Thursday, December 28, 2017

Why I Left the Left

Why I Left the Left: Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report used to be a big progressive. He even had a show with The Young Turks! But now he's not a progressive. He has left the left. Why? Dave Rubin shares his story.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Making Church Attendance a Priority
We shall all do well to remember the charge: “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is.” (Heb. 10:25). Never to be absent from God’s house on Sundays, without good reason – never to miss the Lord’s Supper when administered in our own congregation – never to let our place be empty when means of grace are going on, this is one way to be a growing and prosperous Christian.
The very sermon that we needlessly miss, may contain a precious word in season for our souls. The very assembly for prayer and praise from which we stay away, may be the very gathering that would have cheered, established, and revived our hearts. We know very little how dependent our spiritual health is on little, regular, habitual helps, and how much we suffer if we miss our medicine. ~ J.C. Ryle

Monday, November 13, 2017

Trump Putin

Franklin Graham: Putin And Trump "Need To Be Working Together As Allies"

Nov 13, 2017 by Will Maule
Franklin Graham has asserted his view that President Trump and Vladamir Putin must work together if we are to see a more stable global peace in our time. Trump has met with Putin whilst on his tour of several Asian nations. "I’m so grateful that our President Donald J. Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam," he wrote on Facebook.
"These are the two most powerful leaders in the world—we need to be working together as allies, not adversaries. The media would like to divide these two nations for their own selfish interests. Pray for our president."
"Met with President Putin of Russia who was at #APEC meetings. Good discussions on Syria. Hope for his help to solve, along with China the dangerous North Korea crisis. Progress being made," Trump tweeted yesterday. 
"When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. There always playing politics - bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!"

Psalm 119: 
71 My suffering was good for me, 
for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. 
72 Your instructions are more valuable to me 
than millions in gold and silver.

Verse 71
See here, 1. That it has been the lot of the best saints to be afflicted. The proud and the wicked lived in pomp and pleasure, while David, though he kept close to God and his duty, was still in affliction. Waters of a full cup are wrung out to God’s people, Ps. 73:10. 2. That it has been the advantage of God’s people to be afflicted. David could speak experimentally: It was good for me; many a good lesson he had learnt by his afflictions, and many a good duty he had been brought to which otherwise would have been unlearnt and undone. Therefore God visited him with affliction, that he might learn God’s statutes; and the intention was answered: the afflictions had contributed to the improvement of his knowledge and grace. He that chastened him taught him. The rod and reproof give wisdom
Verse 72
This is a reason why David reckoned that when by his afflictions he learned God’s statutes, and the profit did so much counterbalance the loss, he was really a gainer by them; for God’s lawwhich he got acquaintance with by his affliction, was betterto him than all the gold and silver which he lost by his affliction. 1. David had but a little of the word of God in comparison with what we have, yet see how highly he valued it; how inexcusable then are we, who have both the Old and New Testament complete, and yet account them as a strange thing! Observe, Therefore he valued the law, because it is the law of God’s mouth, the revelation of his will, and ratified by his authority. 2. He had a great deal of gold and silver in comparison with what we have, yet see how little he valued it. His riches increased, and yet he did not set his heart upon them, but upon the word of God. That was better to him, yielded him better pleasures, and better maintenance, and a better inheritance, than all the treasures he was master of. Those that have read, and believe, David’s Psalms and Solomon’s Ecclesiastes, cannot but prefer the word of God far before the wealth of this world. -Matthew Henry

Isaiah 57:1-2 - NLT
1 Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. 2 For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.
The righteous are delivered from the sting of death, not from the stroke of it. The careless world disregards this. Few lament it as a public loss, and very few notice it as a public warning. They are taken away in compassion, that they may not see the evil, nor share in it, nor be tempted by it. The righteous man, when he dies, enters into peace and rest. -Matthew Henry

British missionary's death mourned by hundreds in Nigeria 

Residents of an isolated Nigerian village are mourning the death of a British missionary who died after being kidnapped by vigilantes.
Hundreds of villagers from Enokhora, an impoverished community in the southern Delta region, dressed in black to parade in honour of Ian Squire, 57, according to local media.
LinkedinIan Squire, 56, was 'tragically killed', a Foreign Office spokesman said.
Three other missionaries were also kidnapped but returned alive and are currently in talks with Foreign Office officials in London after their capture. 
But Squire, an optician in Surrey, is thought to have died after being unable to access medication for an asthma condition, according to Nigerian press.
The four ran an eye clinic and other medical facilities in the remote area of southern Nigeria for a decade before their kidnap on October 13.
'These people have come all the way from the UK to help us and because of the kidnapping by the Karowei, this led to the death of Doctor Ian,' one community leader said, according to Nigerian media.
'We want to the world to see that we are not happy with the activities of this gang, and to appeal to the federal government to make sure that the Karowei should be brought to book. The loss of Doctor Ian has led to the closure of this clinic.'
Another local, Comrade Michael Ogobiri, said the missionaries had refused to have security guards in spite of previous threats.
'We had set up a local vigilante for them before, but they rejected it because they said they believed in God and they're missionaries,' Mr Ogobiri told the Nigerian Tribune. 'We never believed such could happen. They've been here since 2007.'
Squire was kidnapped alongside former Cambridgeshire GP David Donovan and his wife Shirley, both 57, and Alanna Carson, of Fife.
They have so far refused to comment on their ordeal.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Hidden Life
J. R. Miller, 1895

"Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart!" 1 Samuel 16:7. In a sense, all life is hidden. The blood courses through the veins as the heart keeps throbbing, throbbing, day and night. You can lay your finger on your wrist and feel the pulsings. The lungs also continue breathing, inhaling, exhaling, without pause, from infancy's first gasp until at last watching friends say, "He is gone!" Pulsings, breathings—yes; but have you found the life? What is it that keeps the heart throbbing and the lungs respiring? "Life," you say. Yes—but what is life?

Take the mind. It is very active. One man thinks, and writes beautiful poems or charming stories. Another thinks and puts marvelous visions on canvas, or throws great bridges over rivers, or erects a noble cathedral. But who ever saw the process of thought? Mental life is hidden.

Take heart life—the life you lived yesterday, with its hopes and fears, its joys and sorrows, its pleasures and pains, its cares and its affections, its thousand varying experiences. Does the world know what is going on in your heart today—or any day? People see the smile or the shadow which flits across your face—but they do not see the emotion which produced it. Even to your closest bosom friend your life is unrevealed, cannot be revealed. Says Keble—

"Not even the tenderest heart next to our own
 Knows half the reasons why we smile or sigh."

Take spiritual life. We see the effects of the Holy Spirit's work—new dispositions, new conduct, new character; but the divine spark of spiritual life—we cannot see as it comes down from above. It is secret, hidden. One day you are sad, disheartened; and, taking up your Bible, you find a sweet word of promise, a revealing of God's love—and into your heart there comes a strange peace. One day you are in sorrow. A friend sits down beside you, and speaks a few words of strong comfort. You are calmed and quieted. Yet no one sees any of these processes. They are hidden, secret.

There is an inspired word which says, "Your life is hidden with Christ in God." The thought is wonderfully bold and strong. Christ is the source of the Christian life. Christ is in the heaven with God, in God, wrapped up in the very glory of divinity. Hence the Christian's life is with Christ in God. Its source is thus in the very heart of God.

Outside an old garden wall hung a great branch covered with purple clusters of grapes. No root was visible anywhere; and those who saw it wondered how the vine grew, how its life was nourished, where its roots clung. It was then discovered that the great vine from which this branch sprung, grew inside the garden. There it had an immense root, with a stem like the trunk of a tree. This one branch had pushed out over the wall and hung there, bearing in the mellow autumn its clusters of luscious fruit.

Likewise—every Christian life in this world is a branch of a great vine which grows in heaven—a branch growing outside the wall. "Your life is hidden with Christ in God. We have heaven's life in us in this world. The fruits which grow upon our life are heavenly fruits. Jesus spoke of giving his own peace to his disciples. He prayed that they might have his joy fulfilled in themselves. We read too that love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness—are fruits of the Holy Spirit. Thus in our human experience in this world—we are drawing our life and its support from the hidden source of life which is in the heart of God. This assures us of its security. It is beyond the reach of earthly harm.

Herein, too, lies the secret of the quiet peace which we find so often in Christian sufferers. In all their pain they are sustained by some hidden strength which the world cannot understand. They are drawing their life from a source which no earthly experience can reach or affect.

"Oh! There are some who, while on earth they dwell,
And seem to differ little from the throng,
Already to the heavenly choir belong,
And even hear the same sweet anthem swell.
They joy, at times, with joy unspeakable,
Pouring to him they love their heartfelt song;
While to behold him face to face they long,
As the parched traveler for the cooling well.
Ask you how such from other may be known?
Mark those whose look is calm, their brow serene,
Gentle their words, love breathing in each tone,
Scattering rich blessings all around unseen.
They draw each hour—from living founts above—
The streams they pour around of peace and joy and love."

