Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Marriage series: Introduction

Marriage can be the most dangerous or the most blessed decision you make in life. You had better walk into it with both eyes wide open and with your mind and heart saturated in God’s Word.

In the following articles we deal with some of these truths: including romance, equality, submission, intimacy, compatibility, mystery and the metamorphosis that must  take place in a husband if the marriage is to survive.

March 31, 2006 Posted by | Marriage Series | Comments Off on Marriage series: Introduction

The Ascetic Life

Speaking of Jesus'  total involvement in a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee F.B. Meyers writes,

"It's easier, like the anchorite monk to be separated from the world, than like the Saviour, to be in it but not of it. 

I't easier to decline an invitation to a home than to go there and behave as the Son of God. 

It's easier to refuse the things of sense than to use them without abuse.

It's easier to maintain a life of prayer far from the haunts of men, than to enter them maintaining constant fellowship with God in the unruffled depths of the soul. 

Nothing but the grace of the Holy Spirit can suffice for this.  But this is sufficient if daily and believingly sought.

The idea of the ascetic life is that every human feeling is a weakness and every natural instinct a sin.  No woman's caress, no childish voice, no tender love, none of the jewels or flowers of existence may soften the rigors of that lot. 

But is not all this a libel on God's original creation?  Has He made so great a mistake in creating us that we must thwart His ideal at every step, ere we can rise to our true manhood?  Must we make ourselves other than men before we can be saints?

Surely to reason thus is to dishonor the wisdom and love of God in our original creation.  The incarnation teaches us, as does the presence of Jesus at the Marriage Feast of Cana, that God does not require an emasculated, but a fulfilled and purified humanity."

March 30, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on The Ascetic Life

Marriage series #1: Attracting the Right Man

Young ladies,  although this study on marriage is Biblically based;  let me start by  giving you my opinions on how to be attractive, opinions I have held since my teen years and opinions I believe are biblically-based. Learn from them or ignore them, whichever you choose.

The first principle that should determine your make-up and dress as well as your actions and attitudes is to do all to the glory of God. But that principle can be a little fuzzy to a young woman who is trying to attract a boy friend or husband. What does it mean to have an appearance that reflects the glory of God? Basically, it is the opposite of an appearance that attracts the fleshly lusts of men.

Using cosmetics to try to improve your appearance is not sinful nor worldy. When my wife and I were married, she didn’t wear lipstick, simply because I didn’t like it nor think she needed it. Later on as she aged, she showed me that a little make up improved her appearance and I agreed. Since then she has worn it, just enough to enhance her natural beauty.

It’s interesting to note that the only person mentioned in the Bible who painted her face was Jezebel, one of the most wicked women in the Bible.

It’s my opinion that girls and young women wear cosmetics primarily to impress other girls, rather than young men. Many young ladies over-do it and give themselves a plastic, artificial look. That does not attract spiritually-minded young men.

Girls and young teens have such fresh, beautiful faces that it is a shame to cover them up with make-up. If you must wear make up, do it artistically. The purpose of the make-up is not to call attention to the make-up. Rather, the purpose is to apply it so subtly that others are not even aware you are wearing it. The more natural you look, the more beautiful you look to men.

The same principles apply to your clothes. The more feminine you dress, the more attractive you are to a man. Femininity does not include trying to look sexy by showing as much of your body as you dare. Such appearance is a turn-off to spiritually-minded young men. On the other hand, you are not attractive by trying to dress like the Puritans or the Amish by showing almost no skin and no figure. The secret of being attractive to a young man is to keep a little mystery regarding your appearance. In fact, I believe I am accurate in saying that mystery as well as genuineness in a woman is what attracts men.

More important than your appearance is your heart. A pure heart reflects in your humility. Peter says it best when he speaks to wives in I Peter 2:1-4 Let me paraphrase some of it for you. “Wife, be in subjection to your own husband; that if he does not obey the Word, he may also without your preaching the Word, be won by the way you live before him; as he observes your pure manner of life coupled with the fear of God. Whose adorning, let not the focus be on the outward adorning: how you fix your hair, what jewelry you wear, or what clothing you wear, but recognize that your beauty comes from the hidden heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God ( and may I add in the sight of men) of great price.”

