Saturday, December 26, 2009

Evangelism


Bro Dan, good thoughts as usual, I moved your questions and comments from the goose story over to this section so we can discuss it better here.  Give me a chance to put together a response.  Btw, I am sorry I asked you to join SF, as of right now they are all in a tizzy over one thing or another, but would still love to see you join.

Daniel Shepherd said...
I had another thought to share about Christ loving His creation so much He became physically human so that we would be saved rather than perish.

This has a lot to say about the "goose" guy in the story. He at least was willing and wished he could become a goose so that the flock would understand he was there to rescue them from perishing. Yet he discovered that he couldn't, only another goose could save the flock. So he brought his personal pet goose to them to be their savior. Like the Father send His Son to save us.
Application... Ultimately, we too should be willing to be sent and become like one of the flock we are called to disciple and to help rescue them whether they be widows, orphans, sick, poor, etc...

Another words Christ's disciples must leave the comfort of their ivory tower "barn" and go out into the cold cruel world to walk in the shoes of the unsaved and less fortunate. They must resemble by making themselves of no reputation dwell, bond, and be willing to sacrifice their life on their behalf. Only then are disciples truly representative of Christ.

Not that disciples are not saviors but they help the One true Savior who is, like the goose man in the story helped gather the geese into the safety of the barn.

What say you?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why Would God Become a Man?



There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas.

His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments. One snowy Christmas eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" So she and the children left, and he stayed home.

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window.

Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and could not go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It is warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and did not seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumbs trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on. Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe. "Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed.. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.

Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn, and one by one the other geese followed it to safety. He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them! Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!" Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese - blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about -- why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!"

Monday, December 21, 2009

God With Us


Preaching on Isaiah 7:14, C. H. Spurgeon closed with this flourish:

“God with us.” It is hell’s terror. Satan trembles at the sound of it; the black-winged dragon of the pit quails before it. Let him come to you suddenly, and do you but whisper that word, “God with us,” back he falls, confounded and confused. “God with us” is the laborer’s strength; how could he preach the gospel, how could he bend his knees in prayer, how could the missionary go into foreign lands, how could the martyr stand at the stake, how could the confessor own his Master, how could men labor, if that one word were taken away? “God with us” is the sufferer’s comfort, the balm of his woe, the alleviation of his misery, the sleep which God gives to his beloved, their rest after exertion and toil. “God with us” is eternity’s sonnet, heaven’s hallelujah, the shout of the glorified, the song of the redeemed, the chorus of angels, the everlasting oratorio of the great orchestra of the sky.





Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas brother Daniel

Brother Daniel, I hope you and your lovely family have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May God bless each and everyone of you and keep you all safe within His arms. You have been a wonderful teacher and friend over the years and I hope we can continue on with this ministry, and be even more active in the new year to come. God richly bless all of you!

In Christ,
Sis Mary


Merry Christmas, Sis !

Sis Mary,

I just wanted to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and pray that our good Lord richly blesses you all.

Love to and yours,

YBIC,
bro Dan

Monday, December 14, 2009

Three Wise Men, a Star, and a Baby King


Matthew 2:1-11
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.


And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found [him], bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.




Thursday, December 10, 2009

HIS CHRISTMAS STORY


A Christmas Story Through Passages of Time


“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life--the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us--that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:1-4).


“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this” ( Isaiah 40:1-2, 11:1-4, 9:2, 6-7).

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” ( John 1:1-5, 10-14).

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us,just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (Luke 1:1-4, 1:26-38, 46-48, 2:1-20).

“And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:22-35).

“And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole Council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" And he answered him, "You have said so" ( Mark 15:1-2).


“Then Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world--to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." (John 18:37).

“And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, "Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you." But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had
committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, "Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?" For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, "Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?" And they cried out again, "Crucify him." And Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Crucify him." So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews." And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. [And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "He was numbered with the transgressors."] And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!" So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, "He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe." Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And some of the bystanders hearing it said, "Behold, he is calling Elijah." And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom” (Mark 15:3-38).

Reflection...

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:1-11). AMEN! MERRY CHRISTMAS!



http://www.listenersbible.com/products/index.php?main_page=product_custom_info&cPath=32&products_id=152 Narrated on CD by Max McLean

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Little Match-Seller


The Little Match-Seller
By Hans Christian Andersen


It was terribly cold and nearly dark on the last evening of the old year, and the snow was falling fast. In the cold and the darkness, a poor little girl, with bare head and naked feet, roamed through the streets. It is true she had on a pair of slippers when she left home, but they were not of much use. They were very large, so large, indeed, that they had belonged to her mother, and the poor little creature had lost them in running across the street to avoid two carriages that were rolling along at a terrible rate. One of the slippers she could not find, and a boy seized upon the other and ran away with it, saying that he could use it as a cradle, when he had children of his own. So the little girl went on with her little naked feet, which were quite red and blue with the cold. In an old apron she carried a number of matches, and had a bundle of them in her hands. No one had bought anything of her the whole day, nor had anyone given her even a penny. Shivering with cold and hunger, she crept along; poor little child, she looked the picture of misery. The snowflakes fell on her long, fair hair, which hung in curls on her shoulders, but she regarded them not.

Lights were shining from every window, and there was a savory smell of roast goose, for it was New-year's eve—yes, she remembered that. In a corner, between two houses, one of which projected beyond the other, she sank down and huddled herself together. She had drawn her little feet under her, but she could not keep off the cold; and she dared not go home, for she had sold no matches, and could not take home even a penny of money. Her father would certainly beat her; besides, it was almost as cold at home as here, for they had only the roof to cover them, through which the wind howled, although the largest holes had been stopped up with straw and rags. Her little hands were almost frozen with the cold. Ah! perhaps a burning match might be some good, if she could draw it from the bundle and strike it against the wall, just to warm her fingers. She drew one out—“scratch!” how it sputtered as it burnt! It gave a warm, bright light, like a little candle, as she held her hand over it. It was really a wonderful light. It seemed to the little girl that she was sitting by a large iron stove, with polished brass feet and a brass ornament. How the fire burned! and seemed so beautifully warm that the child stretched out her feet as if to warm them, when, lo! the flame of the match went out, the stove vanished, and she had only the remains of the half-burnt match in her hand.

