Friday, September 30, 2011

This Might be the Very Last Day!

1 Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Rev 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

Mat 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

1 Thess 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a
shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and
remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet
the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Last night, Jeremiah and I attended Rosh Hashanah services at America’s oldest standing synagogue, the Touro Synagogue or Newport, Rhode Island. It is an orthodox synagogue with mostly non-observing congregants. Go figure! That’s a story in and of itself. Never the less, these kind Jewish folks were good enough to let us participate in the teaching and Q and A session beforehand, as well as the services.

We learned that, for the past month, leading up to these high holy days, the shofar has sounded each day. Today, the last trumpet will sound!!! Did you get that?

Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful if that last blast from the last trump sounded and the next thing we heard was a voice from heaven calling our names and saying “Come up hither!”?

The next face we would see would be that of our Savior meeting us in the clouds with our departed loved ones!

Let us live today as if it may be our last. Indeed, it may!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

One if by Land

Praise God for the wonderful finish of the Baptist Bible Fall meeting in Boston! The Old North Church was the venue, the atmosphere was electric, the Holy Spirit was present and all the people were blessed.

Dan Weaver, missionary to Belize brought a tremendously inspirational message from Romans 1 about Paul's passion for getting the gospel to Rome.

Linzy Slayden, current BBF President, preached a powerful message about Pentecost and the Holy Spirit.

The old church house rang with the old hymns as voices lifted praises heavenward past the historic steeple. These blessed old songs were accompanied by the oldest working organ in America.

Now, it is back to work for all the preachers as they translate these blessings into soul winning and delivering the Word back home.

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,–
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse’s side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Old South RIngs Again

Last night's venue for the Baptist Bible Fellowship Fall meeting was at the historic Old South Meeting House of Boston. Old South is the Puritan house of worship where 5000 angry colonists gathered to form the Boston Tea Party.

George Whitfield thundered from this same pulpit. Ben Franklin was baptized in this place. 350 years here have witness historic and controversial speakers.

Last evening was a time of worship and feasting from God's Word. Jesus was lifted up in song and sermon.

It was a tremendous blessing and privilege to participate.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Glorious Meeting

Last night, my son Jeremiah and I were treated to an "off the charts" service in Boston's historic Faneuil Hall. The Holy Ghost was all over the fellowship, the preaching and the music. We also sensed the spirit of historical America, patriotism and God's hand upon our nation's past.

Dr. Paige Patterson and Missionary Tim Downs thrilled us with some great preaching that stirred every soul present.

I was overwhelmed to realize, as these men were preaching, that Most of our forefather's thundered forth in this same venue even before our nation was a nation. Also interesting to me was to see the busts of two of my forebears rested directly behind the speakers, those of John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

May God continue to bless this meeting hosted by Boston Baptist College and directed by my friend, Dave Melton.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Somebody Died for Me

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

They looked to John as the possible Messiah. He spoke truth, his message was powerful, he was hugely popular, his results were powerful.

But he told those who questioned him, "You've got the wrong man." "The One you are looking for is on the way, I am just paving the way."

As wonderful as John was, and he was as good as they come, in fact, Jesus said in Matt 11:11 that they didn't come any better, John needed a Savior too. When his cousin was coming to be baptized of him in the Jordan, he proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John was included in that number of sinners needing salvation. That's why he told the Lord that he had need to be baptized of Jesus.

The fact is, Jesus came to die for me, and He came to die for His cousin John also. Although John did die for Jesus under the hand of Herod, he trusted in what Jesus would do for him as his Messiah.

Speaking of Him dying for us and taking our place, please watch this to the end, you will be blessed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Humble Art of Contrition.

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Good leaders can only come from good followers. Nobody appreciates "educated idiots," those who come right out of some school and, because of a sheepskin, get to be the boss on their first day at work. Rather, people respect the one who comes up through the ranks, earning his or her lumps.

The one who knows both how to be abased and how to be exalted is deserving of his position because he first paid his dues, respected his superiors and submitted to authority and learned how to lead.

The best training for leadership is good "followship." Submission is key to this education. Submission when you don't feel like it. Submission when what the leader says doesn't make sense. Submission when you don't agree.

