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Prayer series #8: Thy Will Be Done

It is a terrible affront to the Lord Jesus Christ to insist on having our own way while at the same time piously and hypocritically praying “Thy will be done.”

Is not God’s will always done?
We might wonder why we are to ask such a request. Isn’t God’s will going to be accomplished regardless of whether we pray for it or not? That question is answered by considering which Greek word for WILL is used here. There are two Greek words for WILL.

Theleema is an entreating, desired will.
Boulomai
is an insistent, determined will.

God’s determined will is always accomplished. Whether we fulfill His entreating, desired will is up to us, though of course, God in His omniscience knew from before the foundation of the world, what our choice would be.

We are free to obey Him or disobey Him.
Note from Scripture how God has always given us a free will to obey Him or disobey Him, to trust Him or reject Him.

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden were commanded by God not to eat fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was His entreating, desired will that they obey Him, but God did not overrule their will. They chose to disobey God and He allowed it. In Adam each of us have inherited his sinful nature. God, of course, knew the decision Adam and Eve would make and He provided salvation from sin for them and us from before the foundation of the world.

God delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage to enter the Land of Canaan He had promised them. It was His will for them to go to Canaan. They refused to believe God and as a result the older generation died in the wilderness and the new generation entered Canaan forty years later.

Marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship with His Bride, the Church. His will is clearly spelled out in Ephesians 5:22 that a wife submit herself to her husband, just as it is His will that we, His Bride, submit ourselves to Him. He does not expect husbands to force their will on their wives just as He does not force His will on us. The only obedience that pleases Christ is our glad, willing obedience and submission to His will. We still have the freedom to rebel against Christ if we are foolish enough to accept the consequences.

Jesus came to earth to fulfill His Father’s will.
Jesus did not come to fulfill His own desires as a man, but to do the will of His Father in Heaven.

“Thy will be done,” Jesus prayed to His Father in Gethsemane. Matt. 26:42

“My meat is to fulfill the Father’s will”, He explained to His disciples in Samaria. John 4:34

It is His desired will that we pray for in Luke 11:2. We should pray that His desired will and purpose will be worked out in our lives and in the lives of others for whom we pray.

God’s Will and our Salvation
Don’t ever forget this! God is “NOT WILLING that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9 It is God’s desired will to save the lost. Matthew 18:11-14 makes it clear that Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost. To be saved we must desire to trust Christ. The last invitation in the Bible is found in Revelation 22:17 “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

At the same time we must understand the other side of God’s will as it applies to our salvation. In John 1:12-13 we learn that our salvation does not originate with our will, but with God’s determined will. In James 1:18 God makes it clear that is was “Of His own determined will (boulomai) that we were born again when we believed and received His Word of Truth.

“We love Him because He first loved us.” I John 4:19. To put it another way, We chose to trust Him as Saviour because He first willed or determined to save us. Nevertheless, don’t blame God if you are not saved. It’s your choice. John 5:40 “Ye WILL NOT (ye desire not) to come to Me that ye might have life.”

You don’t understand how God can determine to save a sinner from before the foundation of the world and at the same time give him a free will about the matter? Neither do I. I simply gratefully receive His gracious Gift of salvation and leave the hidden things that I do not understand to Him. The Apostle Paul, after dealing with this doctrine of election in Romans 9,10 and 11, concludes the matter in 11:33-36 with a doxology of praise to God for His unsearchable wisdom. I am thankful that my God is so great and awesome that I cannot begin to fathom the depths of His love and wisdom

God’s Will and Our Sanctification
I Thessalonians 4:3 teaches that it is God’s desire and will for Christians to be sanctified. That is, when a person is saved, it is God’s will for Him to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and to become like Him. True, we will not be perfect as He is until we are in Heaven. But this is the direction of our life as a Christian. Romans 12:1-2 shows us that it is God’s will and desire for us to be fully surrendered to His control. Everything God allows in our lives is His will and desire for me. I Thessalonians 5:18

For Which Will are We Praying in the Lord’s Prayer?
In both Luke 11:2 and Matthew 6:10 it is God’s desired will for which we pray. It is clear that God wills all be saved. It is also obvious that all men have not chosen to be saved. So God’s desired will is limited by man’s choice.

It is also clear that God wants all Christians to progress in sanctification. It is also obvious that many Christians are not progressing in sanctification. For many, the idea does not ever cross their minds for they are in rebellion to the will of God.

HOWEVER, God’s desired will is going to ultimately be accomplished in the lives of those who are truly His, in spite of a Christian’s rebellion. Our bridegroom, Jesus, is still going to use whatever tools are necessary in our lives to bring us through the process of sanctification. He promises to one day present us, His Bride, to Himself without spot or wrinkle. Ephesians 5:25-27 If necessary, He will use chastening and suffering to accomplish His will. Hebrews 12:5-8 I Peter 5:10

Two parallel facts are true of every Christian.
1. God’s determined will MUST be fulfilled in our lives.
2. Yet WE must surrender to Him to experience it. Romans 12:1-2

So when we pray “Thy will be done” we are rejoicing that His desired will shall be accomplished in us; but we are also praying that we will surrender our lives to Him to allow Him to work out His desired will in our lives.

What can we do to see our prayers answered concerning His will in our lives?

First, we can reject the will or desire of Satan to influence and control us. James 4:7

Second, we can renounce our flesh nature. I Peter 4:1-2 With Jesus we can pray, “Not my will but Thine be done.” Matthew 26:39

Third, we can beg God for wisdom to know His will and then search His Word to find it. Proverbs 2:1-6

Fourth, we can ask God to incline our hearts to do His will. Psalm 119:33-36

Fifth, we can ask God for strength to do it. Philippians 2:12-13, 4:13 Hebrews 13:20-21

What is our standard for doing His will?
Perfection! “On earth as it is in Heaven.” As His will is fulfilled perfectly in Heaven by the saints and angels, so we are to pray for that kind of obedience while here on earth. His will is not to be carried out hypocritically, reluctantly or sullenly.

How are we blessed for doing His will?
1. Those who do His will know His Truth. John 7:17
2. He hears and answers our prayers. John 9:31
3. We prove we are in His family. Matthew 12:46-50
4. We prove to ourselves that His will is perfect. Romans 12:1-2

Let us pray for ourselves and for others the prayer of Colossians 1:9-13

The best prayer we can pray for another is the prayer of Epaphras in Colossians 4:12

May God help us to pray with understanding and submission to Him whenever we pray “Thy will be done.”

April 21, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #8: Thy Will Be Done

Roman Catholicism #12: 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.”

April 20, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism #12: The Ascetic Life

Prayer series #9: Our Daily Bread

We’ve dealt with the first three requests in the Lord’s Prayer, requests that concern God’s interests and glory: that His name be hallowed, that His Kingdom come to earth and that His will be done on earth, including, in our own lives as Christians.

Now we come to the requests that we are prone to put first in our lives: the need for daily bread, the need for forgiveness, protection from temptation, and our deliverance from evil.

Note their order. It’s not that we are to pray for God’s concerns first so that we can “get to the good stuff” and pray for all the things we want. For a small, immature child Christmas is all about “What I am going to get!” As we grow in love and spiritual maturity, Christmas becomes far more a matter of what we are going to give others. So as we become spiritually mature in Christ, our desire for God’s glory far overshadows and overpowers our own desires. We live only for God’s glory. His glory becomes the theme and purpose of our life; not our glory. Psalm 37:4-5 Proverbs 3:5-6. The personal stuff we desire is seen as vanity. Life is empty and meaningless if  Christ is not our life. Psalm 137:5-6

Note the order of the personal needs for which we are to pray.
1. Daily bread
2. Forgiveness of sins
3. Protection in temptation
4. Deliverance from evil.
Note that the need for bread comes first. Why?

Why physical needs first?
Because we live in physical bodies, physical needs must come first. I MUST have my necessary food and water to eat and drink and I must have my necessary air to breathe; otherwise I am in no condition to concern myself with spiritual needs. If I am to worship God and serve Him, I MUST have my food and drink and I MUST have my necessary sleep at night. So our loving and wise God meets our physical needs first, so that we can give attention to our spiritual needs.

At this time, God has gotten me through 73 years. He has graciously met every need of my life. I have never suffered the loss of food or drink. He has met every physical need of my life, including the money I need to pay my bills. If He can get me through 73 years, I have confidence to believe He can take care of me through whatever time I have left on this earth.

Why pray for just Bread?
The term bread here is a generic, signifying all the necessities of life; including our necessary food, clothing and housing. We are taught to pray for our necessities and not for luxuries. Most of us here in America live in luxury by the standards of the rest of the world. Let us be thankful for whatever God gives us or enables us to afford. It’s all of His grace and mercy. Lamentations 3:22-24

Is it not selfish of us to be praying for more than the necessities of life? Would it not be better for us to ask God to lead us in using the extra resources He provides us for helping to meet the needs of others? Read and consider Isaiah 58 and Psalm 41:1-3

Thank God for the necessary food He provides us and for the nourishment, health and strength it provides us.