She rubbed another match on the wall. It burst into a flame, and where its light fell upon the wall it became as transparent as a veil, and she could see into the room. The table was covered with a snowy white table-cloth, on which stood a splendid dinner service, and a steaming roast goose, stuffed with apples and dried plums. And what was still more wonderful, the goose jumped down from the dish and waddled across the floor, with a knife and fork in its breast, to the little girl. Then the match went out, and there remained nothing but the thick, damp, cold wall before her.

She lighted another match, and then she found herself sitting under a beautiful Christmas-tree. It was larger and more beautifully decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door at the rich merchant's. Thousands of tapers were burning upon the green branches, and colored pictures, like those she had seen in the show-windows, looked down upon it all. The little one stretched out her hand towards them, and the match went out.

The Christmas lights rose higher and higher, till they looked to her like the stars in the sky. Then she saw a star fall, leaving behind it a bright streak of fire. “Someone is dying,” thought the little girl, for her old grandmother, the only one who had ever loved her, and who was now dead, had told her that when a star falls, a soul was going up to God.

She again rubbed a match on the wall, and the light shone round her; in the brightness stood her old grandmother, clear and shining, yet mild and loving in her appearance. “Grandmother,” cried the little one, “O take me with you; I know you will go away when the match burns out; you will vanish like the warm stove, the roast goose, and the large, glorious Christmas-tree.” And she made haste to light the whole bundle of matches, for she wished to keep her grandmother there. And the matches glowed with a light that was brighter than the noon-day, and her grandmother had never appeared so large or so beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and they both flew upwards in brightness and joy far above the earth, where there was neither cold nor hunger nor pain, for they were with God.

In the dawn of morning there lay the poor little one, with pale cheeks and smiling mouth, leaning against the wall; she had been frozen to death on the last evening of the year; and the New-year's sun rose and shone upon a little corpse! The child still sat, in the stiffness of death, holding the matches in her hand, one bundle of which was burnt. “She tried to warm herself,” said some. No one imagined what beautiful things she had seen, nor into what glory she had entered with her grandmother, on New-year's day.




The Deep Happiness of Heaven

“Let us look at our lives in the light of this experience [in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10] and see whether we gladly glory in weakness, whether we take pleasure, as Paul did, in injuries, in necessities, in distresses. Yes, let us ask whether we have learned to regard a reproof, just or unjust, a reproach from friend or enemy, an injury, or trouble, or difficulty into which others bring us, as above all an opportunity of proving how Jesus is all to us, how our own pleasure or honor are nothing, and how humiliation is in very truth what we take pleasure in. It is indeed blessed, the deep happiness of heaven, to be so free from self that whatever is said of us or done to us is lost and swallowed up in the thought that Jesus is all.”



Andrew Murray, Humility: The Beauty of Holiness, page 83.

Friday, November 27, 2009

QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...DID APOSTLE PAUL RESURRECT?



Some preachers and teachers are stating that Paul was resurrected according to Acts 14.

IS IT POSSIBLE THAT PAUL DID RESURRECT?

A closer look we can conclude that Apostle Paul did not resurrect from the dead in Acts 14 nor does the Bible anywhere else suggest that he did. No legitimate Bible commentaries that I can find even hint at the possibility. Unlike Lazarus who was pronounced dead, placed in a tomb for four days, and resurrected by Christ (John 11:38-44), Paul possibly had just a near death experience but survived and was healed. A near death experience neither constitutes death nor resurrection.

Consider too, that when Paul was bitten by a deadly poisonous snake he survived when people expected him to die (Acts 28:1-6). They thought Paul must be a god because he did not die.

God’s faithful servants do not die as long as He has work for them to do. It wasn’t until Paul’s work was completed that he was presumably martyred by being beheaded in Rome.

What say you?

All comments are welcome. God bless

Sunday, November 22, 2009

You have to see this to believe it, Dan!

extraordinaire_instrument_de_musique.wmv

Go to www.lescocos.com/Extraordinare-instrument-de.html

I cannot get it in video format for the blog. You have to see this one-of-a-kind instrument. It is unbelievable. Awesome!

Let me know what you think? If you cannot open it, I will send it email.

I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me

Saturday, November 21, 2009

MARTIN LUTHER ON DEATH AND DYING

Dennis Ngien is research professor of theology at Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, and author of Luther as a Spiritual Adviser: The Interface of Theology and Piety in Luther's Devotional Writings (Paternoster, 2007).

"Not all Christians face death so courageously. In the past 20 years, I have conducted and preached at more than 150 memorial and funeral services. I have sat beside numerous deathbeds, with people terrified by the sight of the final conflict. For me, it is no wonder that Scripture calls death "the last enemy."
This brother, now advanced in years, is battling cancer and is face to face with his own death. Knowing how fierce this last battle can be, I sent him one of the most helpful meditation guides I've known: Martin Luther's "A Sermon on Preparing to Die." In this sermon, Luther provides pastoral counsel to his closest friend, Mark Schart, who was troubled by thoughts of death. His counsel contains a great deal of wisdom for today."


The Three Temptations
Luther believed that death becomes ominous because the devil uses it to undermine our faith. He haunts us with death in three ways.

