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

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Learning Contentment

Being content in all situations is a lesson we must learn in order to advance in our walk with Christ. Outward situations and circumstances should never be the source of our contentment/discontentment. God will put us to the test, in most cases, taking us to the edge so we may truly cultivate contentment within. Thomas Watson teaches this priceless pearl of a lesson in his sermon entitled 'the art of divine contentment'.

Here is a snippet...

We must be content, not only when God gives mercies, but when He takes away. If we must "in every thing give thanks,"1 Th. 5. 18 then in nothing be discontented.

Perhaps God hath taken away the cistern, that he may give you the more of the spring; he hath darkened the starlight, that you may have more sun-light. God intends you shall have more of himself, and is not he better than ten sons? Look not so much upon a temporal loss, as a spiritual gain; the comforts of the world run dregs; those which come out of the granary of the promise, are pure and sweet.

Your child was not given but lent: "I have, saith Hannah, lent my son to the Lord;"1 Sa. 1. 28 she lent him! the Lord hath lent him to her. Mercies are not entailed upon us, but lent; what a man lends he may call for again when he pleases. God hath put out a child to thee a while to nurse; wilt thou be displeased if he takes his child home again; O be not discontented that a mercy is taken away from you, but rather be thankful that it was lent you so long.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How do we acquire faith to believe?

I have heard Gospel presentations that include putting one's faith in Christ, or placing one's trust in Him; is this biblical and how does one do this? The Bible commands us to believe, but can we do this on our own? If we are born sinners, slaves to sin as our Lord tells us in John 8:34, then how can we who are in bondage to sin, which overpowers us, how can we place faith and trust in God? Is this not teaching salvation by works? Where does this faith and trust come from, is it buried deep within our depraved natures, do we have the ability to believe in Christ on our own? This debate will continue until Christ returns.
For a deeper look, let's go to Ephesians 2:8-9 for an explanation of this dilemma. You must go into the original language to understand and unpack these verses; for that, we turn to Jim McClarty...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Consider your ways

This is an excellent sermon from J.C. Ryle, it is just as relevant today...

Consider your ways

There is a generation of Christians in this age who grieve me to the heart. They make my blood run cold. I cannot understand them. For anything that man's eye can see, they make no progress. They never seem to get on. Years roll on, and they are just the same — the same besetting sins, the same infirmities of disposition, the same weakness in trial, the same chilliness of heart, the same apathy, the same faint resemblance to Christ; but no new knowledge, no increased interest in the kingdom, no freshness, no new strength, no new fruits, as if they grew. Are they not forgetting that growth is the proof of life — that even the tree grows, and the snail and the sloth move? Are they not forgetting how awfully far a man may go, and yet not be a true Christian? He may be like a wax figure, the very image of a believer, and yet not have within him the breath of God — he may have a name to live, and be dead after all.

Brethren, these are the reasons why I write so strongly. I want your Christianity to be unmistakable. I want you all to grow really, and to do more than others. Let us all henceforth remember Sardis and Laodicea — let us resolve to be more holy and more bright. Let us bury our idols. Let us put away all strange gods. Let us cast out the old leaven. Let us lay aside every weight and besetting sin. Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God. Let us renew our covenant with our beloved Lord. Let us aim at the highest and best things. Let us resolve by God's blessing to be more holy, and then I know and am persuaded we shall be more useful and more happy. I name some things for prayerful consideration.

Let us believers take more pains to edify others! It is incredible and sad to see how Scripture speaks on this matter, and then to observe the conduct of many of Christ's people. Paul tells the Corinthians, that the members of Christ "should have the same care one for another." He says to the Thessalonians, "Edify one another, even as also you do." He says to the Hebrews, "Exhort one another daily, lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin;" and again, "Consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching." Brethren, I fear we fall very short of the New Testament Christians in this respect. We are sadly apt to lose sight of this edifying one another when we are in the company of believing friends. Prayer, and the Word, and godly conversation are not put in the foremost place, and so we separate, being nothing the better, but rather worse. Far too often there is so much coldness, and restraint, and reserve, and backwardness, that a man might imagine we were ashamed of Christ, and that we thought it proper to hold our tongues, and not make mention of the name of the Lord.

the entire sermon is available here...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Loving Christ

1. If we love a person, we like to think about him.
We do not need to be reminded of him. We do not forget his name or his appearance or his character or his opinions or his tastes or his position or his occupation. He comes up before our mind’s eye many a time in the day.

Continue reading here...Link

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Unquenchable Fire

J.C. Ryle, 1878

"He will gather His wheat into the barn — but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!" Matthew 3:12

This text describes in words, that which should make our ears tingle — Christ shall "burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!"

When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to purge His threshing floor — He shall punish all who are not His disciples with a fearful punishment. All who are found impenitent and unbelieving — all who have held the truth in unrighteousness — all who have clung to sin, stuck to the world, and set their affection on things below — all who are without Christ. All such shall come to an awful end! Christ shall "burn up the chaff!"

Their punishment shall be most SEVERE. There is no pain like that of burning. Put your finger in the candle flame for a moment, if you doubt this, and try. Fire is the most destructive and devouring of all elements. Look into the mouth of a blast furnace — and think what it would be to be there. Fire is of all elements most opposed to life. Creatures can live in air, and earth, and water — but nothing can live in fire! Yet fire is the portion to which the Christless and unbelieving will come. Christ will "burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!"

Their punishment shall be ETERNAL. Millions of ages shall pass away, and the fire into which the chaff is cast, shall still burn on. That fire shall never burn low and become dim. The fuel of that fire shall never waste away and be consumed. It is "unquenchable fire."

Continue here...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We must strive

There is another road to Hell quite as sure!

(J.C. Ryle, "Practical Religion" 1878)

"Strive to enter in at the narrow gate: for many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able!" Luke 13:24

"STRIVE" teaches that a man must expect many adversaries and a hard battle--if he would have his soul saved. And this, as a matter of experience, is strictly true. There are no "gains without pains" in spiritual things--any more than in temporal things. That roaring lion, the devil--will never let a soul escape from him without a struggle. The heart which is naturally sensual and earthly--will never be turned to spiritual things without a daily fight. The world, with all its opposition and temptations--will never be overcome without a conflict.

I warn you to take heed that you do not perish forever--for lack of "striving." Do not suppose that it needs some great scarlet sin to bring you to the pit of eternal destruction! You have only to sit still and do nothing--and you will find yourself there at last. Yes! Satan does not ask you to walk in the steps of Cain, and Pharaoh, and Ahab, and Judas Iscariot. There is another road to Hell quite as sure--the road of spiritual indolence, spiritual laziness, and spiritual sloth!

Satan has no objection to your being a respectable member of the Christian Church. He will allow you to sit comfortably in church every Sunday you live. He knows full well, that so long as you do not "strive"--that you must come at last to the worm that never dies, and the fire that is never quenched! Take heed that you do not come to this end. I repeat it, you have only to do nothing--and you will be eternally lost!

Think, think above all things, what a state this is to die in! Your life is but a vapor. A few more years at most--and you are gone! Your place in the world will soon be filled up; your house will be occupied by another.
The sun will go on shining;
the grass and daises will soon grow thick over your grave;
your body will be food for worms,
and your soul will be lost to all eternity!

from grace gems

Monday, November 14, 2011

the cross of Christ

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians 6:14

In the cross we see . . . the rights of divine justice maintained, the designs of divine mercy revealed; sin appearing exceedingly sinful; the law magnified and honored, and the law-breaker pardoned and delivered!

At the cross, God and sinners meet--and a reconciliation takes place. Here, man drops the weapons of rebellion--and God lays aside the sword of divine displeasure. Here, the works of Satan are destroyed--and the gates of paradise are thrown open. Here, the creditor is discharged, his every crime is atoned for--and everlasting righteousness is completed! Here, God is "just, and the justifier of the one who believes in Jesus."

At the cross . . . mercy takes the throne, justice guards her rights, holiness maintains her prerogative, the sinner has hope, and iniquity is forever atoned for!

At the cross . . . we are stripped of self--and clothed with Christ; we lose our fears--and obtain the sweetest comforts; we find paradise restored--and have a foretaste of glory; Jehovah is revealed as the sinner's friend; death is destroyed as the believer's foe; Satan's . . . folly is published, designs are frustrated, and character is exposed to perpetual shame.

