Archive for October, 2006

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Whoville

October 31, 2006

We are without a doubt, a people with an incredible herd mentality.  As kids, we all try to subjugate our liking for clothes, cars, music, and just about everything else to the current definition of “cool.”  For example; a Corvette is cool.  It’s expensive, can only carry two people, and you can’t transport anything with it that’s larger than a toaster.  But it’s cool.  On the other hand, a minivan is NOT cool.  It’s functional, can transport several kids to a soccer game, can haul a considerable amount of trappings, but on the “cool”ometer, it registers a zero.  As kids we adapt sometimes rediculous standards in order to line up with “cool.” 

As adults, it can get worse.  We decorate for holidays just like everybody else and in many instances, try to stand out from the crowd by doing an overabundance of conforming.  We paint our houses to blend in with everyone elses and groom our lawns to meet the expectations of whats considered “groomed.”  (My wife will never let me do it, but I think that it would be fun to paint our house flourescent orange and drive the neighbors nutty.)  In short we continue on with the conformist mentality throughout our lives.  We may have different careers, different hobbies, and various twists on “normality” but we, for the most part strive to “fit in.”  Just like the “Whos” in the whimsical world of Dr Seuss, we all do the same things at the same time. 

This attribute of conformity is merely superficial silliness in the physical realm.  It doesn’t really hurt anyone; it just prevents you from painting your house flourescent orange or covering your entire yard with shrubs so that you never ever have to mow again.  In the spiritual realm, however, conformity will kill you.  It’s a commonly held belief that people are basically “good”  We all for the most part just want to get along with our lives and be good citizens.  This sounds nice and fuzzy; except for one major problem.  “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  There’s not a single person who deserves eternal life.  If it were possible to obtain eternal life by good works, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come into the world and shed his blood on Calvary.  No matter how much you do, you can never obtain the standard of holiness that God requires.  Yet this is the common belief.  It makes sence, it’s held by everyone else, and so we seek safety in numbers and follow the crowd.  Here’s what John 3:3 says:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

In order to obtain eternal life, you must experience the new birth.  You must come to God in sincere repentance (sorrow) for your sin, ask the Lord Jesus to forgive you, and to save you from eternal seperation from God.  If you have never been born again, you’re not ready to go into eternity.  Regardless of what the psychiatrist tells you or what your neighbor says, without asking Jesus into your heart, you cannot enter into eternal life.  Does this mean that you have no hope?  Of course not.  Read John 3:16-18; the most familiar passage in all of scripture.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Sounds like a narrow path.  It is a narrow path.  But it’s the path to eternal life.  Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, and was yet without sin.  He never sinned one time and as a result, he alone could pay for our sin.  He bore the punishment that we deserve.  The most important question that you will ever be asked is “what will you do with so great a salvation?  Will you ask Jesus Christ to save you from your sins and make you a new creation?  Or will you go on trying to enter heaven through a window as a thief?  Or perhaps you’ll find comfort in your abundance of friends, family members, and fellow citizens who’ll tell you “you’re such a nice person.” 

Not long ago, Bill Gates determined to delegate all of his energy to his charitable causes.  Not to be outdone, Warren Buffet stated that he was giving 75% of his wealth to charity.  While these are nice jesters to be sure, and many thousands will benefit, they can’t address the problem of sin.  Everyone has sinned and only the blood of Jesus Christ can take away sin.  If you’ve never been born again, please don’t put it off any longer.  From here on out, you’re only going to get older and older.  Finally one day, maybe in several years or maybe before breakfast, you will leave this world and stand before God.  This is an absolute certainty; it’s one appointment that you won’t be late for.  If you have never been born again, you’ll have to pay for your sin yourself and YOU CAN’T DO IT.  Seeing that this is the most important decision of your life and that your eternal abode depends upon your decision, please don’t put it off.  You have no idea of what joy unspeakable and perfect peace is until you know Jesus.  When you know that your sins are forgiven and that you’re ready to pass into eternity, you’ll have peace that the world can never give and the world can never take away. 