First, the Devil taunts us with the remembrance that death is a sign of God's wrath toward sinners. "In that way, [the devil] fills our foolish human nature with the dread of death while cultivating a love and concern for life, so that burdened with such thoughts man forgets God, flees and abhors death, and thus, in the end, is and remains disobedient to God."
Luther's remedy for this first temptation is to contemplate death all the more, but to do so at the right time—which is not the time of death. Instead, he exhorts us to "invite death into our presence when it is still at a distance and not on the move"—that is, in our daily lives long before death threatens us. Conversely, Luther counsels Christians to banish thoughts of death at the final hour and to use that time to meditate on life.

Second, the Devil magnifies our accusing conscience by reminding us of those who were condemned to hell for lesser sins than ours. This, too, casts us into despair, so that we forget God's grace in the last hour. Again Luther admonishes us not to deny our sinfulness, but to contemplate it during our lifetimes, as is taught in Psalm 51:3: "My sin is ever before me." The devil closes our eyes to our sin during our lives, just when we should be thinking of it. He then opens our eyes to the horrible reality of sin and judgment in the final hour, when our eyes should be seeing only grace.

Third, the Devil plagues us with the prospect of hell, specifically by increasing the soul's burden with haunting questions concerning election. He prods the soul into undertaking the one thing forbidden—delving into the mystery of God's will. In this undertaking, the devil "practices his ultimate, greatest, and most cunning art and power," for he "sets man above God" so that we look in the wrong place for assurance of election. In this respect, delving into the mystery of election is never a good practice, but especially not when one faces the final enemy.

How do we banish these devilish images and see only grace? Luther exhorts us to contemplate the image that saves: Jesus Christ, who "overcame death with life." In addition, he encourages us to contemplate the deaths of those who died in God's grace, such as the saints before us. The more one fixes one's gaze on such pictures, the more death appears "contemptible and dead, slain and overcome in life. For Christ is nothing other than sheer life, as his saints are likewise."

Luther says to look to Christ is to see grace, because "the picture of grace is nothing else but that of Christ on the cross."
Here sins are never sins, for here they are overcome and swallowed up in Christ. He takes your death upon himself and strangles it so that it may not harm you, if you believe that he does it for you and see your death in him and not in yourself. Likewise, he also takes your sins upon himself and overcomes them with his righteousness out of sheer mercy, and if you believe that, your sins will never work you harm.

Luther also says that when facing death's agonies, we should find support in the fellowship and faith of the church.
The experience of dying, though intensely personal, cannot be handled privately without our being crushed. As each person contends with death, we should not desert him or leave him to die alone. In the deafening loneliness of death, we "shout in the ears" of the dying to assure them of our companionship. In fact, God, Christ, angels, saints, and the entire congregation "shout" with us. The eyes of the entire communion of saints are upon the dying to empower him to go through the unavoidable. The annihilating voice of death, then, can drive us into the arms of Christ. The voice of the law that incites sin, death, and divine wrath is replaced by the voice of the gospel. That voice is like a lamp shining in darkness until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts (see 2 Peter 1:19–20)—and it makes dying much easier.

Born Again
Death, for Luther, is "the beginning of the narrow gate and of the straight path to life" (Matt. 7:14). Although the gate is narrow, the journey is not long. Luther elaborates:
Just as an infant is born with peril and pain from the small abode of its mother's womb into this immense heaven and earth, … so man departs this life through the narrow gate of death. … Therefore, the death of the dear saints is called a new birth, and their feast day is known in Latin as natale, that is, the day of their birth.


RC Sproul comments...
"This road through the dark valley may be traveled safely when we are assured of its end. We do not have to deny the pain of grief and death. On the contrary, it is the harsh reality of death that makes the heavenly mansion so glorious: "So it is that in dying we must bear this anguish and know that a large mansion and joy will follow."
While we should be aware daily of the inevitable reality of death, we can live as those who have been freed from the curse and sting of death. Luther wisely reminds us to ponder "the heavenly picture of Christ," for in Christ, we have passed from death to life. Death is no death to the believers whose lives are hidden with Christ in God."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Solomon The Wisdom Prophet

Did Solomon Practice His Wisdom?

Like Solomon, as great of a king and prophet that he was, he committed evil acts against God demonstrating that no one is righteous, not even he (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:10). Thus through God’s wisdom Solomon understood that we no longer live in the Garden of Eden, but in a fallen world.

Solomon wisely said, "If they sin against you--for there is no one who does not sin—…” (1Kings 8:46).

Consider that the wisdom attributed to Solomon was not his own. It was God’s working in and through him as a blessing to David, the Israelites, and His chosen city Jerusalem. God chose Solomon for His divine purpose and because of his great love for David He tempered His judgment upon him (Solomon), (1 Kings 11: 9-12).



Despite his weaknesses Solomon is portrayed overall as having passion for God, yet he is not presented as one who must be envied. We too, must look to God alone in awe and reverent fear so that we who are sinners who sin, will be led into understanding of who and what He is and His purpose and plan for our lives (Psalm 111:10).



Lastly, what Solomon failed to do to be a perfect man of wisdom, Christ fulfilled perfectly. Our focus then should be on Christ who is the wisest of all.


In Christ

Saturday, October 31, 2009

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

WHAT DOES "PREACHING TO THE CHOIR" MEAN?

Hint: Nehemiah 12:38,43

Friday, October 23, 2009

CAN WE BE JUST LIKE JESUS?



Are we really expected to be just like Jesus? To do all the works He did?

No one should ever think that a Christian can be all that Christ is, but yet He is are one and only "perfect" role model to faithfully and obediently follow.

“But we must not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but rather think of ourselves with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given us” (Romans 12:3-3).

Christians have different levels of maturity and spiritual gifts thus they do not all have the same function. Scripture is clear in explaining and instructing us what “being like Christ” means and what is involved in salvation and being His follower.

The twelve disciples asked Jesus a similar question,

“Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"
Jesus answered them, This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent"
(John 6:28,29).

