Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"A Reprobate Mind"

This study of Romans 1 comes from Jon Cardwell at Justification by Grace. This post focuses on the reprobate mind...
The New American Standard Bible translates the verse in this way: “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.” Fallen, sinful, unsaved, and unrepentant men didn’t care anything about God to even acknowledge Him. Interestingly, this is worse than someone who claims to be an atheist, a person who vehemently opposes the existence of God. The atheist, at the very least through their denials and opposition, acknowledge that others believe in God; which in itself is some acknowledgement of God. The people spoken of in this passage are far worse than that; they don’t even acknowledge God and care nothing for Him or about Him.
So the mind was reprobate and depraved. The fall of mankind, through Adam’s disobedience, corrupted every area of the human condition. Man did not become as bad as he could possibly be; however, man’s depravity was so complete that sin touched and tainted every area of fallen man’s being. That which allowed him to act out his sinfulness was his depraved mind. The Greek word, translated “mind” here, is also translated “understanding” and refers to the seat of the will and the home of one’s intellect.
When a man’s mind goes, then his will corresponds wherever his mind has gone; and if God has given the heathen over to reprobate minds, those sinners will act upon their depravity. This is why the reading, preaching, hearing, studying and meditating upon the Word of God is so very, very important; for it is by the Word of God that the Lord cleanses and sanctifies His church (Ephesians 5:26; John 17:17).

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Madness of the Season

I work part time at a Wal-mart store in my area. This works out well for me as I take classes during the week. Sales are consistently down {when compared to last year's sales} at this particular store, due to the depressed area in which I live {rural mid-Illinois}, as well as the economic downturn.
As everyone knows, today was black Friday. I have never participated in this madness in my life, so this morning was a whole new eye-opening experience for me. I saw, firsthand, what Christmas really is about in America, a 'Christian' nation {I use that term very loosely}. At 11 p.m. Thursday evening, people were already in the store waiting for the big event. By 3 a.m. the crowd had tripled. I wondered, to myself, what drives people to spend nearly an entire night in a supercenter! By 4 a.m., the store was packed, with people hovering over the particular item{s} they'd set their sights on. Let me remind everyone, the unemployment rate in my area is over 10%.
We were instructed to cut the plastic off the pallets around 4:45, telling the people not to put anything in their carts until 5 a.m. This was done for our safety, which I am very grateful. At 5 a.m., I yelled to the people in my area to 'go'! Then, I stood back and observed the insanity of it all. There was one particular item, bath towels and washcloths, that were 'sale priced' at $2.oo; folks went crazy! What they didn't know was that at the end of the aisle where the regularly priced towels and washcloths were, there were towels and washcloths with an 'everyday' price of just 1.75! No one even bothered to venture down the aisle, they stayed on the 'racetrack' of merchandise mapped out with balloons identifying the price.
By 6 a.m., the mob had moved to any available check out, so my observing was basically done. As I re-hash all this, I get back to my thoughts of what Christmas means in America...Christmas means pushing and shoving others, fulfilling our greedy, selfish desires, and those of our loved ones by standing in line so we can buy what our/their carnal hearts desire; Christmas means we drag trees in our homes, throw lights up on our house, set cookies and milk out for some imaginary fat guy who dresses up in a red suit, and lie to our kids about where the presents come from; Christmas means we spend money we may not have on presents we don't really need as we lavish ourselves and others with gifts. What about God's Son? Didn't He come here, as a newborn babe, with one purpose, one goal....to die?
As we approach another pagan holiday season, let us reflect on the beauty of our Lord's first coming, His giving of self so that we may live eternally with Him. Christ is our gift, He is our reward...what can we possibly buy that could top that?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sin- the most unpopular word in any language

We live in a time of great danger, many refuse to speak out against sin; seldom is judgment mentioned. Apostasy and deception are swirling about the land with much force. In Matthew 24, the disciples asked our Lord, 'when will all these things take place, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?'
The Lord responded, 'Take heed that no man deceive you'. Deception rides in on the heels of inaccurate preaching; refusing to speak out against sin for fear of making anyone uncomfortable is the 'excuse' most use.
I feel it quite necessary to share this quote from Thomas Brooks...
"Sin in a wicked man is like poison in a serpent; it is in its natural place."

When we share the Gospel with others, let's not fail to give the whole counsel. A lost sinner will never see the awesome beauty of the cross until they see their own filth, their own vileness and wickedness. Brokenness over sin cannot happen unless the sin is exposed. As painful and offensive as this may be to some, it is essential. If you truly love others and care about their eternal destination, do not sell them short! Speak the truth, for the sake of their souls.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Exposing the 12 step cult

A dear brother in Christ, John Lanagan, has spent much time researching and exposing the 12 step cult that even Christians are in bondage to. Here is an article exposing the dangers of the 12 steps...

12 Steps, spiritualism, and Swedenborg

There shall not be found among you…one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whosoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. (Deuteronomy 18: 10-12)

Although his name is unfamiliar to most, Emanuel Swedenborg was a great influence on A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson, and therefore a great influence on both Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps.

As we learned in ‘The first version of the 12 Steps,’ Emanuel Swedenborg wrote of a spiritual ‘twelve steps’ long before the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. http://mywordlikefire.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/the-first-version-of-the-12-steps/

Swedenborg (1688-1772) has been called the “Father of modern spiritualism” for good reason. Like Bill Wilson, Swedenborg communicated frequently with familiar spirits posing as deceased people or other spiritual entities.

