Friday, August 30, 2013

This is What Grace People Do

Gal 5

Grace People...
*Stand fast in Liberty 1
*Wait for the Hope of Righteousness by Faith  5
*Run Well by Obeying the Truth  7
*Serve one another by Love  13, 14
*Live and Walk in the Spirit  16, 25
*Crucify the Flesh  24

Law People, on the other hand...
*Are entangled in the yoke of the law's bondage  1
*Dis-annul Christ's work for us   2-4
*Stumble and are hindered by disobedience to the truth  7
*Are persuaded by the wrong voices  8
*Are spoiled by the leaven of other law keepers  9
*Are troubled by them  12
*Bite and devour other believers  15
*Fulfill the lusts of the flesh, they have no power to do otherwise  16-21
*Are Desirous of vain glory, provoking others and are envious of others  26

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

God Approved!

2 Cor 6:4  But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5  In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6  By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7  By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8  By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9  As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10  As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Many ministers in the US have it made. I must confess, I have it relatively cushy. For some of us American preachers there is more play than pray, more beach than preach. We spend more on one outfit of clothes than some men make in an entire year in a third world county. We seem to be off more than on. We visit the coffee shops more than we do the lost. While we sweat over grounds-keeping, unknown brothers continents away languish in prison for the faith. God, grant that our easy ministries find some modicum of approval in the heavens!

When rewards are passed around, we may well be surprised to see pastors of African churches, which meet under a tree, first in line for a crown. Persecuted believers, on earth praying for one day of relief from the heavy hand of despotic governments or intolerant religion, will experience such a vast difference of station in glory that heaven will be all that and more. Whereas, many of us easy-going believers, with our country club mentalities, will find heaven not that big of a deal. We have been enjoying our Utopian Nirvana already. 

Please don't misunderstand, I am not asking for a tougher life, nor do I wish persecution on my family or my church. I enjoy the high life of the 2-percenters here in the good ol’ US of A. But I had better realize that to whom much is given, much is also required. That's why we pour our $$$ into missions. That's why we volunteer in civic and other organizations to help others. That's why we willingly do without many of the amenities so that we can travel to see and assist these believers who know too well penury and persecution. And yet, we seek no other approval than the Master's.

Paul sets forth his case for being approved of God, and, a convincing case it is!

*in much patience,
*in afflictions,
*in necessities,
*in distresses,
*in stripes,
*in imprisonments,
*in tumults,
*in labours,
*in watchings,
*in fastings;
*by pureness,
*by knowledge,
*by longsuffering,
*by kindness,
*by the Holy Ghost,
*by love unfeigned,
*by the word of truth,
*by the power of God,
*by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
*by honour and dishonour,
*by evil report and good report:
*as deceivers, and yet true;
*as unknown, and yet well known;
*as dying, and, behold, we live;
*as chastened, and not killed;
*as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing;
*as poor, yet making many rich;
*as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Yes, Paul and his cohorts are deserving of any accolade man could bestow. And, I am sure Heaven will be kind in its appreciation of their labors. I just hope I am not so far removed from the emerald throne that I cannot see his rewards conferred.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Bit of Jesus with that Whine?

Whining is Unbecoming of a Believer

Read II Cor 4:17 and II Cor 5

Whatever crosses we are called to bear will soon be exchanged for a crown of glory. Our trials are temporary, our glory is eternal. Our afflictions are but a moment, our awards are monumental.

*We should not whine about our station in life - We will soon be promoted to kings and priests for Him.

*We should not whine about our problems in life - The trumpet call or the funeral dirge will alleviate every one of them.

*We should not whine about our finances in life - We are going to a place where bill-collectors cannot enter.

*We should not whine about our health in life - For no sickness of death is welcome in Glory.

*We should not whine about our wounded feelings in life - There, it is all about Him, not us!

So, let's do a lot less whining and a lot more glorying in our imminent future. That is, unless your future is an out of the frying pan and into the fire proposition! In which case...get saved!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Forces coming against and working for the Christian

I find this list both troubling and comforting. Paul was so well acquainted with the full spectrum of good and bad, +/-, ups and downs, blessings and cursings. I have a sneaking suspicion that you may also be the recipient of all the forces listed below.

Stuff happens, that's for sure. But God overrules with His forces of good.

II Cor 1:2-10

Grace 2
Peace 2
Blessing 3
Comfort 3, 4, 5, 6
Tribulation 4
Trouble 4, 8   (pressed out of measure, above strength)
Suffering 5-7
Affliction 6
Consolation 5-8
Salvation 6
Endurance 6
Hope 7
Despair 8
Death 9
Deliverance 10

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

God is Faithful!

