Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Picture Says It All


Seeking a Solution, not Separation

I believe that it's time for Bible-believing Presbyterians to abandon this sinking ship.

Seeking a solution, not separation (OneNewsNow.com)

The Beginning of the End

"When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them; and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Who Would You Invite?

1 Kings 1:9-10 says "Adonijah then sacrificed sheep, cattle and fattened calves at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Judah who were royal officials,  (10)  but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the special guard or his brother Solomon."

It was obvious what Adonijah was up to; not by who he invited, but by who he did not invite.  He only invited those whom he knew would tell him what he wanted to hear.  He conveniently left Nathan the prophet, the special guard and his brother Solomon off the guest list.

We need to be very careful that we do not do the same thing by surrounding ourselves with people who we know will always tell us what we "want" to hear and not necessarily what we "need" to hear.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fan the Flame

Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6-7 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  (7)  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

The important thing about this passage to me is what Paul is telling and not telling young Timothy.  He was not telling him that he needed to go back to school to get another degree, study harder, work harder, etc...  Instead, he is telling Timothy to stir up what is already in him as a "gift" from God.  In other words, he is telling him to start where he was and to use what he had!  That's good counsel any day of the week!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Will Rejoice

Our text this morning was from 1 Peter 1 which spoke of the trials that we are each destined to go through as God refines us into the people that He desires for us to be.  I also read this in my time with the Lord this morning that I would like to share.

Habakkuk said in Hab. 3:17-18 when he was contemplating the fact that God was indeed going to use the Babylonians to bring judgment on his own nation.  Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls,  (18)  Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. (NASB)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Show Me!

Jesus said in Matthew 17:20 "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

The world says, "Show me and I'll believe you!"  God says, "Believe me and I'll show you."  Apparently God is not from the "Show Me State" of Missouri!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi says that he was once approached by an atheist with the request to organize and promote an anti-God society.  To which Gandhi replied, "It amazes me to find an intelligent person who fights so strongly against something which he does not believe exists."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Abiding

Jesus said John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

The word "abide" is a verb which means "to stay".  Matthew Henry once said, "True Christians find by experience, that any interruption in the exercise of their faith, causes holy affections to decline, their corruptions to revive, and their comforts to droop."  So, let's not be droopy!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Make Every Effort

Our text came from the epistle of 2 Peter this morning.  While 1 Peter was written to encourage Christians to remain firm in the midst of persecution and suffering knowing that it would draw them closer to Christ; 2 Peter was written to the same audience to warn them about false teachers.

2 Pet 1:5-7 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  (6)  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  (7)  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  The phrase “add to your faith” implies that it is not automatic but must be purposely done.  To that end, we need to add to our faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.  Notice that love is in essence the outcome of all of these things.”

Notice “make every effort to add to your faith” in v.5.  This phrase implies that it is not automatic but must be purposely done.  To that end, we need to add to our faith goodness (virtue), knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.  However, the gist is that we must be purposeful in these things. 

Therefore, there is much truth in the saying that every man is the architect of his own fate. Your choices affect your destiny. Out of a rough block of stone one man may make a beautiful statue and another man may make gravel. Both products are good and useful under certain conditions, but a statue can be immoral in conception and gravel can be the grudging and punitive work of a criminal condemned to a rock pile. The point is, whether you are a gifted artist or a competent gravel maker, you can choose whether to use your abilities worthily or unworthily. In building a Christian life you have the same choice.

Pregnancy Reduction

It is totally sad that we have reached this point.

Baptist Press - FIRST-PERSON: 'Pregnancy reduction,' an everyday horror - News with a Christian Perspective

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It Could Be Worse

The story below (surely fictitious) reminds me of a proverb that I learned as a child. It says, “I felt bad because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no legs.”

“An insurance company that wanted some assurance as to the validity of a claim submitted by a bricklayer.  So, they mailed a letter to requesting more information from him and received the following.

I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In block number three of the accident reporting form, I put "poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more and I trust that the following details are sufficient:

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which fortunately was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at the ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in block number 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh 135 pounds.  Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull and broken collarbone.  Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.  Fortunately, by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of my pain.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground - and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 50 pounds.  I refer you again to my weight in block number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles and lacerations of my legs and lower body.  The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of bricks and fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks in pain, unable to move, and watching the barrel six stories above - I again lost my presence of mind.  I let go of the rope!”

Laugh!  It is good for you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Suffering

1 Peter 1:6-7 says In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  (7)  These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Trials are meant to be purifying experiences and God often allows the trial to come not to break us but to make us. Trials are those things which put us to the test.  We must remember that a test is never employed for the purpose of injury any more than we as teachers would seek to injure our students with them.  For example, a weight is attached to a rope, not to break it, but to prove it.  Also, pressure is applied to a boiler, not to burst it, but to certify its power of resistance.

Charles Spurgeon said it this way, "Indeed, it is the honor of faith to be tried. Shall any man say, ‘I have faith, but I have never had to believe under difficulties’?  Who knows whether thou hast any faith at all?   Shall a man say, ‘I have great faith in God, but I have never had to use it in anything more than the ordinary affairs of life, where I could probably have done without it as well as with it’?  Is this to the honor and praise of thy faith?  Dost thou think that such a faith as this will bring any great glory to God, or bring to thee any great reward?  If so, thou art mightily mistaken."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mitt's Not the One

Great article. Saving America is going to hurt.