What Peter says to wives can be applied by young women seeking God’s will concerning a boy friend and eventually a husband.

Young people, yield yourself fully to God. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

March 30, 2006 Posted by | Marriage Series | Comments Off on Marriage series #1: Attracting the Right Man

Justice

Thank God for human government. Thank God for our police officers and our military personnel who risk their lives daily to protect us from those who would do us harm.  Thank God for just judges who see to it that justice is served in the courts and who are more concerned with the rights of victims than the rights of criminals.  May God increase their numbers. 

SHAMEFUL INJUSTICE

Shame on a judicial system that perverts justice by accepting bribes and pay-offs. Shame on a system that allows felons back on the streets to commit further crimes.  Shame on a system that would free murderers, rapists and other violent  criminals on bail. What a terrible injustice and insult that is to victims and society in general.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

The only true so-called closure for violent crimes is for the State to avenge victims by seeing to it that such criminals are punished according to the law.  God commanded back in Noah’s day, long before Moses and the Ten Commandments,  “Whoso sheds blood, by man ( by human government) shall his blood be shed, for   in the image of God made He man.”  Genesis 9:6   Moses  had much to say  about capital punishment  as he gave God’s  Law in  Exodus 21 & 22.

GOD’S SERVANTS WHO CARRY GUNS

The Apostle Paul teaches by inspiration of God in Romans 13 that human government is God’s servant to protect citizens from foreign and domestic enemies.  He teaches that the police officer who carries a gun is acting in his capacity as God’s servant.  He teaches that the purpose of the justice system of the State is primarily punishment and vengeance; not rehabilitation.

REHABILITATION

No one is against rehabilitating criminals;  but that is not the primary purpose of prisons.  Some prisoners will be rehabilitated.  Other’s won’t.  Actually only God can rehabilitate a felon and that is through God’s Word working in his heart.  Only when the heart is changed, can the prison inmate truly be rehabilitated.

PERSONAL VENGEANCE

God’s Word also teaches that individuals are not to take personal vengeance into their own hands.  Justice and vengeance are to be left to the State to carry out. Romans 12:17-21.

SOLEMN RESPONSIBILITY

Kings, presidents, governors and all in executive authority have the solemn responsibility under God to see that justice is carried out.  In  II Samuel 23:3 King David spoke by inspiration of God, ” He that ruleth over men MUST be just, ruling in the fear of God.”  Rulers, as well as judges,  must one day answer to God for their administration of justice.

Thank God for God-fearing men and women in high office who take their responsibilities under God seriously.  Because we live in a sinful society, we can never expect total, perfect justice until Jesus returns to reign as King of  Kings and Lord of Lords.  The Bible is filled with prophecies about this coming reign.  Some of the outstanding passages on this are Psalm 2;  Psalm 72; Isaiah 11:1-9;  Isaiah 35;  Zechariah 14;  and Revelation 19-20.

PATRIOTIC CHRISTIANS

In the meantime, as we live our lives in this sin-darkened world, let us as Christian citizens pray for our political leaders as we are taught in I Timothy 2:1-4 and let us vote for principled, God-fearing men and women to carry out their responsibilities under God.  Let us be used of God to win the lost and ease the sufferings of injustice all around us and let us each learn  “to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.”  Micah 6:8   That is the most patriotic thing we can do as Christian citizens.

March 30, 2006 Posted by | America | Comments Off on Justice

Marriage series #2:Romance

Ah, sweet romance! Every woman dreams about it, reads about it, cries over it and longs for it. Romantic feelings are the most natural thing in all the world. Yes, even men enjoy romance in their lives, though some very loving husbands don’t express it as well as they should. Some men are more romantic than others. Women, not all romantic men are loving and not all loving men are as romantic as you would like yours to be. Come to think of it, love, romance, boys friends, girl friends and dating, though very exciting, can be quite confusing for girls and for boys as well.