His Word also tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Jesus’ role modeling for us is all about grace and faithfulness and not about earning salvation through good works.

All Jesus ever asked anyone to do is to love. To love God and to love others. These are the two greatest of all commandments (Matthew 22:37,39). Jesus the God Man modeled perfect love and it is His people’s desire to follow His example and learn to do the same. The good news is that we learn to love not by our own efforts or achievements, but by and through the redemptive work of God. We can do nothing on our own, it is only through His loving power working in and through us that we can.

What does it mean to be like Jesus?

Humans were created in God’s image. Image meaning our souls mind, emotion, and will. He created us in likeness to His invisible spirit nature for the purpose of communicating with us. But when Adam sinned, the human spirit became spiritually dead toward the Lord and cut off from Him because of disobedience. Adam’s undoing was that Satan tempted him in thinking that he could become equal to God.

No longer were humans capable of being God’s people for their image (moral character), was stained with sin. In order for God’s people to be saved a Savior was predestined and ultimately sent to earth to rescue them from Satan and their sinful image and lifestyle. Thus the old Adam was an imperfect ungodly role model and thus Christ was sent to be the new Adam, a perfect sinless role model in moral character for us to witness and follow. God demonstrated His love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). And once a person receives and accepts Christ as their personal Savior they are born again and begin the transformation process to become like Him in “moral character”.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Because of what Christ promised to do in the OT and fulfilled at the Cross, He tells us that God’s people would be made holy, pure and perfect just like Him. This isn’t referring to Jesus' omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent power. We should never think that we are going to become God just like Him. It is only in perfect moral character that we one Day will be.

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29).

Christians are sinners who sin and there is no way we are or will ever be morally perfect during this lifetime, but we do have the perfect example (role model), to follow in Jesus Christ who is leading us out of this evil earthly wilderness by His Word so that we will be fully transformed and made perfect in moral character when our spirit leaves our body to be with Him in our heavenly eternal afterlife.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Once saved a person is a new spiritual person in Christ-that is, the Holy Spirit dwells and protects our spirit so that He can complete a good work of sanctification in and through us. Meaning that gradually over a lifetime we will continue to lose the desire to sin in character likeness to Christ. More and more as we mature in our faith we resemble and are representative of Jesus in what we say and do in likeness to Him. Again, we are not perfect, yet people see a glimpse of Jesus’ character working in and through us. A character we are incapable of developing on or own. People then know that we are of Christ by the “good fruit” we produce, the very godliness of our faith and the love which we demonstrate and share with others.God is Love and our new image is being made by Christ alone through our faith alone so that we too, can and will willingly love Him and others.

Christians are given special callings and the gift of skill and power to accomplish God’s will such as prophecy, preaching, teaching, serving, encouraging, contributing, leadership,showing mercy (Romans 12:6-8). But God doesn't expect us to possess all of His gifts that only Christ can claim being the Great "I Am" that He is (John 8:58:14:6).

Just My Thoughts. What say you?

God Bless

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Does (2 Chronicles 7:14)indicate or promise that if we pray God will heal the problems we as a nation face in the USA?

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Charles Spurgeon "Be Bold"

The following excerpt is from "Christ’s People—Imitators of Him," a sermon delivered Sunday morning, 29 April 1855, at Exeter Hall, in the Strand.


A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. This is a virtue nowadays called impudence, but the grace is equally valuable by whatever name it may be called. I suppose if the Scribes had given a definition of Peter and John, they would have called them impudent fellows.

Jesus Christ and his disciples were noted for their courage. "When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Jesus Christ never fawned upon the rich; he stooped not to the great and noble, he stood erect, a man before men,—the prophet of the people, speaking out boldly and freely what he thought.

Have you never admired that mighty deed of his, when going to the city where he had lived and been brought up; knowing that a prophet had no honor in his own country, the book was put into his hands; he had but then commenced his ministry; yet without tremor he unrolled the sacred volume and what did he take for his text?

Most men, coming to their own neighborhood would have chosen a subject adapted to the taste, in order to earn fame. But what doctrine did Jesus preach that morning? One which in our age is scorned and hated—the doctrine of election. He opened the Scriptures, and began to read thus: "Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land, but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none off them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian."

Then he began to tell, how God saveth whom he pleases, and rescues whom he chooses. Ah! how they gnashed their teeth upon him, dragged him out, and would have cast him from the brow of the hill.

Do you not admire his intrepidity? He saw their teeth gnashing; he knew their hearts were hot with enmity, while their mouths foamed with revenge and malice: still he stood like the angel who shut the lion's mouths; he feared them not; faithfully he proclaimed what he knew to be the truth of God, and still read on despite them all.

So in his discourses. If he saw a Scribe or a Pharisee in the congregation, he did not keep back part of the price, but pointing his finger, he said, "Woe Unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites;" and when a lawyer came, saying, "Master, in speaking thus, thou condemnest us also;" he turned round and said, "Woe unto you, lawyers, for ye bind heavy burdens upon men, while ye yourselves will not touch them with so much as one of your fingers."

He dealt out honest truth, he never knew the fear of man; he trembled at none; he stood as God's chosen, whom he had anointed above his fellows, careless of man's esteem. My friends, be like Christ in this. Have none of the time-serving religion of the present day, which is merely exhibited in evangelical drawing rooms—a religion which only flourishes in a hot-bed atmosphere, a religion which is only to be perceived in good company.

No, if ye are the servants of God, be like Jesus Christ, bold for your Master; never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you; take care you never disgrace that. Your love to Christ will never dishonor you, it may bring some temporary slight from your friends, or slanders from your enemies: but live on, and you shall; live down their calumnies; live on and ye shall stand amongst the glorified, honored even by those who hissed you when he shall come to be glorified by his angels, and admired by them that love him.

