Trusting in God or Commanding Him To Act?

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I was asked the other day if I claimed Psalm 91 for protection over my family. You see, God has seen fit to put my family through the wringer more than once and it seems the pressure over us is increasing. I suppose one could say I have had many opportunities to trust in God and have faith that He will provide.

I do not believe in quoting scripture to force an effect or to force God to do something on my behalf. I believe this is occultic and disrespectful in His eyes.

I told the person that I proclaim the sovereignty of God over my family and trust He knows what He’s doing.

I think this sort of mentality comes from the thought process that anything bad comes from the devil and anything good comes from God. This is so not scriptural. God rains on the just and the unjust. God brings sickness and disease upon His saints and has never promised we would have an easy ride with life. Quite the contrary.

“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Acts 14. 22

It is our destiny to endure tribulation in order to be conformed into the image of our Savior. We are also told that we are to count it all joy when we experience trials and tests (James 1.2). Why because in enduring trials, we learn to act and respond and to live like Christ. We all lack patience. We all need more patience. How does one develop patience? Through being patient. That comes through enduring trials and tests. A sailor will not become better at his trade unless he gets his boat out on the sea and endures some rough sailing. An athlete won’t develop himself unless he continually tests his ability and trains his muscles. A Christian will not become more like Christ unless he is put to the test, hammered on the anvil of life, and purified of his sinful nature.

Or do we claim protection and success over our lives by taking scripture out of context and demanding God do something to fix our circumstances?

One respects God and gives Him the glory He deserves the other reduces Him to a cosmic bellhop placed in our lives to do our bidding.

When Christ Our Life Appears

Another beautiful hymn put out by Sovereign Grace Music and Bob Kauflin. In a day when the world is falling down around us, look up dear brothers and sisters to He who will one day appear and establish righteousness, justice, and His eternal kingdom.

Through Broken Vessels

“It has been well-said that before God uses a man greatly He must first break him breakly. God works best through broken vessels who have been crushed by the hammer blows of the devil. The more we desire to be used by God the greater must be our willingness to suffer for Him. There are no easy paths in ministry. Every assignment is a killing place.

This quote and brief sermon jam comes from Dr. Steve Lawson’s ministry during the 2010 Shepherds’ Conference in California at Dr. John MacArthur’s church.

During this time of trial and troubles, I would be remiss if I did not admit that I struggle with fears of my own. I fear for family, for friends, and for churches. Yet, down through the ages of church history, persecution has always given the church wings to grow and be refined as the Bride of Christ.

If you also have fears, look to Jesus and be a broken vessel fit for the Master’s use.

Christ Exalted is Our Song

The news today will not exalt Christ. It will not promote the kingdom of heaven. The news is only intent on reporting on the vile depravity that oozes out of the hearts of men and women around this world.

Today, I encourage you to turn off the news and focus on Jesus Christ. Do not keep your eyes on that which will not edify your soul and make you more like the Savior.

Missionary in Need

One of our contributors, Sony Elise, knows this missionary family (Mike and Pam Richardson) down in Mexico. Please click the picture below to go to a funding page that has been set up for them by their daughter, Misty Marr.

Pray for these folks, and if you are able to help with their financial need — I am sure that they would be very grateful.

If you would like to read more about their ministry, down in Mexico, you can CLICK HERE.

Seeing Jesus Only

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. — Matthew 17:1-8

We live in troubled times – very troubled times. As Christians, we should heed the words of the Messiah to His disciples in John 14:1. He told them, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

As the disciples walked the dusty roads of Judea and Galilee, I wonder how much time they wasted pondering the times of trouble. They lived in a difficult time and were even under the heavy-handed rule of Rome. The disciples lived under a time of occupation by enemy forces.

Yet, at no time, did Jesus act the part of a revolutionary as some fraudulently claim. Not only did He submit to the will of His Father, but He also obeyed the laws that were in force both from the perspective of Jewish and Roman law.

In many ways, the Jewish people served as slaves to Rome, yet not one single verse ever encouraged true believers to revolt, start a revolution, or to try and overthrow the government. Instead, the Scriptures commanded slaves to be obedient to their masters as unto the Lord, and masters were to be honorable in their dealings with those who served them again as unto the Lord.

While walking those roads, I am sure there must have been many times that hushed voices from men like Simon the Zealot pondered aloud what needed to be done to get rid of Rome. But, not once did Christ encourage this. On the contrary, He reminded them and others who listened that this world is not where His kingdom was to be found. It was not a physical kingdom and He never had any plans to become a new and improved rebel leader who would do finally accomplish what the Maccabees could not.