continue reading here...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

God shoots many kinds of arrows

"May your will be done" - Matthew 6:10
We pray here that we may have grace to submit to God's will patiently, in whatever He afflicts. Patient submission to God's will is a gracious frame of soul, whereby a Christian is content to be at God's disposal and acquiesces in His wisdom...'it is the Lord's will, let Him do what He thinks best'- 1 Samuel 3:18
Patient submission to the will of God lies in seeing His hand in the affliction--'affliction does not spring from the soil, and trouble does not sprout from the earth' Job 5:6. Affliction does not come by chance! Job eyed God in all that befell him--'the Lord gave me everything that I have, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!'Job 1:21. Job looks beyond second causes, he sees God in the affliction. There can be no submission to God's will until there is an acknowledging of God's hand in the affliction.
While we live here in this valley of tears, patient submission to God's will is much needed. The Lord sometimes lays heavy afflictions upon us--'your arrows have struck deep, and your blows are crushing me!' Psalm 38:2. God sometimes lays many afflictions upon us; 'He multiplies my wounds'-Job 9:17. God shoots many kinds of arrows.
God sometimes afflicts with poverty---which is a great affliction. To have an estate almost reduced to nothing is hard on flesh and blood. "The Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty." -Ruth 1:20,21
God sometimes afflicts with reproach. Dirt may be cast upon a pearl, and those names may be blotted which are written in the book of life. Piety shields from hell, but not from slander.
God sometimes afflicts with death of loved ones. "Son of man, I am going to take away your dearest treasure. Suddenly she will die." Ezekiel 24:16
God sometimes afflicts with infirmity of body. Sickness takes away the comfort of life. Sometimes God lets the infirmity continue long. Some diseases are chronic, and linger and hang about the body for many years. The Lord is pleased to exercise many of His precious ones with chronic affliction.
God tries His people with various afflictions, so that they have need of patient submission to His will. Murmuring is NOT consistent with submission to God's will. Murmuring is the height of impatience, it is a kind of mutiny in the soul against God--'they began to murmur against God'--Numbers 21:15
When water is hot, then the scum boils up; when the heart is heated with anger against God, then murmuring boils up. Murmuring springs from pride. Men think they have deserved better at God's hand and when, they begin to swell with pride, they spit poison.

From Thomas Watson's 'The Lord's Prayer'

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Sin of Silence

A MESSAGE TO AMERICAN PASTORS AND THEIR CONGREGATIONS

by Dr. Laurence White

Let me begin with a story about an incident that took place a few years ago as the president of a Christian university addressed the crowd. "Today is November the 9th, the 50th anniversary of the 'kristal nacht'...the night of the broken glass. On this day in 1938, Nazi thugs moved through the cities of Germany smashing the windows of German homes and shops, burning the synagogues. Innocent people; men, women and children were beaten and killed simply because they were Jews. I was there as a young man," the president went on to say, through tears, "There were many of us who were Christians then, but we did nothing." He went on to quote the words inscribed at the Auschwitz memorial in Poland, a place where so many died. "Never again", he pleaded.

My friends, it is happening again. It is happening again today in our beautiful America, so richly and abundantly blessed by a gracious God. It is happening today as the innocent are slaughtered in a holocaust that has seen well over forty million little boys and girls brutally done to death. It is happening again as families are fractured and marriages are broken, while self-obsessed people pursue the immediate gratification of their every desire. It is happening again as militant homosexuals pursue absolute approval, complete acceptance, and preferential legal treatment for their perversion. It is happening again as our young people have lost their way, and often their lives, in a maze of alcohol and drugs; and the corridors and classrooms of the high schools of our land are littered with the bodies of murdered teenagers. It is happening again as the nation's leaders wallow in decadence and deceit, while the people look on in apathetic indifference.
While the killing goes on and the nation is led down the path of destruction, the church and her pastors stand silent and afraid. This country that we love, our America, is fighting for her life. Not against the military power of foreign enemies, but against the principalities and powers of this dark age. You and I, as sons and daughters of the Lord Jesus Christ, are being called upon to take a stand at this moment of crisis. And let there be no one among us who doubts the urgency of this hour. To compare what is happening in America today to Nazi Germany is no mere flight of rhetorical exaggeration.

This nation is heedlessly stumbling toward third millennium darkness. Look around you and read the signs of the times. Look beyond the walls of our beautiful sanctuaries, and the comfort of our padded pews to see the chaos, the corruption, and the confusion that reigns throughout our culture. We live in a society where passions are riderless horses, uncontrolled and uncontrollable in which there is a desolation of decency; in which love has become a jungle emotion, lust exalted to lordship, sin elevated to sovereignty, Satan adored as a saint, and man magnified above his Maker. Americans have come to dwell in an Alice in Wonderland world of fantasy and self-delusion. Everything has been turned upside down and inside out in our America. Right is wrong, wrong is right; good is bad, bad is good; normal is abnormal, abnormal is normal; true is false, false is true. We are fast degenerating into a decadent culture obsessed with selfishness and sin, death and destruction.

In the face of this relentless onslaught of evil, the church of Jesus Christ has grown timid and afraid. We have abandoned the truth of God's word, compromised the stern demands of His law, tailored our message to meet the felt needs of sinful men, and prostituted ourselves and the Gospel that we profess to proclaim for worldly popularity and success. We, as Christian pastors, seem to have forgotten that God did not call us to be popular or successful...God called us to be faithful. Faithful preaching never comes in the form of safely vague, pious platitudes. Faithful preaching must identify and denounce the false gods of this world that call upon our people to bow down before them every day. God did not call us to be successful CEO's, protecting institutional peace and tranquility, bringing in the bodies and the bucks by avoiding controversy, and telling everybody what they want to hear. God called us to proclaim His word, to be vigilant watchmen standing high upon the walls of Zion, sounding forth the clear clarion call of the trumpet; calling out God's people to war against the host of evil advancing all around us. We as the Christians of America, we as the Pastors of America, have failed in this responsibility before God. Our country is paying a dire price for that failure; make no mistake about it brothers and sisters, we are responsible.

The great reformer Martin Luther once declared that the preacher who does not rebuke the sins of the rulers through God's word spoken publicly, boldly and honestly, strengthens the sins of the tyrants; becoming a partaker in them and bearing responsibility for them.

When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, he scornfully dismissed the church, and her pastors as an irrelevant force which posed no threat to the Nazi agenda for that great nation."I promise you", he boasted in his inner circle, "that if I wish to I could destroy the church in just a few years. It is hollow, it is rotten, and false through and through. One push and the whole structure would collapse. We should trap the preachers by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I shall give them a few years reprieve, why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantage. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves, they will betray their God for us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes." - Adolf Hitler
The dictator's words proved to be tragically accurate. The great majority of Christians in Germany looked the other way and minded their own business. They blended in and went along following the path of least resistance. They did that which was expedient, practical and safe while their country was dragged down into a swirling maelstrom of barbarism and death. Germany lay in ruins; her great cities bombed out of existence. Cathedrals that had stood for a thousand years reduced to piles of broken brick and rubble. In the face of monstrous evil, he who keeps silent fails in his responsibility before God and shares in the guilt.