Three kinds of love
There are three Greek words that you ought to know about to help you sort out your feelings about love. The first Greek word is not in the Bible, although it is described in the Bible. It is eros and from this word we get the word erotic. Erotic feelings are those feelings that men can feel for an attractive woman. These feelings can be stirred up in a woman by a desirable man who makes amorous advances. The major difference between a man and a woman is that a man is “turned on” or aroused by looking at a beautiful woman, or even by looking at her picture. Isn’t it wonderful, men, that God made women so beautiful! On the other hand, a woman is not “turned on” by looking at a handsome man, but rather by his romantic touch and by the way he expresses his desire for her in the way he looks at her and talks to her. Fortunately for most of us men, we don’t have to be as handsome as a movie star to be attractive to our wives.

The second Greek word phileo, is found in the Bible. It is the word from which we get the name Philadelphia, city of brother love. This word expresses the normal, natural love that friends and family have for one another. Certainly every marriage should have a strong degree of this love. A husband and his wife ought to be the best of friends.

The third Greek word agape is the highest form of love. In fact, it is so high that only God has it by His very nature. and only God can put it in our hearts so that we can express it to others. Agape love is totally self-giving and sacrificial. “God so loved the world that He gave.” You know the verse, John 3:16.

Erotic feelings and activity within the bounds of God’s Law are good.
Now getting back to romance. How do these three kinds of love fit in? First, there is nothing inherently evil about erotic feelings. They are perfectly normal feelings, but they are feelings that are to be under the control of God’s Law. God’s Law clearly commands that erotic feelings are to be expressed only in the bonds of marriage between a husband and his wife. All other forms of eroticism have no place in our lives and God warns He will judge those who disobey His Law. Hebrews 13:4 That means that God is going to judge those guilty of pre-marital sex and other forms of sexual perversion. I didn’t write God’s Law, so if you have a problem with that, take it up with Him. Proverbs 5,6 and 7 go into more detail describing the dangers of sexual immorality.

The slippery rock
Romantic feelings, while beautiful in marriage; are no foundation for a happy, lasting marriage. If you build your marriage on romance alone, your marriage will dissolve just as soon as your romance disappears and in your rebellion to God and His Law you will probably do the same thing all over again by trying to build another marriage on the same slippery rock of romance.

Don’t get married without Him!
If you and your spouse have never invited Christ into your lives and into your marriage, the best you can hope for in marriage is some natural phileo love spiced with some erotic feelings. Although your marriage may last a lifetime, you’re still missing a wonderful ingredient of a happy marriage, and that is God’s agape love.
The foundation stone for a truly romantic, fun-filled, happy lasting marriage is for both you and your spouse to each know Christ as your personal Saviour and Lord. In fact, God clearly forbids a Christian marrying an unbeliever. I encourage you to read and study carefully I Corinthians 7 on this subject. There is given you clear direction as to what to do if you are already married to an unbeliever. However the warning is still clear to you who are still unmarried. Marry only in the Lord.

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Marriage Series | Comments Off on Marriage series #2:Romance

World Peace

Some time ago  I received a letter from a very troubled but earnest young lady  who was crying out to church leaders in  our city to help share her concern for  world peace. Her letter is about what God told her in her dreams.  She wrote about the tragedy of 9/11 and what she believed to be America’s wrong response by going to war against the terrorists.  She wrote of the special messages she had received from God and from angels and from the spirits of those who had been killed in the terrorist attack in New York and Washington. I am concerned for her and  many others like her throughout the country who are living in a dream world with no compass in life but their  dreams and with no foundation  but crumbling liberalism that rejects the Bible as the inspired, infallible Word of God.. 

 

The following  is my response to her letter.  

Dear Friend,

I  read your letter carefully and prayerfully. The peace you long for is the peace for which man has searched  ever since it was lost  in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve listened to the lie of Satan  and sinned against God their creator.  Isaiah 57:20-21 says, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.  There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”  Religion and psychiatry cannot bring lasting peace.  Jeremiah 6:14  “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”   Adam’s sin and the consequence of death has passed on to the entire human race.  Romans 5:12  “Wherefore as by one man, sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.”