Despite all the talks and parables used, the disciples held a skewed perspective about how they saw Jesus. Even in the event known as “The Transfiguration”, we can see that the wrong focus brought the inner-most circle of disciples to a point where they spoke from their emotions instead of being led by the renewing of their mind.

The reality is that they were not focused on Jesus only.

It is an intimate setting as Jesus and only three disciples go for a walk. Away from the other disciples and the crowds that always clamored for the Messiah’s attention, He leads them up to the top of a mountain. It has been just six days since the conversation where Peter gives his startling admission that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of the living God.

The Lord Jesus Christ shares that He would build His Church and that He would soon have to suffer. Peter then rebukes the Rabbi, but in turn is called to account as Jesus tells the impetuous disciple that he is only savoring the things of man, and not the things of God.

Jesus then gives a short discourse on the importance of dying to self, and that to fulfill the will of God that each person who is a true believer must take up their own cross and deny themselves.

Now, six days later, they have climbed a mountain and Jesus is transfigured before their very eyes. The word used is where we get our word metamorphosis. He changes and they see His divine glory. His face becomes like the sun and His garments are white as the light.

As they watch, Moses and Elijah appear. Moses represents the law and the commandments, while Elijah represents the prophets. Peter, always the spokesman, announces that it is good to be in the presence of the law and the prophets and the Messiah. He then states that maybe they should honor these three men by building a tent or a tabernacle. This would have been a skin-covered dwelling place such as the Ark of God rested during the years when there was no Temple in Jerusalem.

A cloud comes down upon them and they hear a voice from heaven. The voice does not address the presence of the law and the prophets. Moses and Elijah were only forerunners to point to the One Who stood glowing in their midst. They were present for a time, but now a New Covenant was about to be brought into place.

This is my beloved Son, HEAR HIM!

The voice spoke out of the bright, glowing cloud and forced them to do what any person would do when they come into contact with the divine glory of Christ and are in the presence of a Holy God.

They fall to the ground with their faces in the lowest place they can find. They know they are in the very presence of God. The disciples know the accounts of what took place when God showed up and they are afraid. This is not a mere phobia. The two words indicate they were violently or vehemently afraid. These grown men are scared to death and shaking.

“But Jesus…”

The Master comes up to them, touches them, soothes their troubled thoughts, tells them not to fear, and raises them to their feet.

Their quaking subsides and as they stand to their feet again, their eyes see Jesus only. The law and the prophets held people captive until the Son of God came and took on human flesh. As they see Jesus, it will be a few days yet before He is delivered to death. But, after His death and resurrection, they will understand the words that He said to them. The disciples will know the significance of what occurred on top of that high mountain.

All the rules, words of the prophets, laws, statutes, and commandments could never restore full fellowship with God. These things were meant to show how wide the gap was between a holy, righteous God and depraved humanity.

The hearts of the disciples were troubled and instead of focusing just on the Lord Jesus Christ, they were concerned about building a tent or tabernacle in order to give continued honor to the law and the prophets. But Jesus Christ shares His glory with no other.

The Transfiguration would forever be engrained in the hearts and minds of these disciples. They had been given a privilege that the other disciples were not provided. Yet, years later, the same disciple who tried to rebuke Jesus and then denied Him three times would write the following:

2 Peter 1:16-18 — For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

When Jesus took the three men up to the top of the high mountain, He removed them from all of the distractions of the world. Once He was transfigured, He also removed from their hearts and minds the distraction of what He came to fulfill in its entirety. Christ did not discount the law or the prophets, but He wanted them to understand that ALL the glory belongs to Him. He was sent by the Father to do the will of the Father so that we might have eternal life.

Despite his miserable failings and his sins, Peter and his two fellow disciples never forgot that they had seen the majesty of Jesus Christ.

Friends, in today’s world, we live in a time of trouble and it will only get worse. Whatever your position may be in the area of eschatology (study of end times), there is no true believer who can look at the current state of the world and believe that it is getting better and better.

For all who are true believers by placing their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, it would be a blessing if we could catch such a glimpse of the majesty of God. However, after His resurrection, Christ told Thomas that those who believe and have not seen are blessed.

One day, these Shadowlands will disappear. We shall behold Him in all of His splendor, in all of His glory, in all of His power, and in all of His majesty.

Today, I beg you to put aside earthly affections and once again set your affections on things above. Focus on the Author and Finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him ENDURED the cross.

Are we better than our own Master? God forbid!

No matter what we may face, our God is greater. No matter the trials or tribulations, in the light of eternity, they will be but light afflictions.