The moral meltdown that has overtaken America has been met with a deafening silence from the pulpits of America and the people-pleasing preachers who presume to stand in them. This desolation of decency could not have occurred if the pulpits of this land were once again aflame with righteousness. To use Alexis De Toqueville's famous words, "By our apathy, by our acquiescence, and by our ignorance, the church of Jesus Christ has consigned itself to irrelevance and impotence in the ongoing struggle for the soul of America."
Our political leaders deal in trivialities and superficial nonsense, practicing the feel-good politics of deliberate ambiguity; while the destruction of our families, the perversion of our most basic moral principals, and the murder of innocent unborn children goes on and on and on...........


The issue before us as Christians and as Christian pastors is faithfulness to the word of God and submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. To speak to the great moral issues of our day is an integral and essential part of that God-given responsibility. To fail to do so is nothing less than a denial of the Lordship of Jesus.




This is an excerpt of a message delivered by Reverend/Dr. Laurence White on September 6, 2000 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Brokenness

"And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied." Ezra 9:3

I read from the book of Ezra at bedtime last night, and I was so moved by what I read, I jotted down some notes to share -  please consider the aforementioned verse in your heart this day.
Ezra was broken over the sin of intermarriage by the Israelites to Gentile women. They had clearly violated their covenant with God in Deuteronomy 7:3, 'Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son'. I found Ezra's response to the people's sin amazing, and yet, convicting. Sin grieved Ezra to the point of tearing his clothing. In Ezra's day, clothing was valuable. It wasn't like he could go to the mall and replace his garment, it wasn't that easy. Ezra also plucked out his own facial hair, as well as the hair on his head. Why would a man react this way to someone else's sin? Ezra, being a priest and a God-fearing man, understood what the sins of the people would bring...God's judgment. This is what grieved him, he knew what was coming next. Ezra's reaction resulted from a heart that was not selfish; in his heart his people were more important than even his own self. Ezra's understanding of the great wrath of God produced grief in his heart for his fellow man. He had witnessed Israel's rebellion before, and the judgment their rebellion brought.

After all this, Ezra sat down 'astonied'. In other words, he was devastated, horrified, and appalled over the sins of the people. He fasted until the evening sacrifice, at which time he fell to his knees and spread out his hands to the Lord God. Ezra cries out 'O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens'. Even though Ezra was innocent of this grievous sin, he includes himself knowing full well the contaminating affect sin has, it is like a fast spreading cancer.
Ezra's utter brokenness over the sins of the people cut me to the heart. I asked myself these questions, and I ask you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to ponder on them as well...
How do we react when we hear 4,000 babies are murdered each day here in America? Do we tear our clothing? Are we broken over the sins of this nation? Or do we say 'how sad' and go on about our business?
The continual push for acceptance and tolerance of sexual perversion, sodomy, is marching forward with little resistance from many 'professing Christians'; does this push drive us to our knees? Or do we think 'moral laws' will combat the problem?
The covenant of marriage and institution of family is broken, adultery is rampant. Sexual immorality is the theme of the day. We live in a culture that is saturated with fleshly desires, with an insatiable appetite for more.
We can clearly see where America is headed...for judgment. Does it grieve us to know this? What about the nation in which you live? Are you grieved over the sins of your people? It is past time to rend our garments, pluck out our hair, and be utterly astonied.

I urge you to cry out to Him for our nation's sins; may it grieve us deep in our hearts to the point of brokenness, just like Ezra. May the Lord our God hear...may He be merciful.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Absolute Surrender

by Andrew Murray
“And Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it. And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad, Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine. And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine and all that I have” (1 Ki. 20:1-4).

What Ben Hadad asked was absolute surrender; and what Ahab gave was what was asked of him—absolute surrender. I want to use these words: “My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have,” as the words of absolute surrender with which every child of God ought to yield himself to his Father. We have heard it before, but we need to hear it very definitely—the condition of God’s blessing is absolute surrender of all into His hands. Praise God! If our hearts are willing for that, there is no end to what God will do for us, and to the blessing God will bestow.
Absolute surrender—let me tell you where I got those words. I used them myself often, and you have heard them numberless times. But in Scotland once I was in a company where we were talking about the condition of Christ’s Church, and what the great need of the Church and of believers is; and there was in our company a godly worker who has much to do in training workers, and I asked him what he would say was the great need of the Church, and the message that ought to be preached. He answered very quietly and simply and determinedly:
“Absolute surrender to God is the one thing.”

continue reading here...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Nevertheless I am continually with Thee."—Psalm 73:23.


EVERTHELESS,"—AS if, notwithstanding all the foolishness and ignorance which David had just been confessing to God, not one atom the less was it true and certain that David was saved and accepted, and that the blessing of being constantly in God's presence was undoubtedly his. Fully conscious of his own lost estate, and of the deceitfulness and vileness of his nature, yet, by a glorious outburst of faith, he sings "nevertheless I am continually with Thee." Believer, you are forced to enter into Asaph's confession and acknowledgment, endeavour in like spirit to say "nevertheless, since I belong to Christ I am continually with God!" By this is meant continually upon His mind, He is always thinking of me for my good. Continually before His eye;—the eye of the Lord never sleepeth, but is perpetually watching over my welfare. Continually in His hand, so that none shall be able to pluck me thence. Continually on His heart, worn there as a memorial, even as the high priest bore the names of the twelve tribes upon his heart for ever. Thou always thinkest of me, O God. The bowels of Thy love continually yearn towards me. Thou art always making providence work for my good. Thou hast set me as a signet upon thine arm; thy love is strong as death, many waters cannot quench it; neither can the floods drown it. Surprising grace! Thou seest me in Christ, and though in myself abhorred, Thou beholdest me as wearing Christ's garments, and washed in His blood, and thus I stand accepted in Thy presence. I am thus continually in Thy favour—"continually with Thee." Here is comfort for the tried and afflicted soul; vexed with the tempest within—look at the calm without. "Nevertheless"—O say it in thy heart, and take the peace it gives. "Nevertheless I am continually with Thee."



