
men, that I might by all means save some

I know of no one in history as passionate for the salvation of lost souls that Paul. He went to amazing lengths and suffered tremendous deprivation to bring wanderers to the fold. He plotted wisely to gain souls for Christ. He was absolutely consumed with soul-winning.

The strategies Paul employed in bringing people to Christ are impressive. When he first entered a town, he went to the synagogue and started discussions based on local mores and how the Messiah fit into the scheme. He looked for openings and burst through them with Spirit power.

He never met a soul that didn't get a witness. Especially impressive was his ability to converse intelligently with just about anybody on any subject. It encourages us to acquire useful knowledge and be able to turn it into conversation starters leading to the message of the gospel.

Being all things to all men that by all means we might save some does not mean that we are chameleon in character. It means that we are well read and readily aware of how we might get the conversation going that will lead to a witness.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity of riding a new Road King Police Model Harley to the Hell's Angel's club house in El Cajon, CA (San Diego). Knowing that we would be witnessing there, I packed my "Stolen from the Lincoln Police Department" t-shirt, hoping that it might open up a conversation. It did! For a good ten minutes, I was able to witness to a lady and a friend of the bikers just outside the front door. We had a great visit and she was turned on to Christ! Guess how the conversation got started? "I love your t-shirt" she said as I was backing the bike up to the curb. I was glad that God gave me the wisdom to pack that shirt. I was also happy to be able to talk of the gang and bikes without being judgmental to her.

All things to all men!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Concern for Others Trumps our own Preferences

1Cor 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

Paul, a very strong personality and the champion of Christian liberty was very careful to consider the convictions, yea, even the preferences of others.

Though he knew that liberty allowed him to follow the principles he was led to believe, he treasured Christian unity as a higher goal.

In Ephesians 4:3 he wrote, "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

The word endeavor means to work at something, to strive for.

God would have us to set aside lesser concerns for the sake of unity in the church. I love the words of the Psalmist:
Psalms 133:1-3 A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Married, Dating and Single, Part 2

Yesterday, I posted a blog entitled, Paul’s letter to the Married, Dating and Single. Today, I will offer my summary of I Corinthians 7. Please have the chapter open and available as you read.

-No inappropriate touching, especially that which would heighten passions. vs 1

-Husbands and wives should see to it that their mates are satisfied. If they are well taken care of home, there will be less temptation elsewhere. vss 2-5

-Singles should focus their minds, passions and energies on the service of the Lord, however, if they are distracted by physical need, they must meet, properly court and marry, but only with other believers. vss 7-9

-Married couples must remain in the state of matrimony, even if it is an unequal yoke. The believer must do everything possible to make the marriage the very best they can. vss 10-16

-Once a separation occurs, reconciliation is to be sought, or the believer should remain single. vs 11

-If a lost mate abandons the Christian partner and reconciliation cannot occur because the lost has been unfaithful, the believer is free to remarry, but only in the Lord. vss 15, Mt 19:9

-The blessings of the Lord can abide upon an unequally yoked marriage if the saved partner lives an exemplary testimony. vs 14. 16

-Marriage is a calling of the Lord, as can be singleness, and as such, ought to be honored. vss 17-24

-In regards to virgins (that is, singles seeking to please their Lord), they must remain pure. vs 26

-Virgins may marry, but marriage brings its own set of difficulties. In other words, it may be better to be single wishing you were married, than to be married wishing you were single! vs 28

-Whether married or single, we all need to serve the Lord as if we were single and unencumbered, never-the-less, the married must act responsibly. vss 29-35

-A believer must comport himself according to his/her ability to control their passions. If they are able to date and be pure, honoring both God and body, then they can remain single. But if they are having trouble containing themselves, then they should marry. A conflict in this area is a distraction. vss 36-38

-A divorcee should remain single (with the exception of adultery or abandonment) or be reconciled to their spouse. Death of one partner nullifies this, of course. vss 39, 40

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Paul's letter to the Married, Dating and Single

1Cor 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

I Corinthians 7 is the standard for dating, marriage and related matters. Christians need look no further than this chapter to learn how to conduct themselves properly in issues of the heart and body.

The Corinthians of this church were a carnal bunch living in the midst of a corrupt culture. Similar to much of today's Christianity, the Corinthian believers were saved but merely relabeling their sins. They were dragging more of the world into the church than any other body of believers in the New Testament. They had come out of the world, but not all the way. In fact, some of their sins caused even the lost to blush.

Sexual sins tend to be some of the most insidious, destructive and disqualifying. So here, Paul addresses the mess the Corinthians were making of their lives and their church.

Corinthian society was rife with all manner of sexual sin; prostitution, fornication and adultery. Even the cultic religious practices incorporated sexual sin as an act of "worship."