At the cross . . . all the truths of revelation center, all the perfections of Deity unite, and the way to eternal life is opened!

The Cross of Jesus! May it be . . . the emblem of my faith, the subject of my song, the antidote of my sorrows, and the glory of my soul!

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians 6:14

From gracegems

Saturday, October 29, 2011

God's Anvil

This was brought to my attention by a dear sister in Christ, this is such a blessing....

The Anvil of God's Word
- (John Clifford)

"Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith's door,
And I heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.
How many anvils have you had, said I,
To wear and batter all these hammers so?
Just one, said he and then with twinkling eye,
The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.
And so, I thought, The Anvil of God's Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon, Yet,
through the noise of falling blows was heard
The Anvil is unchanged, the hammers gone."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Standing Firm on the Rock

Godly Stability

By C.H. Spurgeon

And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 15:20)

Stability in the fear and faith of God will make a man like a wall of brass, which no one can batter down or break. Only the Lord can make such; but we need such men in the church, and in the world, but specially in the pulpit.

Against uncompromising men of truth this age of shams will fight tooth and nail. Nothing seems to offend Satan and his seed like decision. They attack holy firmness even as the Assyrians besieged fenced cities. The joy is that they cannot prevail against those whom God has made strong in His strength. Carried about with every wind of doctrine, others only need to be blown upon and away they go; but those who love the doctrines of grace, because they possess the grace of the doctrines, stand like rocks in the midst of raging seas.

Whence this stability? "I am with thee, saith the Lord": that is the true answer. Jehovah will save and deliver faithful souls from all the assaults of the adversary. Hosts are against us, but the Lord of hosts is with us. We dare not budge an inch; for the Lord Himself holds us in our place, and there we will abide forever.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Fear of God has been lost in the Church

This is a lengthier compilation of a much needed message for today...

For Many other free videos visit the website:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quote from Spurgeon

"... 'The whole world is gone after him.' Did all the world go after Christ? 'Then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.' Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem baptized in Jordan? 'Ye are of God, little children', and 'the whole world lieth in the wicked one.' Does 'the whole world' there mean everybody? If so, how was it, then, that there were some who were 'of God?' The words 'world' and 'all' are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture; and it is very rarely that 'all' means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts—some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted his redemption to either Jew or Gentile." (Charles H. Spurgeon, Particular Redemption, A Sermon, 28 Feb 1858).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To Heaven and Back?

How many times have you heard someone claim they died and got a glimpse of heaven? Recently a co-worker told me the Pastor of her sister’s church preached a sermon on heaven. In his sermon, he mentioned a little boy who’d died and entered heaven {the child was revived by doctors}. While in heaven, he saw his grandpa who he’d never met. The mother of the child showed the little boy a picture of his grandpa, and he said that wasn’t him. So she proceeded to show him another picture, one of his grandpa when he was younger, and he said that was him. I didn’t say much as I listened, but all the while I knew what she thought was true was anything but. Stories like this are told everywhere, those who do not understand what the Bible actually teaches about death and heaven swallow this as truth.
Several days later as I recalled this again, I went to 2nd Corinthians 12 and Paul’s being caught up to the third heaven. The one thing I notice about Paul’s truthful account, he makes no mention of any family members being there. Not that they weren’t there, but the emphasis is not on deceased loved ones, it is on the unspeakable words Paul heard; this inexpressible language left him with the understanding that what he heard is not lawful for a man to utter. Another thing I noticed is that Paul refuses to boast that he went there personally, he refers to himself as a man he knew in Christ; boasting is sinful.

In Ezekiel’s breathtaking description, the emphasis is on the throne and the One who sits on the throne, not deceased loved ones. When Ezekiel saw the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord, it caused him to fall on his face.

In Revelation 1:13-17, we see John’s vision of the Lord, ‘and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded bout the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead”. All of these men had a supernatural vision, God had granted them a look into things most will never know. The response by these men to their God-empowered visions is one you never hear those who claim to have died, gone to heaven and come back say … ‘I fell on my face’. What John, the Apostle Paul and Ezekiel saw and heard was indescribable; leaving them awestruck, causing them to fall down, to go limp, as if dead. What they saw took their breath away and produced a state of lifelessness because what their eyes were taking in was beyond human ability to describe.

Many of these so-called trips to heaven and back almost always include going into the light, looking down over their earthly body, hearing a voice telling them it isn’t time, to go back, etc. Again, none of this is biblical. If someone dies {take note, the biblical accounts of heaven were visions and the ones who’d had the visions were alive}, they will not be coming back. The Bible teaches when a person dies, they either go to be with the Lord, or they go to outer darkness/hell to await final judgment.

Upon death, the soul separates from the body, it does not tarry hovering over the body. The believer in Christ is ushered in before the Lord {Philippians 1:23; 2nd Corinthians 5:8}. The unbeliever enters into hell {Luke 16:22-23; Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30}. Those who claim to have died and come back to life never really died; their heart may have stopped briefly, or they may have stopped breathing momentarily; but they were not legally dead. Their souls never separated from their earthly bodies; they still had brain activity. They may very well have been resuscitated, but that does not mean they were dead. To be dead is to be without life; no heartbeat, no breathing, no brain activity, no movement. One may indeed have a temporary stoppage of breathing, or a heart that stops briefly, but that does not classify you as legally dead. The better terminology for this would be ‘my heart stopped temporarily’, or ‘I stopped breathing for a short time’; not ‘I died on the operating table three times’. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die (depart, to be dead, separation, departure}, but after this the judgment” – Hebrews 9:27. Death is permanent and final.
How do we explain the stories about near death experiences? The story I was told concerned a child and an angel carrying him to his grandpa; I recall in God’s word the fact that we are all born sinners, radically depraved. This child is just as prone to demonic visions/activity and/or drug induced hallucinating visions as any adult. My suggestion is the so-called trips to heaven and back are either demonic, drug-induced, or the person claiming to have died and gone to heaven is very imaginative; I know they are not of God because His word speaks otherwise.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What will you say when He punishes you?

"What will you say when He punishes you?" Jeremiah 13:21

God has threatened to punish lost sinners — every sinner who
lives and dies in unbelief. His threatenings are written in His Word —
that we may read them; they are published by His ministers —
that we may hear them;
they are often repeated — that we may not forget them;
some of them are fulfilled in this world — that we may
believe and fear them.

No unbelieving, impenitent, careless sinner shall escape!
The whole of the wicked, shall be turned into Hell — and all
the nations that forget God.

Every one will be punished . . . justly — in exact proportion to the nature and
number of his sins; universally — in every part of body and soul;
fearfully — without any mixture of mercy; eternally — without cessation or end!
The threatenings of God are backed and sustained . . .

  by His omnipotent power;

  by His unchangeable purpose;

  by His impartial justice;

  by His inflexible holiness;

  and by His solemn oath.

They cannot be more sure — nor can they be more dreadful.
Lost sinner, they are all pointed at you! They speak
. . . of snares, of fire and brimstone, of a never-dying worm,
of a lake of fire, of blackness and darkness, of gnashing of teeth, of eternal separation from God
and a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire, that will consume
the enemies of God! Hebrews 10:27 - Punishment is in store for you! You are warned of it, and
invited to escape from it! But if you do not, then "What will you say when
He punishes you?"

From Gracegems

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Mother's Prayer

A precious sister in Christ sent this. As I read it, I was moved to tears. This prayer should be made for all children, and grandchildren as well...

I ask not for
riches for my little boy;
His poverty –
this is my plea;
That poor in
his spirit he’d cry out to You;
From all
trust in self he would flee.

I ask not
that happiness fills all his days,
But fear of
his Holy God grows;
That mourning
both sin and contempt for Your Name,
Your comfort
in Christ he would know.

I ask not
that he’d do all he wants to achieve,
But instead
would submit to Your will;
And as he
learns meekness, You’d teach him Your ways,
In awe of You
he would “Be still”.

I ask not
that he’d be satisfied with his lot,
But a hunger
and thirst he would feel,
And for
righteousness’ sake a slave he would be,
Your Spirit
in him as Your seal.