Learn to pray the following balanced request for neither riches or poverty. Proverbs 30:8-9 Learn to be content with what you have. I Timothy 6:8-9.

The blessings of poverty
I am absolutely honest and sincere when I affirm that I am so thankful that God blessed my wife and me with poverty in the early years of our marriage. I also pity young couples starting off their lives together who are able to afford every material thing their hearts desire; or worse, buying everything they desire on credit and starting out married life in debt up to their ears. Why am I thankful for starting out in poverty?

Lamentations 3:26-27 teaches us that “it is good for a young man to bear the yoke in his youth.” That is, it is good for a young man and his wife to bear heavy burdens in their youth. It is good to struggle to pay your bills, to cut your grocery shopping to the bare essentials.

For one thing you learn to rely on God for all your needs.

You learn to appreciate what you have.

You learn to distinguish between needs and unnecessary cravings.

You quickly learn not to waste anything. When you are poor you don’t fill your plate with food and then throw half of it in the garbage.

Because we learned these lessons as a young couple and have lived by them through the years, today we are better off financially than we would have been had we not learned those lessons. One of the secrets of financial success is not so much finding increased income, but to cut the waste and all unnecessary spending. I have been the bread-winner in our family, but my wife has been just as much a part of our financial success because she has been extremely careful in the spending by searching out and finding the best bargains.

Why are we to pray for daily bread when we already have a full pantry and a full freezer?

First, note that we are not to pray, “Give ME my daily bread; rather give US
our daily bread. When we pray, let us not just consider our own needs, but the needs of others.

Also consider that although today our cupboard is full, we could be wiped out over night. As Israel in the wilderness learned to trust God for one day at a time, so we need to learn to trust Him daily. Though we may be well off and lack nothing, sometimes God has to remind us to trust Him daily for our needs. Proverbs 27:1 and Matthew 6:34 warn us to learn to trust Him for one day at a time.

Remember, GOD is our source of supply, not some rich uncle or a good job or excellent investments. Learn to trust God; not the secondary causes. Be grateful to Him for His faithfulness to you. It is God who gives us the ability to prosper. Be concerned with the needs of others. Ask God for His blessing on you so that you can be a blessing to others.

April 20, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #9: Our Daily Bread

Prayer series #10: Forgive Us As We Forgive

Before we look at the request for forgiveness found in the Lord's Prayer, we need to understand some basic facts about forgiveness and salvation. When we trust Christ as Saviour we are forgiven from all our sins and through God's act of justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us. Romans 3:14-26. God can rightfully forgive us our sins because Christ has paid the penalty for our sins through His death on the cross. II Peter 1:9 When we pray the Lord's Prayer we need not ask forgiveness for our sins of the past which God has already forgiven. Those sins are blotted from His memory and it would be well for us to forget our past forgiven and forgotten sins. Isaiah 44:22 Jeremiah 31:34

It is true that our sins were all in the future when Christ paid for them and all those who trust Christ stand justified and forgiven. Yet the fact that all Christians continue to sin is clearly taught in I John 1:6-10 and Romans 7:12-25. Those sins need to continually be confessed to God so that we may be forgiven and cleansed.

A Most Dangerous Request
We've come in Luke 11:4 to what can be one of the most dangerous requests Christians ever pray. Many Christians hold resentment and unforgiveness towards others. What audacity it takes to ask God to forgive us our sins when we refuse to forgive those who have offended and hurt us! What audacity it takes to ask God for daily bread and yet refuse to deal with our unforgiving spirit! If we have unforgiving hearts, what good is the bread and the other material blessings of life?

Daily bread and forgiveness
As we look to God daily for the supply of all our material needs, so we need to come to Him daily confessing our sins and finding His forgiveness. Daily we need to forgive others who offend us. That starts with forgiving our spouse or our children or our parents who offend us. Remember that God will not hear our prayers when we refuse to confess our sins to Him. "Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, that He will not hear." Isaiah 59:1-2 "Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have witholden good things from you." Jeremiah 5:25 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Psalm 66:18

Our understanding High Priest
Thank God that we have a great high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has taken care of our sins through His death on the cross. Because He experienced what it was to be human, He fully understands us. Because He is God in human flesh, He has experienced the temptations of Satan and has come out spotless without sin. Therefore, we can come boldly before His throne of grace and find grace to help in our times of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

A common sin of Christians
The sin of refusing to forgive others not only hinders our prayer life; it hinders the progress of sanctification in our lives as Christians. It is the only sin mentioned in the Lord's Prayer.

Refusing to forgive others has all sorts of serious consequences. Not only does God not hear us, but when we go to church, it keeps us from receiving anything from the message or from our own personal Bible study. It hinders us from God's blessing on our lives. It makes us absolutely miserable and unhappy whether we are alone or around other Christians.

An Ugly Sin
Unconfessed sins lead to bitterness and hatred. It spills out through our eyes, and leaves a scowl on our face. A beautiful Christian is turned into an ugly person. Whereas, Christ beautifies the meek with salvation, bitterness and hatred make ugly those who were once beautiful. All the expensive spas and beauty treatments cannot cover up and hide the ugliness of bitterness. All the positive books and lectures can't remove a bitter spirit. Bitterness and hated drain us emotionally and physically and can destroy our health. To hold a grudge is one of the most foolish things to which we can cling. This sin fills us with stress and stress leads to our immune system being weakened and compromised. When that happens, anything and everything bad can happen to us physically. We can't enjoy food. We can't sleep at night. We toss and turn in misery. We become slaves to the people we hate. Our hatred holds us in their grip.

The cure for unforgiveness and bitterness
There is no cure but confession and asking God's forgiveness for this ugly sin and then going in humility and brokenness to the person for whom we are holding a grudge and asking his forgiveness. Whether he forgives you or not becomes his problem. If you have done what you can to make things right, God asks nothing further from you, but to keep praying for him and loving him.

The story of two debtors
When teaching forgiveness to His disciples, Jesus told the story recorded in Matthew 18:21-35 of two debtors. One debtor owed the king what in our currency would be millions of dollars, a debt he could never possibly pay in his lifetime. The king to whom He owned the debt graciously forgave him, stamping his debt PAID IN FULL! Later this same man, freed from his oppressive debt found someone who owed him a small debt, equivalent to about $10.00. He grabbed the debtor by the throat and demanded him to pay up instantly or he would have him thrown into the debtor's prison until he had paid his debt. Later the king learned of how his forgiven debtor had treated the man who owed the small debt. He was furious and delivered the unforgiving man to the tormentors until his huge debt was paid in full, which, of course, was humanly impossible.

Can you or I honestly ask God to forgive us our sins in the same way we have forgiven those who have hurt or offended us?

April 19, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #10: Forgive Us As We Forgive

Prayer series #11 Lead Us Not Into Temptation

As we’ve proceeded through our study of the Lord’s Prayer we’ve considered the first three requests that concern God’s glory. This should be our chief concern as we approach God in prayer. These first three requests include our desire that God’s name be hallowed, that His Kingdom be established first in our lives and then ultimately in the world and that His will be done first in our lives and ultimately in the world.

Then we turn our attention to our daily needs. Our most obvious need is for daily bread, which includes all our daily physical needs. A second daily need we all have is for God’s forgiveness for our sins. There is seldom a day that we do not need to confess sin to God. I wonder how many Christians do this? Linked to that request is a third request, the need for us to forgive those who offend and hurt us. In this request we are asking God to forgive us our sins in the same way that we forgive others who offend us. A fourth request is that we not be led into temptation. Let’s consider this matter of temptation.

Who is tempted?


James 1:14-15 teaches us that everyone is tempted. When Adam and Eve listened to Satan in the Garden of Eden; they fell into sin and rebellion to God. They passed on to the entire human race a sinful, rebellious nature. Romans 5:12 With sin came death.

This lost, sinful human race is in bondage to Satan and Hebrews 2:14-15 reveals that we spend our lifetime in bondage trying to find freedom and the meaning to life. Romans 6:16-18 teaches that the lost are servants of Satan. Everything a sinner does is sin for he is in rebellion to God. Proverbs 21:4 teaches that even when he is plowing his field he is sinning.

Because Satan has sinners in his dominion, he gives no attention to them. His only concern for them is to keep them from the sound of the Gospel and from being saved. The whole world lies under his power and dominion. I John 5:19 tells us.

Satan does not spend any time tempting sinners. He already has them. They are already bound for hell. Satan ONLY tempts Christians. The Lord’s Prayer is only for Christians. Only Christians need ask God for deliverance from temptation. Sinners can only ask God for His mercy and salvation. That’s the only prayer God hears from a sinner.

What is temptation?