One writes of watching an old tree in the autumn, as the leaves were touched by the frosts and fell off when the rough wind blew. As the tree at last became bare, he saw a bird's nest on one of the branches. Through the summer days the nest had been hidden beneath the thick foliage—but the blasts of winter which swept away the leaves uncovered this home and shelter of the birds. So, ofttimes, is it in the history of God's children. In their prosperity we see not their refuge, which is hidden and secret—hidden beneath the leaves of worldly prosperity. But when adversity comes, taking away earthly beauty, stripping off the bright foliage—their true and eternal refuge in God is disclosed. The storms of earth only drive them back into God's bosom.

We say a certain person's beauty has been wasted by sickness. One came to me whom I had not seen before for five years. A dark tragedy had just darkened her home, and I went to try to give a little comfort. Until that day, her face had been beautiful with all the freshness of youth. But these five years since, had been like twenty years in her life. The beauty was now faded; how could it have been otherwise, with the broken heart she brought out of those terrible days? Yet a few minutes conversation showed me that in all the wasting of physical beauty—that her spiritual loveliness had not been marred. She had kept near the heart of Christ in all the bitter anguish—and the joy and peace of her inner life had not failed. Beauty of the face is only external, and is transient. Any accident may mar it. But beauty of the soul is spiritual and imperishable. It abides even in the destruction of the body.

There is mystery in this hidden life—which is in every Christian. It has a strange power of recognition. When two Christians meet, though utter strangers heretofore, there is something which reveals them to each other. The same life pulses in their hearts. They have the same hopes, the same joys, the same Christ, the same purpose in living, the same heaven. The world has nothing in common with Christians—but all who love Christ are members of one family.

The Christian's life is hidden also—in the sense that its true and full glory is concealed in this world, and will not appear until it enters the heavenly life. Only the bud is seen as yet; by and by the flower will burst into rich bloom. The best of every Christian's life remains unrevealed on the earth. We fail to realize even our own best intentions. You did not live yesterday as you meant to live when you went out in the morning. No artist ever puts on his canvas—all the beauty of his mental vision. No singer ever gets into the song he sings—all the music of his soul. No saintly Christian ever translates into disposition and conduct—all the spiritual loveliness which glows in his ideal. Our hands are too clumsy and unskillful to express the best things of our mind and heart in word or act or character. We see the good—but cannot do it, in more than a mere fragmentary way. Yet the visions of beauty which we have in mere flashes and glimmerings, are hints of divine revealings which are yet to be made, and of the wondrous possibilities which lie in the hidden depths of our nature, some day to be brought out.

The sea covers great fields of concealed splendors. Now and then a storm stirs its depths, and washes up a few brilliant shells or pebbles, which shine like fragments broken from heaven's walls. Yet these few stones or shells are only specimens of millions more—even more brilliant—which are buried in the ocean depths. Likewise—there come out here and there, in a Christian's life, in times of special exaltation, glimpses of something rarely beautiful—an act, a word, a self denial, a disposition, the revealing of some noble quality or some marvelous power or measure of love; and we say as we see it, "That is like Christ! That is a gleam of heavenly life! That is a fragment of divinity!" But that flashing gleam of character, that glimmering of Christ-likeness, that act which seems too pure for earth—is only a hint of the infinite possibilities of each human soul. Hidden in the depths of the nature, under all its faults and imperfections, is a life which far surpasses the highest things which are reached in this world. The love, joy, peace, unselfishness, purity, holiness, attained in the saintliest experience of earthly Christian life—are but divine intimations of what we shall be when the limiting conditions of earth shall have been left behind.

There will be a time, when all this hidden life shall be revealed. The bud shall burst into the rich flower. The gem shall break through its rough imprisoning crust, and shine in lustrous splendor. The dull character which here shows only gleams and flashes of spiritual beauty—amid manifold defects, flaws, and infirmities—shall yet show in its every feature—the beauty of Christ. The holy thoughts, desires, longings, and the hunger after righteousness, which here are hindered, restrained, limited, and which fail to take full form in life and character—shall yet be wrought out in deeds as beautiful and holy as themselves. We shall see Christ, and we shall be like him—when we shall see him as he is.

Some day we shall slip away from things that are familiar to our eyes and hearts here, and shall enter into what we call the other life. Really, however, it is not another life—but only a fuller, deeper unveiling of the life which we have been living in Christ, since he first saved us. The mystery of the Christian's life of faith, is that it is "hidden with Christ in God." Here we touch but the outer edge of it; in what we call dying—we shall press farther into its blessedness. Here our little barks move only along the shore; by and by we shall sail out into the infinite expanse. There will be nothing to dread in the experience. We call it death, and we shudder at its mention; but really it is life—fullness of life. To those who watch us in departing, we shall disappear; but to us the path will be only one of increasing brightness, as we go on until we enter into the presence of Christ.