I ask not for
accolades in his career,
But mercy to
others he’d show;
Keen to
forgive those who’ve wronged him at all,
His own sins
once scarlet - now snow.

I ask not
that he’d win the acclaim of his friends,
But Your face
alone he would seek;
conscience now cleansed by the blood of the Lamb
Your truth
from his heart he would speak.

I ask not
that his life from trouble be free,
But his work
be the gospel of peace,
And that deep
in his heart his sonship he’d know
So that fear
and worry can cease.

O Lord, now
I’m trembling - please come, strengthen me,
faltering as I intercede;
Should he be
persecuted because of his faith
I pray that
Your grace meets our need.

(based on
Matthew 5:3-10)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Absolute Total Surrender

The Christian life is one of total surrender...DAILY! How are you doing? I am in need of His mercy, for I do not always oblige. This is from gracegems, may it encourage and bless you as it has me.

  ~  ~  ~ 

He asks for absolute surrender!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"Follow Me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
Matthew 4:19

"They immediately left their nets, and followed Him." Matthew 4:20

Their nets were probably all that they owned! It was
with these, that they earned their living. Yet at the call of
Christ--they gave up all, cut themselves off from their means
of support, and in simple obedience and faith, went with Him.

That is just what we all should do--when Christ calls us.
We should obey instantly and without questioning.
No matter how much the sacrifice involves--we should
make it cheerfully for His sake. Though to obey cuts us off
from all our ordinary means of livelihood, and leaves us
without provision even for tomorrow--we should not hesitate.
Christ takes care of His servants--when they are faithfully
doing His will. He asks for absolute
surrender to Him. He wants us to trust Him--while we obey Him unquestioningly.

The faith in Christ which the gospel requires--is the
utter, unreserved devotement of the whole life
to Him, and the unquestioning commitment to Him for
time and for eternity--of every interest and hope. The
question of what He will do with us or for us, or how
He will provide for us--should not be raised for an instant. There must be
no 'conditions'--in the following and the consecration. We may
not 'bargain' with Jesus for an easy time, for 'smooth and
pleasant paths'--but should simply give ourselves to Him
absolutely and forever, to follow where and to whatever He may lead us.

The "immediately" is also important. Many people are forever
postponing duties. But every call of Christ should be answered
immediately. Many people obey so laggardly, so reluctantly,
and so long after they are called--that half the
value of their obedience is lost! Christ always wants instant obedience.
There is no 'tomorrow' with Him. Tomorrow He may not have any need
of us, or we may not be here to do the duty which He now asks
of us.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Gay Agenda and its powerful forces

The way to get your way is to wear down a person, to lessen the shock...
Here is an insightful article on this...

Yes, Virginia, there is a gay agenda, and a playbook being used to fulfill it. 
This week’s change in the law that homosexuality is incompatible with military service – the repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy – is not the “triumph for America” that homosexual activists and their supporters in the Senate seemed to say it is.

Read on....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Has the Church lost its fear of the LORD?

After watching this, I was moved to share. I do believe we do not fully comprehend what it means to fear God.
I encourage you to watch this...

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Society of Animals

There does not seem to be much that shocks our culture anymore, but this story horrified me. My heart breaks for these tiny innocent human beings that are being murdered daily in this wicked nation; surely judgment is coming and will be swift on this nation...

ORLANDO, Florida, July 26, 2011 ( – In disturbing testimony during court proceedings against a well-known Florida abortionist, a fellow abortionist reportedly admitted that some aborted children are delivered alive and left “wiggling around in the toilet,” where they are allowed to die. The testimony occurred during proceedings against abortionist James Pendergraft, who was forced to pay over $36 million last week for a botched procedure that left its intended target alive, but severely disabled.
Pendergraft, who was convicted of felony extortion in 2001, was told by an Orlando County jury to pay $18 million in the civil suit itself and another $18 million in punitive damages, totaling over $36 million.
Michele Herzog of Pro-Life Action Ministries, a witness in the courtroom, said that jurors listened as abortionist Randall Whitney, one of Pendergrast’s accomplices, “cavalierly stated that yes, babies are delivered in the toilet all the time and many times are still alive, wiggling around in the toilet.”
“I would say it was eye-opening, but we all know what really goes on in these abortion mills.  But to hear the abortionist so coldly explain how they kill the children is so hard to hear and so unbelievable to think that it is allowed in our great nation,” Herzog said.
The civil suit was launched by Pendergrast’s former patient, Carol Howard, whose infant barely survived a 2004 medical abortion at his facility. The girl, now ten years old, suffers from a host of disabilities in connection with the attempted killing, including cerebral palsy, loss of function on the left side of her body, strokes, mental disability, chronic lung disease, and seizures.
The jury last week ordered Pendergraft to pay Howard $18,255,000 in damages, as well as $462,000 in court costs, according to reports. The next day, the jury awarded Howard punitive damages of over $18 million, bringing the total to $36,766,000.
“[Pendergraft] has an abortion dynasty around the state of Florida. He only cares about money, and I say hit him where it hurts!” said Howard’s attorney during closing arguments to the jury, according to Herzog.
Although Pendergraft was still in jail for extortion in Marian County at the time, Howard said she was drawn to one of his five abortion clinics because the facility’s website touted his credentials as a board certified OB/GYN. When she got there, she was given RU-486 by a medical assistant to abort her pregnancy at over 22 weeks.
Herzog reports that, according to Howard’s attorney, Howard was given fifty times the standard dosage of Cyotec, a brand name for the labor-inducing drug misoprostol. When Howard began undergoing violent contractions and asked for pain medication, she was told by medical assistants to walk her labor off outside in the parking lot, or else leave, according to the pro-life group.  Meanwhile, there were reportedly no doctors or nurses present.
Howard wound up going home, but called 911 and managed to give birth to her baby at a hospital.

From lifesitenews

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How sick is this?!?!

If you think there is not a push to drive the homosexual agenda down the throats of the American people, think again. The target is your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. These depraved sinners want to innoculate your child with perverse thinking and they pass it off as 'tolerance'. Poppycock!!! To the wind with tolerance; stand firm on God's word and speak His truth, now more than ever!! Who is more impressionable than a child? This is exactly why they target children.

Read this

The good news is that the creators of Sesame Street have not caved in to this perverse demand, as you will see here...

Monday, May 2, 2011

should it be according to your mind?

Should it be according to your mind?" Job 34:33

We are prone to be fretful, to complain of the
dispensations of Divine Providence, and to reflect harshly
upon the Lord's dealings with us.
We want our own way.
We wish to carve for ourselves.
We would be treated as God's favorites.
We want our ease, and prosperity, and pleasure, consulted
in all things. And if this does not appear to be done--if our
wills are crossed, if our schemes are
frustrated, if our purposes are broken off--then we
stumble, think ourselves badly treated, and look for everybody
to sympathize with us.
Under these circumstances, God comes to us--as we sit
among our broken cisterns, surrounded by our dethroned
idols--and puts this question to us: "Should it be according
to your mind?"
Are you wiser than God?
Are you kinder than God?
Are you holier than God?
Are you more just than God?
Are you better informed than God?
May not your mind be dark, or selfish, or foolish?
Should it then be according to your mind?
Should you reign--or God?
Remember that God acts in the highest wisdom; His motives
are grace and justice; and all His purposes are worthy of
The least the Christian can do is to submit--and to prefer
God's wisdom, way, and work--to his own. Seeing God has so
arranged all events, that all things must work together for
the good of His people--they, at least, should daily say,
"Father, may Your will be done!"
O my soul, seek grace from God, not only to submit and be
resigned to the dispensations of Divine Providence--but to
acquiesce in them, and be pleased with the whole of them! Your
good is consulted--your best interests are secured; and soon,
very soon, it will be seen that infinite wisdom and mercy,
grace and goodness, have marked out every step of your road!
"Jesus replied: You do not understand what I am now
doing--but someday you will." John 13:7


Friday, April 29, 2011

Glorifying God

'We glorify God by being content in that state in which Providence has placed us. We give God the glory of His wisdom when we rest satisfied with what He carves out to us. Thus, Paul glorified God; the Lord cast him into as great variety of conditions as any man, 'in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft' (2 Cor.11:23). Yet, he learned to be content. Paul could sail either in a storm or a calm, he could be anything that God would have him: he could either want or abound (Phil.4:13).
A good Christian argues thus, " it is God that has put me in this condition. He could have raised me higher if He pleased, but that might have been a snare to me. He has done it in wisdom and love, therefore I will sit down satisfied with my condition."
Surely this glorifies God much, God counts Himself much honoured by such a Christian."Here", says God, "is one after mine own heart; let me do what I will with him. I hear no murmuring, he is content." This shows abundance of grace: when grace is crowning, it is not so much to be content. But when grace is conflicting with inconveniences, then to be content is a glorious thing indeed. For one to be content when he is in heaven is no wonder; but to be content under the cross is like a Christian, for he shows all the world that though he has little meal in his barrel, yet he has enough in God to make him content-he says, as David, 'the Lord is the portion of mine inheritance; the lines are fallen to me in pleasant places".(Psalm 16:5)

From Thomas Watson's sermon 'Man's chief end is to glorify God'
Fire and ice sermons

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Are Homosexual Relationships based on Love?