The word means to entice or draw into evil and rebellion against God. Satan is the only ultimate source of temptation. God cannot and will not tempts anyone to sin James 1:13 clearly affirms.

What is the purpose of temptation?
There are two purposes for temptation: Satan’s purpose and God’s purpose.

Satan’s purpose is to weaken us by enticing us to defy God.

God’s purpose in allowing Satan access to Christians is to strengthen us by allowing us to go through Satan’s temptations to teach us our weakness and show us our need of trusting God. James 1:2-4, 12.

For example, Satan’s purpose in mercilessly attacking Job was to bring him to despair so he would curse and dishonor God. God’s purpose in allowing Satan’s attack on Job was to bring Job to the end of himself and cast himself fully on God and in so doing, bring honor and glory to God. The last chapter of Job shows that God won the contest with Satan over Job. God was glorified and Job was blessed beyond anything he had ever experienced before.

I Peter 1:3-8 and II Corinthians 12:7-10 teach that God allows diverse trials and temptations, including difficulties, disappointments and seeming reversals in our lives in order to strengthen us spiritually and bring greater glory to God.

John 4 tells of how God allowed Satan to tempt Jesus in the wilderness and Hebrews 4:14-16 explains the reason for those temptations; that we would have a Saviour who fully understands our humanity and our temptations so that we could find our strength in Him in our times of temptation.

In Luke 22:31-34 we have the explanation of why Jesus allowed Satan to tempt Peter. Jesus allowed Satan to sift Peter so that he would  be fully aware of his own weakness and come to the end of his own pride and self confidence. Only then was God able to use Peter to be a fire brand for Him as the early church was established in the Book of Acts.

Christ encouraged the church in Smyrna in Revelation 2:10 and the church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3:10 by promising deliverance in the times of trial.

Don’t ever forget I Corinthians 10:13 which shows us that God is always in control of the thermostat when it comes to how much of Satan’s temptations come upon Christians. Satan is limited in his strength and knowledge. God is omnipotent and omniscient. That is, God is all powerful and all knowing.

II Corinthians 4:4 states that Satan is the god of this present fallen world system
Why? Because sinful man who has rebelled against God finds himself enslaved and under the dominion of Satan. There are no other masters. We are either slaves of Satan or bond servants of Jesus Christ. No man is master of his own destiny, even though he thinks he is. The rebel to God is at the mercy of Satan and Satan has no mercy. When Satan is through with a sinner, he chews him up and spits him out. Satan has no love for a sinner.

Romans 8:22 teaches us that the whole world of nature, including animals, groans under the curse of sin put upon sinful man. Because of the curse of sin, this world reels under the fury of storms and other natural disasters; but here is a wonderful truth we need to understand. Psalm 76:10 teaches us that God only allows what brings praise to Him. Everything else God restrains. God has His hand on the thermostat of Satanic evil.

April 18, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #11 Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Prayer series #12: Our Attitude Towards Temptation

We Christians need not be in despair when we're tempted to sin or when tried to the limit by circumstance beyond our control. God is sovereign and in full control. In I Corinthians 10:13 He promises us that He will allow no temptation or trial beyond our endurance, but will with the trial provide a way for us to bear it.

Tests provide opportunities for blessing
In Genesis 22 we read of a severe trial God allowed Abraham to bear. In that trial God also provided a wonderful solution. Then in verses 15-18 we read that because of Abraham's faith in God, God poured out His blessings on him.

In Genesis 37 and continuing to the end of the book we read the interesting story of Joseph. Joseph was tried by God, and because he passed the tests, God blessed him by making him prime minister of Egypt and in that position he was able to be a blessing to his family, as well as to the entire nation of Egypt.

In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus warned Peter he was about to be tested. He assured Peter that He was praying for him that his faith would not fail. Jesus did not pray that the testings would not come; but that he would be strengthened through the testing. Jesus prayer was answered. Though Peter failed the test, he repented and God used him mightily to preach the Gospel and help the church get started at Pentecost.

Let us remember this lesson. When God allows testing in our lives, He is preparing to bless us and give us opportunities to be a greater blessing to others.

We are sanctified through tests.
Keep in mind that God uses tests to accomplish His work of sanctification in our lives. Sanctification is God's process of taking a Christian and making him a saint. All Christians are called saints, but most of us do not live saintly lives. For a clearer understanding of sanctification, go to the SALVATION series of messages.

Sanctification is God's will for every Christian. I Thessalonians 4:3. God planned our sanctification from eternity. II Thessalonians 2:13 He works this out in our lives as we read the Word, and as we listen to the preaching of God's Word by faithful Bible teaching preachers. As we are convicted of sin in our lives, we are cleansed from the guilt and given power to be victorious. In so doing, we gradually become saintly. Being a saint has nothing to do with self-righteousness. The true saint is humble. Self-righteousness is repulsive to him.

Be consistent in your prayer life.
We can only truly pray "Forgive us our sins and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" as we seek God's strength to live a victorious life over sin. Otherwise we are being hypocrites when we pray.

So when the tests come and you are tempted to be in despair, count it all joy that God has seen fit to allow the trial, knowing that God is in the process of sanctifying you and He is getting ready to bless you beyond your wildest dreams.

So as we pray to be delivered from this present evil world system, "Thy Kingdom come" "Deliver us from evil" "Even so come, Lord Jesus." let us consider some practical things we can do to strengthen us for the testings that will come.

Read, memorize and meditate in the word of God. Psalm 119:9,11

Watch and pray lest we enter into temptation. Matthew 26:41

Be sober and watchful for Satan's wiles. I Peter 5:8-9

Be humble. The proud fall. I Corinthians 10:12

Welcome sufferings and difficulties. Psalm 119:67,71

Submit to God. THEN you can resist the devil. James 4:7

Flee from temptation to sin. Proverbs 1:10-33 4:14-15 5:3-11 7:5-10
I Thessalonians 5:22 II Timothy 2:22

Don't be stupid!
It is folly and plain stupidity to think that we are any match for Satan and that we can whip him by ourselves. I Corinthians 10:12 We are not to arrogantly think that we are "tough guys" who can handle the devil.

It is perfectly right for us to seek God as our hiding place. Today, if you need to be delivered, ask God for His deliverance and seek the strength of His indwelling Spirit to endure whatever you must face. As James 1:2-4,12
and I Corinthians 10:13 teach us, let us gladly welcome the temptations that draw us to Christ and to His strength, knowing that we will never be called to face temptations beyond our endurance, but that with the temptation God will provide a way for us to bear it.

April 17, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #12: Our Attitude Towards Temptation

Prayer series #13: Deliver Us From Evil

We’ve come now to the final request, “deliver us from evil”. Have you noticed that in all these request the plural pronoun us is used? Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:18 to pray for one another as well as for our own needs. We ought to continually be aware of the physical and spiritual needs of others and uphold them in prayer. Certainly we as husbands need to carry the burdens of our wives on our hearts and we as parents need to carry the burdens of our children on our hearts and we as pastors need to carry the burdens of our congregations on our hearts as the Old Testament High Priest carried the names of the twelve tribes of Israel in the ephod over his heart.

From what evils are we to ask deliverance?

Satan
Satan is the chief enemy of every Christian. Before we were saved we were not even aware of his danger. He ignored us for we lived in bondage to him and we thought we were living in freedom. The moment we put our trust in Christ and became His, we were immediately confronted by Satan. Satan hates us because we belong to Christ and he hates Christ. In Ephesians 6 we learn of the need of wearing our spiritual armour in order to face the attacks of Satan. That armour is basically the Word of God and our personal relationship with Christ.

Sin
Sin itself is an evil from which we need deliverance. Paul, as a Christian, writes in Romans 7 of his ongoing struggle with sin. The Christian who thinks he has had an experience with the Holy Spirit that has freed him from the power of sin for the rest of his life is very misguided and is deceiving himself. It’s a very dangerous position to hold for the Bible warns, “Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

When a person is saved, he receives a new nature, but he still has his sinful flesh nature. The flesh nature does not refer to his physical body. There is nothing sinful about our physical bodies. They are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14 Yes, we all bear the marks of the curse of sin with our aches and pains and impending physical deaths. Because we have fallen in Adam, we all have a sinful nature, saved and unsaved alike. When we are saved through faith in Christ, we do not lose that sinful nature just as we do not lose our sin-cursed bodies; but we are given a new nature through the indwelling Holy Spirit. He gives us a desire to do right and to please God. As for our sin-cursed bodies, they will be changed and glorified at Christ’s return.

These two natures are opposed to one another and therefore, we find ourselves in a constant struggle between the desire to do wrong and the desire to do right. In Romans 7:25 Paul concludes the description of his struggle by explaining how we can have victory over sin. We learn that whenever our minds are under the control of the Holy Spirit, we have victory. Whenever we give in to the desires of our flesh nature, we are defeated. The life of victory begins when we surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit. As long as we stay surrendered to Him and feed on God’s Word, we have victory. Whenever we allow the flesh nature to control, we are defeated. The decision is ours. Psalm 119:9-11 teaches us that the more time we spend reading and hearing and meditating on God’s Word, the stronger we become to resist temptation.