1 Timothy 1:12  And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13  Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 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.

35 years ago this week, I was sitting at a round table in the gym of Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College, filling out my class schedule.

I packed my duds in my ’73 Nova and moved from Montrose, Colorado, population 7,000 (salute!) to LA, an area of 12 million souls.

-New Testament Survey, Professor Shrader – check
-English, Professor Shrader – check
-Theology 1, Professor Shrader – check
-Missions, Professor Baskin – check
-OT Survey, Professor Harju – check
-Personal Evangelism, Professor Guess – check

Way heavy on Professor Shrader, let me tell you!!!

About then, an old friend, Rhonda Shook, of the Singing Shook Family approached and said, “Gary, I have someone who wants to meet you.” She introduced me to Pastor Tom McCreary of Grace Baptist Church, Riverside, CA. He said he needed a music director right away and hired me…$50 a week! That was about enough to pay for the gas that I spent getting there every day, my tithe, and a hamburger on Sunday nights at the San Dimas Greek greasy spoon with the little table TVs that ran on dime power (which I couldn’t afford).

And that was it, friends, my start in full time ministry.

It has been a “never a dull moment” 35 years since. I can only give credit to God for His faithfulness and a challenge that my dad threw my way in the beginning, “It will never last” for me still preaching all these years later.

So next month, I turn double nickels, 55.  Where my wife works, when your years of service and your age total 85, you get to retire, get a good pension and take it easy. Where I work, when your years of service and your age equal 90, you are basically just beginning! You are considered a young pup, naïve’ with a lot to learn. Guilty! I have friends whose age plus service equal over 140 years! They say things like, “Well, you have to admit, the old man has still got it!”

The things that strike me as I look back over these 35 years:

*God is faithful, me, just a super stubborn German.
*He is the great Enabler, otherwise, I got nothing!
*He counted me faithful. Man, does He overlook a ton of ‘stuff’!
*He put me in the ministry. Did He call? Did I answer? Did I just volunteer? No, He orchestrates and the musicians play. I am just the 7th chair clarinetist playing my part with a squeak here and there.
*He is a gracious Boss, I am an unworthy, but grateful servant.
*Paul, greatest preacher ever, considered himself the chiefest of sinners, I agree only because that is part of the inspired Word of God, otherwise, I would have to argue with him.

Thank you, Lord, for putting me in the ministry. I am not very good at it, but, barring the rapture, I would love to hit 140 years of age plus service like some of my mentors.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lighted Graves

Deut 2:14  And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the LORD sware unto them. 15  For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed. 16  So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people...

How many millions of graves are there in between the Red Sea and Jericho? Each one has a lite in it! An Israelite. :<)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Land of the Giants - The Tallest Men in the Bible

Deut 2:10  The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; Deu 2:11  Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims.
Deut 3:13  And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.

Who were the tallest people in the Bible?
*The Pre-Flood giants? (Gen 6)
*Emim, the terrible ones?
*Anakim? (Deu 2:10, 11)
*Zamzummim, crafty, wicked men? (2:20, 21)
*Zuzim? (Gen 14:5)
*Caphtorim? (Gen 10:14, Deut 2:23)
*The Sons of Anak? (Deut 2:11)
*Og, King of Bashan? Deut 3:11 (He had a 13.5 foot bed!)

What we must realize about giants:
1. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Ask the friends of Goliath.
2. Goliath finally got it through his head not to mess with God. Some people lose their heads fighting against God.
3. Big hearts are better than big bodies. David is a great example.
4. True giants fight for a godly cause. And, is there not a cause?
5. David (OT), Paul (NT) were little guys, but giants in every way.

Though we often fear giants in our lives, realize that, with God and a bit of faith, you can be the real giant!!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Home by God....Christian Décor

Deut 7:26  Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

I have, often visited the homes of folks suffering tremendous difficulty, to see that they have invited the frown of God upon their homes by displaying cursed items in their home decor.

African tribal masks, Buddha statues, occult books or trinkets, Hollywood idols and icons, veneration of angels or saints...these are some of the things that are prominent decorations in some of these homes.

We know what happened to Achan in the next book, Joshua, for disobeying this command of God. He stole and harbored a forbidden wedge of gold, 200 shekels of silver and a fancy Babylonian suit of clothes. He brought the judgment of God down on his entire household for his misdeeds. 

In the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, Israel is told to decorate their homes with Bible verses and things that remind the children of God and His law.
I have been in several homes of professing believers which show no indication whatsoever of the Christian faith. How sad!

If Jesus is our life, our breath, our all, wouldn't it stand to reason that our homes should reflect our beliefs?

Perhaps it would do us well to look at our decor and determine if our homes are truly Christian homes.