I have repeatedly heard from homosexuals insisting their relationships are based on love; I find just the opposite in God's word...
We will start with Matthew 15:19-20 to understand where this sexual sin is birthed, "for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man." These words are spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself as to what defiles, we focus on the origin...the heart. In the original language heart means 'thoughts, feelings, the mind; the seat of everything: of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad or good way, the soul/mind as the seat of sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions'. This is evidence sin is birthed in the thoughtlife. We now focus on fornication, which translates 'adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, illicit sexual intercourse'. In Christ's own words, homosexuality and lesbianism are a defiling act which means 'unclean, pollute, to make profane, render unhallowed'. If homosexuality and lesbianism are defiling, how can it be called love?
The clearest picture on what homosexuality is based on is found in Romans 1:26-27, 'for this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions: for their women exchanged natural (produced by nature, inborn) relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed (to set on fire, to be kindled) with passion (lust-excitement of the mind, a longing after, desire, craving for) for another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error'. Here we see what happens when sinners suppress the truth of God's word, He lets men go headlong into sin, turning them over to what they desire most by not restraining their unbridled passions: the result is moral decay. What comes natural has now been shunned for what is contrary to nature, what was instilled at birth has now been exchanged for a forbidden lust. So if at birth, we were instilled with what comes natural, how is it the homosexual claims they were born that way? The only answer is they choose to follow their own lustful desires, which is what God's word proclaims.
Here lies the key to what homosexuals base their relationships on...lust. Their relationships are fueled by a burning desire that consumes and drives them. This is the reason for turbulence in these types of relationships, they are like wild animals who stalk their prey, launch their attack and conquer. Lust is never satisfied, it must be fed over and over and over; it does not care who or what must be conquered to satisfy. It does not feel love for its prey, it only thinks of 'self' and consumes the homosexual to repeatedly feed his/her craving. Love, on the other hand, is giving and is made manifest in doing for others, especially husbands towards wives and wives towards husbands. The intimacy of love between a husband and wife is one of giving, not taking; to please another and not self: it is filled with a trusting heart as well as tenderness and faithfulness. Love is God's gift between a man and a woman, lust is a result of rejecting true love with a desire to only please 'self'.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

sin's ruthlessness-J.R. Miller

One day when the tide was out, a man went out to gather sea plants
the rocks, and in stepping from ledge to ledge--his foot slipped
and became jammed in a crevice. He attempted to pull it out--but
not. He cried aloud, he shrieked, he prayed--but all in vain--no
heard him! So the tide came rolling in, and rose up higher and
until it rolled over him and drowned his last gurgling cry in its
remorseless waters.

In the same ruthless way--sin
clutches men! Even one sin, one secret sin, one evil habit--may
the soul that indulges it--until the floods of judgment come and
over it, engulfing it in eternal damnation!

From grace gems

Saturday, March 5, 2011

the truth about same sex marriage

Through a dear brother in Christ, I found this article exposing the dangers of same sex marriage and the homosexual agenda...thank you John Lanagan of 'my word like fire' for fighting for God's truth. Here is the link

my grace is sufficient

"My grace is sufficient for thee."
— 2co 12:9

If none of God's saints were poor and tried, we should not know half so well the consolations of divine grace. When we find the wanderer who has not where to lay his head, who yet can say, "Still will I trust in the Lord;" when we see the pauper starving on bread and water, who still glories in Jesus; when we see the bereaved widow overwhelmed in affliction, and yet having faith in Christ, oh! what honour it reflects on the gospel. God's grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers. Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring-that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily, or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as he is pleased to keep them in it. This patience of the saints proves the power of divine grace. There is a lighthouse out at sea: it is a calm night-I cannot tell whether the edifice is firm; the tempest must rage about it, and then I shall know whether it will stand. So with the Spirit's work: if it were not on many occasions surrounded with tempestuous waters, we should not know that it was true and strong; if the winds did not blow upon it, we should not know how firm and secure it was. The master-works of God are those men who stand in the midst of difficulties, stedfast, unmoveable,-
"Calm mid the bewildering cry,
Confident of victory."
He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for his failing you, never dream of it-hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.

C.H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Letter to your children

My dear children,
As your parent, I feel deeply concerned for both your
present and everlasting welfare. Great will be my sorrow
and distress--to see you associated with the worldly, the
careless, or the profane--and to look forward with the fear of
being everlastingly separated from you! O what an idea--to be
separated forever! the parent enjoying unutterable
blessedness--but the child enduring unspeakable, unending woe!

With all the solemn realities of eternity before me I write, and with the deepest
solicitude I beg your attention. Allow me first, my dear child, to call your
attention to the infinite value of your immortal SOUL.
You have a soul which is immortal, destined to live forever. Live it must, live it will, and live forever;
but it is capable of enduring most dreadful, fearful, and
never-ending torments!

I tell you from the mouth of God--
  that you have an immortal soul;
  that there is a glorious heaven--and a dreadful hell;
  that one or the other must be your eternal abode;
and I beseech you to consider seriously, reflect in time, and
flee from the wrath to come!
Your nature is entirely depraved, and always has
been! You were conceived in sin, shaped in iniquity, and brought forth
under the curse of God! You have grown up hitherto in a sinful state:
   every thought of your heart, every word you have spoken,
   every action you have performed, is more or less sinful.
Your heart is a fountain so corrupt, that nothing pure can possibly
proceed from it. God, says of your heart, my
child, that it is "deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked!" Every variety of sin and wickedness
lurks there! It may be concealed from your view, but yet it
is there; and if temptation should present itself,
or the Lord takes off his restraints--it would soon
make its dreadful appearance.
There never was a sin committed by the vilest malefactor, or a crime
perpetrated by the greatest monster of iniquity--but the
seed of that sin or crime is to be found in your
heart! "For from within, out of the heart," says Jesus,
"proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, thefts,
covetousness, wickedness; deceit, lust, an evil eye, pride,
blasphemy, foolishness! All these evil things come from
within and defile a man!" Well then may the Apostle say,
"The carnal mind is enmity against God--for it is
not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be! So
then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God!"
Do you think that it is possible, my dear child, for anything good to
come from a heart like this? But just such a heart is yours--and
the reason you do not know it, is because spiritual darkness
and ignorance are spread over your soul; the eyes of your
understanding are darkened, and you are hardened through the
deceitfulness of sin!

From James Smith's 'Parental Solicitude' at

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Afflictions are necessary

(James Smith,
"Afflictions Necessary"

"He does not afflict willingly." Lamentations 3:33

Here is a fact well known--the Lord afflicts His children.
Trouble never springs out of the dust--nor do afflictions come
by 'chance'. No! Every trial and affliction is sent from our
Father's throne--and its direction is written by our Father's
hand. He appoints the kind, the degree, and the
direction of our afflictions.

We are afflicted with disappointments, losses, and crosses. None
are exempt. None can always escape, for "the Lord tries the
righteous." "Many are the afflictions of the righteous."

"He does not afflict willingly." He only grieves us
from necessity. He has fixed His end, which is to make us holy,
and to conform us to the image of His Son; from this, He will
not be diverted--but He will surely accomplish it.