Romans 10:9-10  “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

One more thing.  One way that you know that you’re saved is you’ll want to live for him.  You may say to yourself “I just can’t do that.”  Just come to Jesus just as you are.  He will give you that desire.  As you grow in Christ you’ll find that the things which once seemed to bring fulfillment will no longer satisfy as you now have something far far better.  I pray that if you’re not born again, that you would make a decision for Christ today.  If you’re backslidden, please come home.  You remember what it used to be like; the incredible peace, the tranquility, the fellowship with God.  Please come back to the Savior.  Remember I John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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Ten Thousand Years

October 30, 2006

Romans 8:16-18  “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

I Corinthians 15:51-54  “Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortaliy.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

If there is one consistant theme that I strive to place emphasis on in both blog sites, it that we would get our affections on the world to come and stop being overcharged with the affairs of this life.  It is indeed true that we are in the world and have to tend to the necessities of life.  We work, raise our kids, tend to the basic needs of our families, be model citizens in a world that seems to have a diminishing supply of such, and most importantly, be ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ as it is through him that the way to eternal life has been provided.  We are to be witnesses for Jesus in this world that’s getting darker by the hour, and yet we must not set our affections on this present realm.  It’s not easy, sometimes as the present realm is all about us; we see it, hear it, touch it, smell it, and taste it.  If you run into a brick wall, you will come to an abrupt standstill.  And yet we must keep our eyes on the world to come; the one where we shall put on incorruption, where time will no longer have any authority because there will be no ending.  If you are born again; if you have repented of your sins and accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have ETERNAL LIFE WORLD WITHOUT END!  If you have this glorious hope; if you keep your eyes on Jesus, and the world to come, this world will not get to you.  This is a principal that cannot fail. 

Isaiah 26:3  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

In this world you will have tribulation; much more so if you have the testimony of Jesus, but you can have the joy of the Lord, regardless of the physical situation.  I still remember the aftermath of Katrina and how despair was rampant throughout that scene of utter devastation.  One lady, after being rescued from her home, was asked “what are you going to do now?”  Her reply was, “I’ve got Jesus, he’ll always work things out.”  This lady had endured the exact same storm that all of the rest of the residents endured, however the Lord gave her perfect peace while everyone else was going nutty.  Her affections were on things above.  This is an important thing to remember as we come into the time of Jacobs trouble.  Understand this; hurricane Katrina was barely a summer breeze compared to the events that will soon be unfolding and if you aren’t abiding in the Lord Jesus, you’re going to have a rough time, to put it mildly. 

Philippians 3:20-21  “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.”

What an absolutely glorious hope.  I know that I spend more time than most in talking about the end of this age as it is upon us and few are even attempting to prepare for it.  However, we really should spend more time in reading about the world to come; the world that will be when this one has long since melted with a fervent heat.  The title of this post comes from the last verse of the song “Amazing Grace” and describes exactly what I’m referring to.

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun

With no less days to sing Gods praise

Than when we first begun.

Time no longer.  A neverending world of eternal bliss with the Lord Jesus Christ and a cast of millions who, throughout the ages, held the testimony of Jesus Christ and loved not their own lives unto the death.  Read Hebrews chapter 11 when you get a chance.  If you’ve already read it a million times, go read it again.  (While you’re at it read the first 4 verses of chapter 12.)  These saints from the past all had their affections on the world to come.  They all understood that we are in the world but not of it.  When you get this into your heart, you’ll understand just how insignificant so many of the things are that we occupy ourselves with such as sporting events, accumulating things for the sake of accululating things, making sure that our yard looks better than our neighbors yard, putting on a “show” for those around you who are probably a lot less impressed than you are, and most important of all, making sure that you don’t miss the season premier of  “Desperate Housewives”  (I’m thinking of using that as a post title when the opportunity arises.)

II Peter 3:10 14  “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”

Please get this concept deep into your heart.  This world, as real as it is, is temporal; it’s going to come to pass.  All of the glory of man is going to come to pass.  Your life in this world, is but a passing “blip” in comparison to “forever.”  Set your affections on things above.  If you don’t know Jesus as your savior, don’t put it off any longer.  Forever is a long time to be saying to yourself “what was I thinking?”  He shed his innocent blood for you on an old rugged cross; to pay for youre sin.  But the choice is yours whether you accept him as Savior or try to come in anther way.  (There is no other way) 

Revelation 3:20-22  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” 