Churches of our day are plagued with sin defying God's guidelines for sexual behavior. I Corinthians 7 clearly defines how Christians are to comport themselves in matters of sexual purity and fulfillment. It would do all of us good to re-acquaint ourselves with these guidelines.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Glorifying God in our Bodies

1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your
own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's

I am very conscientious about our church building. I feel as if I am the chief steward of the edifice God has given us in which to worship Him corporately. I don't allow things to enter which would dishonor His house. I take great strides to make sure it is clean and in good repair. A dirty, run-down church is a poor testimony.

Likewise, this body that houses our soul is the least important of the 3 parts which make up our beings. Spirit, soul and body. However, it is the part everyone else sees. It is hard for the Lord to be glorified in our bodies when our bodies are broken due to neglect, sin or abuse. We cannot allow the body to be wasted through carelessness and misuse. Once the body has fallen into disrepair, the soul and spirit are greatly hindered also.

Our enemy attacks us in many ways, but one way he can get to us is through sickness. If we constantly overeat, or if our immune systems are ineffective because we have run ourselves ragged, or if we weaken our flesh by ingesting harmful substances, we are going to suffer in our flesh. Once this takes place, the enemy has a foothold and we will fail in other areas of our constitution. Prayer, church attendance, study, visitation and soul-winning all wane once our health breaks. We find ourselves not being able to concentrate on areas of Christian discipline if we are concerning ourselves with sickness and pain.

Therefore, we should be more careful to treat our bodies, the temples of the Holy Spirit with care and respect.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Preaching of the Cross, the Power of God

1Cor 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

I have always wished I were much more gifted in getting the message of the gospel across to people one on one. I feel so inadequate in expressing the story of Jesus' love and the necessity of the cross.

In my mind, it is all so clearly evident. Jesus died, the innocent being the payment for the guilty. He was buried and then He rose again. Simple faith and trust in what Jesus did bring about free salvation and makes the difference between an eternity in hell and forever in glory. How simple is that?

But forming the words to a lost man can sometimes be as frustrating as getting a fat cow through a narrow chute. If you are having trouble with that analogy, perhaps this would be better, frustrating as pulling a Baptist away from an all-you-can-eat buffet!

The problem is that the lost man cannot grasp simple eternal truths. I Cor 2:14, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The fact is, most people want to make salvation way too hard. Jesus said that a person has to come to Him in child-like faith in order to be saved. But an unsaved person wants his intellect to be employed so that he can somehow make a mental ascent to God. Nope! Simple belief is sufficient.

And so, the hell bound pooh-poohs the work of the cross. "It just can't be that simple - there has to be more to it."

I thank God that I was just simplistic enough to just trust that what the Bible said about Christ's atonement for me was sufficient. That's why that call the preaching of the cross, "God's simple plan of salvation."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Spiritual Gifts - Problem or Blessing?

1 Cor 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

The Corinthian church devolved into a mess, and therefore Paul had to write them to set things straight. They had divided loyalties about leadership. They were suing each other in court. There was rampant sexual sin within the church and the list goes on. Misuse of spiritual gifts were also a problem in the church at Corinth. He did not write them to discourage or divide, but to tell them the truth and set things in order so that the church could be the lighthouse it needed to be. After all, he started that church in the face of much personal persecution and peril. He owed it to them to tell the truth and they owed it to him to read and head.

Members were parroting the pagan religion of the region by ecstatically babbling on in unintelligible languages. Paul was writing to explain spiritual gifts and to instruct them in their practical use in the body. See chapters 12-14. He let them know right off here in chapter one that the true spiritual gifts were real and from God, and if they were from God, there was no reason for division or blame. He would go on to explain that tongues were foreign languages, and if used in church were to be for the purpose of winning the lost that were present who spoke those languages, notably Jews. If they were to speak these languages in church, they were to interpret what was being said, and that only men were to give the gospel in the foreign language.

I have just addressed a complex issue in a nutshell form, but suffice it to say that God has gifted His church and his children for the purpose of unity and functionality, not to divide. If God were to enable a person to speak in a real foreign language to give the gospel to the lost and all the guidelines were followed, then glory to God. However, the use of modern "speaking in unknown tongues" is divisive and of the devil and is not a practice to be employed by Bible believing Christians.

Monday, August 1, 2011

God is Faithful!

1 Cor 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

This simple statement is a great blessing! How blessed we are who have known a faithful spouse, served with faithful brothers or have been blessed with faithful friends. But even at their best, they are merely human and by default, are sometimes disloyal.

It is hard for our minds to grasp that our God is consistently faithful. Satan tells us He is not. "Yea, hath God said?" is the ancient lie told countless millions of times each day. He wants to impeach the character of God in the minds of His people.

But it doesn't matter what lies he tells or what we think, God remains always faithful.

In these few verses, we note that He is faithful in:
*His calling, vs 1. "The gifts and callings of God are without repentence." (revocation). Rom 11:29
*His will, vs 1. "The will of the Lord be done." Acts 21:14
*His sanctification, vs 2. Heb 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
*His grace, vs 3, 4. James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
*His peace, vs 3. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:
*His riches, vs 5. Phil 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
*His gifts, vs 7. James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
*His confirmation, vs 8. Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!