In the afflictions which He sends, God aims at . . .
  our deeper sanctification,

  or our greater usefulness,
  or simply at His own glory,

which is always linked with our good.

He therefore afflicts us--to exercise our graces; these
would otherwise often lie dormant, become weak, fade, and wither.

God afflicts His children--to wean us from the world, to
which we are too much attached, and would be more so, if it were
not for trials, disappointments, and vexations.

God afflicts His children--to  embitter sin, which
is the prolific root, on which every pain, grief and sorrow

God afflicts His children--to endear the Savior, who is
our solace in sorrow, and will be our glorious deliverer from
it. Never does Jesus appear so precious--as in the hours of
trouble and trial.

God afflicts His children--to prevent our falling into
temptation, which we would do more frequently, if we were not kept
awake and watchful by our various sorrows.

God afflicts His children--to fit us for usefulness, for
as the land must be ploughed, harrowed, and crushed--if it is to
be fruitful and supply our needs; just so must we be tempted,
tried, and troubled--if we are to be of much use to
man, or to bring much glory to God.

God afflicts His children,
to make us long for heaven--which
we seldom do when all is pleasant, bright, and sunny below.

If God loves us with an infinite love;
if He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His
if He will make us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the
saints in light;
and if He will correct our faults and our follies

--He must afflict us!
  HT-Grace gems

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brought Low

Brought Low — but Helped
James Smith, 1861

"I was brought low — and He helped me!" Psalm 116:6
The circumstances of the Christian often vary — and it is
no uncommon thing for his frames and feelings to vary with his
circumstances. On this account, many of the Lord's people are either
elevated — or depressed, but seldom enjoy a calm, peaceful,
and settled state of mind. Their depression is great — or their
joys are high. But even this is overruled for their good, and is
sanctified to the humbling of the soul, and the preserving it from
self-importance and pride. What a mercy it is to have a God to go to — let
our frames and feelings be what they may. What a mercy to have one that will
sympathize with us, and of whom it is said, "Like as a father pities his
children — so the Lord pities those who fear him." This was David's
encouragement, and lay at the root of much of his experience, and led him to
say, "I was brought low — and He helped me."

His Painful Condition. "I was brought low." O how low the believer is brought sometimes,
into what straits and trials, into what troubles and distresses!
Sometimes in his outward circumstances, by the loss of property, or friends, or situation; all seems against him, everything seems to conspire together to bring him low.
Sometimes in body, by strong pain, extreme weakness, or nervous disorders; so that everything loses its relish, and he can enjoy nothing earthly. At other times it is distress in the soul, by
violent temptations, by distressing bereavements, by the hidings of the Lord's face, or his withholding divine communications. Now everything appears to be covered with a pall — and gloom and darkness spreads over the soul. But at times the Lord so sanctifies the circumstances, as painful as they are, that they become real blessings:

pride is humbled, false confidence is destroyed, and the man walks softly before the Lord.
Yet at other times — faith is shaken, the heart is straitened, doubts spring up, fears are strong, the evidences are beclouded, prayer becomes a task — and we think that God must be angry with us. This brings us low, lays us prostrate, and we cry plaintively unto God. Then in
answer to the cry of faith, the Lord sends help, or appears for our relief, and soon we are able to say, "I was brought low — and he helped me!"His Encouraging Testimony. "He helped me." Blessed be his holy name, he never allows us to sink — but he comes to our help! He helps us in

by rendering his assistance,

by sending us supplies,

by raising us up friends,

by restoring us to health and strength,

by reviving our graces and raising our spirits;

or by imparting a little scriptural light, a little holy love, a little Heavenly dew, or a little spiritual unction. Thus he draws out our souls in prayer, excites hope in his mercy, awakens confidence in his Word — and we sink in deep humility at his footstool. Now we can bear trouble with patience, and look for deliverance with courage. He helps us out of trouble, by turning our captivity as he did Job's. Now . . .

providence smiles,

health returns,

promises are applied,

comfort is imparted,

the Spirit bears his inward witness,

the heart is enlarged,

confidence is produced, and

sweet communion with himself is granted.

This is sending and taking us out of the deep waters. This is bringing us up out of the horrible pit — and setting our feet upon a solid rock. This is like returning to the days of our youth. Now we can sing in the ways of the Lord, because great is the glory of the Lord. Now we can
say with the prophet, "O Lord, I will praise you, though you were angry with me — your anger is turned away, and you comfort me."We must sink — before we rise. This is always true in grace, for before honor — is humility. We must pace the valley of humiliation, before we ascend the mount of high and holy communion with God. And very frequently is it the case, that the
lower we sink — the higher we rise. If the Lord is stripping us, emptying us, pruning us, and bringing us low; so that we feel weak, empty and void of good — it is in order that he may strengthen us with his might, bring us to rest on his Word, fill us with his own love, and lead us to look for everything in Jesus. When brought low — hope should be encouraged. The Lord
will help us. We ought not then to encourage fears, or yield to despondency — but should rather chide ourselves for yielding to such feelings, as David did, when he said, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." He who brings down — will raise up. If the Lord bring us down by his providence — he will support and raise us up by his grace. He may lay us so low — that no hand may be able to reach us but his own; or our affairs may become so perplexed — that no one can
unravel them but himself. But as sure as this is the case, he will appear for us, and work our deliverance. He will never leave us prostrate, for it is his prerogative to raise up the poor out of the dust, and lift up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make
them inherit the throne of glory!
None of God's people die in the pit. Joseph was cast into one — but the coming of the Midianite merchants, caused him to be taken out. Jeremiah was cast into a worse pit — but Ebed-melech
the Ethiopian, was used to deliver him. Just so with us, whatever pit we may fall into, or be thrown into — so sure as Daniel was taken up unhurt out of the den of lions — so shall we be delivered. The church of old testified, "We went through fire and through water — but You brought us out into a wealthy place." Just so shall we shortly be delivered, and when we stand on the borders of the promised land, when we are about to cross the river that separates time from eternity, when about to close the eyes on everything below, we shall then with our dying breath for the comfort of those we leave behind us say, "I was brought low — and He helped me!"
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine! When you go through deep waters — I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty — you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression — you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel,
your Savior!" Isaiah 43:1-3

HT-Grace gems

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lessons I've Learned

Since my firing from Olin {a factory in East Alton, Il.} in 2007, I have gone through testing and trials sent by God for my refinement, that firing being a part of His testing.
A few years back, I came across a wonderful article entitled ‘The Refiner’s Fire’, penned by Steve Camp. Here are some key excerpts from that article…
“If you are just now in the fire, dear soul, be of good cheer – it shows at least that you are silver, and are capable of performing more acceptable service in God’s holy Temple.”
"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." -Malachi 3:3
This verse puzzled some people in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the folks offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the person called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. They didn't mention anything about the reason for their interest beyond the curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As they watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained, "in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities."

The person thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then they thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."

Asking the silversmith, "is it true that you have to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined?" The man answered “yes…” He not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The person was silent for a moment and then asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy
-- when I see my image in it."
“The sitting posture shows that the refiner may seem indifferent, but He is not. He is carefully working with the silver, burning off and scraping away the dross that that the flames bring to the top. “I think I see in the sitting down of the refiner a settled patience, as if he seemed to say, ‘This is stern work, and I will sit down to it, for it will need care, and time, and constant watchfulness.’” (Spurgeon)
So if today you are in the heat of the flame and are in the center of the blaze of His refiner’s fire, remember that God has His eye on you and by His grace will keep purifying you (He will not let it destroy you) until He sees His image reflected in you.
I want to close with the impacting lyric of the song, "The Refiner's Fire," that my friend Steve Green recorded in 1989 for his album called, "The Mission." It is written by Brian Doerksen and perfectly captures the heart and truth of this post. May it deeply encourage you today in your walk with Jesus. To paraphrase John Piper, "don't waste the flame; embrace it." The Refiner's Fire
There burns a fire with sacred heat
White hot with holy flame
And all who dare pass through its blaze
Will not emerge the same
Some as bronze, and some as silver
Some as gold, then with great skill
All are hammered by their sufferings
On the anvil of His will
The Refiner's fire
Has now become my souls desire
Purged and cleansed and purified
That the Lord be glorified
He is consuming my soul
Refining me, making me whole
No matter what I may lose
I choose the Refiner's fire
I'm learning now to trust His touch
To crave the fire's embrace
For though my past with sin was etched
His mercies did erase
Each time His purging cleanses deeper
I'm not sure that I'll survive
Yet the strength in growing weaker
Keeps my hungry soul alive