So will it be when we leave this world. It will not grow dark to our eyes, as we imagine it will do, when we enter the valley of shadows. We shall pass into fuller light, until we, too, are hidden with Christ in God, in the glory of eternal life!
7 Keys to Breaking the Bondage of Pornography
Wendy Alsup

Porn On The Hookporn on hook
Over 50 percent of men in the church struggle with porn.

One of my elders at church taught a class Sunday on pornography. He was vulnerable and honest about his own serious struggle with pornography after being exposed to it at a very young age through sexual deviancy among the adults in his home. I found his lesson relevant to men who've struggled with pornography, women who've struggled with pornography, men who haven't struggled with pornography and women who haven't struggled with pornography. Since that probably covers all the readers here, I thought I would share the progression of his thoughts.

1. Pornography is sin. Despite the near mainstream acceptance of pornography in many cultures (certainly here in Seattle), we need a biblical framework for understanding the issue.

Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
See also 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 and Galatians 5:19-21.

2. However, don't elevate the sin above what it is—simply sin. Adam, the elder teaching this lesson, shared how in a moment of deep angst over his use of pornography yet again, he was confronted by another elder at our church. Did he have the same angst when he yelled at his wife? When he was angry with his children? The elder exhorted him to not minimize the sin, but also not to allow it a place of importance above other sins. In a twisted way (because we often do twist such things), elevating the sin of pornography can make fighting the struggle a legalistic idol and source of pride for those who struggle less than others.

Romans 1:29-32 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
3. Hate the sin, and speak truth with patience and grace to yourself and others with overcoming the struggle. Paul's words in Romans 7 don't excuse our sin, but it does explain our sin.

Romans 7:15-8:1 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Adam shared his story of his wife's response to him when he first confessed his use of pornography to her. He waited until late in the evening to tell her. Then he got up off the bed to leave the room in shame. She asked him where he was going, and he told her he figured she didn't want to be around him right now. She said, "Why would I want that? I love you!" Adam recounted with tears how her words ministered grace to him that kept him walking his struggle with pornography in the light.

In contrast, he knew another man who told him his wife's response was along the lines that if she ever caught him using pornography again, she would immediately divorce him. This further pushed this man into isolation and shame when he needed to admit his sin and walk in the light with his wife. Adam pointed out how his own wife's gracious response helped him walk in the light and confess his sin, which has been key to moving forward in his struggle successfully.

There is a tension here. We need to make sure that in our patience and grace we remember that grace also means to speak truth. Consider Bonhoeffer's words in Life Together: "Reproof is unavoidable. God's word demands it when a brother falls into open sin ... Nothing can be more cruel than the tenderness that consigns another to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe rebuke that calls a brother back from the path of sin."

4. If you struggle with pornography, you are not alone. Pornography is impacting all kinds of things in our culture—fashion, crushing expectations regarding physical appearance and sexual performance, and so forth. Many believe it is now the number one educator for teaching American children about sex. One survey showed 50 percent of Christian men and 20 percent of Christian women said they were addicted to pornography. 60 percent of Christian women said they struggled with lust. This is a big struggle affecting many people you know.

When Adam first introduced a class on sexual immorality during announcements at our church 10 years ago, a number of wives and girlfriends came up to him after the service to thank him for giving them the freedom to talk with their significant other whom they thought was struggling with pornography. Many men talked with him in the weeks afterwards as well, though not immediately after service. It was a widespread struggle, and one man speaking in the light gave freedom to others to join him.

5. Work out the sin and struggle in community. Adam recounted leaving work after a particularly stressful day feeling a strong desire to watch porn and masturbate. He texted another elder exactly that. That elder had struggled as well, and the power of the temptation each felt seemed to dissipate when they brought it into the light. I am thankful for a gospel-centered church that is safe for people to struggle in the light with their sin. We need to be safe places where others can be honest about their sin. No struggle with sin can be won in the dark.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
6. Know that you are defined by Jesus, not your sin! Consider these truths from Scripture on how God thinks of and speaks of you regardless of your struggle.

I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am confident that God will perfect the work He has begun in me (Philippians 1:6)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)
I am chosen before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4, 11)
I am adopted as his child (Ephesians 1:5)
I am given God's glorious grace lavishly and without restriction (Ephesians 1:5,8)
I am in Him (Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30)
I am forgiven (Ephesians 1:8; Colossians 1:14)
I am included (Ephesians 1:13)
I am sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)
I am alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5)
I am raised up with Christ (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12)
I am God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
I am a dwelling for the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:22)
I am not alone (Hebrews 13:5)
I am His disciple (John 13:15)
I am set free (Romans 8:2; John 8:32)
7. In conclusion, hear this encouragement from Galatians whether your struggle is pornography or other sexual sins, anger, greed or something else.

Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
If you struggle, bring it into the light. And if you don't struggle, be ready to walk with those who do bring it into the light. They need safe places to be honest about the temptations they face and the sins they commit, because light heals.
God’s Medicine: Affliction
Affliction is one of God’s medicines. By it He often teaches lessons which would be learned in no other way. By it He often draws souls away from sin and the world, which would otherwise have perished everlastingly.
Health is a great blessing, but sanctified disease is a greater. Prosperity and worldly comfort, are what all naturally desire; but losses and crosses are far better for us, if they lead us to Christ. Thousands at the last day, will testify with David, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” (Psalm. 119:71.)
~ J.C. Ryle

Dennis Osullivan
August 6
We can get discouraging words, from enemies or even family or church friends - A discouraging word can be a deadly weapon. Nehemiah refused to surrender to Tobiah's discouragement, just as David rejected Goliath's diabolical teasing. Focusing on God and His Help rather than on their discouraging situations, David and Nehemiah both achieved victory. Taunting can come from anybody, including those very close to us. This is very true. Responding to them negatively only saps our energy. But God encourages us through His Promise: He will never forsake us ( PSALMS 9:10--HEBREWS 13:5), and He invites us to rely on His Help ( HEBREWS 4:16).
Thank you, Father, I pray for All in Jesus Holy Name
Thu, August 10, 2017
Prayer is No Substitute for Obedience
Granted that the man who seeks revival has stopped thinking in plurals and has narrowed his faith down to one single individual, himself, what then? How can he find that after which his soul is yearning? How can he cooperate with his hungers to the end that he may indeed be filled?

He must rid his mind of the false notion that prayer alone will bring the blessing. Normally all transactions between the soul and God are carried on by prayer. It is right and scriptural and according to the testimony of all the saints that any spiritual advance on any front, any deliverance, any purification, any enduement of power, comes by the prayer of faith. Our error is that we try to secure these benefits by prayer alone.

The correction of this error is extremely difficult for it entails more than a mere adjustment of our doctrinal beliefs; it strikes at the whole Adam-life and requires self-abnegation, humility and cross-carrying. In short it requires obedience. And that we will do anything to escape.

He replied, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.'
Luke 11:28

Prayerful Bible study exposes us to God's will for us. Knowing His will, praying about it, is not enough. Personal revival comes as we obey His will.

Forgive me, Lord, for trying to substitute prayer and other religious activity for simple obedience to your will as You reveal it to me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wed, June 14, 2017
Everything in Jesus
God's gifts are many; His best gift is one. It is the gift of Himself. Above all gifts, God desires most to give Himself to His people. Our nature being what it is, we are the best fitted of all creatures to know and enjoy God. "For Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee" (from The Confessions of St. Augustine).

When God told Aaron, "You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites," He in fact promised a portion infinitely above all the real estate in Palestine and all the earth thrown in (Numbers 18:20). To possess God--this is the inheritance ultimate and supreme.

There is a sense in which God never gives any gift except he gives Himself with it. The love of God, what is it but God giving Himself in love? The mercy of God is but God giving Himself in mercy, and so with all other blessings and benefits so freely showered upon the children of atonement. Deep within all divine blessing is the Divine One Himself dwelling as in a sanctuary.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
Colossians 2:9-10

As A. B. Simpson sang it: "All in all forever, Jesus will I sing. Everything in Jesus and Jesus everything." There remains only for us to fully identify with Him.

Christ, in You I have everything. May Your Spirit fill me as I open myself wholly to You.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tue, June 13, 2017
Gazing Upon Christ
We have all seen the person who begins all arguments with the unassailable proposition that he is right and reasons from there. We have received a few letters which purported to settle all questions, not by bringing forth reasons, but by establishing the writer's qualifications to pronounce judgment. "How dare you question my actions," he says. "I am the foremost leader in my field. I have written this many books and spoken to this many people over a long period of this many years." Ergo, I am not to be trifled with, nor are my opinions to be questioned. If I do it, it is right. Ispe dixit. He has said it.

This kind of thing would be comical if it were not tragic. We mention it only to point up the truth under present consideration and to show by horrible example what long continued self-assurance will do to a human character. Let the public accept a man as unusual, and he is soon tempted to accept himself as being above reproof. Soon a hard shell of impenitence covers his heart and chokes his spiritual life almost out of existence. The cure, if there is to be a cure, would be simple, of course. Let him look to his past and to the cross where Jesus died. If he can still defend himself after that, then let him look into his own heart and tell what he finds there. If after that he can still boast, close the coffin lid.