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Make a Difference

October 28, 2006

What did you do in the name of Jesus Christ today?  I’m asking myself this question every bit as much as proposing it to others.  We should, at the end of each day, be able to point out something or a number of things that we did which advanced the kingdom of God; be it witness to a neighbor, volenteer at a homeless shelter, visit a prison, teach, or even spend time in fervent prayer for those around us.  (I have been striving to spend time in prayer for those with whom I have contact with prior to being with them, that the Lord would use me in some capacity.)  I ask this question because I often feel as though I’m doing next to nothing.  I could blame work as I put in many hours on second shift, or I could blame it on the hecticity of day to day living.  These would be excuses, of course as we are to be a light regardless of where we find ourselves.  Joseph was ill treated by his brothers, and later thrown into prison when Potiphars wife accused him of attempting to “force her” which was the exact opposite of what had happened.  ( Genesis chapters 37 through 41 tell of Josephs ordeal.)  Joseph was faithful to God despite being ill treated.  Joseph had a good report and eventually, at the proper moment, he was called upon to interpet Pharaohs dream; an event which spared life in the face of unprecidented famine.

The American church has, for the most part, become fat and lazy.  Many have chosen a “show” over substance, and pursuit of money over compassion for lost souls.  Many tithe only because they want it given back “pressed down shaken together, and running over.”  God has indeed promised to give back to us more than we give to him, but that shouldn’t be our motivation.  Our motivation should be the furtherance of the gospel.  This is a concept that the world understands better than many christians.  Often times at work, when one of our co-workers is experiencing hardship, someone will go around the plant to take up a collection for them.  Almost everyone will contribute to help out that individual.  They don’t do it in order to get something back; they do it simply to be a good neighbor.  There has been preaching in recent times about tithing, in which the “getting back” part is emphasized.  The phrase “seed faith” comes to mind.  We are obsessed with the temporal things which are going to melt with a fervent heat and be no more, instead of laying up treasure in heaven.   

In an E-mail today was an interview of Pastor Pretlow that was done by Pastor Dan Catlin in Wichita Kansas who also heads up a homeless shelter.  Both of these guys are quite  understanding of the times that we’re in.  Pastor Catlin mentioned that they receive donations for the homeless shelter from all over the country and that such wouldn’t be necessary if the thousands of professing christians in the Wichita (population 354,617) were more interested in reaching out to the homeless than in material accumulation.  Here’s the web sites for both Pastor Pretlow and Pastor Catlin. 

www.messiahsbranch.org   Pastor Dan Catlin

www.wotcmi.org    Pastor Pretlow

We are not saved by our works; we do not minister or support ministries for salvation.  Nobody deserves eternal life and as a result, all of the good deeds in the world cannot save a person.  It is true, however, that when a person loves Jesus, they will become more like him as time goes on.  Jesus had much to say concerning this topic of tithing and giving of ourselves. 

Matthew 6:19-21  “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Luke 6:35-36  “But love ye your enemies, and do good, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Luke 21:1-And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.  And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in hither two mites.  And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:  For all these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. 

Keep in mind, that in those days, being a widow was a rough situation to be in.  There was no social security or public means of caring for such.  She really was giving of her own livlihood.  Her affections were truly on things above.  Just a thought; can you imagine if Jesus were to preach to the average “name it and claim it” crowd?  I imagine that they would treat him in the same fashion as did the religeous people in the days of his earthly ministry.  Jesus came to seek and to save sinners.  He came to set the captives free.  As you read the gospels, you see that his focus was always on the eternal.  He headed the sick, he cast out devils, he preached the kingdom of God.  He warned about the love of riches often.  Todays generation is told of in I Timothy chapter six as we associate gain with godliness.  Souls are entering hell every minute of every day while christians in America are believing God for a new boat.  There will be a lot to give account for on judgment day.  Again, let me stress that I’m preaching to myself concerning this issue.  I waste a lot of time that could be better utilized in the furtherance of the gospel.  At work, I struggle with runaway “goof off syndrome” and it will lead to more ungodliness if you don’t reign it in.  Just as you have battles, so do I.  We really need to be about our Fathers business as there’s precious little time left for doing so. 