From Steve Camp

I now understand so much more than the day I walked out of that meeting with Marla, the department head; the union, and the company. That was the beginning of God’s refining process for me, His child. I suffered persecution from Marla because I belonged to God; she is a child of Satan and attacked me as her father provoked her to do. Her position of authority over me was used by her for evil, however, God ordained this for that very purpose before the foundations of the world were laid.
I confess I also had a difficult time with Todd M., my shift foreman. Todd was quite a bit younger than me and hadn’t been with the company nearly as long as I had; yet, he was made foreman, replacing the departing Ed J., who’d taken a position elsewhere. Again, I understand and now see God’s hand in all of this; submission to authority is a tough lesson for me to learn and I will not learn it without the grace of God to get me through.
Not only did I have to deal with Marla and her continual false accusations, write-ups, and oral warnings, I also had a ‘young buck’ eager to brown-nose and score brownie points for himself, at my expense! That was how I viewed the situation, and there was some truth to that view.
I spent just over two years being harassed by Marla, to the point that even outsiders noticed. Part of my job duties was to load trucks, the truck drivers who came in on a regular basis noticed the treatment I received and commented on it frequently. I also will never forget my former shift foreman, Ed J.s’ parting words upon taking another job; he came to me, put his arm on my shoulder and said, ‘watch your back, Marla is out to get you’. WOW!! How would you like to live with that kind of pressure, knowing the department head wanted your head on a platter was not a comforting thought! Needless to say, it was a very stressful time for me; as a ‘babe’ in Christ, I did not fully understand what was taking place. I should have been in continual prayer and constantly seeking the Lord, and rejoicing over the trial; instead, confusion and doubt seemed to be what filled me.
It all ended August 24, 2007, the day Marla finally accomplished her ‘goal’. I was fired by Olin, after 13 years of dedicated, hard work, on a trumped up safety charge. Here is one of the things that always baffled me, whenever they accused me of wrongdoing, they would always say, ‘you’re a good worker, BUT’… or, ‘you’re the best group leader we’ve had, BUT’…how do you justify disciplining a good worker and overlooking the lazy ones?!?! I see now the hypocrisy of the situation, it wasn’t my work ability that they were condemning, it was the hatred in the heart of Marla that drove her to have management ‘watch’ me and purposely look for ‘things’ to charge me with.. This hatred stemmed from a sin-hardened heart that is dead to the things of God; my very ‘presence’ must have been repulsive to her. It reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 2:15-16, ‘for we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved; and in them that perish: to one we are the savour of death unto death, and to the other a savour of life unto life’. By the way, this all started after I shared the Gospel with her on a Saturday; we were working overtime and she was there because Ed J., the foreman at that time, couldn’t make it in. I do not regret sharing the good news of Jesus with her, no matter what it cost me, it fails in comparison with what it cost the Lord for my soul.
I will never forget that final confrontation, the meeting between all ‘parties’ involved to decide my ‘fate’ with the company. Marla had brought what would be her final false accusation against me concerning a safety issue, this was the final blow; three strikes and you are out! I already had what seemed like a mountain of disciplinary action paperwork in my personnel file; the sad part is, 99% of it was made up. She’d nailed me with two other ‘safety violations’; you were terminated after three. Here is an example of how she worked; my job was primarily out on the loading dock. There were no machines out there, and NEVER had there been a safety rule saying you had to wear hearing protection while on the dock…never, that is, until I preached the Gospel to Marla. She had other members of management watching me, they’d come out on the dock to see what I was doing, or nose around the warehouse to ‘keep an eye’ on me. Talk about pressure!! The foreman from a nearby department walked out on the dock and informed me I must wear hearing protection, even though it had never been posted in this area. This is an example of how they work; all of a sudden rules were rules, without warning, simply because they ‘said so’; I was ‘guilty as charged!’
The final safety violation was another false accusation, brought about by the same foreman who nailed me on the phony hearing protection charge. He broke his neck to tell Marla when he caught me moving an empty metal tub without a pallet jack. What he didn’t know was that the dumper used to raise up these tubs so we could pack their content into cartons had been written up numerous times as unsafe by nearly everyone in the department. There was no way to remove the tub from the dumper with a pallet jack without the tub becoming jammed in the dumper almost every time because the ‘safety bar’ they welded was placed too low. The funny thing is, the day after they fired me, they fixed this ‘safety issue’. This was like a nail in my coffin because safety was the ONE THING you could NOT debate or disprove {after my firing, this foreman went to a co-worker of mine and said how sorry he was for what he’d done. I forgive him, but I wonder, what did he think Marla’s goal was?}.
Before the company had entered the meeting room, I had already told the union reps I did not want them to fight for my job, I’d reached the end of my rope and new my time there was done. Besides, I couldn’t take the stress any longer; I thank God I had the opportunity to share Christ with many lost souls there, including incoming truck drivers, people in the medical dept., folks in management as well as hourly employees; but somehow I knew He was going to remove me from this job.
So we went through the ‘legalities’ of the matter with little being said from my ‘camp’. I did get to say a few parting words to Marla, those words were simply this, ‘the bible says, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. If memory serves me right {it’s been four years since this took place}, those were my final words. I learned through a former co-worker that within a year of my firing, Marla was ‘let go’ by Olin. I do not gloat over her firing at all; however I do believe God ordained this due to her treatment of me. The cocky, arrogant foreman I had, Todd M., was also fired. I view these firings as being the work of the Lord; He placed these people in these positions of authority for my refinement, and when it was all said and done, they were removed as a judgment by God for their treatment of one of His own. May He be gracious to them, pouring out mercy and drawing them to Christ, saving their souls and bringing them into His glorious kingdom! By His grace, I have no animosity towards anyone I worked with at that facility.

While I was working for Olin, I also volunteered as a disc-jockey at a contemporary Christian radio station. I did the weekend shift, both Saturday and Sunday night, from 6-12. I’d had some radio background; this helped me to get my foot in the door. This experience was an eye-opener as well; I was so-o-o green around the gills and thought things labeled ‘Christian’ really were! The superficiality of the whole thing started to become clear as time went on. I listened to some of the lyrics and researched the artists for their testimonies…I found none that were biblical!!
The music was programmed out of their ‘sister’ station up by Chicago, so all I had to do was go in and pre-record my stop sets every hour. I would use certain scriptures that called for repentance, being born again, crying out like the tax collector, etc. It wasn’t long before I was being ‘talked to’ by the program director; the station consultants were afraid I was being too offensive, so I should refrain from speaking certain things. I figured I had nothing to lose; I wasn’t being paid, so I was going to use that airtime for the glory of God and speak His truth. I did not change one thing! There was a full time position that came open, needless to say, I did not get it! Praise God!!!
I spent six months doing this before going to the program director and telling him I was leaving. I knew it was time to go; he was a Christian, but I think he was afraid to step out of the boat. He told me his wife had begged him to leave the station because of the garbage that was being played and passed off as ‘Christian’; to my knowledge, he’s still there. I remember one particular incident where the station promoter {I think that was her title} went to the Dove awards; when she came back she was in a state of shock.. She said she could not believe what she saw backstage…Christian bands drinking alcohol and carrying on just like their pagan counterparts. It wasn’t long after that, she quit. Poor thing, she must have been just as green as me!
I am thankful for my time there; it was my first exposure to superficial Christianity. It was also an opportunity to be used by God to speak truth through the airwaves; may He save many from this feel-good form of Christianity that saves no one.