This present world system
The world of God’s creation is wonderful, though even it has been damaged by the curse of sin. One day when Christ returns, this whole world will be restored to Edenic perfection.

The world system, led by sinful, fallen man; is corrupt. The world system includes everything contaminated by sin: the entertainment industry, the news media, the public educational system, the anti-Christ religious system, the political system and anything else controlled by sinful men. The whole world system lies under the control of Satan. I John 5:19 So we pray in the Lord’s Prayer to be delivered from evil.

In the meantime
Although Christians have been delivered from Satan’s Kingdom of Darkness and translated us into the Kingdom of Christ; God still allows Satan to wield his oppressive power to molest and harass us, as he did in Job’s case.

We are not immune to Satanic persecution. John 15:18-21 John 16:33 Persecution for Christ brings blessing to the Christian. Matthew 5:10-12

We are not immune to lustful images every day. It is impossible to escape them; not just lustful images, but inordinate desires. Colossians 3:5-8.

God does not deliver us from this sinful world system until we die. But John 17:15 encourages us by letting us know that Christ is praying for us that we be delivered from the evil of the system.

Temptation is a necessary part of our sanctification. However, don’t seek out temptation by going to an X or R rated movie and praying that you will be delivered. Don’t seek it out by going to a casino and praying that God will deliver you from gambling. That is as dumb as a dare-devil driver trying to prove what a good driver he is by driving as close as possible to the edge of a cliff without going over.
Practically, how can we be delivered from evil?

Let us not mock God by praying this prayer and trifling with sin.

Let us be watchful. “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.”

Let us submit ourselves to God. Then we can resist the devil and he will flee from us. James 4:7

The more our character and conduct are controlled by the Word of God, the more we will overcome evil with good.

Let us set our affection on things above and not on the things of this earth.
Colossians 3:2

Then we can pray sincerely, “Deliver us from evil.”

April 16, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #13: Deliver Us From Evil

Prayer series #14: Kingdom, Power & Glory

Having laid our requests before God, we cease focusing on our needs and concerns and turn our attention to God Himself.   In the Matthew 6 account of the Lord’s Prayer, we conclude with a doxology to God, “For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever, Amen.” 

We  pray to God who alone has wisdom and power and authority to answer our prayers in such a way that our needs are met and He is glorified.

Let us not deceive ourselves. As long as we are concentrating on our needs and our concerns, it is impossible to truly worship Christ. It’s only when we have laid our burdens on Christ that  we are free to praise and worship Him. We cast our burdens on Jesus and He gives us rest. There is no further need for worry or fretting.

In this prayer we learn that worship and praising God are always fitting when making requests of Him.  We see this truth  as we study the prayers of Old Testament saints.  The Psalms are filled with prayers of praise to God. 

In the New Testament   Paul’s  prayers  echo this praise to God. A good example is his prayer for Christians found in Ephesians 3:14-21. Read this prayer and note how he bursts forth into a doxology of praise to God.  Jude concludes his brief epistle with a doxology to Christ.  “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Worship is essentially our praise and gratitude to God, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  We exalt Him for who He is and for what He has done for us.  Worship involves more than praising Him with our lips.  It involves the surrender of ourselves to Him and it results in the enjoyment of intimacy with Him.

Dr Harry Ironside, a well known Bible teacher I heard as a child, tells this story, “My wife and I stood one day looking down on Niagara Falls. How our hearts were stirred as we watched that mighty cataract pouring its tremendous volume of water over the great cliff unceasingly. Soon we noticed that from below a mist rose up that actually reached the point where we stood on the ledge above the Falls.  I said to my wife, ‘This is like worship- God’s mighty love and grace pouring down upon us; then our love and praise rising up and ascending back to Him, the source of all our blessings.”As we receive God’s spiritual and material blessings from day to day, it is as natural as the mist rising from the Falls for our worship, adoration, thanksgiving and praise to rise to Him.

We bless God by surrendering our lives to Christ, who is our Lord and King and submitting to His authority, “for Thine is the Kingdom.”

We bless God by coming to Him in our weakness and confidently depending on His strength. “for Thine is the power.”

We bless God by coming to Him in humility as we live our lives for His glory and by ascribing to Him all the glory for what He is doing in our lives.  “for Thine is the glory.”

In Heaven we will worship God perfectly, even as we desire to worship Him perfectly now on earth.  Revelation 4:11 and 5:12 describe that Heavenly worship of the saints.

Only as  we  magnify Christ and give Him the preeminence in our lives do  we truly worship Christ.  All else is empty emotionalism and vanity.  Revelation 22:13 teaches us that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega   (the A to Z ) of our lives.  Any experience we have is less than worship if it does not result in our total surrender to Him.

Christ is our Saviour through faith in the sacrifice of His shed blood.

He is our life, our purpose in living. Colossians 3:3-4

He is our King and we bow before Him. The more we read and study His Word, the more to come to know Him. The better we know God, the   more effective our prayer life and the more genuine our worship and the more we are blessed. True worship is  grounded on knowing God through His Word.

The more genuine our praise and worship, the more He blesses us.   When are we blessed?  Psalm 67:5-7 answers that question.  When people praise and worship God THEN God blesses.  When God’s people are blessed, then we impact the world for Christ.

Because He is Almighty, He has the power and the ability to do whatever He pleases.  There is nothing too hard for Him.  We recognize and bow to His sovereignty, power and authority to do whatever He pleases through us.

What encouragement for us to pray!

As our Heavenly Father, He loves us and cares for us.

As our Almighty King He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could ever ask or think, according the power that works in us. In contrast to the earthly kingdoms that have risen and fallen throughout time; consider the perpetuity of Christ’s Kingdom which  goes on forever.  Psalm 89:2  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

Amen indicates our faith in God and our fervent desire for the fulfillment of these requests.  May God take the things we have learned from the Lord’s Prayer and from the prophetic series on the Kingdom and make them so precious to us that we pray this prayer with joy and understanding. May we never again mumble the Lord’s Prayer as a thoughtless, meaningless ritual.

April 15, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #14: Kingdom, Power & Glory

Prayer for America

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice:
but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn."
Proverbs 29:1

GOD OF OUR FATHERS
Daniel C. Roberts

God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast;
Be Thou our ruler, guardian, guide and stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war's alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our eversure defense;
Thy true religion in our heart increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to everlasting day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine!

Heavenly Father,

We thank you that we can call you our Father because we come to you through the merits of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died and rose again to save us from our sins.

Thank you, Father, that you invite us to come before Your throne of mercy with all our burdens that we may find grace to help in time of need.

We thank You that America was founded by men who honored You and Your Word. We thank you for the way You have led us through difficult times when our nation was almost destroyed by hatred and division from the Civil War to our present time.

We thank you for brave men and women who have fought and sacrificed their lives to defeat the enemies of freedom. Almighty God, as you fought on behalf of your people in Bible times, we look to you now to strengthen us in our war against devilish terrorism. Bless the people of Iraq and other nations of the Middle East with Your peace and with the freedom of self-government. Rid this world of tyrants now as you helped us rid the world of Hitler and other tyrants of the past. Thank you for helping us rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein. Bring peace to the Middle East. By Your might, bring the reign of terrorism to an end that the world may know that You are God and beside You there is no other. Speed the day when our service men and women may return home safely to their families.

We pray for our President as he leads our nation and as he appoints judges and other office holders. May there be cooperation in Congress and may good men and women be confirmed to their offices. Remove from office those who have godless agendas and rebel against Your Word.

We pray for the godless of our nation who want nothing to do with You or Your Word and who bitterly hate those who love You. Cause them to come to the end of themselves and fall on their faces before You and see themselves as Your enemies, headed for eternal destruction. Cause them to see that their only hope is Jesus Christ. Father, allow whatever it takes to bring people to see their desperate need of You.

We rejoice that You are still sovereign and one day Jesus will return to this earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We thank You that we who trust and love you are on the winning side; that soon we will be in Your presence, free of sin and war and terrorism.

We offer these requests with thanksgiving and praise to You, our almighty , all wise and loving Heavenly Father through the merits and in the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ. AMEN

April 14, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer for America

Victory

I would not give a dime for religion that cannot give me victory over sin.  Anything called Christianity that cannot produce holiness is not worth my consideration.  

The purpose of  true Christianity is to bring us into conformity with Christ and bring glory to God.  If it fails to do that, it is a false religion.  It's sad that millions of people who call themselves Christians continue to go through their religious rituals and live sinful lives no different from their pagan neighbors.