God has provided reconciliation and peace to all those who confess they are sinners, helpless and hopeless to save themselves; and who look to the Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for sinners.  Jesus, the holy, sinless, Son of God, took upon Himself all our sins and bore them on the cross,  paying the penalty of death for all of us.  When we put our trust in Christ, He justifies us, reconciles us to God, declaring us righteous through the merits of Jesus’ righteousness.  Romans 5 1 says,  “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Not only does He reconcile us to Himself through Christ, but His Holy Spirit comes to live in our lives filling us with His love, joy and peace.

I encourage you to not trust your dreams, but rather spend time reading the Bible, God’s holy, inspired Word to us.  Hebrews chapter 1 teaches that in the past God did speak through dreams and visions.  Today He speaks to us through His completed Word, the Bible.  Read the warnings of the coming departure from the Word of God  that Paul wrote about two thousand years ago  to Timothy in II Timothy 3 & 4.  Read in Colossians 2:18. the warnings of  worshipping  angels and looking to them for direction.

The peace you so long for is coming to this earth.  But first, Jesus said, there would be wars and rumors of wars.  Matthew 24.  For the past 2000 years, ever since Jesus spoke those words,  wars and distress have rocked this world.   Here’s what lies ahead.

Jesus is imminently returning to this earth to suddenly remove from this world every true Christian.   In John 14:1-3 Jesus clearly promises He will one day return to this earth to take us to be with Himself.   I Thessalonians 4:13-18 gives details concerning this great event. Then this earth will be plunged into seven years of Great Tribulation when the Anti-Christ appears and rules the world.  He will come offering his false peace to the world. I Thessalonians 5:2-3 warns,  “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, PEACE AND SAFETY, then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall no escape.”  II Thessalonians 2 describes the coming of Antichrist to this world.  The Tribulation is described in Revelation 6-18.

After the Great Tribulation  we will return to this earth in glorified bodies to reign with Christ for 1000 years of perfect peace and righteousness.  Read about this wonderful thousand year reign of peace  in which Satan will be bound and unable to do any damage.  Revelation 20:1-6  Read prophecies of this Millenium in Isaiah chapters 11 and 35,  Zechariah 12-14 and in Psalm 2.  For 1000 years God will show the world how wonderful it is to live under the rule of Jesus.

Following the Millenium,  God will release Satan from his bottomless pit and he will once again stir up men for  one last rebellion against God. Imagine rebelling against Christ after having just lived through His thousand year reign of peace, joy and righteousness!  The rebellion will be over in a flash.  Revelation 20:7-10.

Then those who have rejected Christ through the centuries will be raised from the dead to face Christ at a Great White Throne Judgement and be condemned to join Satan, and the Anti-Christ and his false prophet in the Lake of Fire to be punished throughout eternity. Revelation 20:11-15.

Finally, God will destroy this earth and the heavens as we know them and will make a new heaven and new earth  on which all His redeemed children will live forever.  Read about this in II Peter 3  and in Revelation 21-22.

Imagine living with God and with all the redeemed  for eternity in  perfect righteousness,  love and peaceNo more Satan.  No more sin.  No  more rebellion against God.   Dear friend, is this the peace for which you seek?

In the meantime, we still live in a world of sin and terrorism.   In this sinful world, crime and terrorism and attacks against our nation must be met by the force of human government. Paul explains this in Romans 13. I encourage you to read this and then thank God for strong leadership and a strong military  that is working to protect us from facing in
America what people are facing in the trouble spots of the world.

My  prayer for you is that God would give you His peace through coming to Him as a guilty sinner and  gratefully putting your faith in the sacrifice Christ made for you on the cross.  We would love to see you and your boy friend come to our church, and discover that peace  that passeth all understanding.  Philippians 4:4-7.

Rejoicing in Christ,

Pastor Mal Bicker

March 29, 2006 Posted by | America | Comments Off on World Peace

Balance Series #1: Balance

Aaron the High Priest had beautiful robes. The hem of his priestly garments were beautifully decorated with golden bells and embroidered blue, purple and scarlet pomegranates. (a refreshing, juicy fruit of the Mideast.)  Read of the beautiful  balance of bells and fruit in  Exodus 28:1-2, 31-35.