Read Matthew 25:32-46.  This is the parable of the sheep and the goats.  This is the parable that tells how when we visit those in prison and tend to the need of those who need it we’re doing it unto Christ.  Likewise, when we neglect those who are in prison, or who are in need of basic necessities, we’re neglecting Christ.  This is also an indicator of where our heart is.  Whatever is in your heart, it will manifest outwardly in what you say and also in what you do.  If you have in your house 400 fishing rods, every kind of lure known to man, an eighteen foot boat out by the garage, and are wearing a hat that says “pro bass shop” one could assume that you are very fond of fishing.  It’s obviously something that you sink a lot of time and money into.  This is a law that cannot be altered.  Whatever is on the inside will manifest outwardly.  Two more verses before concluding this post.

James 2:14-20  “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Yea a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”

Revelation 2:8-11  “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

The church of Smyrna didn’t have an abundance of material wealth, but had laid up treasure in heaven.  They were a faithful fellowship.  We need to stop heaping to ourselves treasures for the last days and be about the furtherance of the gospel; both in word and in deed.  This materialistic “gain is godliness” mentality is one of the most destructive teachings of the day and the airwaves are plastered with it.  Sound doctrine is hard to come by these days as most have resorted to appealing to the baser elements of the flesh.  Well I need to wrap this up.  Please seek the Lord Jesus and his will for your life.  His will might be something that’s contrary to conventional wisdom.  Just trust him and be obediant.  I need to be doing this also.  I pray that we would all strive to be a city, set upon a hill that cannot be hid. 

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Talk of the Town

October 26, 2006

Jeremiah 31:34 reads “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

This verse tells about the time of the millenial reign of Christ; a time of unparalleled peace on earth.  Ever since the fall of Adam, there hasn’t been peace on earth.  There were four people on the earth, Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel when the first murder took place.  The physical death of a person must have initially perplexed the other three who had never witnessed such a happening.  It also revealed the contents of mans heart in his fallen state.  Pride, envy, hatred, “murder” lying; it’s all there.  Because of this fallen nature, there has never been peace on earth and what you see transpiring now is childs play compared to what’s coming in the days ahead as the return of Jesus draws ever closer.  Jesus said in Matthew 24:22 “And except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elects sake those days shall be shortened.”

When Jesus returns, he will at that time, set up his kingdom on earth.  This kingdom will last for a thousand years.  The antichrist and the false prophet which deceived the whole world will be cast into the lake of fire while Satan will be bound a thousand years.  During this time Jesus will reign with a rod of iron.  This is a very good thing because he is completly holy, completly just and completly loving.  His judgments will be proper and knowledge of him will fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.  During this time, those who died in Christ during the church age will reign in various capaities depending upon their faithfulness over “little.”  That being how they conducted their lives in this present realm. 

This is something to think on.  There won’t be any crime, no backbiting, no extortion, no illness, no hateful conversation, no phony drama, no sorcery, no fog of battle, no dirty bombs, no tyranical dictators, no partisan politics, no famine, none of the things that make the world such a turmultuous place today.  It will be a time when everyone will “know the Lord” and abide by the ways of righteousness.  If you know Jesus as your Savior, you will partake of this kingdom.  If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, there’s no other way to heaven and if you continue to reject him, you’ll have a lot in the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet will be.  If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, please turn to him now.  If you’ve become backslidden, please come back to him before you find yourself in a situation that you can’t get out of.  When I was backslidden, I believe that I was nearing such a point and I PRAISE GOD FOREVER AND EVER for bringing me out of it.  He woke me up but he could have just as easily turned me over.  It’s a lesson that I’m all the more diligent to never forget.  Read Revelation 20:4-6:

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first ressurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Sounds serious doesn’t it.  This is every bit as serious as it gets.  If you die without Jesus or if you take a mark on your right hand or forehead alligning yourself with Satan, there is no remedy.  However, if you repent; sincerely apolagize and turn from your sin asking Jesus to cleanse you in his precious blood that was shed for you, he will forgive you and give you a new heart.  You’ll then have a portion in the thousand year reign of Christ and after that, a place in the New Jerusalem which will be on the new earth, which will abide in the new heavens.  What a glorious future for those who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is why I consistantly urge saints to “set their affections on things above.”  Why do so many of us choose to wallow in the carnality of this world.  Read Revelation 21:1 

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.