Be like Jesus, very valiant for your God; so that when they shall see your boldness, they may say, "He has been with Jesus."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is it Possible for God to Sin

These are my thoughts.

1. Is a lie a sin? Yes, a lie is a sin. If God cannot lie (Tts 1:2), then it is not a stretch to say He cannot sin.

2. If you adhere to Reformed Theology, we know that we can only choose according to our nature. So God is free to choose only according to His nature.

Some other thoughts to consider. God is such a holy and loving God, and for Him to be able to sin would mean that He would fall under his own wrath. His justice then would not preclude Him from such a disastrous end. Since "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 Jo 1:5), this strongly suggests that there is not so much as a quark, a small seed of sin in Him, if there were, He would be sin Himself. For sin is expressed in its full blown hatred and evil contemptuousness, in JUST ONE lonely violation of the law, that's all it takes.

All sin is in rebellion against a holy and righteous God, why would God be at odds with His own nature, it would be self-defeating, and cancel out His very nature? God could then not be LOVE, for He would have to hate Himself. Also, if God were able to sin, what would prevent Him from somewhere in eternity turning evil? On what grounds or basis would I be able to put my trust if this were the case? The Anti-Christ has this ability, appearing to be an angel of light then turning on his foes to seek, kill and destroy.


Also, Adam was born is a state of moral equipoise, he had no particular bias as to sin or not to sin. His nature was NOT in a fixed state of holiness, so therefore his ability to sin existed. Adam was created in a state of innocency, and not in a state of holiness.

Remember A&E did not fall after eating the apple, there was sin present in their heart to begin with, in order for them to WANT to disobey God.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Saved by Grace Alone

I hope to address two specific areas where the RCC FALLS from grace; one being adding good works to faith in Christ to help secure their salvation, AND the practice of worshipping idols and having other gods before the one true, Triune God. Both of these practices and beliefs are anathema to God. Mind you, I can only touch rather lightly on these subjects, but these doctrines and practices supported and believed by faithful, practicing Catholics, leave them antithetical to and far outside the standard orthodox practices of true Christianity, also antithetical to the distinctly clear word of God, and helps further define them as a cult.

The five solas which defined the Reformation all use the word ALONE; Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), Sola Fide (by faith alone), Sola Gratia (by grace alone), Solus Christus (Christ alone), and Soli Deo gloria (Glory to God alone). Martin Luther used the word (ALONE), which became the impetus for the great Reformation, he used it solely to define, distinguish and compare the beliefs and practices of the RCC from the true word of God. This word ALONE, which the Catholic Church HIGHLY objected to (and still does to this day) helped clearly set the parameters for the ALL SUFFICIENCY of Christ. Nothing added such as our good works, otherwise we pollute grace.

“ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).” If we add the meritorious works of man to supplement the work of Christ, it becomes anathema to God, and then becomes ANOTHER GOSPEL or a DIFFERENT GOSPEL. Paul declares in Galatians; “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but {I received it} through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1: 6-12).”

Let me unpack all of this verse. The different gospel, on which God places this severe curse, was the gospel Paul was warning the foolish Galatians to be aware of (a works based gospel), also if you notice, God places a curse, not once, but twice, in these passages. The new Christians whom Paul is addressing in Galatians, were converts from paganism (Gal 4:8-9) who were now being enticed by other missionaries to ADD the observances of the Jewish law, including the rite of circumcision, to the cross of Christ as a means of salvation. These interlopers insisted on the necessity of following certain precepts of the Mosaic law ALONG with faith in Christ. They were undermining Paul's authority also, asserting that he had not been trained by Jesus himself, that his gospel did not agree with that of the original and true apostles in Jerusalem, that he had kept from his converts in Galatia the necessity of accepting circumcision and other key obligations of the Jewish law, in order more easily to win them to Christ, and that his gospel was thus not the full and authentic one held by "those of repute" in Jerusalem (Gal 2:2).

When Paul learned of the situation, he wrote this defense of his apostolic authority and of the correct understanding of the faith. He set forth the unique importance of Christ and his redemptive sacrifice on the cross, the freedom that Christians enjoy from the old burdens of the law, the total sufficiency of Christ and of faith in Christ as the way to God and to eternal life. Galatians is thus a summary of basic Pauline theology. Its themes were more fully and less polemically developed in the Letter to the Romans. In his vigorous emphasis on the absolute preeminence of Christ and his cross as God's way to salvation and holiness, Paul stresses Christian freedom and the ineffectiveness of the Mosaic law for gaining divine favor and blessings (Gal 3:19-29). The pious Jew saw in the law a way established by God to win divine approval by a life of meticulous observance of ritual, social, and moral regulations. But Paul's profound insight into the higher designs of God in Christ led him to understand and welcome the priority of promise and faith (shown in the experience of Abraham, Gal 3:6-18) and the supernatural gifts of the Spirit (Gal 3:2-5; 5:16-6:10). His enthusiasm for this new vision of the life of grace in Christ and of the uniquely salvific role of Christ's redemptive death on the cross shines through this whole letter.

The curse given by God to the foolish Galatians applies to anyone now-days, who adds good works to the ALL SUFFICIENT work of Christ on the cross. “Knowing that a man is NOT justified by the WORKS of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal 2:6).”

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a DEBTOR TO THE WHOLE LAW. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are FALLEN FROM GRACE. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith (Gal 5:1-5).”

Notice particularly the words in Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of NO EFFECT unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are FALLEN FROM GRACE.” FALLEN FROM GRACE, there it is! When the Catholic Church adds to the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross, by their good works, they have fallen from grace, and are cursed by God. The RCC’s Council of Trent condemned the Reformed doctrine of Justified by faith alone. They declared it anathema, and in so doing they have brought God’s wrath and condemnation upon the church. This IS the GOSPEL… (by FAITH and nothing added to the sufficiency of Christ), the very article on which a church stands or falls from grace.

