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One in Every Crowd March 10, 2014

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sheepMatthew 18:12 – How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

How great the Father’s love for us that He would send His only son to die.  This verse gives us a hint, or as much of one as our limited minds can conceive, of how much God loves each of us individually.  Had there been only one sheep gone astray, still the Shepherd would still have come to Earth seeking to save it.  A wise man wrote, “If I had been the only reason…he still would have died for only me.”  No Christian should ever become discouraged or think that God does not care.  God is actively interested in each of His servants, individually as well as collectively.  Do not become jealous of someone who seems to be constantly involved in serving God and winning battle after battle while you feel like you are sitting on the sidelines doing nothing of value.  This is far from the truth.  Each of God’s servants, if they are doing God’s will, is exactly where the Father expects them to be and each has the Father’s complete attention.  Anytime we feel separated from God or beneath His notice, it is only a short coming on our part.  Pray without ceasing.  Stay in the Word and seek the Will of God.  Separation from God is all one-sided.  He does not withdraw from us, we withdraw from Him.  If you cry out to Him he will find you, as a shepherd seeking a single sheep.  The wise Christian, however, will stay close to the shepherd and not be the one in every crowd that wanders astray.

A Splash of Gratitude December 2, 2013

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A sermon on Gratitude loosely following a chapter from Max Lucado’s book, “You’ll Get Through It”. The sermon was delivered on 12/1/2013 at Central Baptist Church. We need to remember that whatever it is, we don’t own it. We are just borrowing it.

NOW I remember what it was…. September 19, 2013

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I began a missive the other day concerning relativity and time dilation. I lost the thread about half way through and could NOT pull it together. While talking to our preacher earlier this week it dawned on me what exactly I was trying to say. I would like to first caveat my comments by saying that if you are of the Calvinist persuasion you will not like or agree with what I am about to say but I believe I can support my position with scripture.
There is a debate in Christian circles (hah! yeah like there is only ONE) concerning the doctrine of predestination versus the idea that all men are called to salvation. I can see both sides of the issue but I believe there is more scriptural basis for the idea that God calls all men and each has a right to choose, free of any destiny.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might
be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom
he justified, them he also glorified.

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good
pleasure of his will,
Most followers of the Hyper-Calvinist doctrine use at least one of the preceding verses as their justification for over applying the idea of predestination. The doctrine of predestination is generally accepted to mean ” the divine foreordaining of all that will happen, esp. with regard to the salvation of some and not others. It has been particularly associated with the teachings of St. Augustine of Hippo and of Calvin.” (Merriam-Webster).

The trouble with that doctrine is that its purveyors mistake intention with foreknowledge. Once again, to define terms, foreknowledge is considered to mean “awareness of something before it happens or exists.” (Merriam-Webster). God is aware of the choices we will make but that does not mean He orchestrates them. The Bible is VERY clear about God’s intentions toward men concerning salvation.
1 Tim. 2:3-4 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”
 
  2 Pet. 3:9  “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”

Salvation is open to “whosoever will”. We are instructed to believe and be saved. God would that all people should abide with him.

Does God have foreknowledge? Is He aware that some will not accept His gift? Yes but does that mean He ordered things to be that way in infinity past? NO. To say that would imply that all things are destined to be and that God’s will can never be thwarted. This is not the case. Our actions can hinder God’s will. It happens every Sunday in churches across America. Someone in the grip of making a decision looks down the aisle as they are preparing to step out during an invitation only to see some jaded, bored Christian texting or tweeting or playing Angry Birds during the invitation. Immediately the devil begins to whisper into the potential convert’s ear about how all these people are hypocrites and he or she should wait until they find a REAL church to be saved. The will of God is thwarted by simple human indifference. The mighty arm of God stopped dead still by some thoughtless child misbehaving.

Psalm 78:41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

1.Matthew 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

It is not only possible but fairly easy to balk God’s will. It is, however, a very dangerous and foolish thing to do, and the consequences are nearly always disastrous.

Finally, We return to the very verse most often used as justification for absolute election to, in fact, justify the more Arminian view (even though we are NOT Arminian and categorically renounce the idea of falling from grace).