True Patriotism!

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(Letters of John Newton)

Dear friend,
Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms. When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, than it would be to paint the cabin—while the ship is sinking! Or to decorate the parlor—while the house is on fire!

When our Lord Jesus was upon earth, He refused to get involved in disputes or politics, “Friend, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Luke 12:14. “My kingdom is not of this world! If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight!” John 18:36. God’s children belong to a kingdom which is not of this world; they are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and a part of their Scriptural character is, that they are the “quiet in the land.” Psalm 35:19.

Satan has many contrivances to amuse people, and to divert their thoughts from their real danger!

My dear sir, my prayer to God for you is—that He may induce you to employ the talents He has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil; and to engage those who love and fear Him, (instead of wasting time in political speculations, for which very few of them are competent,) to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations, and to stand in the breach, by prayer, that God’s wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged! This, I think, is true patriotism—the best way in which people in private life may serve their country.

I consider the ungodly as saws and hammers in the hand of the Lord. So far as they are His instruments, they will succeed—but not an inch further! Their wrath shall praise Him, and be subservient to His designs!

If our lot is so cast that we can exercise our ministry free from stripes, fines, imprisonments, and death—it is more than the gospel has promised to us! If Christians were quiet when under the cruel governments of Nero and other wicked persecutors, when they were hunted down like wild beasts—then we ought to be not only quiet but very thankful now! It was then accounted an honor to suffer for Christ and the ‘offence of the cross’!

Those are to be greatly pitied, who boast of their ‘liberty’—and yet they do not consider that they are in the most deplorable bondage as the slaves of sin and Satan, under the curse of God’s law and His eternal wrath! Oh! for a voice to reach their hearts, that they may know their true and dreadful state—and seek deliverance from their horrific thraldom! May you and I labor to direct them to the one thing, which is absolutely needful, and abundantly sufficient.

If I had the wisdom or influence to soothe the angry passions of mankind—I would gladly employ them! But I am a stranger and a pilgrim here in this world. My charter, my rights and my treasures, are all in heaven—and there my heart ought to be. In a very short time, I may be removed (and perhaps suddenly) into the unseen and eternal world—where all that now causes so much bustle upon earth—will be of no more importance to me—than the events which took place among the antediluvians!

In the hour, when death shall open the door into eternity—many things which now assume an ‘air of importance’, will be found as light and unsubstantial as a child’s dream!

How crucial then, is it for me—to be found watching, with my lamp burning, diligently engaged in my proper calling! For the Lord has not called me to set governments right—but to preach the gospel, to proclaim the glory of His name, and to endeavor to win souls! “Let the dead bury their own dead—but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God!” Luke 9:60. Happy is that servant, whom his Master finds so doing, when He returns!

As you have forced me to respond—both duty and love have obliged me to be faithful and free in giving you my thoughts.

I recommend you to the care and blessing of the great Shepherd and Savior; and remain for His sake, your affectionate friend and brother,
John Newton

Firm Foundations – Lesson 5

This particular lesson is one of my favorites to teach as it deals with the creation of man. Man is the crowning achievement and the pinnacle of all that God created.

Man is not an animal and is vastly different from the animals. The animals were created with body and spirit as they were spoken into existence by God. Man was personally formed out of the dust of the ground, his spirit was breathed into him personally by God, and then was given a soul that made him immortal for the soul never dies.

Dear Fathers on Father’s Day

As we, celebrate Father’s Day, I figured this was a perfect video to post. I have posted this before, but it bears repeating, especially in this society where anarchy reigns and that family is being systematically destroyed.

Fathers are men. They are warriors, protectors, providers and they guide families through valleys and mountain ranges. They play with toys, tell stories, discipline, and fix cuts and scrapes. They pay the bills. They work hard. They are examples of courage, integrity, and strength. They stand for truth and honor in spite of the flow of society.

Men…keep up the good fight. Stay strong and continue to press forward no matter what society tells you. Do the right thing. Be the man and lead your family. You! Not your wife or someone else. You do it. You take the reins and guide your family through the darkness that surrounds us today.

Be an example that your family will remember with fondness and pride.

Happy Father’s Day men.

Racial Reconciliation

The lives of many evangelicals no longer revolve around the Word of God, but around things which are completely antithetical to God’s plan and purposes for mankind. Too often, churches are jumping on the world’s bandwagons instead of saying, “Wait, we need to see what God has to say in His Word about these issues that we are facing.”