Now back to Gal 1:6-10 to see our culpability in PLEASING MEN by calling them our brothers and sisters in Christ, PROVIDING they cling to this doctrine AND, also, the idolatry of their Mother Church.

“As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ (Gal 1:9-10).”

The word of God says plainly, if we are trying to please men, who promote another gospel, we are NOT a bond-servant of Christ. PERIOD! We think too highly of the praises of men and not of pleasing God. This shows God our TRUE allegiance to Him.

“For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God (Rom 10:2-3).”

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Cor 6:14-18).”

more later on idolatry...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

BIBLE QUESTION OF THE WEEK

What does Pslam 23:2a mean?

"He makes me lie down in green pastures"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

QUESTION OF THE WEEK


If a Christian tells you they have never experienced any major problems or knock down suffering in life what do you think? Is it possible for a Christian never to have suffered?

If My Words Abide in You, by John Piper

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This is my video about abortion! Use your mind's eye!

Someone should come up with a video showing pictures of what an unborn child would have looked like had they been given a chance to live, like at the age of two, five, ten, sixteen, eighteen, etc. (they do this with abducted children)...And give him or her a name, a playground, a best friend, a first bike, a first birthday, a Prom, and make it real, make it hurt, make it sting; make it burn in our memories.

And give him or her a voice, their first words being, "mommy, daddy," their second words being, "I love you mommy and daddy." Have the child phone home after his first week in college and thank mom and dad for the struggles they went through just to make their future promising. And show how the aborted children could have comforted and cared for their parents in their old age had they been given the same chance to make it to that ripe old, beautiful, glorious age. And finally, show a child holding the hand of a sick and dying parent, who is ready to take his or her last breath, and let it be said, “You were the best mom I could have ever hoped for, dreamt for, or wished for, I love you so deeply, now close your tired, weary eyes and sleep, and I will meet you in heaven one day, and kiss the precious hands of Jesus for creating your special soul. I love you mommy!”

Abortion is a thief; it robs the young and the old!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Article: THE CHRISTIANS FAITH OBJECT...THE CROSS OR CHRIST?


Hi Everyone...:)

ARTICLE FOR YOUR REVIEW

WHAT OR WHO IS THE CHRISTIANS FAITH OBJECT…the CROSS OR CHRIST?

Actually, the object of a Christians faith is not the Cross, but rather belief and trust in Jesus Christ and what He did at the Cross.

“ looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith” (1 John 5:4).

Christ is our faith object and the Cross simply symbolizes an instrument of and exposure to death-that is, the very atonement of Christ (Philippians 2:8). Christians kneel before the Cross in remembrance of Jesus’ death and that we are saved from God’s wrath because He did. Thus the Cross is only the place where our Savior and Lord shed His Blood and died representing the “cross road” from death to eternal life.

Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,”

Christians believe that they dare not put their faith in the foolish wisdom found in worldly men, but only in the godly wisdom of Christ who saved us at the Cross and who rose again (1Corinthians 1:17). The power and wisdom of God is in the Blood of Christ crucified (v-18). God’s wisdom is manifested in the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus (v-30; Romans 1:4,16; Colossians 2:3). Thus we preach Christ crucified at the Cross.

The Cross represents the place where Christ’s power defeated Satan and death- that is, no longer is Satan and sin the curse of eternal death upon Christians (Romans 6:23). And because of what Christ did at the cross and by resurrecting back to life Satan and death will one day be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26,54; 2 Corinthians 1:9; Hebrews 2:14). What Satan intended for the torturous cross of rejection and death to be, Jesus victoriously made His Cross a place of Redemption so that His people could be set free.

The cross is a place where Christ atoned for the sins of the world so that His people may be forgiven and reconciled with Father God no longer under the curse of His wrath (Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20). It was a place where salvation became a reality for those lost to Satan and the world. A place where man’s legal demands of religious law were nailed, fulfilled, and abolished as requirements for salvation.

The Cross represents the burden and suffering Christians bear as we pick up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23; 14:27). This meaning that if a Christian is going to share in Christ’s glory they must also share in His suffering (Philippians 3:10).

What is most important though, is that on the third day Christ resurrected as promised and ascended back into heaven from where He came (Hebrew 12:2). And it is because of His resurrection that we can be assured He alone died at the Cross for the divine purpose of being glorified and to save His people. Because of His resurrection He is our faith object who we can trust as the only Way, the Truth, and the Life for our eternal salvation (John 14:6). End

Comments are welcome... What say you?

God bless,

Bro Dan

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BIBLE QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Would it be wrong for a Christian to buy a Buddha idol, as a gift, for a Buddhist?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Don't Loose Sight of Your Horizon


DSC02315
Originally uploaded by (mstk)a
Don’t Loose Sight of Your Horizon
Written by Mary Elizabeth Tyler
© 1/1/2009

As a preacher and evangelist of God’s holy word, you must believe with all your heart, soul, and mind, that Christ is the ONLY way to eternal life (the way, the truth, and the life (Jo 14:6). And be willing not only to make this proclamation in the public arena of the church, but also be able to defend it with unflinching nerve, when conversing with TV talk show hosts such as Larry King, and many other notables in the public media. Several theological panel discussions, on the Larry King show, have unearthed some surprising false beliefs held by certain stalwarts of the Christian faith.