Mitt's not the one (OneNewsNow.com)

The Next President

"We need a leader prepared to tell the American people what they don't want to hear. We need a leader obsessed with truth, not focus groups. We need a leader whose passion is not becoming president but saving America." - Star Parker, Syndicated Columnist

God's Orchestra

A study was done on 11 major symphony orchestras and how their members perceived each other. The percussionists were viewed as insensitive, unintelligent, and hard-of-hearing, yet fun-loving. String players were seen as arrogant, stuffy, and unathletic. The orchestra members overwhelmingly chose "loud" as the primary adjective to describe the brass players. Woodwind players seemed to be held in the highest esteem, described as quiet and meticulous, though a bit egotistical. Interesting findings, to say the least! With such widely divergent personalities and perceptions, how could an orchestra ever come together to make such wonderful music? The answer is simple: regardless of how those musicians view each other, they subordinate their feelings and biases to the leadership of the conductor. Under his guidance, they play beautiful music.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I sometimes wonder if people realize that the Bible has some pretty strong words about horoscopes? Isaiah 47:13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.

 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sitting at Our Lord's Feet

The theme of our devotions this morning was Fight for Your Relationship with God.  Our relationship with God does not come automatically.  Like any relationship, it takes time and some effort on our part.  I’m reminded of the event in Luke 10:39-42 where it says that Martha had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.  (40)  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!  (41)  Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, (42)  but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.  We, like Mary, need to make sure that we take the necessary time to sit at the feet of Jesus and not allow life to get in the way.

Staff Photo

Here is our staff at the International Christian School of Lima.  Great group of people!

Sunday Message

I will be teaching this Sunday morning at the Union Church of Lima.  The service starts at 10:30 a.m. and my text will be John 1:1-5.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A New Commandment

To go along with the theme of our devotions this morning, it says in 1 John 2:7-11 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.  (8)  Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.  (9)  Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.  (10)  Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.  (11)  But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

Two things can be learned from these verses.  The first is found in verses 9-11.  We need to be honest with God and confess our feelings of hatred for other people so that God can replace that hatred with His love.  It has been said that Hate is like acid in that it can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured.  It’s the equivalent of burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.

The second thing that we can learn from these verses is that the commandment to love is both old and new.  The old commandment said, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself in Leviticus  19:18.  However, the new commandment spoken by Jesus in John 15:12 says, This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  There is certainly a big difference between loving others the way I love myself and loving others the way that Jesus loved me!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sanctified For Obedience

I Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,  (2)  who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 

We have been and are being sanctified for obedience to Jesus Christ.  As a matter of fact, there can truly be no sanctification without obedience.  John 14:21a reminds us that whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. 

It’s been said that He who believes obeys, and he who obeys believes. 

May we be obedient servants of our Lord. 

Where our Captain bids us go, 'tis not ours to murmur no; He that gives the sword and shield chooses too the battlefield where we are to fight the foe.

Obedience

You call me Master and obey me not; You call me Light and see me not;

You call me Way and walk not; You call me Life and desire me not;

You call me Wise and follow me not; You call me Fair and love me not;

You call me Rich and ask me not; You call me Eternal and seek me not;

You call me Gracious and trust me not; You call me Noble and serve me not;

You call me Mighty and honor me not; You call me Just and fear me not;

If I condemn you BLAME ME not!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Wasn't Talking to You!

Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

That reminds me of a story.  Every night this mother would kneel on the floor with her little 4 year old to pray. And then one night the little girl asked if she could pray. The mother consented and the little girl began to pray. The more she prayed the softer and softer her little voice became, until her mother could no longer hear her speaking. And then finally the little girl said, Amen! The mom said, Honey, I didn’t hear a word you said. The little girl answered, Mama, I wasn’t talking to you.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Uniqueness of Community

We spoke about the uniqueness of community this morning in staff devotions.  In Ephesians 1:4-21, Paul shared with us how he specifically prayed for the church.  That’s not a bad idea to share with people how we specifically pray for each other!  

In vv.22-23 we see that nothing is over the head of Christ (except God according 1 Cor. 11:3).  All things are under His feet (that’s you, me and all of our problems).  Pastor Jon Courson says, “Jesus is in absolute control of every situation, be it financial, physical, relational, vocational, or parental. Whatever might seem to be rolling your way, ready to sink your boat and wipe you out is already under His feet—and might be the very path He chooses upon which to walk to you.  

The name of the game is community. We need another. We need to be with brothers and sisters who pray with us and care about us because the more closely we're linked to the body, the more clearly we'll experience the authority of Jesus' headship. That's just the way it works.  For one to separate themselves from community is not in God’s divine plan. 

The Spiritual Journey

In regards to a devotion I heard this morning called "Your Spiritual Journey”, I was reminded of what Gordon MacDonald said one time, “In order for us to know where we each are in our individual journey with God, we must first figure out what road we are on.”  Our spiritual journey should be characterized by our continually observing, seeking and finding (Titus 3:3-8).  Christ will always force us to define our position.  Our only choice is to move closer to Him or to become increasingly resistant.