C.H. Spurgeon

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Repentance - C.H. Spurgeon

"We are to preach the motives of repentance, that men may not repent from mere fear of hell, but they must repent of sin itself. Every thief is sorry when he has to go to prison; every murderer is sorry when the noose is about his neck. The sinner must repent, not because of punishment of sin, but because his sin is sin against a pardoning God, sin against a bleeding Savior, sin against a holy law, sin against a tender Gospel. The true penitent repents of sin against God, and he would do so even if there were no punishment.
We are to tell of the source of repentance, namely, that the Lord Jesus Christ is exalted on high to give repentance and remission of sins. Repentance is a plant that never grows on nature's dunghill: the nature must be changed, and repentance must be implanted by the Holy Spirit or it will never flourish in our hearts. We preach repentance as a fruit of the Spirit, or else we greatly err."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

She was only 22

an excerpt from the story of Helen Ewan written by James Alexander Stewart

I received a package in the mail today from a dear sister in the Lord, Mona Leiter, whose husband, Charles Leiter, is a true preacher of the word as well as the author of the book 'Justification and Regeneration'. The package included this booklet about Helen Ewan. I hope this brief excerpt will be a blessing to you...


After her conversion at the age of fourteen, Helen's whole personality was radiant with the glory of the Lord. Many testified that just her passing smile, or her cheery, 'Good day. God bless you' was an uplifting tonic to them the rest of the day.
In her prayer life, Helen was such an example to us all. She arose each morning around five o'clock to commune with her Lord. She would not put on the heat in her little cold room or seek to make herself comfortable in any way, feeling she could be more alert in the cold. And besides, those for whom she would be praying in foreign lands were not sitting in comfort.
She would begin her communion with praise and worship. She then read the Word to warm her heart. She remembered the words of her fellow Scot, Robert Murray McCheyne, 'it is the look that saves, but it is the gaze that sanctifies'. Helen gazed with rapture into the face of her Lord. I could not mention to you the expressions of adoration which she wrote down in her diary after such times with her Lord. They are too sacred for publication.
After fellowship and communion, followed her ministry of intercession for her friends and family, for her assembly, for hundreds of missionaries on the foreign fields. Then came her prayer ministry for the unsaved. She had a list of unsaved persons to whom she had testified and for whom she had prayed daily until they were born again. Her yearnings after the salvation of the lost were awful to behold.
The reason God gave her so many souls among rich and poor, young and old, illiterate and intelligent, was that she agonized for them in earnest intercession inside the vail. There was nothing vague or general about her pleas. She gave the date when she began to pray for a person and then the date when the prayer was answered. These diaries revealed a prayer life that moved God and man. No wonder that when God promoted her to glory at the age of 22, many wept throughout Scotland, and missionaries in far off lands felt they had lost their greatest prayer warrior.
Helen's seeking after lost souls also put us all to shame. I have seen her on a cold Scottish winter's evening with her arms around a poor drunken prostitute, telling her of Jesus and His love. On other occasions she would be dealing with drunken men, seeking to lead them to her Savior.
Robert Murray McCheyne used to seal his letters with a sketch of the sun going down behind the mountains and with a motto over it, 'the night cometh'. It was this same feeling of urgency that drew Helen on. Like McCheyne and Samuel Rutherford, Helen carried the fragrance of Christ with her, and like William C. Burns, she manifested the power of the Spirit. I have known her to slip quietly into a prayer meeting which had already begun and sit on the back seat; yet, every one of us knew she had arrived because of the mighty sense of the presence of God manifested in our midst.
Helen, who was an ordinary young woman, became extraordinary simply because she surrendered all to Christ and appropriated for herself all that was hers in Him. She, with unveiled face, took time to receive, and thus reflected, the glory of the Lord as she passed from one degree of glory to another.
May you, dear reader, be so fully surrendered to your Lord that you will, like Helen Ewan, fully reflect the glory of the Lord. Let this be your prayer, with Francis Ridley Havergal:

In full and glad surrender

I give myself to Thee
Thine utterly and only
And evermore to be
O Son of God who love'st me
I will be Thine alone
And all I have and all I can
Shall henceforth be Thine own
Reign over me Lord Jesus!
O make my heart Thy throne
It shall be Thine dear Savior
It shall be Thine alone!
Oh, come and reign Lord Jesus
Rule over everything
And keep me always loyal
And true to Thee, my King!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Is preaching repentance considered a work?

There has been a debate on another blog concerning Lordship salvation, which led to the owner of that blog stating if we preach repentance, we are preaching salvation by works. I found this whole issue somewhat disturbing, so I searched the scriptures to see what God says. We find in Luke 24:47 this command, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Also this, from Acts 17:30, ‘And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent’.
The confusion seems to stem from the meaning of repentance. Blueletterbible.org gives this definition of repent - to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins- along with this added ‘footnote’ - "Repentance (metanoia, 'change of mind') involves a turning with contrition from sin to God; the repentant sinner is in the proper condition to accept the divine forgiveness." (F. F. Bruce. The Acts of the Apostles [Greek Text Commentary], London: Tyndale, 1952, p. 97.)

Matthew Henry has this commentary on Luke 24:47, ‘The great gospel duty of repentance must be pressed upon the children of men. Repentance for sin must be preached in Christ’s name, and by his authority, v. 47. All men every where must be called and commanded to repent, Acts 17:30. "Go, and tell all people that the God that made them, and the Lord that bought them, expects and requires that, immediately upon this notice given, they turn from the worship of the gods that they have made to the worship of the God that made them; and not only so, but from serving the interests of the world and the flesh; they must turn to the service of God in Christ, must mortify all sinful habits, and forsake all sinful practices. Their hearts and lives must be changed, and they must be universally renewed and reformed. The great gospel privilege of the remission of sins must be proposed to all, and assured to all that repent, and believe the gospel. "Go, tell a guilty world, that stands convicted and condemned at God’s bar, that an act of indemnity has passed the royal assent, which all that repent and believe shall have the benefit of, and not only be pardoned, but preferred by. Tell them that there is hope concerning them.’’

So repentance is commanded in scripture by God, all are commanded to ‘repent and believe in the Gospel’. Repentance is a change of mind, a coming to the realization of what we truly are…sinners, and desiring to flee from our sins. When we see ourselves as we truly are, sinners with no hope apart from the grace and mercy of God, we no longer desire the sins we once loved. So, repentance is indeed a change of mind which, ultimately leads to a change in the way we live, a forsaking or turning from sin. To change your mind about your sins will inevitably lead to a forsaking of sin.

