Friday, March 30, 2007

God's Joy

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

This is one of the great verses of God’s character expressed towards us. Most of us know that He is with us, that He saves us, and that He loves us. But there are two additional expressions that cause me to wonder:

He will take great delight in you.

That ought to help any Christian with a “poor self-image.” God delights in me greatly!

He will rejoice over you with singing.

Most of us love to sing praises to Him with joy. Here it tells us that He also sings with joy over us.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Describe Yourself

Time or Newsweek might describe people according to physical terms¾tall, short, blue eyed, olive skinned, etc. Here are a few other ways of describing people.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath… (Ephesians 2:1-3 NIV)

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV)

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God¾having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV)

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1: 28-32 NIV)

Do any of these phrases describe you? If so, how many? Count them. These are all quotations from the New Testament, which is known as the gospel, or good news. I was selective in picking these paragraphs, so they all turned out to be bad news. The good news is the solution to the above bad news. Read the New Testament.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Impatience

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1, 2 NIV)

Living a life of love would mean knowing what love is and knowing how Jesus expressed that love. Let me point to one aspect of this love. It is a small but important part of love.

Love is patient… (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)

Patience is the first mentioned characteristic of love. We are told to be imitators of God. Then Jesus must be an example of patience, for we imitate examples.

But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16 NIV)

Love is kind… (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)
Kindness is the second characteristic of love.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3:4 NIV)

Unlimited patience and kindness both result in mercy. They are seen together in Romans 2:4:
Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? (NIV)

If we are impatient with wives or husbands, children, fellow workers and even to the unconverted, we are not living a life of love.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Doing Good

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. (1 Peter 2:15 NIV)

There are three similar teachings in Titus 2. These teachings are addressed to older women, younger women, young men and slaves. Here is how they conclude:
…so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:5 NIV)

so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:8 NIV)

so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. (Titus 2:10 NIV)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if…
¨ …foolish men are silent;
¨ …no one will malign the word of God;
¨ …they will have nothing bad to say;
¨ …and the teaching about Jesus will be attractive?

Check out the conditions in Titus 2.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Positive Obedience

Having learned how to refrain from disobedience and how to walk in the light, we are now ready for active, positive obedience. We start out by learning how to recognize positive commandments in the Scriptures. They are almost always expressed in superlatives. For example:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4 NIV)

A positive command is not a suggestion. It is a requirement. Because these commands are so complete and all-encompassing, it is easy for the Christian to think of them as “ideals” and not realistic requirements. Before we can consider the how of positive obedience, we have to know and accept the commands as they are. The Scriptures do not qualify these imperatives, and we do not have the freedom to qualify them either.

There are several wonderful means of obedience to these commands. All of them are effortless on our part. The first is the death of Christ. We all know that Jesus died so that we could be forgiven. Few of us realize that He died so we could be obedient. Romans 6 teaches the efficacy of the Cross to accomplish obedience. It does not discuss forgiveness at all. “The Fruit of the Cross,” by Doug Wilson, will give more adequate teaching concerning this means to obedience.

The second means of obedience is the fruit of the Spirit. The qualities necessary for our obedience are given freely to us when we receive Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is given to us (Galatians 5:22, 23). It is also commanded of us in the following passages:
· Love is commanded in Matthew 5:44.
· Joy is commanded in Philippians 4:4.
· Peace is commanded in Colossians 3:15.
· Patience is commanded in 1 Timothy 6:11.
· Kindness is commanded in Ephesians 4:32.
· Goodness is commanded in Psalm 34:14.
· Faithfulness is commanded in 1 Corinthians 4:2.
· Gentleness is commanded in 2 Timothy 2:25.
· Self-control is commanded in 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25.

The third means of obedience is the prayers of others for us. Colossians 1:9, Philippians 1:9 and Ephesians 3:14 are all examples of praying in the will of God for believers so that they will be completely and positively obedient. Wouldn’t you like to wake up in the morning “filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding, pleasing God in every way and bearing fruit in every good work,” all because someone prayed this for you?