We might point out a danger here (for there will always be perils in the way of spiritual progress): it is that we become morbidly introspective and lose the legitimate happy cheer from our souls. This we must never do, and we can avoid it by permitting Christ to engage our attention, rather than our own souls. The safe rule is, whenever we look at ourselves, be penitent; when we look at Christ, be joyous. And look at Christ most of the time, looking inward only to correct our faults and grieve for our imperfections.

Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
Proverbs 28:14

Hardening our hearts places us in extreme danger. Failure to fully receive God's forgiveness or forgive ourselves is also threatening. Fixing our gaze upon Christ reveals our weaknesses and our strength.

O Lord, may my heart be tender and fixed upon You--not upon my misconceived strength or my human weakness. In Jesus' name.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tue, May 30, 2017
Encountering the Whole Word of God
Almost every cult with which we have any acquaintance practices this art of selecting and ignoring. The no-hell cults, for example, habitually stress everything in the Bible that seems to support their position and play down or explain away all the passages that deal with eternal punishment.

But we do well to look closer to home. Proneness to heresy is not confined to the cults. By nature, we are all heretics. We who count ourselves to be in the historic tradition of sound doctrine may in actual practice become heretics after a sort. We may unconsciously select for special attention such Scriptures as comfort and encourage us and pass over the ones that rebuke and warn us. This trap is so easy to fall into that we may be in it before we are aware.

Take, for instance, the "well-marked" Bible. It might be an illuminating experience to peep into one sometimes and note how the owner has underscored almost exclusively the passages that console him or that support his views on doctrine. We habitually love the verses that are easy on us and shy away from the ones that disturb us.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Do you find yourself at times ignoring or diluting certain passages of Scripture that penetrate your defenses and stare you in the face? God's Word sometimes wounds deeply. But exposure to all the Word is imperative because through it He speaks.

Thank You, Lord, for chasing me when I try to flee from those sections of Your Word that expose and condemn my sin. Speak, Lord, even when I try not to listen.

2Thessalonian 2:16-17 ¶ Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
We must never forget our obligation as stewards of all we are and all we have been given – whatever positive outcome I may experience in my spiritual or mortal life comes from God through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Our confidence is based upon the fact that He first loved us – we did not choose to be loved or merit any right to be loved – Christ willingly went to the cross to reveal His love to all creation. Our humble faith in His act of love provides our consolation and hope. Often we do not ‘feel’ consoled or hopeful, but that does not change the efficacy or validity of the grace and mercy we have been given – Biblically the heart is the place all sense of right and wrong originate (character). Our freedom to choose must be grounded in God’s truth to determine what is best. This world, Satan and our flesh will challenge everything we believe to be true – truth committed as absolute cannot be disturbed by circumstances – there must be truth in our lives that is not subject to changing conditions or circumstances. Truth may begin in our heads – it is through unquestioning devotion that we move it to our heart. We must willingly give ourselves to the truth found in God’s Word – our Lord’s comfort will come as He reminds us of the things we have applied and know to be true. As our heart grows in the comfort of hope our work and word will be pleasing to our God. 
Read through the Bible in one year – May 30/ John 11:30-57; 2 Chron. 10-12

Sunday, May 28, 2017

John 11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
The answer to prayer begins with the sincere devotion in our hearts. The confidence we have in God does not come from His willingness to do as we desire – it is birthed in our undiminished hope and trust in His Word. Walking with and pleasing our Lord must be the motive that possesses our will more than simply regulates our behavior. All of life must be viewed from God’s perspective – we must will ourselves to remain focused upon His eternal purpose. Jesus Christ viewed all conditions and issues of this life as God’s means to bring us to His sovereign purpose. Our prayers can be hindered if we allow the comfort of this world to define our confidence in God. God’s answers are not defined by my expectations or need for relief – my prayers are not a means to simply endorse my desires – they are offered to discover the love, grace and mercy of my Lord. Our dependence and trust in Christ must be a consuming passion. To acknowledge our absolute dependence upon God must be paramount in everything we bring to the altar. 
Read through the Bible in one year – May 28/ John 10:24-42; 2 Chron. 4,5,6
Sun, May 28, 2017
Mature Living
The absence of spiritual devotion today is an omen and a portent. The modern church is all but contemptuous of the sober virtues--meekness, modesty, humility, quietness, obedience, self-effacement, patience. To be accepted now, religion must be in the popular mood. Consequently, much religious activity reeks with pride, display, self-assertion, self-promotion, love of gain and devotion to trivial pleasures.

It behooves us to take all this seriously. Time is running out for all of us. What is done must be done quickly. We have no right to lie idly by and let things take their course. A farmer who neglects his farm will soon lose it; a shepherd who fails to look after his flock will find the wolves looking after it for him. A misbegotten charity that allows the wolves to destroy the flock is not charity at all but indifference, rather, and should be known for what it is and dealt with accordingly.