Most of these deluded "Christians" don't have the foggiest understanding of what the Bible says about salvation. Their only reason for going to a particular church is because that's where the family has always gone.  If you asked  such a person if he is  going to Heaven when he dies, he would probably answer, "Well, I hope so. I've always been a church member and I think I live as good a life as anyone else."

When this person is confronted by temptation, he usually succumbs, "After all", his excuse is, "I'm only human. What can you expect?"

Biblical salvation not only declares us righteous through the merits of Christ's shed blood; but such salvation also gives us victory over sin. 

Read the first six chapters of Paul's Epistle to the Romans.  Here is a  mini overview of those chapters.

Romans 1 through 3:20  declares that we are all sinners under the judgment of God.

Romans 3:21- 4:26 shows us that we cannot save ourselves. We learn that we are justified from our sins and declared righteous and fit for Heaven through faith in Christ's sacrifice for our sins.  Christ alone makes us fit for Heaven.

Romans 5  tells us of the peace with God that comes through being justified by faith.  It takes us back to Adam who sinned in the Garden of Eden and brought the curse of sin upon the entire human race.  We sin because we're born sinners.  This same chapter also tells us of how through Jesus Christ we can be saved from sin and given eternal life.

Romans 6 is the key chapter in the Bible on victorious Christian living.  It starts out with a rhetorical question.  Since I'm saved by grace and not by my works, may I continue to go on in my life of sin and still be saved?  Paul thunders back the answer,  "God forbid!  How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?"   Then Paul explains this great doctrine of victory over sin.  He uses three verbs to explain it.  Let's look at them.

1. KNOW  6:1-10  There is something every Christian needs to know.  I need to know that when Jesus died on the cross, it was as though I was there with Him on the cross.  I died in the person of Jesus.  I was buried in the person of Jesus.  I rose from the dead in the person of Jesus.  This is the doctrine of identification with Christ.  Paul teaches this also in Galatians 2:20  and in Colossians 3:1-7.  When we baptize believers by immersing them in water; we are illustrating this great truth of  our identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.

2. RECKON  6:11  When I am tempted to sin,  I am to remember the truth of Romans 6:1-10 and I am to reckon or count it to be true. I am to lean on the promise of Romans 6:14..

3. YIELD  6:12-13  In the light of this truth, when I am tempted to sin; I am to yield myself to God and not to Satan.

The rest of chapter 6 makes it clear that to whom I yield myself, determines whether I am  a servant of God or of Satan.  If I am a Christian,  I yield myself to God.  If not,  I yield myself to Satan.

We are not teaching the false doctrine of present sinless perfection.  I John 1 clearly teaches that those who claim sinless perfection are deceiving themselves  and making God a liar.  But the same chapter also teaches us how we can be forgiven and cleansed by confessing our sins to God.  The shed  blood of Jesus that saved us,  continues to cleanse us from sin.

Paul teaches in Philippians 3  that Christians do not attain perfection in this life, but the genuine Christian is not content to wallow in the pig pen of sin, but victory over sin is the desire and direction of his life.  He longs to be cleansed and forgiven.  Listen to David after his sin with Bathsheba.  Psalm 51.

Thank God for His promises of victory over sin.

"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under Law, but under Grace." Romans 6:14

"Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Corinthians 15:57

"Now thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ and makes manifest the fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place."  II Corinthians 2:14

"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of  Jesus our Lord according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that ye might be partakers of His divine nature…"  II Peter 1:2-4

Though sinless perfection is not attainable in this life; thank God that we can look forward to it in Heaven and that victory over sin can be our daily experience as we read and study God's Word and as we yield ourselves to the control of the indwelling Spirit of God, always counting on our identification with Christ.

April 13, 2006 Posted by | Victory | Comments Off on Victory

Evidence of the Resurrection

Christ’s resurrection is the most proven fact in history.  I am more certain of that fact than I am that George Washington was the  first president of the United States.

Each of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John conclude with accounts of Christ’s resurrection.  I Corinthians 15 is the major chapter in the Bible on this subject.  The Old Testament prophesied His resurrection.  Psalm 16:10   Jesus declared He would rise from the dead.  Matthew 12:38-40,  John 2:18-22

What if it’s not true?

One thing is sure.  If Jesus did not rise from the dead in a glorified body, then He is not God, the Bible is not true and  we Christian are all deluded and living in a dream world.  I Corinthians 15:12-20   No one questions that  a man named Jesus lived 2000 years ago and that He died on a cross at the hands of Roman executioners and that He was buried in a tomb. Did Jesus actually rise from the dead in a glorified body?

Review the Evidence.

Let us briefly examine the recorded events of His resurrection; and in the events study carefully the evidence.

Three days after His crucifixion, the tomb where He had been laid to rest  was empty.  Luke 24:1-3

Read the eyewitness accounts of Mary Magdalene, Peter and John in John 20:1-18   In this account, note every detail.  What was it that Peter and John saw?  They saw the linen cloth  that had been wrapped around His corpse. They saw it lying there undisturbed with the body missing.  The napkin that covered His face was lying separately folded beside the empty cocoon type wrappings.

Follow Him on His Sunday afternoon walk to Emmaus. Luke 24:13-32

Note  the accounts of the disciples meeting the resurrected Christ that first Sunday night. Luke 24:33-48  John 20:19-25

Observe the disciples meeting Christ a week later. John 20:26-29

Read the emotional  account of breakfast by the
Sea of Galilee. John 21:1-22

See  His ascension back to Heaven.  Acts 1:1-12

Note how the enemies went to great lengths to secure the tomb of Jesus. Matthew 27:62-66

Study the plot of Jesus’ enemies to spread a lie. This is one of the strongest proofs of Christ’s resurrection.   Matthew 28:11-15

Consider the courage and sacrifice of Jesus’ apostles. Would they or would you have been willing to die for what you knew to be a fraud?

Explain to yourself  how Christ’s Church continues to grow even after over 2000 years.   Could a dead man be behind all of this?

The greatest proof of His resurrection is something you cannot know until you have put your trust in Christ.  When you know Him as your Saviour, you KNOW He is alive for sure;  for His Spirit lives in  your heart and bears witness with your spirit.

What does it matter whether Jesus rose or not?

Because Jesus arose and is alive today, four things are certain.

We have assurance that we are forgiven, justified and ready for Heaven.  Romans 4:23-25

We have His resurrection power to live victoriously over sin.  Romans 6:1-4

We have assurance of His return to take us Home to Heaven if we are Christians. I  John 3:1-3

We have assurance that He will return to judge all those who have rejected Him as Saviour. Acts 17:31-32

What is your verdict?

Now you have the evidence that demands your verdict.  Will you receive Him as your Saviour from sin and be assured of eternal salvation or will you reject Him now and face Him later as your judge and be condemned to Hell.

April 12, 2006 Posted by | Resurrection | Comments Off on Evidence of the Resurrection

Reality

Reality TV has become extremely popular in America.  Why is that?  Wouldn't you agree that most people are longing for reality in their lives.  People are tired and bored by the artificial plastic world around them. By the way, if those so-called reality TV programs are truly reality, then this world has truly gone off it's rocker.  Witness young men and women marrying one another without ever meeting before;  people chewing on raw whiskered bull's snouts.  Is that reality or has this world gone stark raving mad? 

Religion: real or phony

A lot of religion is not real either. Many churches  are led by promoters; not pastors. They use people to build their churches rather than using their churches to build their people.

How about your relationship with God?  Is it real  or are you just playing church?  You don't have to settle for artificial religion.  Yet many do spend their time and money in churches  listening to "make-me- feel-good sermons, working themselves into an emotional frenzy to try to get a feel-good experience or going to the other extreme and mumbling memorized prayers and liturgy that means nothing to them and listening to religious leaders who lack moral purity or spiritual wisdom. What good is it all if at the end of life you just die as a dog; or worse, go to hell?

Be yourself!

Only when you know God,  can you discover the reality of just being yourself. You don't have to try to prove how "cool" you are by trying to dress or look or sing like the latest star.  Preachers, we don't have to try to impress our congregations with our scholarship or with our pulpit style. Scholarship ought to take place in our study and preparation, but when we are dealing with people from the pulpit or individually, we ought to  be ourselves  and keep it simple and direct.  Christian friend, you do not need to try to impress people with your supposed "spirituality" by "drooling piety" in every word you say. Discerning people become suspicious of anyone who drools pious talk.  God wants us to be real; to be ourselves. Let's not give others the idea that Christianity is a weird disease that they want to avoid catching.