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might
be the firstborn among many brethren.

According to Romans 8:29 God predestined those whom He foreknew or had foreknowledge of that they might be brothers of His son Jesus Christ.  Who, if anyone, did God NOT foreknow.  He was aware of all of us from the beginning of time and so all of us are intended to be among the brethren of Christ.  He also knew that some would not accept that offer.  He still reaches out to those with all the power and sincerity that the conviction of the Holy Spirit can muster if for no other reason than to hope that they will change their minds.  Free will is a powerful force in the universe.  We may have no other power to call our own but we always have the power to choose.  God’s view is not limited to one destiny path for all humanity.  There are hundreds of millions of individual threads of possibility each leading inexorably to the same place but each taking a different route through the lives of believers and unbelievers alike.  All of these threads are possible.  All you have to do is choose.  Choose Jesus.

Whose Fault Is It??? July 7, 2013

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Our land is hurting.  Who is to blame?

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

A pastor spoke today on the If/Then arrangement that we have with our creator and it struck a chord within my own heart and mind.  He was making the point that the relationship of the Christian, with God, is based on actions and reactions.  In this verse God is speaking to His people and He tells them that if they will humble themselves, repent, and call upon Him that He will heal their land.  This verse is being  mentioned very often in our dark period of American history as a call to action and a sign of hope.  I think, however, that it is being misinterpreted.

We Christians blame the immoral condition of our country for the cultural and economic woes that we are experiencing, and to that extent we are correct.  However, most of the things we are upset about may be attributed to the unregenerate population in our land.  Abortion policy is the product of non-believers, for example.  The removal of every Christian symbol or statement from public display is not the product of the church member.  The mutilation of the holiday season by promoting it as a time of peace and love and understanding and at the same time attempting to deny and remove the very reason for its existence is not something that saved people implemented.  In short, the things we blame for our decline are the policies and devices of worldly people, not Christians.  Here in lies the revelation that was given to me during the sermon today.

God is deeply and personally concerned with the doings of His people.  He watches as we work and worship and while away the hours we are given.  He provides, He protects, and He occasionally paddles us when we need it.  He is actively involved in and concerned with the lives of each and every one of His servants.  God has a very different outlook concerning the lost of this world.

We are aware that God’s will is for each and every one of us here on Spaceship Earth to be saved by faith in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  Once we receive that saving grace, we belong, body and soul, to the Lord.  We are legally and literally adopted into the family of God.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” – Romans 8:29

We, the saved, are literally part of God’s family and Jesus is the firstborn or eldest among us and so worthy of our honor and respect and service.  However, this is not the case with the lost.

The Bible refers to the unsaved in many ways.  One of the most common is to speak of the lost as blind.

“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Romans 11:7

According to Romans, the elect, or saved people have obtained what they seek but the rest are blinded and unable to see it.  If you are walking down a crowded street and someone wielding a white cane and dark glasses bumps into you and knocks you over, do you leap to your feet and retaliate?  Do you hold them accountable for their misdirection?

The Bible also refers to the lost as dead in sin.  The most evil and prolific of criminals, once he dies, is no longer held accountable for his crimes.  We don’t serve warrants on corpses.  The dead are not responsible for anything.

These are some of the ways that God views the lost.  How does this affect His dealing with them?

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” – Hebrews 12:7-8

These verses hold the key to my revelation.  God chastises those whom He loves.  He paddles His own children like any good parent but He does not concern himself with the behavior of the lost children.  His attitude to them is one of mercy and forgiveness.  God is described many times over in scripture as long-suffering and patient with the sinner.  he calls to them.  The Holy Spirit appeals to them.  He does NOT chastise them for their sins any more than you would rebuke a blind man for bumping into you.  Now we get to the meat of the matter.  Lets look at our foundation verse again…

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

God is telling us that if HIS people, called by HIS name, will humble themselves and pray and repent, and turn from their wickedness, then He will come to their aid.  We blame our present darkness on the policies and propensities of the lost  but the Bible clearly states that they are not the cause of chastening from above….WE ARE.