I went from drawing unemployment from Olin to working a lesser paying job at Affinia, a place I’d worked at right after graduating high school some 3o years prior and hated with a passion! As I ran this machine which manufactured brake parts {probably the same machine from 3o years ago, I just don’t remember!}all the horrors of repetitious factory work came back like a flood. It was piece work; you got paid by the hour according to your output…more pressure! The only way you could make your quota was to cheat, which I knew I couldn’t do. So, I just ran what I could; they must have felt sorry for me because they always paid me what they paid those who made top rate. I went from making 20.00 an hour at Olin to making 14.00 an hour at Affinia; I cried out constantly to God to find me something else because I hated this job!! I look back now and am thankful He didn’t strike me dead; I understand now the testing was for my own good. Learning to deny self, to trust in Him, to be humble, to go where HE ordains regardless of my opinion or likes/dislikes…these lessons and others aren’t learned when we are comfortable and everything is rosy. You will never learn anything unless you go through the fire! Only then do the lessons become a reality; you don’t just say ‘Lord, I pray to be humble, loving, compassionate, patient, etc.’ and presto…you are. No, no, no!!! You want to be humble? God will put you in places and situations that will break your pride. Do you want to be loving? God will put someone in your life that is very hard to love to work love in you. Do you want to be patient? God will purposely tarry in situations, leaving you there until He has worked patience in you. It’s ‘hands on’ with God, you must go through trials and testing to remove the ‘crud’ so God can work in you the ‘good’. Being refined in His image is not a pleasant experience.
The job at Affinia only lasted around 8 months; I was laid off because they were moving to Mexico. Again, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak the Gospel by His grace to those I worked with there. I went in to work Nov. 4th, 2008 and heard from co-workers I was being laid off, so I went into the office to speak with the supervisor, Larry Meyers. He informed me it was true and I could leave that day, or I could finish out the week; I decided to go ahead and leave. I’d worked through a staffing service, Adecco, which is how I got this job. So I filed for unemployment {again!}and within a month or so, I received a notice from the unemployment office I was being denied because I’d quit my job! I had a phone interview with the administrative law Judge for the state of Illinois, as well as an attorney representing Adecco. Needless to say, I lost! Prior to this, I contacted Larry Meyer at Affinia and begged him to speak the truth, but he stayed out of it. Instead of being enraged, God prompted me to pray for all who were involved.

It was January of 2009, I had no job and no income whatsoever, but I still had a mortgage and other bills to pay. My next stop would be part time work at Wal-Mart. I started out working in the deli, and here is a lesson in itself for me. I am NOT a people person, so to wait on others and serve them was the lesson with this job. Humility was another lesson, going from 20 to 14 to now just over 9 dollars an hour was quite a blow; waiting on demanding, rude, arrogant people was another; here is God’s refining work being played out in me.
I worked just a short time in the deli before transferring to an overnight stocking position. I did this so I could take a class in being a certified nurse’s aide. The overnight associate position was demanding and fast paced, neither of which I cared for! I could not understand why I had to work like a mule stocking shelves, other than the fact that the more aisles I could stock, the less people Wal-mart had to hire! I did learn that this particular Wal-mart store does not treat its employees well at all. I witnessed them firing a deaf woman, which I found very troubling. Both this woman and her husband worked as overnight associates, and both were deaf. They were expecting their first child; soon after I started, their daughter was born. When this woman returned to work, they gave her a hard time. She was not very fast, but she did get her assigned aisle stocked by the end of her shift. That was not good enough for management; she hadn’t been back long from maternity leave and was called into the office and warned about her ‘speed’. Some people can only go so fast, as was apparent by this woman. Again, I reiterate, she got her aisle done, but she very seldom was done early enough to do another aisle. So, they ended up firing her: I was reading one of their flyers in the break room in which they boasted about hiring minorities and handicapped people and nearly lost it! More hypocrisy!

This was another job that I really didn’t care for, but I wasn’t there too long. After nine months, I left Wal-mart to start a job as a c.n.a. in a nursing home. This is my current job; I’ve been there a year now and have mixed feelings on this type of work. I have witnessed much corruption in all my jobs, but especially the nursing home; the way they falsify documents, the fact that they only care about money, and the phoniness to their claim ‘home with a heart’ is sickening. But, I have learned to look beyond that and concentrate on the care of the residents; never would I have imagined myself taking care of the elderly, never would I have dreamed of cleaning up other people’s human waste, dressing them, brushing their teeth, combing their hair, giving them hugs, talking to them…this has been quite an adventure for me! Don’t forget, I said I am NOT a people person!! God can work miracles and I am proof of this work.
The Lord has worked humility in me most through my current position; it has also been the most rewarding of all jobs, even though the pay is considered at poverty level by America’s standards, the relationships built and lessons learned are priceless. When residents pass away, it is always heartbreaking and difficult; for this reason I do not like my current job. What angers me is that no sooner do they die than the facility has another ‘warm body’ in their room…it’s all about the almighty dollar; it’s a business and nothing more. I often pray for a different path because I get fed up with the poor care they receive and other issues, such as the business aspect of it. These are human beings, they have stories to tell, and they are lonely, tucked away in a 5x8 room they share with someone they don’t even know! All their life belongings could fit into a paper bag…70 or 80 years all rolled up in a grocery bag. Some have little clothing, so we are forced to put the same outfit on them every other day. What kind of family sticks someone in a place like this to begin with, then forgets about them, or doesn’t supply them with what they need?!?! I suppose the ‘busyness of life’ is much more important than the care of an elderly loved one. It is a very heartbreaking job, but here is the lesson for me….compassion, as well as humility. God is refining me; the lessons God teaches us are never easy to learn or easy to go through, and THAT is what I have learned and am learning as He takes me to places I never dreamed I’d be in. I have been blessed by God to speak the Gospel to people in every place He has put me thus far, and I pray He will do a work in the hearts of all who He brings in my path.
I like John MacArthur’s quote from his study guide entitled, ‘marks of true spiritual service, part one’ ---“Superficial servers, unlike Paul, are never satisfied with their situations, and are therefore thankless. They focus on their own insatiable appetites for glory. Show me a thankless heart and I'll show you a proud, self-centered individual. One who is thankful realizes that God has a cause for everything that happens”… I pray to have an attitude of gratitude.

The affliction of poverty is also very tough for me, as I’ve already mentioned, I went from a union factory job that paid $20 dollars an hour {if I were still there, I’d be making close to $22 dollars an hour}, to my current pay of 9.50 an hour. I find it interesting that there aren’t many teachings in our present day on the affliction of poverty; Thomas Watson from days long gone has been an inspiration to me with this writing, “God sometimes afflicts with poverty, which is a great affliction. To have an estate reduced to almost nothing is hard to 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 tries His people with various afflictions, so that they have need of patient submission to His will’ – from Thomas Watson’s sermon ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, based on the text, ‘may your will be done’
Another inspirational piece I came across was written by J.R. Miller, ‘Often we do not learn the depth and riches of God's love, and the sweetness of His presence--until earthly joys vanish out of our hands, and beloved ones fade away out of sight. The loss of temporal things empties our hearts--to receive spiritual and eternal things!’
Here is a quote from Dwight Moody worth mentioning as well, ‘We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God’--- How true!! The love of money can lead to worldliness as well as a state of complacency. Being too comfortable tends to put one to sleep, which is opposite of what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 13:11, ‘knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed’.
More recently, A.W. Tozer spoke well on the blessedness of possessing nothing in his book ‘The Pursuit of God’, ‘The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things. The blessed ones who possess the Kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing. They are `poor in spirit.' They have reached an inward state paralleling the outward circumstances of the common beggar in the streets of Jerusalem; that is what the word `poor' as Christ used it actually means. These blessed poor are no longer slaves to the tyranny of things. They have broken the yoke of the oppressor; and this they have done not by fighting but by surrendering. Though free from all sense of possessing, they yet possess all things. `Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'
Let me exhort you to take this seriously. It is not to be understood as mere Bible teaching to be stored away in the mind along with an inert mass of other doctrines. It is a marker on the road to greener pastures, a path chiseled against the steep sides of the mount of God. We dare not try to by-pass it if we would follow on in this holy pursuit. We must ascend a step at a time. If we refuse one step we bring our progress to an end.’ –A.W. Tozer---here is a prayer Tozer included at the end of this chapter -- Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all Those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus' name, Amen.
I cherish this prayer and come away with this truth from it; if you do not willfully let go of your love of your stuff, God will take it away from you! Some may scream ‘legalism!’, or ‘asceticism!’ More than likely, that scream is motivated by their love of their stuff, the very thing God commands us to part with and die to, so Christ may take His rightful place in our hearts.
Tullian Tchividjian wrote a short piece entitled ‘being thankful for pain’ in which he states, ‘The Puritans used to say that this life was the gym, the dressing room, for the life to come and if suffering here and now better prepared them for the next world, then it was welcomed. It has been said that pain is the second best thing because it leads us to the best thing {God}; for it is only when we come to the end of ourselves that we come to the beginning of God, and it is only when we come to the beginning of God that we come to the beginning of life. The paradox of Christianity is that if you want to find your life, you must lose it. In the world’s economy, life precedes death; in God’s economy, death precedes life. The cross always precedes the crown, desperation always precedes deliverance. The good news, however, the thing that should cause us to be both supremely thankful and hopeful is this: when we lose our worldly comforts, we gain heavenly ones…Thank God!’ – Tullian Tchividjian
As Paul Washer puts it, ‘Although the Scripture {Matthew 6:24} teaches us that it is IMPOSSIBLE to serve God and wealth, the application is far reaching. There can be no competitors in the heart of the believer. We must constantly survey our lives and search out competing loyalties. When we find them, we must be careful to deal with them severely. We must not show them even the slightest compassion. If we spare them, they will become barbs in our eyes and thorns in our side (Numbers 33:55). We can never truly serve God while such things are hanging around our hearts. Even those things most precious to us must not be excused from our censure. Jesus taught that it is better for our right hand and right eye to suffer violent mutilation than for them to become stumbling blocks to the upward call of true discipleship (Matthew 5:29-30). We must put away anything that deters us from Him and His pursuits. Our lives are on the line and eternity is at stake! The Expositor’s Bible Commentary concludes:
“Both God and money are portrayed, not as employers, but as slave owners. A man may work for two employers; but since ‘single ownership and full time service are the very essence of slavery’ (Tasker), he cannot serve two slave owners. Either God is served with a single-eyed devotion, or he is not served at all. Attempts at divided loyalty betray, not partial commitment to discipleship, but deep-seated commitment to idolatry.”
From Paul Washer’s article entitled ‘Is Your Eye Clear?’ – Heartcry Magazine Vol. 55