Is repentance a work we are even humanly capable of doing? 2 Timothy 2:25 answers this question, ‘in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth’. Those who do repent do so because God has, through His Spirit and the preaching of His word, brought the guilty sinner under conviction. He opens their understanding and reveals truth to them. When the guilty see, by His grace, just how sinful they are, they are prompted by His Spirit to call out to the One who saves. Repentance is like every other aspect of salvation, it is wrought by God. God is the one who brings us to repentance, He re-births us, He gifts us with faith to believe, He sanctifies, He justifies, He is the One who saves His people to the uttermost. He does it all.
So, back to the original question, if we preach ‘repent and believe in the Gospel’, are we preaching a ‘salvation by works’? NO! What we are preaching is commanded in scripture. There is nothing we can do that would save us; repenting, being born again, having faith, being regenerated and continually sanctified are all a magnificent work of a powerful God. Those who are saved are truly a miracle of God. The power of God is what saves and changes lost sinners into born again believers, His grace and mercy are what brings us to His Son, His Spirit is the one who convicts and teaches. The triune God is all we need as we fall upon the mercy of a Great and Awesome God.
The Gospel is a message of hope. Before lost sinners can embrace this good news, this message of hope, they must first understand why this message is such good news. I.O.W., they must hear the bad news first; the fact that we are sinners and need to forsake sin and embrace the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have no hope apart from Jesus, who loves us so much He died for us. He reconciles us to the Father through His finished work on the cross. The message of the cross is not good news if a lost, rebellious sinner does not first see his/her own crimes against God. Sin and the forsaking of it must be preached before the good news of forgiveness in Christ can be understood. To turn from sin and turn to the Lord Jesus is the message of hope every lost sinner needs to hear. May we go forth and boldly proclaim this good news, may the Spirit of God fill our hearts and minds, may we all profess this glorious Gospel while there is yet time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nothing more precious




{This is a photo of my nephew Luke when he was less than a year old}



I have been blessed with numerous nieces and nephews, ranging in age from one to thirty. I really enjoy spending time with them, especially the little ones. I have a niece who is three, she is just adorable. After church Sunday, they all were here and Lauren spilled a drink. She quickly said, 'I'm sorry'. How could I be mad? My one year old niece Sarah has learned how to give kisses, what a joy she is! I have two nephews who are both five, they both are alike in many ways, yet have characteristics that set them apart as individuals. Luke, who is five, likes to play Mario Brothers. It is a racing game where you pick who you want; Mario, Luigi, Toad, etc. He usually picks Mario and insists that I pick Luigi, so we can be brothers! Throughout the game, both Mario and Luigi say cute little things, for instance, when Mario wins the race, he states, 'I got it' with an Italian accent. Luke has picked up on that and says these phrases both here and when he's at home {his parents have jokingly thanked me, I know they hold me responsible!}. Trenton, who is also five, is not as apt to play Mario as Luke is. Trenton likes to play outside, go down to the creek in my backyard and investigate, or play water balloons {which is what we just did}. I put a tent up in my backyard so we could 'camp out' {Trenton is spending a few days with me}. This is something both Trenton and Luke enjoy. I try and keep it simple, yet fun when they come to stay with me. Sometimes when I have them both, I just sit back and listen to their conversations...it is priceless!
As I said earlier, Trenton is spending a few days with me. Before bedtime, I told him we have to say our prayers. He insisted on going first, which I said was just fine. He started by thanking God for refrigerators! I could barely keep my composure. He then got down to more 'serious' issues and thanked God for all his aunts. What I really found amazing was he didn't just generalize it, he named off all his aunts! There are some adults who don't even take the time to give details when praying {myself included}.
As I listened to this little guy pray, I pondered how the great Creator of the universe must feel when He hears such sweetness, such innocence in a child's prayer. How His heart must be touched by this tiny voice, He certainly must make a special effort to bend His ear low for such a small one's prayer. Surely His heart must be moved by such innocence. If only we could understand the childlike faith needed, what a difference would be made!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

He Knows

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. (2 Peter 2:9)

The godly are tempted and tried. That is not true faith which is never put to the test. But the godly are delivered out of their trials, and that not by chance, nor by secondary agencies, but by the Lord Himself. He personally undertakes the office of delivering those who trust Him. God loves the godly or godlike, and He makes a point of knowing where they are and how they fare.

Sometimes their way seems to be a labyrinth, and they cannot imagine how they are to escape from threatening danger. What they do not know, their Lord knows. He knows whom to deliver, and when to deliver, and how to deliver. He delivers in the way which is most beneficial to the godly, most crushing to the tempter, and most glorifying to Himself. We may leave the "how" with the Lord and be content to rejoice in the fact that He will, in some way or other, bring His own people through all the dangers, trials, and temptations for this mortal life to His own right hand in glory.

This day it is not for me to pry into my Lord's secrets but patiently to wait His time, knowing this, that though I know nothing, my heavenly Father knows.


From C.H. Spurgeon

Children of God Abide in Christ

by Mike Ratliff

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. (John 15:4-6 ESV)

I watched part of two videos last night that a friend posted on Facebook. Both videos were diatribes against orthodox Christianity by “preachers” telling their people presenting the Gospel the way Paul Washer does it is wrong and that anyone who holds to Reformation Theology is not a real Christian. I did not make it very far into either video before I “hung up” in disgust. Did either of the attackers use scripture to back up their claims? No, they used nothing but human “common sense” and philosophy. I suppose it never occurred to these people that God’s ways are not Man’s ways. However, after those little treats last night I began pondering how I should address this or even if I should. As I sat down to put this post together I became convinced that I should write about the number one marker that reveals the authenticity of Christians. That is that genuine believers in our Lord Jesus Christ abide in Him and do not fall away.

