Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Properous Journey

Paul said in Romans 1:10, "Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you." Here we see that Paul has a desire to visit the believers in Rome.

Paul is writing this letter to the Romans from Corinth where Paul was completing a collection for the poor in Jerusalem (1 Cor. 16:1-4). From there Paul was to go to Jerusalem and deliver the money, and then go to Rome. Paul had no idea what awaited him in Jerusalem.

Now keep in mind that Paul did pray, "by any means", a “prosperous journey” and "by the will of God." There is no doubt that Paul wanted to go to Rome and the Lord wanted him to go as well. It’s just that Paul had no idea how it was going to happen.

When Paul arrived in Jerusalem, he was jailed for inciting the Jews (Acts 22:22-29). He was then brought before Felix the governor (Acts 23:23-24). However, Felix could not find fault in him, but he still held Paul in prison for two years to please the Jews (Acts 24:27).

Then a governor came into office who heard Paul’s case once again and his name was Festus. Festus could not find any fault in Paul either, but still left him in prison as well (Acts 25:1-12).

Then later King Agrippa and his wife came to visit Festus and Paul requested permission to speak with the king as well (Acts 25:22). It was during this questioning by King Agrippa that Agrippa made that famous statement, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian (Acts 26:24-28).

After speaking with King Agrippa, Paul requested that his case be heard by Caesar himself. He was then placed on board a ship bound for Rome. When he boarded the ship, the Lord tells him that the ship is going to sink at sea and that's exactly what it did(Acts 27:9-11)!

They get out to sea and sure enough the storm comes and for 14 days the ship is beaten by the sea and then finally began to sink. After the ship sank, they were all safely washed up on the island of Malta without any lose of life (Acts 27:39-44). Now remember that Paul did say, "if by any means…I might have a prosperous journey, by the will of God to come unto you."

After being washed up on the island Paul got bitten by a venomous snake (Acts 28:1-6). All of the islanders expected him to drop dead. However, after he didn't, they decided that he was indeed a god. This gave Paul an opportunity to share Christ with them and the entire island got saved. Paul did say, "if by any means…I might have a prosperous journey, by the will of God to come unto you."

It was after all of this that Paul arrived in Rome (Acts 28:11-16)!

Was it a prosperous journey? You bet it was! Paul had no idea that when he prayed that prayer, God was going to bring him to Rome, just as he had requested, but three years later as a prisoner in chains! But, God did answer is prayer!

In the process, he delivered money to the poor in Jerusalem and shared his faith is Felix, Festus, King Agrippa, everyone on board the ship and the entire Island of Malta. Was God gloried? You bet!!

How About You? What are you asking God for today? Are you ready the answer? Are you ready for the way in which He might answer?

I’ve found that God rarely answers prayers on our conditions, because our conditions are usually self-centered, not God centered. We need to learn how to let go and let God. He is going to do it His way and we are just merely along for the ride. Saddle up!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Living in Defeat

Paul said in Romans 6:13-14, "And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (14) For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace."

The question before us is, "Is it possible for a person to be set free and yet still live like their in jail?" The answer is, "Yes, it is." Christians do it all of the time.

There is a story of two brothers who fought for the right to rule over a dukedom in what is now Belgium. The elder brother’s name was Raynald, but he was commonly called “Crassus,” a Latin nickname meaning “fat,” for he was horribly obese. After a heated battle, Raynald’s younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him and assumed the title of Duke over his lands. But instead of killing Raynald, Edward devised a curious imprisonment. He had a room in the castle built around “Crassus,” a room with only one door. The door was not locked, the windows were not barred, and Edward promised Raynald that he could regain his land and his title any time that he wanted to. All he would have to do is leave the room of his imprisonment. The obstacle to freedom was not in the doors or the windows, but with Raynald himself. Being grossly overweight, he could not fit through the door, even though it was of near-normal size. All Raynald needed to do was diet down to a smaller size, then walk out a free man, with all he had before his fall. However, his younger brother kept sending him an assortment of tasty foods, and Raynald’s desire to be free never won out over his desire to eat. Some would accuse Duke Edward of being cruel to his older brother, but he would simply reply, “My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.”

That is an awesome illustration of what most Christian’s experience. They have indeed been set free, but because of their appetites, they live in defeat. Let that not be the case with us!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Where have all of the feminists gone?

This is an article and video that was posted by Dr. Michael Youssef. It's very thought provoking.

Click Here

The Death of Discernment

I was looking at the CC Cypress, CA website and saw this on the pastor's page. I just thought that I would share it with you.

"The Christian church is in a time of deep peril. A steady, yet gradual, movement away from Biblical truth has been underway in the modern churches for decades. Churches are becoming a place where people can identify with a brand (Christianity) and not The Savior (Jesus Christ). Church has all too often become a place to be dazzled by visually stunning, program oriented, highly entertaining productions, all designed to appeal to the senses and emotion.

Seeing that all of this is going on shouldn't we ask, where has the message of Salvation? Where is the message of the risen Savior, Jesus Christ? Where is the weighty message of the innocent Son of God, paying the price for our guilt, caused by our sin? People are made to feel comfortable, rather than being told the truth. People are entertained and moved along their way, without ever having been confronted with their most desperate need, the available forgiveness for their sin. Should any of this come as a surprise? Not really, we have been warned.

Paul told us (1 Corinthians 1:18) "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing" and so we see churches avoid the foolishness they see in The Cross, as Paul put it. But there is more to this story and it is the second part of Paul's message to the Corinthians "but to us who are being saved it is the power of God".

A Friend recently brought something to my attention and it was chilling to read. What I read was written in the late 60's and the copy I had in my hand was from 1971. It was prophetic in ways that were profound to me. It so thoroughly predicted our current state of affairs, in the church, that it could have been written yesterday, but it was written 40 years ago.

Here is a portion of what I read.

With increasing frequency the leadership of the denominations will be captured by those who completely reject the historical truths of the Bible and deny doctrines which according to Christ Himself are crucial to believe in order to be a Christian. In some of the largest Protestant denominations this has already taken place. The few remaining institutions which are not yet dominated by the disbelievers will go downhill in the same manner.

There will be unprecedented mergers of denominations into "religious conglomerates." This will occur for two reasons: first, most denominations were formed because of deep convictions about certain spiritual truths. As more of the truths are discarded as irrelevant because of unbelief in Biblical authority, there will be no reason to be divided. Unity is certainly important to have, but never, according to the teachings of Christ, at the expense of the crucial truths of Christianity.

Secondly, as ministers depart from the truths of the Bible they lose the authority and power that it has to meet real human needs, and as many ministers who are not truly born spiritually themselves and are consequently without the illumination of God's Spirit, they no longer will be able to hold their present congregations, much less attract others. So they resort to "social action gimmicks," super-organization, and elaborate programs as a substitute.

As Paul predicted concerning these ministers in the last days: holding to a form of godliness [literally religion] although they have denied it's power..... And again he says "they are always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth (II Timothy 3:5,7)

The Late Great Planet Earth Pg. 182

Hal has had his share of ridicule, by his sceptics, since this book was published. However, regardless of one's view of the entire book, he seemed to have had a firm grasp on the direction and inevitable destination of the modern seeker friendly and emrging/emergent church movements."