It’s not the abortion doctor plying his evil trade that brings a curse upon America, it is the gossiping believer.  It is not the secular humanist declaring God dead that brings about wrath and woe, it is the church member who sits through sermon after sermon on Sunday and then goes to his or her workplace on Monday and does nothing to share the good news that they heard the day before.  It is not the drug dealer, the school shooter, the thief, or the prostitute that is bringing ruin upon our land, it is the complacent, uncaring, or compromising Christian that incites the ire of the Almighty.  MY PEOPLE, CALLED BY MY NAME…”  God deals with his own.  He does not chastise those who don’t belong to him.

“And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” – Luke 9:54

The disciples wanted to call down wrath upon the unbelieving of the Samaritan village because they would not receive him and Jesus forbade them.  The lost have their place in judgment and it is coming for them like a thief in the night.  Until then, the filthy will remain so unless they repent.

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” – Revelations 22:11

Should the lost man become a child of God then the relationship changes.  I would not allow some stranger to live in my house and eat at my table but neither would I involve myself in his behaviors unless they affected me directly.  Chastisement is wasted upon the lost.  Until they are saved they can not be justified outside of the law and no amount of punishment can make them obey it successfully.  It is wasted effort.

The unsaved and their machinations are not the root cause of our troubles, they are symptoms.  They are part of the punishment.  God often uses the lost to chastise His children.  Oddly enough, the children of always the better for it and the instruments of His wrath are usually destroyed by it.

What is important for us, however, is what needs to be done to heal our land and who needs to do it.  The believers must repent.  The believers must end the complacency that allowed these abominations to enter into our lives.  We, the saved, must repent of our laziness, cowardice, uncaring attitude, or anything else that keeps us from serving God to the fullest.  Only then will He heed our prayers and heal our land.  Only then will America become what she once was and can be again.  Only when Christians join together in an attitude of repentance and prayer will things be right again.  I only pray it is not too late.  God is actively interested in every aspect of the Christian life and He wants it to be blessed, but only on His terms.  As for the lost, if the abortion doctor or the humanist or the drug dealer repents and believes then that person is made a new creature and the old evil person is gone.  That is how we retake our country.  When every American believes that Jesus Christ died for their sins and accepts in their heart that they are sinners in need of a savior then there will be nobody left to run abortion clinics or institute antichristian policy in government.  If you are a believer and not living like you should then YOU are at fault.  I guess I answered my question.

I’m Not Lost, This is the Scenic Route August 2, 2012

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To all my loyal readers, sorry I have not posted in a couple of weeks.  Between trying to finish up a movie and get ready for school to start back up, not to mention trying to cut wood with my cousin in 110 degree heat, I have been remiss in my duties as a writer and minister.  To you who are interested, I heartily apologize.  I WOULD apologise like they do in Europe but the word press spell checker insists that it is misspelled.

To make matters worse, my family has been on vacation at the family reunion, which I did not attend, and that has me completely out of sorts.  Enough excuses, I promise to turn out some Pulitzer Prize winning material just as soon as I can copy some from a Pulitzer Prize winning author.  Meanwhile, God Bless and Keep You and Make His Face to Shine Upon You.  For those of you who were put off by my reference to the Deity, please see my entry under “Live Forever, Ask Me How” tab immediately.  You can thank me later after we have both passed away.

Wisdom vs. Knowledge July 16, 2012

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Here is my Sunday School lesson for 7/15.  We were looking at Solomon and the two harlots who each claimed the living baby.  I am just posting the outline this time…

I.  Wisdom Defined:

A.    Wisdom: 1. The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.  2. The soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of such experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

Wisdom is an action trait.  It is only valuable if used.  By contrast, knowledge is merely a collection of facts and information.  It does not require action in order to justify its existence.  Wisdom must be put to work.

Solomon knew he needed God’s help in order to be a wise ruler.  Part of wisdom is experience.  Solomon was very young, and, having grown up in the palace, was likely sheltered from much of the experience that many people receive growing up.  Solomon, did, however, have the knowledge of his own limitations.  There is much wisdom in him even before the Lord blesses him.