It is time for Bible-believing Christians to begin to cultivate the sober graces and to live among men like sons of God and heirs of the ages. And this will take more than a bit of doing, for the whole world and a large part of the church is set to prevent it. But if God be for us, who can be against us?

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity . . .
Hebrews 6:1a

Over the years have there been those believers who have provided for you an example of quiet, Christlike living even in the most adverse circumstances? Thank God for those who show the rest of us daily living characterized by the sober virtues.

Thank You, Lord, for those who have modeled Christlike living to me. They have demonstrated that I, too, may grow and grow and grow.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Psalms 49:20 A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish.
The admiration or appreciation of man is not the same thing as the approval of God. We may well garner the endorsement of the world and totally miss the purpose of our Lord. Our understanding must be rooted in the eternal provision of our Lord and Savior – directing all motive and desire toward our eternal promise. Those who receive the honor or admiration of their fellow man often disregard the grace and mercy of God that has made it possible. To live our lives exclusively seeking our perception of fairness and justice is to deny the sovereign majesty and eternal purpose of our God. We are subject to our individual ideology of right and wrong –this does not make it absolute for everyone; it simply illustrates our most gracious gift of free-will. Man is incapable of true understanding until he submits himself to what God has provided and commanded. Beasts live by instinct alone – regulating behavior based upon desire and subjective understanding. We must separate ourselves from selfish yearning to embrace the eternal promise and purpose of God.
Read through the Bible in one year – May 27/ John 10:1-23; 2 Chron. 1,2,3


Sat, May 27, 2017
Gentle but Determined Restorers
It is more than probable that in the whole history of the United States there was never at any one time so much religious activity as there is today. And it is also very likely that there was never less true spirituality.

. . .

Now, experience has prepared us for the rebuttal we will surely hear from tender-minded friends: "Who are we to judge? We must leave these professed Christians with the Lord and look to our own doorstep. And furthermore, we should be glad for any little bit of good that is being done and not spoil it by faultfinding."

All that sounds good, but it is an expression of a religious laissez faire which would stand carelessly by and permit the whole church of Christ to degenerate morally and spiritually without daring to raise a hand to help or a voice to warn. So did not the prophets. So did not Christ, or His apostles, or the Reformers; and so will not any man do who has seen heaven opened and beheld visions of God. Elijah could have kept his mouth shut and saved himself a lot of trouble. John the Baptist could have kept silent and saved his head; and every martyr might have pleaded laissez faire and died comfortably in his bed at a ripe old age. But in doing so, they would all have disobeyed God and laid themselves open to a severe judgment in the day of Christ.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Galatians 6:1

Some of us are reluctant to admonish others because of questionable areas in our own living. But there is a spiritual responsibility to gently seek the restoration of those who fall into sin.

Father, make me a gentle restorer of younger believers who stumble and fall. May my daily living provide credentials for such ministry.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wed, May 24, 2017
Praying That Is Praying
Juliana of Norwich at the beginning of her wonderful Christian life addressed a prayer to her Savior and then added the wise words, "And this I ask without any condition."

It was that last sentence that gave power to the rest of her prayer and brought the answer in mighty poured-out floods as the years went by. God could answer her prayer because He did not need to mince matters with her. She did not hedge her prayers around with disclaimers and provisos. She wanted certain things from God at any cost. God, as it were, had only to send her the bill. She would pay any price to get what she conceived to be good for her soul and glorifying to her Heavenly Father. That is real praying.

Many of us spoil our prayers by being too "dainty" with the Lord (as some old writer called it). We ask with the tacit understanding that the cost must be reasonable. After all, there is a limit to everything, and we do not want to be fanatical! We want the answer to be something added, not something taken away. We want nothing radical or out of the ordinary, and we want God to accommodate us at our convenience. Thus we attach a rider to every prayer, making it impossible for God to answer it.

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'
Matthew 26:39

Dare we pray to God without attaching conditions? Conditionless praying trusting ourselves to His will, placing ourselves in His hands.