It is only reasonable that the younger submit to the elder, that we each practice submission to one another and mostly, that we submit ourselves under the mighty hand of God.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Positive Benefits of Suffering

1Pe 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

I admit it, I am a wimp! I have a very low tolerance for suffering. It sure is good to know that some good things come about as a result of (the right kind of) suffering:

1. It knocks off the rough edges, vss 1&2
2. When you suffer, you are in good company, 13
3. It yields eternal rewards, 13
4. You get to glorify God in your suffering, 15
5. You will experience God's faithfulness throughout your suffering, 19

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Loving Life and Having Great Days

1Pe 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1Pe 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
1Pe 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
1Pe 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

If you are like me, you have some really good days where everything seems to go right. Then there are those other days you would like to redo. Peter says that if we want to love live and see good days, there are some things we can do:

1. Be right with your mate 1-7
2. Have a good relationship with your church family - 8
3. Show compassion, love people like a good brother, show pity, be nice. - 8
4. Don't feel the need to get even. - 9
5. Be a blessing - 9
6. Keep your tongue, season your words with grace - 10
7. Hate evil - 11
8. Do good - 11
9. Be a peacemaker - 11
10. Live righteously and pray - 12

Have a good and godly day, my friend!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bringing a Lost Husband to the Lord

1Pe 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Christianity, though it is a faith for all, does seem to have more women adherents sans spouses than men without their wives sharing the faith. This is because men tend to be more self-sufficient and individualistic. Machismo keeps a lot of men from casting their cares upon the Lord.

Christian women everywhere pray that their husbands come to faith in Christ. Peter gives them a few advantageous ways to make Christianity commodious for their men.

1. Be in subjection. Men despise that which undermines their perceived headship of the home. A wife, who claims Christ as Savior, but is at odds with her husband in neutral matters and will not honor her husband, has a husband who is not likely to be attracted to her belief system. Please realize, sister in Christ, that he WILL BE testing you on this, FREQUENTLY and probably over a LONG period of time.

2. Guard your Walk. Your husband is "beholding your conversation." That is, he is watching your testimony. Though he may be looking for an opportunity to say "aha!" he needs to see that you are consistent in your faith. Satan would love nothing more than to get him thinking that you are smitten with some guy at the church, or that the church is pulling you away from him. Constantly reaffirm that you are committed to him as husband and Christ as Savior.

3. Talk Properly. Peter says that our conversation must be tempered with care. Our words should be chosen with care so as to not offend unnecessarily.

4. Dress Appropriately. Dress admirably for your husband, modestly for the Lord, appropriately for the job, and carefully for the world.

You may have not trusted the Lord on the first occasion of being presented with the Gospel. Neither will he so so. He needs to know that your faith makes you a better wife and a better person. He wants to see your faith translate into improved skills with the children, the community, the kitchen and, dare I say it, the bedroom. These are the things that, hopefully, will bring a good Christian's husband to the Lord.

Because he presently “obeys not the Word”, you are the Bible in shoe leather to him and you are God's primary witness to bring him to Christ. Pray daily for his salvation, look for open doors to witness to him. Be VERY patient. Don't cajole, don't complain, don't whine, don't belittle. Be in subjection, be careful, be real, have character, keep on loving and caring. Be not weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap, if you faint not.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Surviving the Tough Times

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Helen Keller was a different kind of person. At 19 months she became both blind and deaf, because of a disease, probably meningitis.

Anne Sullivan arrived at Keller's house in March 1887, when Helen was 7, and immediately began to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand, beginning with "d-o-l-l" for the doll that she had brought Keller as a present. Keller was frustrated, at first, because she did not understand that every object had a word uniquely identifying it. Keller's big breakthrough in communication came the next month, when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on the palm of her hand, while running cool water over her other hand, symbolized the idea of "water"; she then nearly exhausted Sullivan demanding the names of all the other familiar objects in her world.

When introduced to Christianity, she said, "I always knew He was there, but I didn't know His name! Though her politics were as radical as can be, never the less, she acknowledged the Lord as her Savior.

Speaking out of her own deep suffering and experience: "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. Helen Keller

You are going through the fire. You don't know if you can keep going. Money's tight, times are hard, relationships are strained, health is broken. You have had an unbroken string of setbacks. You are discouraged, wondering if all is lost, hang in there friend, God knows right where you are and is closely monitoring your situation.