How to break free from trying to be something you're not

You can discover the reality of knowing God.  It's all based on the Bible;  a book that is either what it claims to be, the inspired Word of God; or else it is just another dry, dusty book of dead religion.  Jesus  claims to be God come down in human flesh. Either He is God or else He isn't.   You can find out the truth by reading the Gospel of John.  As you read it cry to God,  "God, I don't know whether you are there or not.  I don't know if you are real or just the product of human imagination.   But  God, the Bible tells me that Jesus is God in human flesh  and that He died to pay the penalty for my sins and that He rose from the dead so that I could live forever with Him in Heaven and escape  Hell. God, if you are there and listening to me I want you to come into my life and change me.  Make me a real Christian.  I won't settle for anything less than reality in my relationship with you.  So here I am, God.  If you are real and can make the change in me,  I am yours forever.  Please, save me."

God hears the prayer that comes to Him from your heart. He will save you right now and convince you  of His reality in your life.  Read  I John, the little book just before Revelation. Especially read  I John 5:11-13. In those three verses you will find assurance  of salvation based; not on your feelings, but on what the Bible says. Trust Christ and discover the reality of knowing and walking with Him now and forever.

April 12, 2006 Posted by | Reality | Comments Off on Reality

Priorities

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar… and the coffee.

 

A professor stood before his philosophy class with an assortment of items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large, empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.

 

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.  He then asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

 

The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.  Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with a unanimous “yes”.

 

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured it into the jar.  As it filled the empty space between the sand, the students laughed. 

 

“Now”, said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to remember the important things- your God, your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

 

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.

 

“The sand is everything else- the small stuff.

 

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the golf balls. The same goes for life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important.

 

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Play with your children.  Take time to get medical checkups.  Take your wife out to dinner.  Maybe even play another 18 holes of golf.  There’s always time to clean the house and fix the disposal.  Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter.  Set your priorities.  The rest is just sand.”

 

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.  The professor smiled, “I’m glad you asked.  It just goes to show that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

 

This thought-provoking email came to me from a friend.    Let me add my own illustration of setting priorities.   

 

 I’ve sometimes directed my congregation to focus their attention on the cross hanging on the wall of the church behind me. I say to them, “Do you see it?  Now keep your focus on the cross. Do you see the piano to your right?   Do you see the organ to your left?   Do you see the pulpit?  Do you see me?   So it is in life.”  When the focus of our life is Christ and our desire it to glorify   Him above all else,  then all the other things of life will fall into proper perspective.  We will not ignore our families nor our homes nor anything else that matters.  

 

But if we focus on anything but Jesus,  then Jesus  will be crowded out.

 

 

 

April 12, 2006 Posted by | Priorities | Comments Off on Priorities

Pity Party

 

The wicked flourish.  There's no question about it.  We all know of  ungodly, famous wealthy people in all walks of life. They are people who have made it to the top in the business world and in the field of entertainment or sports.  We are impressed with their success and even a bit envious. 

Don't be a whiner!

In Psalm 73 David whines to God as he considers the success of the wicked.  He admits he is envious when he considers their prosperity.  They seem to escape the troubles that so many others have.  They seem to be in good health.  They seem to enjoy life to the fullest with their beautiful homes and luxury cars.  They have the best of everything the world has to offer.  Many of them mock and defy God.

 

In this Psalm we read of David's pity party.  He feels sorry for himself because he has been so righteous and God has not given him as much.  It seems to him that the devil is a more generous master than God.  He whines that it doesn't pay to live for the Lord.  He complains about the pain of living the Christian life.

 

Be a worshipper!

About this time,  David enters the sanctuary to listen to God.  As he listens He begins to get a proper perspective on things.  God wakes him from his stupor and speaks to him;  explaining the coming judgment on the wicked. He pictures them as walking in slippery places, headed for destruction.

 

As he meditates on God's Word,  he sees by way of contrast, how blest he is. "Nevertheless I am continually with Thee.  Thou hast holden me up by my right hand.  Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in Heaven but Thee? There is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee." Then David concludes, "It is good for me to draw near to God."  The pity party has changed to praise and worship of God. 

April 12, 2006 Posted by | Pity Party | Comments Off on Pity Party

Acts of God

Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions,  and other natural disasters are all in God’s hands.  Why does God allow these destructive “acts of God”?  

 

We all understand these are acts of God and not merely random natural disasters.  In Psalm 148:8  the Psalmist praises God for His awesome  creation.  Included in that praise, he praises God “for fire and hail, snow and vapours, stormy wind fulfilling His Word.”   In  Psalm 107:25-30 we learn that “He commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths. their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man and are at their wit’s end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them into their desired haven.”

 

They are all a part of God’s curse on man for sin.

 

After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God cursed them and the earth. “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;  thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art and unto the dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:17-19  Paul explains the consequences of sin  in his Epistle to the Romans, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now; and not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”  Romans 8:22-23

 

Satan is behind them, but God allows him to destroy only that which is in His sovereign plan.   

 

Satan is the cause of many natural tragedies, but they are all permitted under the sovereign hand of God.  Satan can do nothing harmful to God’s children without God’s express permission.  That’s illustrated in the story of Job in chapter 1.   Read this interesting true story of the most godly man on the face of the earth in that day.  Satan slandered God by telling Him that Job served God  only because of God’s goodness to him.  He dared God to touch Job with tragedy and see how long his faith lasted.  God permitted Satan to touch him with tragedy and  Job came through beautifully.  Never forget, Christian friend, that when God allows Satan to touch you with tragedy,  God has His hands on the controls and allows only that which is best for you and that brings glory to God.  The rest He restrains.  “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.”  Psalm 76:10

 

No matter how difficult it is to believe this,  God uses storms in His mixture of events  to teach us and  bless us.  

 

“All things work together for good to them that love God , to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28   On his way to Rome,   Paul got caught in a terrible storm at sea.  Read the exciting story in Acts 27. In the midst of the storm, God spoke to Paul a word of encouragement,  assuring him that no life would be lost.  God kept His word and all got to shore safely swimming and holding on to pieces of wood.

 

God uses disasters to get our attention.  

 

When we as a nation forget God and try to drive Him out of our  lives,  God in His love will  allow  whatever it takes; a natural disaster or a terrorist attack,  to gain our attention.

 

God sometimes uses His acts to destroy those who reject Him and attempt to fight against Him. 

 

“God is jealous and the Lord revengeth; the Lord will take vengeance and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries and He reserveth wrath for His enemies.  The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.  He rebuketh the sea and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers. The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world and all that dwell therein.

 

Who can stand before His indignation? Who can abide the fierceness of His anger?  His fury is poured out like fire and the rocks are thrown down by Him.”  And then the prophet Nahum gives a word of comfort to God’s people. “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knoweth them that trust Him.” Nahum 1:2-7

 

We read in Genesis 6-8  that  about five thousand years ago,  the evil of mankind got so bad that God destroyed the entire human race except for Noah and his family who found grace in His sight.  God instructed Noah to build an ark for his family and for the animals and they were kept alive through the flood.  Skeptics scorn such an event, even though the fossils throughout the earth evidence a universal flood.  See www.answersingenesis.org

one of several good sites on this subject.

 

In II Peter 2-3  we are warned by Peter that as God destroyed the sinful world  with a flood, so one day He is going to destroy this same earth with a fire.  The Apostle John also writes about it in Revelation 21:1

 

Ultimately, God uses storms for His glory. 

 

The most important truth in the universe is that God deserves glory and someday every knee will bow before Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords  Though we usually don’t understand what God is doing at the time,  we can trust Him that He is allowing what is best for us and what will bring glory to Himself.

 

Because God has power over storms;  He also has power to cause them to cease. 

 

In Luke 8:22-26 we read the story of Jesus with His disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat.  In the midst of the Sea, a violent storm  rose up and the disciples were fearful of being drowned.  Jesus was asleep.  In desperation they wakened Him crying, “Master, we perish!”  Jesus,  God of creation in human form, stilled the storm with the words,  “Peace;  be still!  Immediately the Sea was calmed.  

 

The lesson for all of us is that if Jesus is in the boat of our lives,  He speaks peace to our troubled hearts, even in the midst of the worst of storms.  Is He living and ruling in your life?   Do you know His peace?  Listen to His promise to Christians.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace that passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”   Philippians 4:6-7

April 11, 2006 Posted by | God | Comments Off on Acts of God

Atheism

My watch just happened. The bits of metal just came together by chance and evolved into wheels, and springs and hands. The face of the watch just appeared with number one through twelve spaced exactly right so that the watch can register accurate time. By chance, the hour hand swings clockwise making a complete revolution twice a day; not a minute less nor a minute more. The minute hand swings clockwise; a complete revolution once every hour; not a second more nor a second less. Then when the watch parts all fell into place so that it could keep accurate time, a plastic case came out of nowhere and fit itself perfectly on the watch to keep the parts clean so that I could have an accurate timepiece. Then lo and behold, an expansion band appeared and fit itself on to the watch. It just so happens that the band fits my wrist and by looking at the watch I can know exactly what time it is to the nearest second. It keeps accurate time second by second, minute by minute, day by day, year by year and I don’t even give it a moment of thought or care.