That means that everything that now is, the oceans, the galaxies, the “dark matter”, EVERYTHING will be gone.  I enjoy astronomy as it declares the awesomeness of God who is from everlasting, but I know that it will soon melt with a fervent heat.  Please read Revelation 21:2-6

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.  And he said unto me, write: for these things are true and faithful.  And he said unto me, It is done.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”

I’m so glad that John had his notebook with him that day.  What an incredible future for those who are in Christ.  If you’re not born again, what in the world are you waiting for?  Don’t believe the lies of the devil.  He’ll tell you that you’ve got plenty of time for that later, or he’ll tell you that you’ve done so many rotton things that you can never be saved.  Both of those accusations wrong. Jesus Christ, who stepped into time, lived a completly sinless life, went to a cross willingly, shed his own innocent blood to pay the sin debt of everyone, went to the center of the earth for three days, took back the keys of hell and of death, rose from the dead, appeared unto many for the space of fourty days, then ascended into heaven, will soon return, defeat the devils forces and set foot on the Mount of Olives, will save you if you will call upon him. 

Whoever you are; whatever your past is, I want to see you on the streets of glory.  You may think that you’re not good enough.  None of us are good enough.  None of us deserve eternal life.  But Jesus Christ is able to save us to the uttermost.  If you’re reading this post, it’s not too late.  Two hours from now may be too late as your final moment can come at any time.  But right here, right now, it’s not too late.  I pray that you’ll turn to Jesus who is ready and willing to write your name in glory. 

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Total Bliss

October 24, 2006

Usually when I come out here, the first thing that confronts me is the netscape homepage which may mention a couple of breaking headlines, but other than that, displays the usual array of advertisements and reports of seemingly irrelevant stories.   These stories usually involve celebrities, or tell of the latest ten step plan on how to more effectively employ ten step plans.  One story, however, caught my attention.  It involved Oprah Winfrey who took a road trip this summer with a friend named Gayle King.  At one point, they found themselves in Fredricksburg Ohio, where they visited an Amish community.  She talked with an Amish couple, David and Emily, who had been married seven years.  As is the Amish way of life, they have no computer, television, or anything requiring electricity.  They have no vehicle and they make their own clothing.  They don’t date until the age of 18 and they stay married for life. 

After hearing all of this, Oprah asked David “are you content?”  He replied that he was absolutely 100% content with no hesitation.  Later Oprah commented that she didn’t know of anyone else who could proclaim such a thing.  In other words, of all the people that she knows, many of whom have the means to obtain anything that this life can offer, none of them have the level of contentment that David and Emily enjoy.  I must admit that I would be hard pressed to find anyone who is so content with their life; even among christians, who should be rejoicing with joy unspeakable because their names are written in glory.

In Matthew 6:24-34, Jesus tells us to not worry about the necessities of life such as what we shall eat or what we shall wear.  (This doesn’t mean that we go sit on a mountain and wait for things to fall out of the sky; we live day to day, trust God in all things, and don’t panic when things in the natural look precarious)  He uses the parable of the lillies which neither toil or spin and yet arrayed in a fashion that surpasses Solomon.  And the fowl, which neither sow nor reap, and yet their needs are met daily.  It comes down to this one thing; trust God and don’t worry about the ambient conditions.  If we have a love for the things of this world, it will be difficult, to reach this level of trust in the Lord.  We trust the lord Jesus for salvation (as there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved) however, when it comes to daily life, we have a tendancy to want to “see” the means.  This can make it almost impossible to step out on faith as we hug the shoreline of “Lake Mediocre.”

“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Loving this life, worrying about the necessities, letting these things get us “worked up,” and accululating stuff for the sake of accumulating stuff, is not only a path to discontentment, it’s a path that can lead to eternal ruin as it can cause one to leave their first love. The bible is full of warnings, Genesis to Revelation, about this.  I’ve quoted this before on phil.320, but here it is again.  I Timothy 6:5-8 reads as follows:

“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and rainment let us be therewith content.”