Perhaps the devil has put you into the furnace, but you need to know that God has his hand on the thermostat!

Friday, September 16, 2011

What are You Feeding On?

1 Pet 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

How bitter is the taste of malice? How distasteful is guile? How acrid is hypocrisy? How unpleasant the flavor of envy? What kind of pungent aftertaste must evil speaking leave?

Yet, our Lord provides a feast for us in His Word; sincere milk, pure water, strong meat, honey in the honeycomb.

Why any professed believer would choose the poisonous over the precious at spiritual dinnertime is beyond me. It puts me in mind of the old movies when some old codger would take a long swig of some nasty moonshine from an old jug, gyrate in pain as the firewater burns his gullet, then he finally recovers and declares, "Now that's some good stuff!" Oh sure, put me down for a couple of jugs!

Come and dine, the Master calleth, come and dine.
You may feast at Jesus' table all the time.
He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
To the hungry calleth now, oh, come and dine?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When Suffering: Hang in There, Jesus did!

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Speaking out of her own deep suffering and experience: "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. Helen Keller

You are going through the fire. You don't know if you can keep going. Money's tight, times are hard, relationships are strained, health is broken. You have had an unbroken string of setbacks. You are discouraged, wondering if all is lost, hang in there friend, God knows right where you are and is closely monitoring your situation. Perhaps the devil has put you into the furnace, but you need to know that God has his hand on the thermostat!

Saint Peter speaks to a situation just like yours. If you are a believer know the following things are true:

*God will keep you by His unfailing power.
*Even though times are hard, rejoice! You are being tempered to become a better person through your trials.
*If you stay true to God through it all, you will receive praise and honor and glory when Christ appears.

Friend, God loves you so much. He would never forsake you. He has your best interests at heart. But you have to cooperate with His plan and stay faithful to Him. Here are some hints to help you over the rough time:

1. Don't lose faith. Though you can't see Him through the flames, He is still there watching you, loving you, protecting you. He knows and has planned the end of your suffering and the results that will bring glory and honor.

2. Don't do anything foolish, such as lay out of church, quit supporting your church, quit reading the Word, give in to temptation.

3. Pray like it is your only hope - it is!

4. Get filled with the Holy Spirit. As His presence fills you, you will have a joy in the midst of trials, a peace that passes understanding, and a strength that is super human.

5. Be patient. As is true of all the problems you have ever faced, "This too shall pass." So many people give up too soon. The resolution to their dilemma was just around the bend when they threw in the towel.

There is a reason for whatever you are going through, but there is a season. Seasons change. Winter passes and Spring blooms. The Summer heat dissipates and Autumn brings its relief. You are going through a season, and it is for a reason.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wishes for the Elect Lady - the Church

2Jn 1:1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

John, the Elder's wishes for his church:
*The Truth, which dwells in us and shall be with us forever (2,4)
*Grace, mercy and peace (3)
*Love for each other (5,6)
*Caution (8-11)
*Complete joy (12)

May each Bible-preaching, God-loving, Soul-winning church possess all of the above.

The Elder

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We Serve A Great Big, Wonderful God!

In first John, we find four occasions where God is counted as greater. God is greater than:

1. Our sin 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

2. Our hearts 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

3. He that is in the World 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

4. The witness of men 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

Love and serve our superlative God this day! Have confidence in the One who is greater than any foe or circumstance.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Prayer for 9/11

Lord, the mayor of NYC doesn’t want anyone praying at their ceremonies this morning.
But Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” so we are praying this morning.

The mayor wants no clergy preaching messages of hope, because he wants to be politically correct, he does not want anyone to be offended.

But we here are commanded to preach the gospel, so we will be preaching a message of hope in your house today. We worry more about offending heaven than we do about offending those who would bring hurt, harm and danger to our nation. Firefighters, law enforcement and first responders aren’t welcome at ground zero today, but they are welcome here.

Take notice, Lord, that we seek to humble ourselves before you on this anniversary of tragedy. We are praying the best we know how. We seek to behold your face today. We want to see the Shekinah glory of Jehovah. We, your children here in your house turn from our wicked ways and that which would displease you.

Hear us today, heal our land, forgive us our sins, and God, bless America!