Many Christians in America do not really understand Luke 9:23, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’; or Luke 14:33 ‘so therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple’. As I studied the word ‘renounce’ I was drawn deeper into the true meaning of the passage. The King James Version says ‘forsake’ {same thing}; this comes from the Greek word apotassomai and means ‘to say adieu [by departing or dismissing], bid farewell, send away’. It is made up of two Greek words ‘apo’ and ‘tasso’. Apo means ‘separation, departure, cessation’; tasso means ‘appoint, determine, ordain’. We must determine to separate our hearts from loving our stuff, our loved ones, our selves more than Christ; these people and things should no longer hold top billing in our lives. We say adieu to them by departing from them in our hearts, severing the ties to all that would keep us from total submission to Jesus Christ. How many in this country truly get that? Jesus Christ called His disciples to abandon their careers, their possessions, family, friends, and last of all…themselves. Peter echoed these words in Matthew 19:27, ‘see, we have left everything and followed you, what then will we have?’ How many of us can utter those same words? Ouch!! From his book entitled ‘Radical’ David Platt says- “We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus, we do have to love Him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate. It is entirely possible that He will tell us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor; but we don’t want to believe it. We are afraid of what it might mean for our lives, so we rationalize these passages away, ‘Jesus wouldn’t really tell us not to bury our own father or say good-bye to our family. Jesus didn’t literally mean to sell all we have and give to the poor. What Jesus really meant was…’ This is where we need to pause because we are starting to redefine Christianity. We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the bible and twist Him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with; a nice middle class American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism and who would never call us to give away everything we have. A Jesus who would not expect us to forsake our closest relationships so that He receives all our affection; a Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on our comforts because after all, He loves us just the way we are. A Jesus who wants us to be balanced, who wants us to avoid dangerous extremes, and who, for that matter, wants us to avoid danger altogether; a Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live out our Christian spin on the American dream. Consider the cost when Christians ignore Jesus’ commands to sell their possessions and give to the poor and instead choose to spend their resources on better comforts, larger homes, nicer cars, and more stuff. Consider the cost when these Christians gather in churches and choose to spend millions of dollars on nice buildings to drive up to, cushioned chairs to sit in, and endless programs to enjoy for themselves. Consider the cost for the starving multitudes who sit outside the gate of contemporary Christian influence” – David Platt, from his book entitled ‘Radical’. I agree with David’s thinking, but I think those who sit outside the gate of contemporary Christian influence may be safer than those who sit inside the gate.

There is much to be learned in afflictions, trials, and sufferings ordained by the Almighty; they aren’t sent to be wasted, nor or they ordained by God to show His superiority over those He saves. As John MacArthur says in a way that only he can, ‘God uses suffering to draw us to Himself. This is a very special thing that happens in suffering; he [the Apostle Paul and his thorn in his flesh] was immediately forced into the presence of God, and that’s the best place you could ever be, isn’t it? Have you noticed how good times don’t do that? The severer the trouble, the more likely you are to have an increase in your prayer life, is that not true? When you strip away the blessings, and you strip away the successes, and you strip away the prosperity and you strip away the health and you begin to peel it all back; then you’re going to find out what somebody’s made of spiritually. You see, what you really are shows up when everything goes wrong, doesn’t it?
Job was just humbled to ashes, wasn’t he? He spent the first part of his life building up this fortune, the Lord just wipes it all out, kills everybody in his family but his wife, then humbles him…just unbelievable humiliation. All that had to happen because God wanted to make His point, that his servant would be humbled and never lose his faith. Then, of course, in his humility, Job says, ‘I repent in dust and ashes’. He was sitting in an ash pile full of repentance, right where God wants us…no trust in his flesh, no confidence in himself; helpless, hopeless, clinging to the mercy and grace and power of God. He was at the end of all his resources, then God opened up the floodgates and greater blessing fell on him than he ever knew even before…so God uses suffering to humble us. When you go through sufferings of life God has a purpose; His purpose is to manifest the character of your spiritual life to everybody around you and to you as well. His purpose is to humble you because of His multitude of blessings poured out on you; His purpose is to draw you into the intimacy of His glorious presence.’ – John MacArthur, from his sermon entitled ‘How God uses Suffering, Part 1’

After I read that, how could I not be anything but thankful for the affliction of poverty?!?! May I always be humble, thankful, and content with what the Lord allots for me. He loves me, and He saved me, isn’t that enough? May I be like Job and never lose my faith, may it increase all the more with each affliction, trial, and test.

the heart of the matter

So, I come away at this point with this…God puts me where HE wants me, not where I want to be. I would not have chosen any of these paths for myself, I would have preferred to stay in my comfort zone at Olin, making $20 plus dollars an hour, working straight days with weekends off{for the most part}, seeing the same faces day in and day out. BUT, if I stayed there, then how would the folks at Affinia hear about Christ; people like Lynn whose husband was dying of cancer…she needed to hear a message of hope; or those co-workers like Mary from Wal-mart who was a Roman Catholic but questioned some of their practices; how would she have heard the true Gospel had God not sent me there? How would those where I am at now hear about this Jesus who died for them, especially after a charismatic Pentecostal c.n.a. was telling many they were going to hell if they didn’t speak in tongues: they needed to hear the true gospel based on grace, not works! How could I have shown the elderly the heart of Christ if I was still at Olin; after all, I never visited one single person in the nursing home…ever!! Shame on me, and shame on you if you desire to stay in your comfort zones and stick to your normal routines. We will never have an impact for Christ, nor will we grow if we stay in one place. Step out of the boat, follow Him to the ‘low’ places, go where He leads you, and do not be like me, stubborn and dull! I am learning to be content, not to complain, and to go where He desires me to go. Tough lessons? YES! it has been the hardest four years of my life, but also the most rewarding. I want Christ to be precious to me, I want to know Him, to get into His presence, to have sweet communion with Him; to pant, thirst, and hunger for Him: there’s only one way to go deeper into the things of God… Pray, Pray, Pray!! And get out of that comfort zone! May He continually refine me ‘til Christ be fully formed.
I look forward to serving Christ wherever He may take me, I pray to go without opposing Him; this is a lifelong battle with eternal benefits…let the Lamb receive His reward!!!!