 

Note in  Exodus 28: 2 and 40 that the purpose of these robes was for glory and for beauty.   Our family once vacationed in a State Park where there was a beautiful  place among the trees for religious services for the campers. I was struck by the sign at the entrance of this place;  “Worship the Lord in the holiness of beauty.”    They had it backwards. Beauty does not aid nor produce worship or holiness.   Rather, holiness produces beauty in our lives  and it enables us to worship God.   I Chronicles 16:29

 

Many people have the idea that they can only worship in a beautiful atmosphere. They are attracted to beautiful cathedral-like churches. A Christian should be able to worship God in any environment. I have worshipped God silently in my heart in an office surrounded by men who were making the air blue with profanity, vulgarity  and cigarette smoke. I much prefer to worship God in a beautiful sanctuary. 

 

Christians can worship God in any meeting place: in a room in someone’s home, in a store front, in a plain, stark church building or in a beautiful cathedral. There is nothing holy about meeting in a dirty, messy building. Investing in a church building to make it beautiful and functional  is not a waste of the Lord’s money. Matthew 26:6-13 records a story of Jesus being anointed by a woman with precious, expensive ointment.  Some complained of the waste but  Jesus reproved them and expressed appreciation for her sacrifice.

 

The Biblical truth is that as we become holy, we become beautiful in character and personality and even in appearance.   Holiness makes a woman more truly beautiful. Beauty of face and figure apart from beauty of character is vain Proverbs 31:30 tells us.  Any godly husband would rather have a holy wife than a woman who tries to beautify herself simply with cosmetics, expensive clothing and jewelry. I Peter 3:1-5 explains this. There is nothing sinful in the tasteful application of make-up and in having beautiful, clothing. The point is, that it is holiness that beautifies; not simply  outward adorning.

 

Getting back to the high priest and his robes.  Note the balance of the bells and the pomegranates.  Bells are seen and heard.   Pomegranates are seen and tasted.  In the next article in this series  we will examine areas needing balance in our lives.

 

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Balance Series | Comments Off on Balance Series #1: Balance

Balance Series #2: Where Balance Is Needed

In many areas of doctrine we must accept twin truths of Scripture, which at first appear to be in contradiction with each other;  but are actually giving us God’s full-orbed truth on a matter.  Here are some of those twin truths of Scripture which at a cursory glance sometimes appear to be contradictions.

 

 

FAITH AND WORKS

 

Faith is a major theme in Paul’s Epistles.  Works is a theme in the Epistle of James. Both men show the need for  the balance of faith and works in our lives. It is  clear in Romans 3 through 5  and in passages such as  Ephesians 2:8-9  and Titus 3:5-6 that we are not saved by attempting to atone for our sins through any works of righteousness on our part; but by faith in God’s provision of His Son, Jesus,  who shed His blood to atone for our sins. It’s the shed blood of Christ which atones for our sins; not our own flawed works.

 

Both James and Paul are saying something like this.   Salvation is by faith and faith alone, apart from any works of our own righteousness; but by a faith that does not remain alone; but results in a changed life of good works  In other words, one who claims faith in Christ, but whose life evidences no love for Christ and for others and has no change in his behaviour, shows he has never truly been saved.   II Corinthians 13:5  and James  2:20 challenge us to make sure the faith  we claim is evidenced by  our love and  good works

 

The Thessalonian church is a good example of the combination of these two themes. They were “show and tell” Christians. Their lives backed up what they preached.   Paul rejoices in their “work of faith” in I Thessalonians 1:3.   In the remaining verses of the first  chapter he describes that work of faith.

 

 

WORSHIP AND SERVICE

 

Balance is also needed in the area of worship and service.  Christians tend to gravitate to one extreme or the others.  Take for example, the story of  Mary and Martha recorded in Luke 10:38-42 .  Mary tended to spend her time in worship at Jesus’ feet. Martha tended to be too busy with kitchen duties to take time to worship Him. Jesus, chided Martha about her unbalanced emphasis on service.  There is certainly nothing wrong in serving Christ, but if we serve to the exclusion of worship we are unbalanced and missing an important ingredient in our lives. In fact, Isaiah teaches in the 6th chapter of Isaiah that we are not prepared to serve Him until first we have worshipped at His feet.  A beautiful Christian is one who has found the balance of worship and service.