There have been a few well known, some even seasoned TV evangelists and preachers, men of great renown, lately, who have diverged in the woods, opting for the broader road that leads to destruction; straying far from the road less traveled. Many have dodged the question when put to them point blank by Larry King, “Is Jesus Christ the only way to get to heaven?” They duck such perceived, near indignities, as if some ominous black bird were making grand sweeps and lobs at their foreheads. With much chagrin they sigh, shrug their limp, perplexed shoulders, and give some mumbled, off topic, garbled retort, of, “I cannot judge any man’s heart only God can, I am only called to love God and all people alike.” That’s it??? Is that all there is? Hmm! Why not just say what’s in your heart? Christ “IS” the only way. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. My son at five years old could articulate better than that, he could even tell you that peanuts made peanut butter, lemons made lemon aid, and milk came from cows. How much more should we expect from preachers and evangelists, who are infinitely wiser than children, and whose “divine milk” does not come from a cow? So, are we asking too much? Is Christ, or isn’t Christ, the only way?

Some evangelists, who are prone to the cheeky, positive, gospel message (grins and more grins), joyfully receive the question, and still manage to obfuscate and bungle the good news. And say silly things like, “ You owe it to yourself to be happy, and be the very best person you can possibly be, so think positive.” Is that possible? A Johnny be good! Most of us folk come from a floundering line of the Johnny “Apple Seed” variety; we are born of bad seed, bad to the bone, rotten to the core, and in desperate need of something more than a mere positive possibility (grins included). These do for yourself something good, gurus, relish the opportunity to be all things to all people, conversing on topics that they know little about, and talk in round about circles as if they were well informed (I guess nonsense is tolerable and preferable to the foolish. Only Mr. Ed [the talking horse] would “never talk” unless he had something to say). There may be a lesson here, if you are willing to believe horses talk (but we do know-donkeys can).

My serious deep concern in all of this is for the evangelists who court the world’s affections and desire the love of all men. It does happen. Which is sad and most regrettable. This world has its potentates, princes, popes, and presidents, who all need the redeeming message of Jesus; all people need Christ as their Lord and Savior. But the snare of the fowler stands ready and waiting when gifted men of the pulpit find the pleasures and the powers of this world more enticing and more desirable than Christ’s offer for life. We, as Christians, are to be in the world but not of the world. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you” (2 Cor 6:17).

There is a balance that one needs to cultivate: we are to go among the unregenerate, as to influence them for Christ, preaching Christ crucified, but we do not partake of their questionable entertainments, lifestyles, philosophies and or their apostate religions. Many have found this difficult to do while courting the world’s elite on the golf course. The more the world beckons them their feet remain entrenched in the world.

The core gospel message that Christ is the “ONLY” way to heaven then becomes muddied, foggy, and a hard to articulate doctrine for some evangelists, and instead comes out in sweeping, twisted phrases like, “The Pope is a magnanimous God fearing man, who is God’s voice to the world at large. It is time for all evangelicals everywhere to unite and accept all people of all faiths because all roads lead to heaven.” This is an alarming statement! The preacher… the evangelist... the teacher… the keeper and mouthpiece of God’s most precious holy word, has just lost his horizon. Jesus!

It is the same with pilots, you know. When flying over the ocean they can loose sight of the horizon. The ocean and sky become a wash, the sea becomes the sky: the sky the sea. They cannot distinguish the blue overhead from the deep blue, cerulean sea: zenith from nadir. Their focal point, the horizon, is gone. They are not even aware of their free falling until the hard, thunderous crash comes, and by then it is too late to pullback. They plunge headlong into the black abyss, irretrievably lost because of the sheer depth and expanse of the sea.

The evangelist, too, faces the same fate as the pilot when he looses his horizon. The man becomes the world, and the world becomes the man, you can no longer tell them apart. All because he did not listen to the voice of God, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate….”

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Holiness of God


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Originally uploaded by gerritdeboorder
John Piper shares his thoughts on the holiness of God.

When the object of our delight is moral beauty, the longing to behold is inseperable from the longing to be. When the Holy Spirit awakens the heart of a person to delight in the holiness of God, an insatiable desire is born not only to behold that holiness, but also to be holy as God is holy.

Robinson Crusoe's Text


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Originally uploaded by nancyr5213
Charles Spurgeon once preached a sermon on prayer and called it "Robinson Crusoe's Text."

Robinson Crusoe has been wrecked. He is left on the desert island all alone. His case is a very pitiable one. He goes to his bed, and is smitten with a fever. This fever lasts upon him long, and he has no one to wait upon him--none even to bring him a drink of cold water. He is ready to perish. He had been accustomed to sin, and had all the vices of a sailor; but his hard case brought him to think. He opens a Bible which he finds in his chest, and he lights upon this passage, "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." That night he prayed for the first time in his life, and ever after there was in him a hope in God, which marked the birth of the heavenly life.

Robinson Crusoe's text was Psalm 50:15. It is God's way of getting glory for Himself-----Pray to me! I will deliver you! And the result will be that you will glorify Me!

Spurgeon's explanation is penetrating:

God and praying man take shares....First here is your share: "Call upon me in the day of trouble." Secondly, here is God's share: I will deliver thee." Again, you take a share--for you shall be delivered. And then again it is the Lord's turn---"Thou shalt glorify me." Here is a compact, a covenant that God enters into with you who pray to Him, and whom He helps. He says, "You shall have the deliverance, but I must have the glory..." Here is a delightful partnership: we obtain that which we so greatly need, and all that God getteth is the glory which is due unto His name.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

WILL WE SEE GOD IN HEAVEN ?


Will We See God In Heaven ?

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).


Heaven is the biblical term for God’s dwelling place (Psalms 33:13,14: Matthew 6:9). And while in our present bodies the realities of heaven are unseen, and we know them only by faith. Yet when we die and our spirit returns from where it came (Ecclesiastes 12:7), to be eternally in the presence of the Lord, will we be able to see Him?