And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

Solomon knew what he needed to rule well.  He knew the only source for that kind of wisdom was the source and font of all wisdom.  He understood that discernment was more important to a ruler than military might or riches or any other characteristic.

II. Wisdom Displayed

A. Most believers are familiar with the story of the two harlots.  Solomon knew, from a very brief exposure to these two that the child’s true mother would react as she did.  Solomon also depended on God to make sure everything went according to his plan.

B. Solomon knew that there are some basic human tenets that are constant even among the morally questionable.  Mothers love their children.  It is ingrained.  The child’s mother would much rather see him raised by some other woman than to see him killed.  The other woman really did not care, though no doubt she was heartbroken about the death of her own child.

III. Wisdom Departed

A. Unfortunately Solomon did not maintain the course of wisdom in his later years.  The condition that God placed on Solomon’s life was that if Solomon would follow in the ways of the Lord all his life then God would add days to his life.

B. Solomon allowed unequal yokemates to enter his life.  He married outside of his faith and allowed the immorality of his foreign wives to lead him from the paths of righteousness, and unfortunately, wisdom as well.  Solomon might have ruled years longer if only he had not allowed foolishness and sin to cloud his judgement.

1Kings 11:3  And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

Solomon lost the chance to establish a dynasty and had the kingdom stripped from the royal family because of his wickedness.

The Truth Shall Set You Free July 5, 2012

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Just a short entry tonight.  This was my sermon from the 4th of July celebration at “The Place”.  Hope everyone had a great time.  I know I did.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We celebrate today because 236 years ago, 56 representatives from the original 13 colonies came together to declare their liberty from tyranny.  They gathered in Philadelphia to ratify the document that officially severed ties with Great Britain and paved the way for the United States to become and independent nation.  The document they signed, our declaration of independence, is essentially a list of grievances which led to the separation of the US and Great Britain.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.

 

 

In that same light, over 2000 years ago, the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, urged them to declare their independence from the tyranny of sin and wickedness.

Gal. 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

The remainder of the passage is essentially a list of the things that enslave us and keep us from finding liberty.

Gal. 5:19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

If you would be truly free then declare yourself.  Pledge your allegiance to the only Son of God and accept the free gift of salvation he offers and you can finally escape the tyranny of the world and sin.

John 8:32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Metaphor and Meaning May 13, 2012

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    God gave me an idea for a sermon:

Sermon 4 – Metaphors and Meaning

met·a·phor/ˈmetəˌfôr/

Noun:
  1. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
  2. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, esp. something abstract.

Hermeneutics:  The study and practice of interpretation, particularly of written text.

Key Verses:

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 10: 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

John 15:1 I am the true vine and my father is the husbandman.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am

A metaphor is an implied comparison.  In John’s Gospel Jesus regularly used metaphor to describe himself and his role in the world.  Metaphor is an excellent way to teach because it takes an unknown concept and applies a familiar example to explain it.  Successful teachers frequently use metaphor in the classroom.  The human mind craves order and it is programmed to seek patterns.  If we can find a familiar pattern then we can usually grasp whatever new concept that we are presented with by using comparison and contrast to see how it is similar and different from things we know.

Great care must be taken, however, in applying and interpreting metaphor, or any other literary device.  It is possible to take something intended to be merely descriptive and force some other deeper (and false) meaning upon it.  In this way the scripture can be twisted to mean just about anything we want.

2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

The word “wrest” comes from the Anglo Saxon “wrestan” and means simply to twist or distort.  The same root provides us the word “wrestling” or “wrestle”.  Peter is telling us that some unlearned people twist the scriptures to suit their own purposes.  Peter also tells us what the outcome of faulty interpretation is…destruction.

So how can we determine what to interpret and what to read at face value?  In most cases Context is the key.  We should never try to read a single verse as stand alone.  The Bible was not originally divided into verses and chapters.  The divisions are NOT inspired.  They are convenient but also potentially problematic because we tend to see verses as little building blocks that can stand on their own.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The scripture was given as a whole unit and should be interpreted as such.  Both Luther and Calvin held the view that “scriptura sui ipsius interpres” or “the scriptures are their own interpreters”.  This means that if we read enough before and after the verse in question, then the further reading that we do will help us make the correct interpretation.  Context is the most important tool.