Dr. Voddie Baucham addresses the issue of racial reconciliation from Ephesians 2 and hits it out of the park. For those who are true believers, our identity is NOT found in the color of our skin, our background, or our culture. Our identity is found in Jesus Christ.

You Are Nothing More Than a Devil

income-inequality-these-folks-have-investors-in-their-crosshairs(Samuel Davies, “Evidences of the Lack of Love to God” April 14, 1756)

“If anyone does not love the Lord–that person is cursed!” 1 Corinthians 16:22

What a monstrous soul you have within you . . .
which cannot love God;
which cannot love supreme excellence and all perfect beauty;
which cannot love your divine Parent, the Author of your mortal frame;
which cannot love your prime Benefactor and gracious Redeemer;
which cannot love Him, “in whom you live, and move and have your being;”
which cannot love Him, who alone is the proper happiness for your immortal spirit;
who can love a parent, a child, a friend, with all their infirmities–but cannot love God;
who can love the world; who can love even sinful pleasures–and yet cannot love God;
who can love everything that is lovely–but God, who is infinitely lovely;
who can love wisdom, justice, veracity, goodness, clemency, in creatures, where they are attended with many imperfections–and yet cannot love God, where all center and shine in the highest perfection!

What a monster of a soul is this!

Must it not be a devil–to be capable of such unnatural horrendous wickedness?
Can you be easy, while you have such a soul within you?
What a load of guilt must lie upon you!

If love to God is the fulfilling of the whole law–then the lack of love must be the breach of the whole law. You break it all at one blow! Your life is but one continued, uniform, uninterrupted series of sinning! The lack of love to God diffuses a malignity through all you do!

Now, I appeal to you yourselves–is not this a very dangerous situation? While you are destitute of sincere love of God–can you flatter yourselves that you are fit for Heaven?

What! fit for the region of divine love?

What! fit to converse with a holy God, and live forever in His presence?

What! fit to spend an eternity in His holy service?

Can you be fit for these things–while you have no love to Him?

Certainly not!

You must perceive yourselves to be fit for destruction–and fit for nothing else!

You are devilized already! Lack of love to God is the grand constituent of a devil, the worst ingredient in that infernal character. And must you not then be doomed to that everlasting fire–which is prepared and fit for the devil and his angels?

“If anyone does not love the Lord–that person is cursed!” 1 Corinthians 16:22

The Glorious Christ

Today, June 14th is Flag Day in America. Many are celebrating with flags being waved, displayed on their cars, or being flown in front of their homes.

For millennium, flags or banners have been waved for many different reasons. But this beautiful hymn from Sovereign Grace reminds me that the banner of Jesus Christ will always wave across His kingdom. As Solomon wrote, “His banner over me is love.”

Truly, our Lord, our King, our Saviour, our Redeemer, our Messiah, our Prince of Peace is worthy of praise. He is glorious above all things.

Glorious
Lord, You are glorious
Shepherd and King, forever You’ll be glorious
Holy and here with us
Let every heart declare that You are glorious

Kneel to God Alone

As true believers, we kneel before God alone. He alone is worthy of our worship, our honor, and the One we seek when we need to ask forgiveness.

The world can demand all they want, but our allegiance is to the King of Kings.

In case, you have forgotten today with all that is happening, then Behold Our God!

Built on Nothing Less

In this day of turmoil, upheaval, and outright blatant disregard for God-appointed government, I wanted to encourage our hearts with the beautiful reminder that the true AND only hope for a sin-cursed, totally depraved world is built on nothing less than the blood of Jesus Christ.

Dear believers, no matter what happens, we stand secure on the Solid Rock which is Jesus Christ. ALL other ground is sinking sand.

The Gospel and Black Lives Matter

John MacArthur gives a brief synopsis of the work of the church as it relates to culture and society. In this short video, he shares part of his life story and where he was when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.

In the second video, Dr. MacArthur answers some questions as it pertains to social justice and the role of the church in society.

The Real Issue in America

I have no intention of using this post to argue politically for what is going on right now across America.

But, here are some things that the world sees taking place and for Christians, it is time that we give due consideration to what is really happening. We also need to ask ourselves what we should be doing and how we can best respond to a terrible situation.

True Bible-believing Christians need to stop listening to the spin of the liberal media and the various movements that are only striving desperately to be involved in race-baiting.