 

 

KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM

 

Knowledge is acquired through teachers, books and experience.   We tend to ring the bells of knowledge  to show off the extent of our knowledge.  To be balanced we need the fruit of  godly wisdom to use our knowledge correctly; otherwise, we may end up using knowledge to harm others rather than help them.  In James 3:13-18  James contrasts earthly and heavenly wisdom.  As you read that passage, determine for yourself from the fruit produced, which kind of wisdom you have.   If you lack heavenly wisdom and desire it,   James 1:5-8  shows you clearly how you can have it.

 

 

KNOWLEDGE AND ZEAL

 

Zeal can be a good quality. Paul admonishes us in Titus 2:14 to be zealous of good works.  Zeal can also be a dangerous, harmful quality if it is used without spiritual knowledge and wisdom.  Saul of Tarsus, who was converted to Christ and whose name was changed to Paul,  writes in Romans 10:1-3 about his destructive zeal before he was saved.  In religious fervor he went about persecuting and killing Christians, thinking he was pleasing God.   There are religious people in the world today who in misguided zeal terrorize and randomly kill those who are not of their religion, thinking they are doing a service for their god.

 

 

HONOUR AND MAJESTY

 

The Psalmist in Psalm 96:6 writes about the beautiful blend of honour and majesty which is a part of God’s character and that can be a part of our character as we submit to Him.

 

 

STRENGTH AND BEAUTY

 

In that same passage,  Psalm 96:6  the Psalmist also describes a needed blend in our lives of strength and beauty.  We need to develop strength of character and convictions for that which is right and against that which is wrong.  But with that strength it is important that it be balanced with  the beauty of a humble spirit that reflects in our faces, in our attitudes and in our relationship with others.  Such a balance brings glory to God and blessing to others.

 

 

CONFIDENCE AND HUMILITY

 

Confidence rings like a bell in one who has it. But that confidence needs to be tempered with humility if we are to have a beautiful testimony before others and edify them. If we do not reflect humility, we become proud showmen or hard-nosed dogmatists and God is not glorified.  On  the other hand, if we lack confidence, we become shrinking violets who accomplish nothing for God.

 

 

SPEECH AND SILENCE

 

As witnesses for Christ, it is important  to ring the bell of the Gospel. As witnesses we also need to possess the fruit of silence and self control.  We need to learn when to speak and when to keep our mouth shut.  We preachers especially need to know when to speak and what to say and also when to keep quiet. and listen and learn.

 

 

RIGIDITY AND FLEXIBILITY

 

As Christians let us  ring the bell of rigidity and be inflexible in our stand for truth and righteousness.  On the other hand, we also need to have the balance of being flexible on lesser matters, especially in the area where we differ in matters of opinion and preference.

 

God’s Word  and the relationship we have with one another through the shed blood of Christ, unite us.  But if we magnify our opinions and preferences, these things are bound to divide us.

 

In a family composed of parents, brothers and sisters with different personalities and interests, the thing that unites us is our family bond of love.  So it can be in God’s family. Ask God to help you to know when to be rigid and when to be flexible.

 

 

SEPARATION AND INVOLVEMENT

 

As obedient Christians, it is important that we ring the  bell of separation from sin. See my series SEPARATION for further information concerning this.  At the same time, we must be involved in the lives of the unsaved, showing our friendship to them and yet not getting involved in their sin.  Jesus in his prayer in John 17:15-17.  expressed the need for balance  in the matter of  separation and involvement.  To be salt and light in a corrupt, sin-darkened world,  we need to be involved in the lives of  people.

 

 

 

DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY AND HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY

 

In the area of Biblical doctrine most Christian tend to gravitate to one of two emphases. Some glory in God’s sovereignty and ignore the truth of human responsibility and others glory in the truth of human responsibility and ignore the truth of God’s sovereignty. Both are Biblical doctrines backed by dozens of Scriptures.