The fourth means of obedience is by an act of our will, but not by an act of willpower. This is also as effortless as the first three. It is clearly taught in Colossians 1:29:

To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. (NIV)

Although Paul says that he labors and struggles, he does it with all God’s energy, which powerfully works in him. This labor does not use any of Paul’s energy. Paul also says in Colossians 2:6-7:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (NIV)

The three important words in this passage are as, received and continue: as you received Christ Jesus as Lord. Before we look at how we are to continue to live we must have a clear understanding of how we received Christ Jesus as Lord. Was it by our effort, our goodness or merit, or was it by grace through faith with no effort on our part? If it was by grace through faith and not by trying, then we are to continue to live just like we started. In other words, the continuous, obedient life is like being born again continually. Grace and faith with “no trying” got us into the kingdom, and kingdom living is by grace and faith with “no trying.”

We cannot trust and try at the same time; they are opposites. The book of Galatians is written to people who wanted to try after they had trusted Christ for salvation. Paul calls them foolish. One of the common expressions I hear from Christians after they have fallen is, “But I tried.” That is the reason they fell. They tried.

The positive, obedient Christian life is based on 1) the death of Christ, 2) the fruit of the Spirit, 3) the prayers of others, and 4) our choosing to obey by trusting, not by trying. God’s standards are high, but His provisions to meet those standards are consistent with His standards. His work on the cross, His fruit of the Spirit, and His answers to prayer take the effort out of obedience.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Purpose of Heart

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. (Daniel 1:8 NKJV)

When he [Barnabas] came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. (Acts 11:23 NKJV)

Daniel’s decision and Barnabas’ exhortation to the new believers at Antioch had one thing in common: each one shows a purpose in the heart. Daniel made one decision that would cover the next three years of eating and drinking. He purposed in his heart on principle. The principle was that “he would not defile himself.” He did not wait until breakfast was at hand and then make a subjective decision not to eat when breakfast was set before him and he was hungry. He did not wait again for lunch and then make his decision about that particular lunch. He would have compromised. He “purposed in his heart” at one time for a long time. Daniel did not know how he was going to carry out his purpose. He assumed that if he acted on principle, God would provide the correct “how” to live out that principle.

So it was with the exhortation “that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.” Barnabas is asking for a one-time purpose that would be long lasting. Barnabas did not tell these believers how to continue with the Lord. He assumed that if they had purposed in their hearts to continue with the Lord, they would continue with the Lord.

There are “hows” of not defiling yourself and “hows” of continuing with the Lord, but they are of little value unless there is a “purpose of heart.” If we wait until the event is upon us before we make the decision, we are almost sure to compromise.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

On War

I suppose from God’s viewpoint, the whole question would be simply answered. We do not have that answer laid out for us in the Bible in any one place. Consequently, our different systematic theologies on war are not simple; they are either complicated or simplistic. The following, I am fairly sure, is not God’s simple answer, but if I thought it was far off, I would not write this.

“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven” (Revelation 12:7, 8). Here was a war between absolute good and absolute evil. I am going to make a deduction. It may seem obvious, but it is still deduced. Evil is a required participant in order to have war. Michael would not fight against Gabriel. Good would not war against Good, nor will Evil fight against Evil: “and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” (Jesus in Matthew 12:26).

There is a great spiritual war going on. It started in Heaven and will end on Earth in the very short conflict described in Revelation 20:7-10. In the meantime, people are in this spiritual war; in fact, we are the objects over which this conflict is raging.

To get back to my deduction, it takes evil in order to have spiritual war. The spiritual war has been going on for a long time. Satan is in it; his angels are in it. Everyone born on this earth is in it. The rest of creation is in it. God and His angels are in it. There is no discharge until we go to be with the Lord. There is no such thing as a conscientious objector. There is no place to go. As in the Vietnam War of the mid-20th century, there is no Canada or Sweden. There are no neutral nations.

Physical war on this earth is part, a major part, of this spiritual war. Physical war, therefore, also requires evil (James 4:1, 2).