Continue reading here...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Living a changed life for God

by Mike Ratliff

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:11-14 ESV)

I have heard many Christians explain their lack of spiritual maturity as not important because, after all, they are not under law but under grace. Some take this concept even further and say things like, “God is not angry!” This is said in reference to the call for Christians to walk in repentance and put to death the sins that cling so close, et cetera. However, if these same people would bother to put into context Paul’s statement about Christians not being under law, but under grace, they would quickly see that it is part of a call for all of us to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. This is a command to walk in repentance. This is a command to walk before the face of God in total submission to Christ’s Lordship. There are no exceptions. There are no sins overlooked. What God calls sin is sin. It matters not at all that to proclaim that homosexuality is a sin, for instance, may be offensive to some.

continue on here...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mike Ratliff - Do not love the world

by Mike Ratliff

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4 ESV)

Compromise is a term the world system likes. In fact, the world system as we know it in our time runs on rails greased by compromise. Even though the U.S. Constitution protects the right of free speech to its citizens, the political correctness movement is doing all it can to squelch or smother the expression of “opinion” that is contrary to what it deems as inoffensive. It appears that the right of the easily offended is more protected than the right of those who speak the truth and live by it. The emergent movement, for example, teaches that it is wrong to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in completion. Why? It is divisive. It is exclusive. It offends. Instead, its leaders teach that we should only preach things that bring people together. Another difference between orthodox Christianity and the emergents has to do with separation from the world system. We teach what the Bible teaches, that is, Christians must not be friends of or part of the world system because those who are actually prove that they are an enemy of God. On the other hand, the emergents consistently teach that repentance is no big deal and all sorts of sins condemned in the Bible are not grounds for separation from the local body of believers.


the rest of Mike's post may be found here...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Warning Against Worldliness

by Mike Ratliff

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:1-4 ESV)

The Church since its inception in the 1st Century AD has been plagued by quarrels, disagreements, feuds, splits, et cetera. According to God, the problem is not with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ or His doctrines, but with the fact that people in the Church are not submitted properly to Him or to each other. Pride is behind most disagreements just as it is behind those who break away from the truth to lead their followers with false doctrines and a focus that is on self rather than on God and His glory. Instead, those who cause these problems are in love with self and, therefore, in love with the world, its ways, and the things of the world.


Read on here...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

'I am a Debtor'

by Robert Murray M'Cheyne


When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o'er life's finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know -
Not till then - how much I owe.

When I hear the wicked call
On the rocks and hills to fall,
When I see them start and shrink
On the fiery deluge brink, -
Then, Lord, shall I fully know -
Not till then - how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see thee as thou art,
Love thee with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know -
Not till then - how much I owe.

When the praise of heav'n I hear,
Loud as thunder to the ear,
Loud as many water's noise,
Sweet as harp's melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know -
Not till then - how much I owe.

Even on earth, as through a glass
Darkly, let Thy glory pass,
Make forgiveness feel so sweet,
Make Thy Spirit's help so meet,
Even on earth, Lord, make me know
Something of how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Saviour's side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.

Oft I walk beneath the cloud,
Dark, as midnight's gloomy shroud;
But, when fear is at the height,
Jesus comes, and all is light;
Blessed Jesus! bid me show
Doubting saints how much I owe.

When in flowery paths I tread,
Oft by sin I'm captive led;
Oft I fall - but still arise -
The Spirit comes - the tempter flies;
Blessed Spirit! bid me show
Weary sinners all I owe.

Oft the nights of sorrow reign -
Weeping, sickness, sighing, pain;
But a night Thine anger burns -
Morning comes and joy returns;
God of comforts! bid me show
To Thy poor, how much I owe.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sanctification

This is a well written insightful look at sanctification, written by a brother in Christ whom God has blessed with the ability to teach. Read and be blessed!!

Sanctification – Dead to Sin Alive to God
June 18, 2009 — Mike Ratliff

by Mike Ratliff

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:21-25 ESV)

The Lord gave the Church a wonderful gift when He knocked Saul of Tarsus off his horse and effectually called Him to be His Apostle. His Epistle to the Romans is a huge piece of the doctrinal foundation of the Church. In Romans 3:20-5:21 he covered the doctrine of justification. This is God’s declaring the believing sinner righteous. In Romans 6:1-8:39 he covers the practical ramifications of this justification. This is the doctrine of sanctification, which is God’s producing actual righteousness in the believer. Many take missteps in their theology by confusing these two aspects of our salvation. Justification is a legal term referring to a judge declaring a person charged with a crime to be not guilty. When a sinner believes the Gospel by God’s grace through faith, He justifies them. This is His monergistic work, His alone. On the other hand, sanctification is the synergistic work of God and the believer in “working out the believer’s salvation with fear and trembling.” This is the work of transforming the believer into one who bears Christ’s very character.

Read on here...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rachel's story, 'Death is not Dying'

This woman is dying, she has just weeks to live. She packs more truth in one hour than most of us will speak in a lifetime. This is truly inspirational, her story makes us understand how mundane our daily routine is.
Please, take an hour and watch her video, or listen to the audio. You will be moved in your heart.
Click here...



HT - Christian Research Network

Sunday, April 26, 2009

They were not carried to heaven on beds of ease!


(Charles Spurgeon)



"Woe is me--that I dwell among these scoundrels of Meshech! It pains me to live with these people from Kedar!" Psalm 120:5

As a Christian, you have to live in the midst of an ungodly world, and it is of little use for you to cry, "Woe is me!"

Jesus did not pray, "O that you should be taken out of the world!" And what He did not pray for--you need not desire! Better far in the Lord's strength--to meet the difficulty, and glorify Him in it.

The enemy is ever on the watch to detect inconsistency in your conduct; be therefore very holy. Remember that the eyes of all are upon you--and that more is expected from you, than from others! Strive to give no occasion for blame. Like Daniel, let your godliness and piety be the only faults which they can discover in you.

Seek to be useful--as well as consistent. Perhaps you think, "If I were in a more favorable position, I might be able to serve the Lord's cause. But I cannot do any good where I am!" But the worse the people are among whom you live--the more need they have of your exertions! If they are crooked--the more necessity that you should set them straight! If they are perverse--the more need have you to turn their proud hearts to the truth. Where should the physician be--but where there are many sick? Where is honor to be won by the soldier--but in the hottest fire of the battle?

When weary of the strife and sin which meets you on every hand--consider that all the saints have endured the same trial! They were not carried to heaven on beds of ease!--and you must not expect to travel more easily than they! They had to hazard their lives unto the death, in the midst of the battlefield--and you will not be crowned--until you also have endured hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Therefore, "Be courageous! Be strong!" 1 Corinthians 16:13

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A.A. exposed...