If I argued with you that this is how my watch was made, you would call me a crazy fool. You know it didn’t happen that way. You know intelligent, skilled watchmakers designed and made the watch? But you never saw it happen did you? You never met the watch maker. So it just had to be by chance, didn’t it? Since it couldn’t have possibly happened over a period of days or months or years, it had to have happened over a period of billions of years.

A more unlikely story

If you believe that story, I will tell you another- infinitely more unlikely than the watch story. We human beings just evolved. We showed up by chance with every organ of our body working perfectly. We are composed of billions of cells. Each cell is composed of billions of atoms. Each atom is composed of electrons and protons whirling around a nucleus. Each cell and each organ knows exactly what its purpose is in our bodies.

Our lungs take into our bodies just the right combination of gasses in the air we breathe. Our blood cells, traveling through miles of veins and arteries and capillaries, feed every cell of our body with just the right nutrients.

Our brains are more complicated and more amazing than the most sophisticated computer.

These bodies of ours live on an earth that is just the right distance from the sun. We are not too close or we would burn up and we’re not too far away or we would freeze to death. All the stars, our sun, moon and planets are constantly moving at various rates of speed, all in their own orbits; yet the sun, moon and stars have faithfully stayed in their positions relative to our earth, day by day, century after century, millennium after millennium. God is faithful. He does not change.

If you wish to believe all of this came about by chance and believe that animal and human life just evolved by chance over billions of years, that’s your choice. Believe that you are the product of random chance if you wish, but you have much more faith than I do. In fact it takes much more faith to believe the evolution of man than it does than to believe the biblical account that man was created by the direct act of God on the sixth day of creation.

You’re no atheist!

Personally, I don’t think you are an atheist. You would have to be a fool to be an atheist (Psalm 14:1), and I don’t believe you are a fool or you would not have read this far. The only reason you claim to be an atheist and an evolutionist is because you don’t want to believe in a God who made you for His glory. The reason you do not want to believe in God is because you love your sins and you know that some day you will have to face God and be judged for your sins. So you reason that it is much more comfortable to claim to be an atheist. You are like a scared kid walking through a cemetery in the middle of the night, whistling in the dark.

Wake up, my friend! Admit the creation of the universe and mankind is totally reasonable. God created you. He made you for His glory. You are accountable to Him. As a sinner, you will one day answer to Him for your sins and be condemned to hell.

But thank God, He loves you and has provided salvation through the sacrifice of His Son on Calvary’s cross. Jesus died and rose again so that you could be saved and live with Him in Heaven forever. Trust Him now and discover peace with God. Start reading the Bible and discover the truth about life now and discover a personal, eternal relationship with God who created you and the universe in which you live.

April 10, 2006 Posted by | Atheism | Comments Off on Atheism

Stress

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?"  Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter.  It depends how long you try to hold it.  If  I  hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.  If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.  If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.  In each case it's the same weight,  but the longer I  hold it, the heavier it becomes." 

Are you living under stress?  I realize I don't know what you are going through.    And you don't know  what I'm going through, but guess what?  I'm not living under stress. Let me tell you why.

I don't hold that glass of water in my hand beyond my endurance. I've learned to put it down on the table before I am exhausted.  Here are some ideas for living a stress free life and avoiding burn out.

1. Commit yourself and your day to God. Ask for His help and for His blessing on your day.   Throughout the day as you come up against a seeming impossibility, just cry out to Him, "HELP!"  He is right there to give you wisdom to solve the problem and His strength to help you carry the load.  As I grow older God's promise in Isaiah 40:28-31 becomes more precious to me. It's one of my favorite. Read it, meditate on it and rejoice.  It is God's promise to YOU!

2. Stay ahead on your schedule.  It has always been my habit to stay ahead on my schedule. I would never make a good boss, because as my wife says, "I want things done yesterday."   I have known of pastors who begin working on their messages for Sunday on Saturday evening- less then fifteen hours before they are to preach.   I don't know how they stand that kind of pressure.  Perhaps they have no stress at all, but I doubt that I would want to sit under their ministry.   I am usually working on messages three to five weeks in advance.  Thank God for computers.  I can work on different messages throughout the week and can store them and go back to them day after day, changing, rearranging, adding and deleting- all without having to rip a sheet of paper out of my typewriter and starting all over again.  That's the way I did it for years.  It's so much simpler today.   The files in my computer sure beat the four door file cabinets, filled with manila folders and stacks of material. By Monday morning each week my message for the following Sunday is finished and almost ready to preach.  Oh, sometimes during the week I will make a few minor changes.  On a few occasions I have totally rearranged a sermon on Saturday evening, but that is rare. The point I make is that I do not allow anything on my schedule to give me stress.

You see, the thing that brings stress is not the assignment or the responsibility, but it  is procrastination and putting off doing what needs to be done. It's having a deadline fast approaching and not being ready for the event.  When you start an assignment early, weeks before it is due, there is no stress at all. Students, if your teacher gives you a term paper to write and it is due in one month or at the end of the semester, get started on it immediately and get it out of the way as quickly as possible. That way you avoid the stress of that unfinished assignment hanging over your head.  The longer you hold it unfinished, the heavier it gets.

3. Cast your burden on the Lord.  Stress is brought on by trying to carry out an assignment or responsibility that is almost more than you can bear. We're all called upon to bear our own burdens.  Galatians 6:5 Often multiple responsibilities coming together only add to the stress.  In such times, I simply lean and rest  on Jesus. He supports me and infuses me with His strength to meet the responsibilities.  Each night as I prepare for bed, I cast my burden on the Lord, close my eyes and go to sleep.  Next morning, after a good night's sleep, I pick up that burden again and do what I can to carry out the responsibility or complete the assignment.

4. Each morning I make a list of things I must do. I check my calendar and list what needs to be done that day.  Then I do what needs to be done and as I finish an assignment I take pleasure in checking it off. Each time I make that check mark, I am relieved of  some of the weight that would eventually cause stress.

Here are some of the passages of Scripture that I have learned to lean on in times of great pressure. This is just a sampling of God's promises scattered throughout the Bible.  Read them, memorize them and  draw on them when you find yourself under pressure. God will strengthen you, encourage you and keep you from burn-out. I am approaching 72.   By  His grace and strength, I'm still going strong in my pastorate and am enjoying  some of the best years of my life.   Will the burdens grow heavier in the years ahead?  I expect they will, but He has promised to sustain me and He will sustain you.

RESTING PILLS   Here's a sampling. Take as needed and meditate on them.  No chance of overdosing. 

Deuteronomy 33:27,  Joshua 1:1-9,   II Chronicles 20:15-22,   Job 19:25-27, 

Read the Psalms daily to keep your heart in tune with God.

Read Proverbs daily to keep from getting into stressful situations with others.

Isaiah 40:28-31,  41:10-20,   42:1-4,   43:1,  44:3  45:2-3,   46:3-4,   53:5-6,  54:1-17, 55:1-13,   58:3-14,   61:1-3,   

Jeremiah 1:4-10,  17:5-8,  18:1-4,  33:3     Lamentations 3:21-27

Matthew 6:25-34,  11:28-30   John 14:1-18,  14:27,  15:1-8,   16:24, 

Romans 5:1-5,    6:14,   8:22-39,  I Corinthians 15:50-58, 

II Corinthians 1:3-4,  2:14,  12:9   Philippians 4:6-7,   4:19

I Thessalonians 4:13-18    Hebrews 4:14-16    James 1:2-12,  5:13-16

I Peter 1:3-8    II Peter 1:2-11   3:8-15    I John 3:1-3    5:11-13

Revelation 21:1-4,  22:17

April 10, 2006 Posted by | Encouragment | Comments Off on Stress

Reason

You do not believe the Bible is the Word of God?  Alright then, let’s lay aside the Bible for the present and let’s reason together.

God’s Challenge

 

In Isaiah 1:18 we are challenged to reason together concerning our salvation. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”   After all, God is not asking you to do something unreasonable.

Who is the Fool?

There is a sovereign, almighty God who created the universe; or there is not. If there is not, end of subject.  Read no further. Christianity is merely a bad joke and we who call ourselves Christians are deluded fools living in a dream world.   On the other hand,  if God exists and He did create the world, including you and me,  and you refuse to believe Him, then God calls you a fool. Psalm 14:1 says,  ” The fool has said in his heart,  there is no God.”

So you’ve decided there IS a God

You’re still reading, so I expect you agree with me that there is a God who created the universe. Next question.   Is He loving and benevolent  or is He a cruel monster? If He is a cruel monster, I dread meeting Him and so should you.  The more I learn of His creation and the more I learn from His Word, the more I am convinced that He is a wise, kind, loving, long-suffering, gracious God.   Even the atheists and the evolutionists enjoy His wonderful creation which works like clockwork; even though they deny their Creator with every breath God gives them..