Read these carefully:

1) The real issue is NOT about white privilege or black privilege.
2) The real issue is NOT about slavery.
3) The real issue is NOT about a black man who died at the hands of what appears to be corrupt policemen.
4) The real issue is NOT about corrupt policeman always picking on people who have a different color skin than themselves.
5) The real issue is NOT about the need for reparations for atrocities that took place 50-200 years ago.
6) The real issue is NOT about Republicans or Democrats.
7) The real issue is NOT about US citizens or illegal immigrants.
8) The real issue is NOT about the color of one’s skin.
9) The real issue is NOT about the freedom to protest.
10) The real issue is NOT about demanding white people get down on their knees and beg for forgiveness for things they never did.

Right now, riots and looting and mayhem and absolute carnage have caused millions and millions of dollars of damage across the US and even in England. Businesses will never rebuild because everything has been burned to the ground. While firefighters are tending fires, EMTs are tending to the injured police and protestors, and the police are trying to stand and protect, the general public are living scared. The general public is afraid that the riots may come to their town.

Some cities are now considering completely defunding police forces thus caving in to the demands of liberals. In those cities, the general public will live in fear from day to day when there is no longer a police presence to keep criminals at bay.

You may be asking, if these things are NOT the real issue, then what is the problem?

Are you ready for the truth?

The REAL ISSUE is sin. S-I-N!

The REAL ISSUE is pride, which is rooted in sin.

The REAL ISSUE is the total depravity of the heart of man. The Bible is clear that the heart of every single individual is corrupt and desperately wicked.

The REAL ISSUE is that some who call themselves Christian ministers are instructing their congregations with teaching that is contrary to the Scriptures.

The REAL ISSUE is that people hate God and they hate others. Blatant disregard for the two commands given by Christ is the reason why things like racism, prejudism, hatred, bitterness, animosity, riots, looting, murder, mayhem, etc. take place all across this world.

The REAL ISSUE is that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.

The REAL ISSUE is that many churches no longer preach the truth. They want to preach a social gospel which only damns the souls of men and women.

The REAL ISSUE is that churches and pastors have failed to remember their calling is not about trying to make the world a better place, but their calling is to remember that this world is NOT our home and we are just passing through.

The REAL ISSUE is that we have failed to remember the Great Commission to go into ALL the world, preach the gospel to ALL people, and then to disciple ALL believers to become more like Jesus Christ.

The REAL ISSUE is that we have failed to remember that out of faith, hope, and love that the greatest of all of these is LOVE.

The REAL ISSUE is that the church has forgotten that people are lost and dying and on their way into eternity without Christ unless we tell them.

Now that you understand the REAL ISSUES, let’s talk about the matter of asking forgiveness. The Bible is clear in its teaching about seeking and extending forgiveness.

Christians, you will not find one Scripture that instructs us to get on our knees and ask the forgiveness of others for the things that our ancestors may or may not have done. The Bible tells us that we are responsible for our own sin. Every individual is responsible BEFORE God for our own sins, and not the sins of others.

Christians, you will not find one Bible verse that demands that white people get down on their knees and seek forgiveness for being white. God, the Creator of the Universe, made one human race. God alone is the creator of life and He alone creates us with different skin colors.

To demand something God does not require is to seek to make ourselves greater than God. To question who and how God made a person to be His image-bearer on earth is to say that we know better than God. Ultimately, to question God in the place we were born is to demand accountability from God toward His creation.

But God is sovereign. Ecclesiastes says that He has set eternity in the heart of man and Romans reminds us that even creation points to the majesty of God.

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. If you are tired of what you find in your heart and you realize that the only way to change is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone, then the Bible is clear.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Yes, my friend, there is hope but it is not found in politics or religion or culture or any aspect of society. The hope that racism, prejudism, and all the other ills of the world will end is only found in the knowledge that God made a way for a man or woman to be forgiven of his or her sin.

Christ became the sin-bearer of mankind so that fellowship could be restored between God and man. It cannot happen by good works or by trying to be a good, moral person for there is no such person.

In conclusion, your real issue and my real issue is not about somebody else. Our real issue is personal. Your real issue is about you. My real issue is about me. Our real issue is about our relationship with a holy and righteous God who cannot stand to look upon sin.

Plead to God for mercy if you have not done so already and before it is too late. Look to Him and seek forgiveness for the sin which separates you from His holiness. Stop blame-shifting and passing the buck for your own wickedness.

Come to Jesus and He will save you. The Bible says that all who come to Christ that He will not cast them away.

The love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell. It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell.

Forgiveness is only true found in Christ alone. He is our hope in life and death.

How to Awaken a Dead & Unregenerate Church

In this brief video, Dr. Steve Lawson shares how to awaken a dead and unregenerate church. Church leaders need to be fully assured that they indeed have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and then they need to give consideration to the message they declare to every person who enters their places of worship.