Contentment.  Real peace.  Just like David and Emily have.  Joy in the Lord Jesus Christ.  There’s no counterfeit in the world that can even come close to it.  The supernatural joy of the lord and the peace that

I Timothy 6:9-11  “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

By the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have a level of contentment today like I have never had before.  I have growing to do, but I used to be a perpetual worrier; even up until about two and a half years ago.  The joy of the Lord really is our strength.  If we love him and our treasures are laid up in heaven, the world cannot touch us.  They can kill our bodies, but they cannot touch “us” unless we allow them to.  It’s a matter of eternal life or death; we must not allow this world “get to us.”

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Just Do It

October 23, 2006

If one predominate thing came out of the preaching today, (actually yesterday as it’s well past midnight) it was the need to “trust and obey.”  To strive to place obediance over sacrifice.  There are so many verses concerning this; one of the most popular being Proverbs 3:5-6 which reads:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

This has been the requirement throughout history, to trust the Lord and don’t place any hope in the physical world which can give way without warning. (Just ask job)  When the physical world fails; leaving you between the Red Sea and the armies of Egypt, it’s then that two things take place.  First, you find out if you really trust the Lord Jesus the way that you claim to.  You can claim to be trusting the Lord to meet every need, but when you reach a point where you have absolutly no other alternative, you will suddenly find out how steadfast your faith is.  Second, it’s in moments such as this that God can work in your life and he will be glorified.  When God parted the Red Sea, he alone was glorified.  Such has been the case throughout the ages and is the case today.

I have always loved the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo as they refused to bow to the kings image.  (Something to ponder as soon, another image will be set up and men will be required to worship it by taking a mark)  As you know they were brought in before Nebuchadnezzar concerning this act of disobediance where the king explained to them that they were to bow to this image every time the music played.  Daniel 3:17-18 tells their reply:

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

As you know they were thrown into the seven times hotter than usual furnace for refusing to worship the image.  Verses 24 and 25 tell about what Nebuchadnezzar saw when he looked in.  He saw, not three bound men, but four men loose and walking in the midst of the fire, and the fourth looked like the Son of God.  These three Hebrew men loved God, trusted God, and didn’t hold dear the things of this present world; things which have no eternal standing.  We need to have our hearts firmly established in like fashion if we’re going to stand in the times that we find ourselves in.  (This truly is the last generation; I really believe this)  Many don’t take the coming persecution seriously; preferring to name and claim success in this life.  They cling to the flesh pots of Egypt instead of setting their affections on things above.  These folks would have a rough time in Uzbekistan, or in Eritrea where it’s reported that ten percent of the christian population is in prison for their faith.  Just check out “Arabs for Christ” and “Voice of the Martyrs” both of which are on the blogroll. 

In preaching today, Pastor Perkins used the example of King Saul in I Samual in talking about obediance being better than sacrifice.  A sacrifice is a very temporary occurrance (such as a fast or an incarceration for the gospels sake-don’t think that it can never happen here)  On the other hand, obediance is an ongoing way of conducting yourself.  Being obediant something that you do 24/7 and it will often result in one making sacrifices.  In the case of King Saul, he had this concept backwards as he spared the best of the Amalekites livestock and told Samual that he was going to use them for sacrifice unto the Lord.  This would have seemed like a proper thing to do in the realm of earthly wisdom, but it was contrary to what the Lord had instructed Saul to do.  One can do sacrifices to put on a “show” such as when the pharisees would alter their countenance to let everyone know that they were fasting.  In Sauls case, he told Samual “I have performed the commandment of the Lord” and he probably believed it.  He tried to justify the keeping of certain of the livestock by saying “we saved them to do sacrifice.”  The Lord Jesus wants us to follow him, not our own ideas.  If we just do that our actions will line up.

I remember hearing an account several weeks ago (the name of the man and the name of the person relaying the story escapes me) about an evangelist in the nineteenth century.  As he was in the western United States, the Lord instructed him to go to a lumberjacks camp and preach in the dining hall.  When he arrived, the camp was completly empty as everyone was in the woods working.  He knew that the Lord wanted him to preach at that moment, in the dining hall.  So he went ahead and gave a normal message as though the room was filled to capacity.  He told how to be born again and gave an altar call.  Following this he left; not understanding why the Lord had wanted him to do that, but knowing that he had been obediant.  Several years later, he was standing on a bridge in London England, looking down at the Thames, when a man approached him.  This man asked if he had preached in a vacant dining hall several years ago in the western United States.  Come to find out, this man had been working from that camp.  He had gone back to camp to get a new ax handle when he happened to hear the preacher from outside of the dining hall.   He gave his life to Jesus at that moment and upon returning to the woods, told the others.  Two of them gave their hearts to Jesus and were at that moment both missionaries in other countries.  The Lord only knows how many souls are in heaven today; all because one man dared to do something that seemed rediculous.  I pray that we would all learn to be in total obediance to the Lord Jesus Christ and stop trying to do that which seems right in our own eyes.  Remember, the seemingly logical choice in a situation may very well not be the proper choice. 