Love Communicates

If God is  loving, it only seems reasonable to believe that He would want to communicate with man whom He created in His own image.  If He is sovereign and almighty, it is reasonable to believe that He would have no problem communicating with man

Is the Bible His inspired, infallible communication to us, or is it just another flawed book of religion written by man?

You will have to agree with me that it is either one of the other. If the Bible is simply the flawed product of fallible men, let’s forget this whole thing called Christianity. We have nothing upon which to base our beliefs.  However, the more I study the Bible, the more I am convinced, amazed and awed by its perfection and power to save a lost sinner and make him a saint.

Heaven and Hell:  Fact or Fiction?

If  the Bible is God’s infallible communication to us, since it warns of an eternal hell for unbelievers and promises eternal bliss in Heaven for those who trust Christ; it seems reasonable that we should prepare to meet Him by receiving His gift of salvation, The Lord Jesus Christ.

Of three possibilities, which makes the most sense?

If God loves me and want me to be with Him in Heaven forever, I can think of only three possibilities of getting there and the first two don’t really make that much sense.

1. God could ignore my sins and allow me to go to Heaven in spite of my sins.  The only problem is that God cannot allow any sin in Heaven. Furthermore, Heaven would be Hell if sin were permitted there.  So discard this idea!

2. He could allow each of us into Heaven on our own merit.  Only those who live a holy sinless life would enter Heaven.   Those with sin to their record would be banished to Hell.  Another unworkable idea!  All of us are sinners and we would all go to Hell.

3. That leaves only one choice.  Our God of love could take my sins and bear the full penalty for them in the body of His beloved Son, Jesus.  That’s exactly what the Bible tells us He did.   The sinless Son of God, bore the penalty for our sins in His body on the cross.  That leaves you with one of two choices.  Receive Christ as your sin-bearer and Saviour,  or reject Him and continue in your sins to Hell.

WHAT IF?

What if I, a believer in Christ, should discover after death that it was all an empty dream?  What if there is no eternal Heaven and Hell?  What have I lost?

What if you, a skeptic and unbeliever, should die and find that the Bible truly is the Word of God and that you cave been consigned to an eternal, burning hell?   What have you lost?

God does not ask you to check your brains in the coat room when you come to church.  He only asks you to cast away your pride and self-righteousness and trust Christ as your Saviour and Lord.  He will give you the Gift of His righteousness, making you fit for Heaven.  May God open your mind and our heart to receive His Gift, the Lord Jesus , right now.  Don’t risk another hour.  Go to the SALVATION link on this web site and settle this issue today! 

April 9, 2006 Posted by | Atheism | Comments Off on Reason

MISSION POSSIBLE

MISSION ANNOUNCED

I often heard Dr. Oswald Smith speak on missions.  I remember him telling  the story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand.  When the crowds were hungry for food and the disciples could find nothing but a boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fish, Jesus insisted, “Give ye them to eat.!”  Then Jesus took that little lunch, blessed it, multiplied it and fed over 5000 people.He purposely told the story with a flaw.  He told of how Jesus’ disciples went back and forth among the people in the front rows feeding them until they were stuffed, ignoring the masses of people in the back rows. Then he would ask the congregation,  “Is that what Jesus did?  Of course not!”   Then he would correct the story.  The disciples moved through the entire crowd, making sure EVERYONE was fed.”  Then Dr. Smith would ask the provocative question, “WHY SHOULD ANYONE HEAR THE GOSPEL TWICE BEFORE EVERYONE HAS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR IT ONCE?

 “The mission of the church is summed up in Jesus’ Great Commission “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”  Mark 16:15    What is the Gospel? “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed  unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin,  to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” II Cor 5:19-21

Jesus, the holy, spotless  Son of God came into this world as the Lamb of God,  to die on a cross and shed His blood for our sins.  Three days later He rose from the dead, thereby guaranteeing that He was indeed the Son of God and that His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father. Those who receive The Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour are given God’s gift of eternal life and an eternal Home in Heaven.    Those who reject the Saviour remain lost in their sins and are headed for Hell. Paul states the Gospel clearly in I Corinthians 15:1-4 “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel…..how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” 

MISSION AUTHORIZED

Christians are to faithfully carry out Christ’s Great Commission. The Good News of salvation must be declared to everyone, starting with our neighbors and carried to the ends of the earth to every tribe and nation. The last words of Jesus before He ascended back to Heaven are recorded in Act 1:7-8  When the disciples were asking Him questions concerning prophecy, He replied to them, ” It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own authority, but ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  That and that alone is the Great Commission.

True, the fulfillment of the Great Commission  involves a huge support team just as a nation’s military operations involves a huge support team on the front and in the homeland. It involves the sacrificial financial and prayer support of God’s people back home. It involves translating the Bible into other languages so that all may have the Gospel in their own language.  It involves teaching people to read, feeding starving people, healing the sick, and teaching people how to care for their own physical needs. However, it is important to understand  that if we teach people to read and help them  medically, but we never get around to giving them the Gospel; then we have failed in carrying out Christ’s Great Commission.  We have simply made it possible for educated, healthy people to continue on their way to Hell.  Certainly we are not called to Westernize  people in other lands; rather we are to reach them in their own cultures. 

With His Great  Commission Jesus gives us the promise of  His presence, His authority and His power to carry it out.  For two thousand years the church has made some progress in fulfilling this responsibility; but  in the past century , with the advent of radio and television and with the aid of airplanes and  computers,  the Church has made even greater progress in reaching the world for Christ.   

MISSION ADVANCED

In this age of nationalism, the old fashioned missionary method of developing a mission station and building a work centered around the missionary does not work. The key to the spread of the Gospel centers in the training of a national, indigenous self-supporting, self-propagating  church. The Apostle Paul taught this method to Timothy in II Timothy 2:2  “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.” 

In places where this principle is being practiced, churches are multiplying and thriving under the  leadership of their own people.  In recent years there has been a great influx of  foreigners into our country.  Our colleges and universities, are overflowing with foreign students.  Many of these foreigners live in our communities, providing one of the greatest opportunities ever to evangelize the world. The Church needs to be aware and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity of reaching the world for Christ  right in our own backyard. Not every Christian is called or equipped to go to a foreign land, but  every Christian can be a missionary as we live a consistent Christian life reaching  out in friendship to our neighbors and friends. We can all help finance the work of reaching the world for Christ as we make it a priority in our life.  Certainly every faithful church should be making the evangelization of the world a priority in their stewardship. God not only calls missionaries to a life of sacrifice; He calls every Christian to live a sacrificial life so that the Great Commission can be fulfilled in our lifetime.  We are not responsible for past generations nor future generations, but for reaching our own generation for Christ. 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED 

Though we do not know the day nor the hour of Christ’s return; we do know from Scripture  that when this task of world evangelization has been accomplished  and Christ’s Church is complete, Jesus has promised us that He will return. “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.”  Matthew 24:14 Humanly speaking, the accomplishment of our mission seems utterly impossible, considering the population of this world and the opposition of Satan.  Jesus said in Mark 10:27  “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”  He never gives us a command without giving us the power to obey it. If Christ is going to have the final victory, and He will;  then our mission IS possible and it WILL  be accomplished.  Not everyone will be saved, but everyone will have the opportunity to be saved. Not every Christian will choose to be involved in The Great Commission and make the sacrifices necessary for its accomplishment; but those who do will be well rewarded.  

Christian friend, in the light of Christ’s Great Commission given to every Christian. Have you considered where you fit into the big picture of reaching the world for Christ?  To be an obedient Christian you must be involved.  There are no deferments in the Lord’s Army.

April 9, 2006 Posted by | Missions | Comments Off on MISSION POSSIBLE

The Whitened Harvest

G. Campbell Morgan in his commentary on the Gospel of John, shares this insight concerning evangelism and missions. 

Speaking to His disciples after He had dealt with the spiritual needs of the Samaritan woman in John 4,  Jesus turned to His disciples and said,  “You say four months and then cometh harvest. Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes and look on the field, that they are white, already unto harvest.” 

If those disciples had been appointed a commission of enquiry  as to the possibilities of Christian enterprise in Samaria I know exactly the resolution they would have passed. The resolution would have been, ” Samaria unquestionably needs our Master’s message; but it is not ready for it.  There must first be ploughing, and then sowing, and then waiting.  It is needy, but it is not ready. 

That is exactly what He said,  “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then.”  Four months meant ploughing and sowing and waiting. But He said, you are wrong. These fields are white already unto harvest.”  The region that looks most hopeless is ready, if you will reap. 

Today we speak of some fields as difficult, and almost hopeless.  Christ still says that such fields are white unto harvest.”  The most difficult fields are white unto harvest. Our business is to put in the sickle and reap….. The trouble is that the laborers are not ready.

April 8, 2006 Posted by | Missions | Comments Off on The Whitened Harvest