Peter was correct when he described those who “wrest” the scriptures.  He called them “unlearned”.  One of the most important things we can do to insure that our interpretations are correct is to be very familiar with God’s Word.  It has been said (by R. C. Sproul among others) that “A text without a context is a pretext, that is, the meaning of a text is determined by its context.  The context may be the entire Bible.”  If we are not familiar with the scripture as a whole, it is much easier to make a mistake in determining the meaning of a single verse.

Enough history.  Here are some things that you can do to read your Bible correctly and get the full and true meaning from every word.

1.  Spend enough time reading it.  Familiarity is the only way to truly get the context.  Three times a week during church is not enough.  If you aren’t reading your Bible at home you are suffering from malnutrition.

2. Read extended passages.  Don’t “lucky dip” or just randomly open to a page and run your finger down to a random verse.  Remember, CONTEXT is the key.

con·text/ˈkäntekst/

Noun:
  1. The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.
  2. The parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.

If you plan to understand what you read then you need to get the context or the overall sense of the passage, not just one little verse.

3.  Have an organized, systematic approach.  There are many hundreds of daily Bible readings or devotional plans available today.  They can be purchased at book stores, found online, or your local minister can likely provide a good system.  A good one will have daily readings long enough to give you the context of what you are reading and be short enough to keep you from being late to work because you overslept.  The goal is to read the entire Bible.  Most will have it completed in a calendar year.  Reading daily is not just a good study habit.  It is a discipline for the mind and spirit.  We all need it.

4.  Have an attitude of prayer as you read.  Ask God to enlighten you and show you His will.

Matthew 7:8  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

5.  Be careful of the interpretations of others.  While we can gain insight from wise teachers and pastors, it is vital that we feed ourselves on the Word of God.  It is much better to read the Gospel of John, for example, than to read 20 other people’s interpretation of John.  Before you trust someone else to tell you what to think about a scripture, you should find out for yourself what it says.  Supplemental materials do not replace the word.

6.  In order to rightly divide the word you must be born again.  The Bible is a supernatural book.  It is not intended as a great work of philosophy although it is.  It is not meant to be a moral guide post although it is the greatest one ever written.  The Bible is the Word of the Everlasting God, and as such, there is a supernatural element involved that cannot be gotten around.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

No matter what amount of study or education you receive, you cannot fully appreciate or even perceive the full measure of truth in the Bible until you are a believer.  <Invitation>

Ain’t Skeer’d May 6, 2012

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I think I will use the blog to post possible sermons and get a reaction on them before I preach them.  If you want to be a sermon “beta tester” then just comment below on what you think…

The Desires of Thine Heart

 

Turn in your bibles if you will to Psalms 37:4.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

On the surface the verse seems very straightforward and easy to interpret and yet this is far from true.  “Delight thyself also in the Lord”.  Everything about the Lord should be pleasing to you.  It should bring you delight.  We should delight in worship, delight in doing His will and delight in being the witness He wants us to be.  If we are not delighted in service we need to examine our motivation as well as our position with Him. 

In most people’s opinions,  the verse seems to present a simple action and reaction.  If we delight in the Lord then He will give us whatever we desire in our heart.  This is a faulty interpretation.  If we look deeper we find that God does not want to give us the selfish desires of our worldly hearts, He wants to change our hearts and make our desires fit into His will.  If we delight in Him, He will give us the right desires in our hearts.

It is in verses like this that real Christian commitment begins.  We want the things that we want.  They are not always bad but they are not always what God wants for us.  He wants for us the best things. 

King Hezekiah had reached his time upon this Earth.  He had done, for the most part, what was pleasing in God’s sight and yet he felt that he knew better than God.  His time was at an end and the King was about to cross over and receive his reward, yet he was not ready.  Rather than seek God’s will the king asked for healing and more time on Earth, not a bad thing , but not the best thing.  God’s permissive will can be changed by our prayer.  Sometimes it is not for the good.  The Lord added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life.  During the added 15 years he behaved foolishly and cost the kingdom of Judah nearly everything they had.  Surrender means TRUSTING GOD TO DO THE RIGHT THING EVERY TIME. 