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From the “Heart”land

October 20, 2006

This is a post admonishing any passer by by who knows Jesus as their Savior to keep in remembrance what a great salvation we have; the incredible price that Jesus paid on Calvary that we might live with him for all of eternity.  It sounds very basic as you hear it on a continuous basis; at least you SHOULD, if you fellowship with a bible believing assembly of saints.  I speak as one who didn’t keep this in the forefront as I should have in earlier years and when certain temptations came, I fell into sin.  I was in a backslidden state for thirteen years as a result.  Thirteen years that should have been used to proclaim the gospel.  So many folks passed through my life that I didn’t try to reach, all because of rebellion.  I praise God for awakening me from my slumber and for his mercy which truly does endure forever.  I learned a very important lesson the hard way, however, the repercussions still linger in certain ways.  Read Hebrews 3:12-14

“Take heed, brethren, leas there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.”

This warning is to every saint as the slippage into stagnation can be set in motion in the most insinuated fashion and once that occurs, it’s a slippery slope to be sure.  The age that we find ourselves in is one of unparaleled delusion as the world is heading to it’s prophesied conclusion at break’neck speed.  In the coming days, holding fast the profession of your faith will have to be done in the face of “false signs, and wonders” along with seemingly ironclad “scientific proof” that would seem to totally discredit the gospel.  (There are true signs and true miracles that take place today, however there are  going to be false ones too.  If you know Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit abiding within and he will grant you discernment if you’re sensitive to him) Such efforts have been underway for years; actually since the garden.  As you recall, the serpent beguiled Eve through the desires of the flesh.  He told Eve that the tree wouldn’t cause death, but would open their eyes.  It would make them “like God” he said, knowing good and evil.  As you know, she saw that the tree was good for food and it was “a tree desired to make one wise.”  She took of the fruit and gave also to Adam, who was standing there with her, and knew what was happening but went ahead anyway.  (There are volumes of lessons in this one event)  The end result is what you see in the world today; that being that the imagination of mans heart is evil from his youth.  You’ve undoubtedly heart the new age slogan “man is basically good at heart.”  If that was true, there wouldn’t be a civil war in Iraq, you wouldn’t have children beiong gunned down in class, you wouldn’t have “gay pride marches” you wouldn’t have genocide taking place in Darfur, and you wouldn’t have more than half of the marriages in this land ending in divorce.  (Marriage is an institution ordained by God from the moment that he brought the woman to Adam and this institution is under attack like never before.)

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”  This verse, found in Proverbs 4:23, is one that I quote often as it “says it all in a nutshell” concerning the matters of the heart.  Don’t slack off, even for a moment, in guarding your heart as the enemy is lying in wait for any opportunity that presents itself.  Here’s how Jesus explained it in Mark 7:18-23:

“And he said unto them, Are ye so without understanding also?  Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?  And he said,  That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

The apostle Paul wrote about the “different law working in our members” the old man that wants to partake of the old nature.  The sinful nature that abides in all of us that we must reign in continuously.  He wrote in I Corinthians 9:27

“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

That’s how serious it is.  That’s why I have to strive to put down my weakness of foolish jesting as it truly does lead to more ungodliness.  Goofing around seems harmless enough on the surface, however it will get you into an almost “trancelike mode” as seriosity takes a back seat to the desire of the flesh to make folks laugh.  I struggle with this on a daily basis along with all the things that we all strive for victory over.  Praise God for Jesus Christ, our High Priest forever who is able to “save us to the uttermost.”  Stay close to him.  Stay humble (read Isaiah 57:15)  Stay in repentance.  Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  Do you remember the hour when you first believed?  Well your salvation is all the more closer than it was in that hour.  Jesus is returning.