I attended a couple of A.A. meetings in the past at the invitation of an alcoholic who professed Christ. It wasn't too long into the meeting that I began to feel uncomfortable. This generic 'god of your understanding' they profess stirred anger within. After the meeting, I tried to explain to this woman who invited me how broad and universal this 'god' was; certainly not the God of the Bible. That was a few years ago...sadly, this woman is battling multiple addictions; she's rejected Christ and lives in bondage to homosexuality.
I received the link to this article from John Lanagan that really 'hits the nail on the head' when it comes to exposing A.A. I encourage you to read and share...


C.S. Lewis warned against A.A. cofounders' spiritualism

by John Lanagan


…holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these. (2 Timothy 3:5)

Increasingly, we see a false repentance to a false god. It is like watching the pieces of an unholy puzzle being assembled. The goddess worship of The Shack, Emergence/homosexuality (homospirituality), contemplative practices, and the 12 Steps are all joining together as the rudimentary “roots” of something even bigger. While it may also have Rome, this coming system will have neither the Biblical Christ nor His followers.

Many have difficulty recognizing Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Step spirituality as anti-Biblical, much less as a rudimentary cog in this rising apostasy. Why? Sadly, with time and familiarity, even a wolf can masquerade as the family dog.

The 12 Steps are an integral part of our culture. For years Christians have participated in A.A. and “Christ-centered” 12 Step groups. This participation is increasing, as pastors ignore Scripture and allow A.A. meetings to be conducted in the very House of God.


continue reading here....

Friday, April 10, 2009

He Humbled Himself


"He humbled Himself." Philippians 2:8

Jesus is the great teacher of 'humility of heart'. We need daily to learn of Him. See the Master taking a towel and washing His disciples feet! Follower of Christ--will you not humble yourself? See Him as the Servant of servants--and surely you cannot be proud! Is not this sentence the compendium of His biography, "He humbled Himself"? Was He not on earth, always stripping off first one robe of honor and then another--until, naked, He was fastened to the cross; and there did He not empty out His inmost self, pouring out His life-blood, giving up for all of us, until they laid Him penniless in a borrowed grave?

How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then can we be proud?

Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the purple drops by which you have been cleansed. See His thorn-crown; mark His scourged shoulders, still gushing with encrimsoned rills; see His hands and feet given up to the rough iron spikes, and His whole self to mockery and scorn; see the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in His outward frame; hear the horrid shriek, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me!"

If you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross--you have never seen it! If you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus--you do not know Him. You were so lost that nothing could save you--but the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son. Think of that, and as Jesus stooped for you--bow yourself in humility at His feet.

A sense of Christ's amazing love to us--has a greater tendency to humble us, than even a consciousness of our own guilt. May the Lord bring us in contemplation, to Calvary. Then our position will no longer be that of pompous pride--but we shall take the humble place of one who loves much--because much has been forgiven him. Pride cannot live beneath the cross! Let us sit there and learn our lesson--and then rise and carry it into practice!


C.H. Spurgeon

gracegems

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Be reconciled to God!

I am bothered by a phrase that has become such a cliché in the Christian community, yet, it is NOT found anywhere in scripture. The phrase is ‘I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ’. Nowhere in scripture does the Lord Jesus Christ command us to have a personal relationship with Him.
The word ‘relationship’ is defined as ‘a state of connectedness between people (especially an emotional connection)'. To be reconciled to a Holy God is more than a mere ‘emotional connection’. It involves a transformed life, a complete change from the inside out. This is not at all like any relationship known to man.
I do not find in scripture where Christ commands us to have a relationship with Him; we should desire to know this amazing God who saves, we should desire a certain intimacy with Him; but we must not confuse human terminology with what the Bible actually says…’be reconciled to God’. Below are passages concerning reconciliation…

“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 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. 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”-2nd Corinthians 5:18-20

The definitions of 'reconcile' and 'favour' are...
Reconcile- Greek katallassō-return to favour with, be reconciled to one, to receive one into favour. From the root word allassō-to change, to exchange one thing for another, to transform.
Favour – Greek charis-good will, loving-kindness, favour-of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues. {from blueletterbible.org}

Notice what the Apostle Paul states in verse 18, ‘hath given to us a ministry of reconciliation’; verse 19, ‘hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation’. The message of the cross is one of being reconciled to a Holy God through His Son. It isn’t a call for a ‘relationship’, as if Christ was our bff! We must not forget, God is exalted high above His creation, He is worthy of all glory and honor. We dare not lessen His sovereignty by using human terminology when referring to our being reconciled to Him. The Apostle Paul urges lost sinners to be reconciled, or returned to favour with, or get in right standing with a Holy God. He doesn’t encourage us to have a relationship, connection or experience with the Lord of all creation. Paul implores, encourages, beseeches those who are lost in sin to get in right standing with the Ancient of Days. By using ‘relationship’, which is human terminology, we ‘cheapen’ the reverence due a Sovereign God. We must bow the head and the knee to the Creator of all things; let’s not lose sight of who is deserving of our approaching the throne of grace with humility as well as boldness. Those who have been saved by His grace are now in right standing with the God of the universe; those in darkness must be urged by us to be reconciled to Almighty God. May we not lessen the severity of sin and the separation it causes, may we proclaim God’s truth as it is written!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Are you playing the hypocrite?

This devotion gem comes from www.christianresearchnetwork.com...

“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him Life for them that sin not unto death.” 1 John 5:16

If we are not heedful of the way the Spirit of God works in us, we will become spiritual hypocrites. We see where other folks are failing, and we turn our discernment into the gibe of criticism instead of into intercession on their behalf. The revelation is made to us not through the acuteness of our minds, but by the direct penetration of the Spirit of God, and if we are not heedful of the source of the revelation, we will become criticizing centres and forget that God says - “. . . he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.” Take care lest you play the hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right before you worship God yourself.

One of the subtlest burdens God ever puts on us as saints is this burden of discernment concerning other souls. He reveals things in order that we may take the burden of these souls before Him and form the mind of Christ about them, and as we intercede on His line, God says He will give us “life for them that sin not unto death.” It is not that we bring God into touch with our minds, but that we rouse ourselves until God is able to convey His mind to us about the one for whom we intercede.