 

The Gospel train runs down two parallel tracks.  The track of God’s sovereignty and the track of human responsibility.  Both tracks stay parallel through  scripture.  They cannot be brought together and they cannot be separated or the Gospel train will derail.  To emphasize one to the exclusion of the other is to ring the bells, but ignore the fruit. on the hem of the priest’s garment.

 

 

We are a royal priesthood of believers. I Peter 2:9 announces.  Let’s make sure that the hem of our spiritual garment of salvation which we considered in the first of this two part series has in it both the golden bells and the embroidered fruit in perfect balance.  Only as we live a balanced life can we have a beautiful testimony.

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Balance Series | Comments Off on Balance Series #2: Where Balance Is Needed

A Pastor’s Heart

A pastor’s heart is not based on how good he is at petting sheep; but how good he is at protecting them from wolves.

John MacArthur

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on A Pastor’s Heart

Evangelism

The two greatest forces in evangelism are a healthy church and a healthy marriage. The two are interdependent. You can't have one without the other. It is the healthy marriage; however, which is the "front line weapon." The Christian family in a community is the ultimate evangelistic tool, assuming the home circle is an open one in which the beauty of the gospel is readily available. It's the old story: "When love is seen, the message is heard."

– Joseph C. Aldrich

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on Evangelism

Heavenly Minded

Don't think heavenly mindedness makes us pilgrims no earthly good. Don't pooh, pooh it as looking at the world through pie-in-the-sky rose-colored glasses. Sojourners who think the most of the next world are usually those who are doing the highest good in this one. It is the person whose mind is only on earthly things who, when it comes to earth, does little good. C.S. Lewis expands on this, saying, "Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither."

– Joni Eareckson Tada

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on Heavenly Minded

Dying Man To Dying Men

"I preached as never sure to preach again; as a dying man to dying men."

– Richard Baxter – Puritan preacher.

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on Dying Man To Dying Men

Borden Of Yale

William Borden was the heir of the Borden Dairy estate and a millionaire. As a high school graduation gift, his parents sent him around the world. During his trip the Lord called him to be a missionary to China. He wrote home, “I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field,” and at the age of eighteen, he wrote in the back of his Bible, “No Reserves.” As a student at Yale, he sought to win other college men for Christ and His service. After graduation he entered two more words in his Bible, “No Retreats.” After finishing Princeton Seminary, in 1913 Borden sailed for China to begin his ministry. In Egypt he developed meningitis and died within the month, but underneath the words, “No Reserves” and “No Retreats”, Borden had written the words, “No Regrets” in his Bible.

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on Borden Of Yale

No Fool

Jim Elliot, one of five missionaries who were martyred by savage Indians in Ecuador fifty years ago, wrote this powerful testimony in his journal, "He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on No Fool

Within a yard of Hell

"Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell;
I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell."

– C.T. Studd.

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on Within a yard of Hell

All That Is Not Eternal

"All that is not eternal is eternally useless."

– C.S. Lewis

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on All That Is Not Eternal

You’re Not Home Yet

It is said that a missionary from a foreign field was sailing to the United States to retire. The ship also bore the President of the United States. While docking, a large cheering crowd had gathered to greet the President, while the missionary slipped off with no fanfare. In his heart, he began to wonder if his work had all been worth it. He had affected many lives but no one seemed to notice his homecoming. Soon his heart was pricked when God’s Spirit gently reminded him, “But my child, you’re not home yet!”

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on You’re Not Home Yet

Our Lives Are Immortal Until…

"Our lives are immortal until our work is done."

– David Livingstone

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on Our Lives Are Immortal Until…

On A Life I Did Not Live

"On a life I did not live;
On a death I did not die:
On Another's life – Another's death;
I stake my whole eternity."

– Anon.

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on On A Life I Did Not Live

We Mutter & Sputter

"We mutter and sputter
We fume and we spurt.
We mumble and grumble
Our feelings get hurt.
We can't understand things
Our vision grows dim,
When all that we need is a moment with Him!"

– Anon.

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on We Mutter & Sputter