Teach me to pray, Lord, to pray without conditions trusting You.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Psalms 49:6-9 They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death [a] by paying a ransom to God. Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave. NLT
It is man’s sin nature that equates personal comfort with our Lord’s redemption. We may be abundant in worldly provision and be totally impoverished in our comprehension of what it means to be poor in spirit. Redemption has nothing to do with what we possess or accomplish – it is dependent upon our humble willingness to acknowledge our need and accept our Lord’s sacrifice. We do not secure or enhance our redemption through giving or serving – we simply express our gratitude for our Lord’s undeserved grace and mercy. This does not question our command to care for and provide for the needs of others; but it must define our motive and desire to simply express the heart of a faithful steward. Our goodness, no matter how sacrificial, will never redeem us from sins due penalty. How good is good enough – do I live in poverty or sacrifice my physical life to prove my faith? Those are easy compared to our Lord’s command to take up our cross and willingly give all ambition and desire to His purpose. Through science and medicine, we have extended life into 80 plus years; but all will face the end of mortal existence. The believer has no allusions concerning life’s brevity because our hope and trust rests in the eternal promise of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Read through the Bible in one year – May 23/ John 8:1-27; 1 Chron. 19,20,21
Tue, May 23, 2017
The Revelatory Light of Scripture
Among men, questions usually have more than one side; sometimes they have many. Pros and cons are often balanced so finely against each other that it is virtually impossible to know where the right lies. But with God there is only one side. God's side is good and holy and all other sides are wrong, the degree and seriousness of the wrong increasing as we move away from the center of God's will.

Our desire for moral self-preservation should dictate that we come over immediately onto God's side and stay there even if (as is likely) it may result in our being out of accord with man's philosophies and man's moral codes. We cannot win when we work against God, and we cannot lose when we work with Him.

Now, how can we know for certain which side is God's side? No one in this late day should need to ask that question, but since it is being asked in all sincerity by many, we are glad to give the answer. There is a Book which says of itself, "And God spoke all these words," and about which it is said, "Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up to glory" (1 Timothy 3:16). Acquaintance with this Book will bring light to all dark paths and show us the right side of all questions. Of course, that Book is the Bible.

What glory gilds the sacred page,

Majestic like the sun!

It gives a light to every age;

It gives, but borrows none.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:105

God speaks to us through the Written Word. Contained in it are life principles to recognize and apply in our life situations. His Word reveals who He is and who we are in Him.

Spirit of God, open my heart eyes to see the light of Your Word and daily walk in that light in this world of darkness.

Monday, May 22, 2017

God always wants us to be prepared and He will help us to -through His Word!Example for us was David ( readings today --1 SAMUEL . 17:8, 32-37, 48-50 ). The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the bear will rescue me ". Young David persevered through an experience we might call unpleasant but maybe very resting indeed!When Israel was Challenged to send someone to fight Goliath, no one was brave enough to step up to the task -No one but David. King David was reluctant to send him to fight, but David explained that as a shepherd he had fought and killed a Lion and a Bear for the sake of the sheep (1 Samuel 17:34-36 ). Confidently he stated, " The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the Lion and ..the bear WILL rescue me from this Philistine "(v.37). Being a shepherd didn't earn David much respect, but it prepared him to fight Goliath and eventually become Israels greatest King. We may be in difficult circumstances, but through them, Gods preparing for something greater. What's your Goliath that you're going to slay because you will slay it? The Lord will help us on during the treacherous and unpleasant times in our life, knowing that He is preparing us for something greater, let the slingshot be tongue and the stone be your prayer and testimony. And slay all the Giants in our lives! Thank you, Father, I pray for ALL in JESUS HOLY NAME. AMEN

Mon, May 22, 2017
Choosing God's Side
The points at which God's way and man's intersect are likely to be four (though there may be others), and we will usually find our differences with God to occur somewhere in these four areas.
. . .
Second, our moral standards. There are probably as many ideas of righteousness as there are people in the world, and it would be futile to argue that one is better than another. The test is not which code is best but whether or not any code agrees with the Scriptures. In the Christian Scriptures, the Lord of the whole earth declares His own moral will for mankind, and it is profound wisdom to seek it and conform to it. Otherwise, we are at the mercy of our own deceitful hearts. For all men of faith, God's will is righteousness. The believing soul will not argue about it; he will accept it and bring the controversy to an end.
The third point of possible controversy is in our way of life. This embraces the whole of our lives on earth as decided by our basic moral ideas. Our way of life is simply our moral code in its daily outflow.
p>The fourth is our plans. The Christian who has in principle accepted God's truth as his standard of conduct and has submitted himself to Christ as his Lord, may yet be tempted to lay his own plans and even fight for them when they are challenged by the Word of God or the inner voice of the Spirit. We humans are a calculating, planning race, and we like to say, "Tomorrow I will . . ." But our Heavenly Father knows us too well to trust our way to our own planning, so He very often submits His own plans to us and requires that we accept them. Right there a controversy is sometimes stirred up between the soul and God. But we had better not insist on our own way. It will always be bad for us in the long run. God's way is best.
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
Joshua 24:15
Our daily living is the most accurate indicator of our true moral standards and life priorities. On Sunday we may pretend to be on God's side. It is our life living the rest of the week that vividly portrays whose side we are really on.
Lord, I want to live on Your side--all day every day. I can only do it through Your enablement.