Is Jesus Christ seeing of the travail of His soul in us? He cannot unless we are so identified with Himself that we are roused up to get His view about the people for whom we pray. May we learn to intercede so whole-heartedly that Jesus Christ will be abundantly satisfied with us as intercessors. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, 65)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pleasant are thy courts above

My morning scripture reading was focused on Psalm 84:10, 'For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness'
I went to www.blueletterbible.org for a deeper look into this passage, and I discovered a wonderful hymn by Henry Francis Lyte that compliments this passage. I hope it blesses your spirit as it has mine!



Pleasant are Thy courts above,
In the land of light and love;
Pleasant are Thy courts below
In this land of sin and woe;
O, my spirit longs and faints
For the converse of Thy saints,
For the brightness of Thy face,
For Thy fullness, God of grace.

Happy birds that sing and fly
Round Thy altars, O most High;
Happier souls that find a rest
In a heavenly Father’s breast;
Like the wandering dove that found
No repose on earth around,
They can to their ark repair,
And enjoy it ever there.

Happy souls, their praises flow
Even in this vale of woe;
Waters in the desert rise,
Manna feeds them from the skies;
On they go from strength to strength,
Till they reach Thy throne at length,
At Thy feet adoring fall,
Who hast led them safe through all.

Lord, be mine this prize to win,
Guide me through a world of sin,
Keep me by Thy saving grace,
Give me at Thy side a place;
Sun and shield alike Thou art,
Guide and guard my erring heart.
Grace and glory flow from Thee;
Shower, O shower them, Lord, on me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Two Cures for Lukewarmness


By C.H. Spurgeon



It seems to me that my text (Rev. 3:17,18) accounts for the lukewarmness of the Laodiceans. They were lukewarm because they imagined themselves rich when they were poor. Two conditions will help us to escape lukewarmness. The one is to be really rich in grace; for they that have much grace will not be lukewarm. Grace is as a fire in the soul, and he that hath much of it, so as to become an advanced Christian, cannot but have a heart boiling with earnestness. The other way is to have but little grace, but to be painfully aware of it, to be deeply conscious of soul-poverty, to sigh and cry because you are not what you should be. There is no lukewarmness in a strong desire caused by a bitter sense of need. The poor man, poor in spirit, conscious of his imperfections and failures, is never a lukewarm man, but with sighs and cries coming out of a heart that is all on fire with a desire to escape out of such a sad condition, he besieges the throne of God that he may obtain more grace. These Laodicean people were unhappily in such a state that you could not get at them. They were not so poor that they knew they were poor, and therefore when the poverty-stricken were addressed, they said, " These things are not for us: we are increased in goods." They were blind, but they thought they saw; they were naked, and yet they prided themselves in their princely apparel, and hence it was hard to reach them. Had they even been outwardly worse, had they openly sinned, had they defiled their garments with overt transgression, then the Spirit might have pointed out the blot and convicted them there and then but what was to be done when the mischief was hidden and internal? Had they been utterly cold and frost-bitten, then he might have thawed them into living warmth; but such was their puffed-up notion of themselves that one could not convince them of sin, or awaken them to any sense of fear, and it seemed likely that after all the Lord must needs spue them out of his mouth as things he could not endure. How far this may be true of any one of us may God of his infinite mercy help us to judge each one for himself.

[From sermon 1,677 MTP vol 28]

http://www.puritansermons.com/

Monday, March 9, 2009

The True Power of God in Fearful Men

J.H. Weber



Written by David Smithers


ImageAre we truly Spirit-filled Christians? Does the term "Spirit-filled" describe our doctrine or our devotion? Samuel Chadwick described the fullness of the Spirit in the following way: "Spirit filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God."

The revivalist J. H Weber is a true example of this burning Baptism. His life was distinctly marked by the Holy Spirit's urgency, zeal, and compassion. Yet the most striking feature of Mr. Weber's ministry was not so much his message of methods, it was the fact that he had actually become the message. He warned the sinner and saint alike of the eternal danger of rejecting the love of Jesus Christ. His life was literally a burning trumpet call to repentance toward God. J. H. Weber's ministry brought men to the valley of decision. His plain preaching forced men to choose between "death and victory," the self-life or the Christ-life.

On one occasion when Mr. Weber was preaching on the Judgement Seat of Christ, "the people became terrified and some came very near rushing to the altar before the sermon was done. When the invitation was given it seemed a race as to who should get there first. The altar and front seats were crowded with earnest seekers. The presence of God filled the place..."

Rev. Bennett Mitchel describes another revival scene: "The entire community was greatly stirred. The house was packed from the first to the last service. The devil raged. Men got mad. Some wanted to whip (Mr. Weber), others to tar and feather him. Others stood aghast with mute astonishment, while many came to the Lord and were saved. For the first week his preaching was directed to the church, and he scored the Christian people almost unmercifully. This was fun for the irreligious. They greatly rejoiced while he exposed hypocrisy and denounced the sins in the church. But he suddenly turned attention to them. Some of them were maddened, some slunk away in shame, while many were subdued and brought penitently to the cross. In the congregation men would threaten to strike him, when he would calmly look them in the face and say, 'You dare not do it, I am in God's hands,' and then put his arms around them and pray for them. Women would threaten to spit in his face, but he heeded it not, and persisted in pleading with and praying for them. He visited every family in the town and prayed in nearly every home."

Like all true revivalists, J. H Weber's ministry transformed whole communities. Often in the midst of a revival he would march through the town with hundreds of believers following him singing and praising God. "Saloon keepers trembled, businessmen feared; but God was in it." When Mr. Weber led left the town, the church was revived and the last saloon was closed.

In 1884, Mr. Weber wrote in his journal: "Began this year as the previous one, on my knees in the he house of God." J. H Weber was a man who knew the necessity of fervent knee-work. He fasted often, spending whole nights in travailing prayer. When Satan raged or people resisted, Mr. Weber's solution was always the same, to cling to Jesus in prayer. At times he would lay in his tent and pray by the hour, often resulting in a wave of salvation prostrating entire congregations. Because God found a man who would pray, literally thousands were brought to Christ, broken and crying for mercy.

Who among us has seen such glorious events and how many of us yearn to see such things? Have we become content with a nominal and entertaining Christianity? If not, then let us give ourselves to true travailing prayer. For until we get on our knees, we are nothing less than unconcerned and insincere regarding revival. God have mercy and help us to see our great need for a genuine move of the Holy Spirit.


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