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

If we are truly surrendered to the calling then our only prayer should be the same prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden…”never the less, not my will but THINE.”  A beloved family member becomes sick or injured and we are immediately beseeching God for a miracle.  A financial setback can bring us to our knees on the altar service after service.  Once again, a physical healing is not a bad thing, but is it the BEST thing.  For Hezekiah it most surely was not.  Better to pray “not my will but thine” and MEAN it.  That is the place where the truly surrendered and committed Christian lives.  No trial, no circumstance, no condition, physical, spiritual, or financial can touch us.  Each time we pray we know that we are heard and answered because we only pray God’s will be done.  We can spend more of our prayer time praising and thanking Him and less time telling Him about the troubles that He already knows about anyhow.  Believe me, it’s scary to let go and trust a sick family member or a potentially devastating financial setback to God’s will, given the possibility that going through the trial might BE his will but if we can develop that kind of faith then we will find freedom that few Christians dream of. 

Ain’t Skeer’d

Have you ever seen that bumper sticker?  Absolutely NO FEAR because we are 100% committed to the belief that God knows best and we are 100% committed to seeking His will in everything.  Too much of the average Christian’s prayer is motivated by fear.  We fear death, disease, financial trouble, persecution, and a myriad of other things.  How would you like to be completely free of all that.  The Bible tells us to “fear not”.  This is not a suggestion.  It is a commandment. 

  1. Luke 5:10
    And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
    Luke 5:9-11 (in Context) Luke 5 (Whole Chapter)
  2. Luke 8:50
    But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
    Luke 8:49-51 (in Context) Luke 8 (Whole Chapter)
  3. Luke 12:7
    But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
    Luke 12:6-8 (in Context) Luke 12 (Whole Chapter)
  4. Luke 12:32
    Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
    Luke 12:31-33 (in Context) Luke 12 (Whole Chapter)

Jesus spent a great deal of time telling his disciples not to fear.  His will for us is to be so committed that nothing disturbs our peace.  If we truly believe then there is no reason for us to fear anything that the devil or the world can do and no reason to fear any trial or challenge that God may send.  We are designed to be fearless.  Daniel and the three Hebrew children should be our models…

Daniel 6

20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.

22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

 

 

Daniel 3

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 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.

18 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.

That is the sort of faith we should have.  They were not even careful in their answer.  We don’t care, O king, what you do.  If you kill us then we are at home with God.  You have no power over us.

This sort of faith is not easy.  It does not come quickly.  The human condition is one of fear.  For the lost man there is NO alternative to make the fear go away.  If you have no relationship with God then you have no hope and you should be living in constant fear.  This is why the world fights so hard to reject Christianity.  They terrified not to.  If the world allows the least bit of credulity concerning the Gospel then the possibility of spending eternity in Hell becomes a reality.  For this reason, the Christian doctrine is attacked unreasonably.  Are you tired of living in fear?

Church Media: It’s really not the end September 18, 2011

Posted by regan222 in Religion.
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Are you one of those Christians who think that the words “Christian” and “media” don’t belong in the same sentence?  Do you feel that a screen with words and pictures hanging in a sanctuary is the end of western civilization as well as organized religion?  Take a deep breath because I am going to challenge that belief. 

For as long as there has been organized religion, there have been attempts by the clergy to illustrate points and proverbs for their congregations.  Believers who oppose any effort by a minister to use methods outside the Bible and the human voice to illustrate or expand upon a point would do well to remember that Jesus himself delivered his most powerful sermons in the form of parables or “along side” stories that illustrated the point he was trying to make.  He was also known to write in the dust to emphasize a meaning.  Through out church history, paintings and sketches have been used with great effect to enable the spirit to see great truths in a message.

The Apostle Paul called for the use of any means to present the gospel so that some, who might not be saved through fear, might be saved by kindness.  We are doing a disservice to anyone who is willing to spread the gospel of Jesus if we try to limit their methods in any way.