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Is America Doomed? Trust in the Lord!

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:2

On the eve of 9/11, America is bracing for an Al Qaeda attack on New York or Washington. Intel warns that it could be a dirty car bomb carried out by 3 members, 2 of whom may be US citizens. A couple of nights ago, a serious and suspicious power outage hit Southern California, Northern Baja and Yuma, AZ, putting over 4 million people in the dark during a severe heat wave. The East Coast was bombarded by yet another rain storm leaving deadly floods in its wake. Hurricanes Maria and Nate are on their way from the Atlantic. All of this on the heels of a sizeable earthquake centered in Northern Virginia and rattling Washington, DC, NYC, Philadelphia and Boston.

The American economy is tanking. Our nation is so far in debt that it will never recover. Bankruptcy is looming. It seems that it may soon collapse. We fear hyper-inflation and sky-rocketing gas prices. The loss of Social Security, Medicare, the US Postal Service and our retirement portfolios are imminent.

Folks, America seems to be in the cross hairs of an historic demise. Do these crises merit a spiritual introspection? Can we continue to blame the political party from the other side of the all for all these problems? Do natural disasters emanate from poor political policies? Obviously, we have got to humble ourselves, hit our knees, repent of our sins, and seek God’s face.

Even if all does go south, the person that puts his trust in the Lord will have all the promises in the Book available and applicable to him.

Friday, September 9, 2011

This is a Faithful Saying

Faithful sayings are those tried and true quips and quotes that you can take to the bank. They have loyally served generations with character-building wisdom, faith reinforcement and time-tested wisdom.

The Scriptures are packed with faithful sayings, such as the proverbs, the words of Jesus and the admonitions of the prophets.

Four times the Apostle Paul uses this wording, “This (it) is a faithful saying…”

Let’s take a look at these instances.

*1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

*1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

*2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

*Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

What do we find out from these faithful sayings?
1. Jesus came to this world to save us
2. Godliness is profitable both in this life and in eternity
3. The crucified life is the most blessed life
4. A believer’s good works accomplish much

Something on which to meditate!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9/11 and Thoughtless PC Mayor Bloomberg

9/11 and the Thoughtless Mayor

2 Chron 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Mayor Bloomberg of NYC will be leading the 9/11 memorial on 10th anniversary of the great American tragedy this Sunday. He has declared that firefighters and law enforcement cannot attend. The ceremony is only for families of the victims of 9/11. Clergy and their prayers are also not welcome at the ceremony, they could prove to be too provocative. Now, the American Hatetheists are griping that the steel girders which stood in the rubbish with the appearance of a cross must go. It somehow breaches the “separation clause.”

I have an idea. Perhaps the firefighters and law enforcement personnel could have their own ceremony later on in the day, invite some rabbis, priests, preachers and imams to offer prayers and hold the ceremony in front of the cross. Oh, and don’t invite Mayor Bloomberg!

Bloomingberger denied admission to firefighters and law enforcement because he says there is only room for the families of the victims. He doesn’t seem to realize that the first responders were victims of the 9/11 and their brethren who remain are indeed families of the victims.

Mayor McBurgler doesn’t want clergy around provoking his Jewish, atheist and Muslim friends with their Christian bigotry. Religion apparently has no part to play in memorializing those who lost their lives on the fateful day. I wonder if he would have uninvited the chaplains who died on 9/11 ministering to the dying souls. And those insidious crosses that stood there in the rubble giving inspiration in the midst of horror and tragedy, they are almost as provocative as that American flag that waved over that gruesome scene. I am surprised some group isn’t petitioning that that flag is not welcome at the site also.

God help NYC, God help America! Some of us still respect the first responders, still revere the cross and still respond to the call of prayer.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Brothers and Others, Misters and Sisters.

1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. 3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.

Please read all of I Tim 5 and 6

Relationships! Relationships with one another, with God, with the church. This is a vital aspect of our Christian walk.

Paul expertly lays out how people should be treated in regards to their situation in life. He considers a vast array of different types of church members such as the pastors, the elderly, widows, nieces and nephews, young women, the married, the single, bosses, employees.

He address gossips, philanderers, the shiftless, etc. He lays down principles for use of the church treasury, dealing with problems in the church, church discipline and ordinations.