Yes, but not in the same way we physically see by sight in the physical realm. Spirit to spirit our soul will have a super natural mindful, emotional, and willful visual sense of Jesus’ awesome presence in ways we can not imagine. Until Resurrection Day, we in spirit will dwell in heavenly Paradise with Christ in the invisible spirit realm along with the saints and angels spending our time worshiping, exploring God’s creative handiwork, learning, growing, and developing together in a never exhaustive journey getting to know our One triune God in three person’s (Revelation 7:15-17).

Paul alludes to his experience in the third or farthest heaven also called Paradise where God dwells (2 Corinthians 12:2,3).
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows” (2Corinthians 12:2). He is confirming that there is eternal life in heaven in the presence of the Lord.

In Christ

DID JESUS DESERVE HELL ?


Did Jesus Deserve Hell ?

If eternity in hell is what is necessary to satisfy Gods justice, and Jesus paid for all our sins, then doesn`t Jesus deserve eternity in hell?

It Was Finished At The Cross

According to Scripture Jesus would have never been deserving of eternity in hell to satisfy God’s justice for humanities sin debt. On the contrary, He is Holy and fulfilled and finished Father God’s requirements for forgiveness and reconciliation at the Cross. Jesus, the perfect and sinless God Man, did not become sin but became the sin bearer who battled victoriously defeating the grip of sin so that by grace through faith His people would be saved. As an ultimate act of Love Christ was “lifted up” to die on the Cross not to become a defeated foe but to overcome both Satan and sin and then arise and be “lifted up” (John 12:32,33), victoriously, gloriously, and righteously resurrecting back to life and ascending to heaven to be seated at Father God’s right side. Jesus wins, Satan loses.

The will of Father God was to lift up and glorify His Son Jesus for His willingness and obedience to die for humanity. This glorious love and power raised Jesus from the dead and it is at work in believers (Ephesians 1:19-23).We must consider too, that because Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity, He is inseparable from Father God and thus it would be impossible for Him to lose and be cast “down” into hell. Hell is a place of evil, defeat, destruction, and eternal separation from God who created it to separate evil from good. Christ was predestined to be “lifted up” into heaven not cast down into hell.

Sin Debt Paid in Full At The Cross

When Jesus Christ finished His sacrificial atonement mission at the Cross defeating Satan and sin, His perfect sinless Blood was shed to cover human sin by blotting out offenses and giving satisfaction for wrongs done all for the purpose of making amends with Father God. Christ’s Blood not only made it possible for humanity to be reconciled with Father God, but also made it possible for us who love Him to be freed from the bondage of sin giving hope to be adopted as son’s and giving blessed assurance of the resurrection and redemption of our bodies (Romans 6:22, 23; 8:20-24).

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22).

God’s plan of salvation is not about Christ being in eternal hell but about what He did at the Cross where he propitiated Father God -that is, His Blood satisfied Father God’s wrath (anger), against us and at the same time covered and removed our past, present, and future sin from HIS sight (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).

Jesus’ resurrection proves that He was righteous and glorified and not condemned. And because He was fully redeemed and glorified He returned in spirit and body to heaven and was seated at the right hand of Father God having all sovereign authority and judgment over the heavens and earth (John 12:32,33: Colossians 1:15-23).

“I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father" (John 16:28).

We can conclude from Scripture that Christ’s resurrection demonstrated,
1. His victory over death (Acts 2:24), and hell.
2. That He was vindicated as being righteous (John 16:10).
3. His divine identity being made known (Romans 1:4).
4. Forgiveness and justification for salvation (Romans 5:15-19).
5. Eternal life for believers (John 11:25, 26).

What Christ fulfilled and finished at the Cross is of a divine heavenly purpose-that is, Father God redeemed HIS Son and was fully pleased with him. Christ’s Blood and resurrection reveals God’s plan of redemption for us too, in that all because of Jesus, we will follow Him to heaven after we die and one day experience the reality of our full redemption when in His perfect timing we will be resurrected and reunited in perfect spirit and physical body for eternal life in His completed New Kingdom where Paradise lost becomes Paradise restored and where He continues to reign forever as our Lord and King. Until then, “Father God has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13,14). “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:19, 20).

In Christ

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

About Receiving Salvation


ETERNAL SECURITY


Will God accept our imperfect level of sincerity?

God doesn’t reject His people, He redeems them.

Because of our imperfectness we do not deserve salvation and there is nothing we can do to earn it (Ephesians 2:8,9). It is only by Gods grace through the gift of faith that we are saved.


Scripture tells us that due to the greatness, sufficiency, and perfection of Christ’s sacrifice at the Cross, all those who have been baptized by the Spirit (born again), and have truly received Christ as Savior are eternally secure in salvation, kept by God’s power, secured and sealed in Christ forever (John ch 3; 6:37-40; Ephesians 1:13,4:30).

Thus if a person is genuinely sincere in believing in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and that through Him is the only Way to be saved they are reconciled with Father God and are gifted eternal life (John 3:16). Father God convicts His people to have faith in His Son alone, a faith that is a living faith and not just a said faith.


But it is not the level of a genuine living faith a Christian has that determines if God will accept them or not. Jesus points this out in (Luke 17:6), what even a small faith can bring about. More important than the quantity of faith is the object of faith, a great and powerful God. So whether the level of a Christian’s faith is small and immature or great and mature doesn’t matter when it comes to salvation because God is the focus, and He is the only One who can and will transform His people by cleansing and moving the mountain of imperfection and sin out and away from them thus ultimately making them holy, pure, and perfect in every way.


Salvation is not based upon being perfect. Despite our depravity we are by God’s grace justified and saved by the righteous blood of our faith object, Jesus Christ. We as imperfect beings are reconciled and sealed in personal relationship with God, blessed with the gift of eternal security, and gradually over a lifetime made holy. Once saved our immature faith, trust, and obedience continues to increase and mature and eventually we lose the desire to sin and our willingness to fully surrender our life to God becomes genuinely evident and sincere.


God bless