This is compelling to me as a pastor because this letter is to a pastor from his pastor, instructing him about handling all the situations that arise in the course of practical church ministry.

We are not left to fly by the seat of the pants in church and relational matters, but we are given these principles as a guide to good church governance and people skills.

Praise the Lord for these pastoral epistles!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Honoring Elders and Others

1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. 3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.

I know of a pastor who had his clock cleaned by a lady in his church very recently. She believed she was doing what the Lord would have her to do and I think the pastor accepted it graciously. Lord knows, we pastors have our flaws and could use a little humility lesson from time to time.

This post is by no means "sour grapes." I just thought it interesting that I came across this verse while the incident was still so fresh on my mind.

The word "elder" here, refers not only to an older man, a senior by chronology, but to a presbyter. (presbuteros) That is a pastor. I believe church folk need to be careful about calling a pastor on the carpet about an issue, especially when that person is not fully aware of the whole story.

To rebuke means to chastise. It is a strong word, a stronger action. The flesh is quick to want to rebuke others and the flesh is also very loathsome of receiving chastisement. A spiritual person wrestles greatly with the duty to speak truth in love. Likewise, a spiritual person humbly considers their rebuke and accepts it for his or her own growth. It hurts for a person to be taken to the wood shed by other fallible people who are laden with their own hypocrisy. It even stings when the rebuke comes from a godly saint because none of us care to have our flaws exposed to the light of truth.

But a pastor? Here, we are dealing with an elder. If he is seeking God's will and has at heart the very best for his sheep, if he has good reason for doing what he did yet gets lambasted by one of the sheep? Well, sometimes matters like this are best left up to the Holy Spirit.

I can think of about 3 times in my 36 years of being a Christian and a church member that I have mildly rebuked, actually, merely fact-corrected, any of my pastors. Even then, my heart was smitten that I had taken it upon myself to correct the God-called man.

Personally, I don't take lightly our verse for today, nor the Old Testament admonition to "touch not mine anointed, neither do my prophets any harm."

If you ever find yourself in a position of needing to rebuke or of being rebuked, please be filled with the Spirit and pray for God's wisdom to accept your responsibility with godliness, humility and love.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old Wives' Fables

1 Tim 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

This verse has always cracked me up. My mother's folks came over on a boat from the old country almost a hundred years ago and Grandma Schleiger was full of them.

They included:
-don't open an umbrella in the house, it will cause bad luck.
-if a bird flies into the house, someone is going to die. If two fly in, or even try to get in by flying agaist the glass, then two people will die.

Some of the other maxims of old include:
-Ice cream leads to nightmares.
-Toes pointed up signify low blood sugar.
-High heart rates lead to female fetuses.
-If you step on a crack you'll break your mother's back/step on a line and break your mother's spine.
-Breaking a mirror will earn a person seven years of bad luck.
-Don't swallow gum or it will stay in your stomach for seven years.
-Various other stories, all resulting in "seven years" of something.
-Don't make silly faces or your face will stay that way forever.

Today, the internet is rife with urban legends, which kind of fall into a related category.

It is best for those who minister to stick with the true and simple gospel message and exercise ourselves unto godliness.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Characteristics of the Latter Times
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Characteristics of the Latter Times:
1. Apostasy (forsaking the true faith)
2. Heeding seducing spirits
3. Following doctrines of devils
4. Lying and hypocrisy
5. Seared consciences
6. Marital impropriety
7. Vegetarianism

Sorry for those of you who preach against eating red meat. :<)

If we can read these desriptors and not see how near to the end we are, we are spiritually blind. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Prayers For All

1 Tim 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

We are encouraged to pray four types of prayers: Supplications (requests), prayers (earnest oratories to God), intercessions (prayers on behalf of others) and giving of thanks.

These four types of prayer are to be made on behalf of all men. That is, all categories of people; neighbors, friends, family, church folks, the saved, the lost, missionaries, pastors, the sick and afflicted, the military, our governmental leaders, etc.

These prayers don't only benefit those for whom we pray, but also the ones doing the praying. We are told to do so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

It is also pleasing to God that we should pray in this manner. It is good and acceptable in His sight, for He wills that all would be saved and know the truth.

Have you earnestly prayed today? Have a blessed time in conversation with the Lord.