Although Satan will not fight against himself, evil nations will war against evil nations because evil nations are made up of people, and this is part of Satan’s war against the Lord. Also, Satan will have evil nations fight against relatively righteous nations or absolutely righteous nations as in that last great conflict. “And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Revelation 20:9).

We have several instances in biblical history where God did all of the fighting and God’s people were passive. The first is that wonderful Exodus from Egypt where Moses promised the people, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still” (Exodus 14:14), and later in the chapter, “The Lord routed the Egyptians in the midst of the sea” (Exodus 14:28). And in Moses’ song of victory, he sang, “The Lord is a man of war.”

The second is Jehoshaphat’s victory in II Chronicles 20:20-23. The third is Hezekiah’s victory in II Kings 19:35, 36.

And, of course, there is that final one yet to come, where “fire came down from Heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Constitution of the United States of America Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Read it again! Notice Congress is the only one that can violate this amendment. It can violate it by making laws. The amendment tells us which laws it may not make.

There is no way an individual citizen can violate the first amendment unless he is a member of congress.

All of the new states of the United States except three had state religions. They had had them for over a hundred years and continued to have them for many more years.

The three States were Rhode Island, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

The Courts have since ruled that any government, however small, State, County, City, School board or any one in authority may not legislate either to establish or prohibit.

In any case an individual citizen cannot violate the first amendment.

However, individuals have been intimidated so that they think they can violate this amendment. It was written to protect individuals.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Singularity

Scientists have many different, invented words to explain what they do not know and cannot find out. One of them is singularity.

Singularity: a point at which space and time are infinitely distorted by gravitational forces and which is held to be the final state of matter falling into a black hole.

As I understand this word it also describes the situation before the “big bang”.

If there is such a thing as a black hole and if there was a “big bang”, singularity is the atheist’s word for God.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ground Troops

This is a comment on the United States’ decision to put more ground troops in Iraq. Actually, it is a comment on the objectives to the decision especially those who have lost sons, daughters, husbands or wives in the combat.

Our armed forces are made up of volunteers only. We have no military draft as we had in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam.

During the 1 ½ years of World War I we lost 116,516.
During the 3 ½ years of World War II we lost 405,399.
During the 3 years of Korea we lost 54,246.
During the first 6 years of Viet Nam we lost 51,000 men, 43,000 in combat.
During the 4 years of Iraq we lost 3,200.

My wife Bessie lost two brothers in WWII.

I spent eleven years in the Navy, three of them in the Korean War. My first ship hit a mine; we lost 16 men and 40 wounded. Five of those killed were in my battle station. My second ship we lost one man to gunfire and seven wounded.

My class from the Naval Academy, 1950, served in Korea, Viet Nam, the Cold War and some of us in WWII and we are now older than the average U.S. citizen. We are now 79 years-old and 60% of us are still alive. 71% in our Marine class are still alive, 62% of Navy and only 53% of Air Force Officers.

Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States says Congress has the power “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

“To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.”

None of the Wars we have been in were based on the number of fatalities we expected to sustain.

Remember, all of these people in Iraq are volunteers.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Grace and Faith I

Grace is quality but it is given in great quantities. Faith is only quality and is neither needed nor available in quantity. It can be strong or weak. Didn’t Jesus use quantitative terms when speaking of faith? Yes, a few times, but notice how he used them:

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31 NIV)

One term He used is “little.” Another term He used is “doubt.”

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6 NIV)

But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23 NIV)

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. (Romans 4:19-20 NIV)

In each case doubt is NOT faith.
Another quantitative term is the word “small” used in contrast with the word “little.”

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “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.” (Matthew 17:19-20 NIV)

With little faith nothing happens. With small faith, great things happen.
Jesus uses these two terms of quantity really to describe the non-existence and existence of faith.

A third term is “great.” Jesus used this word with the Canaanite woman with the demon-possessed daughter in Matthew 15:28:

Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:28 NIV)

“Great” is an expression of the reality and strength of her faith, not the quantity.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:5-6 NIV)

It is as if Jesus said, “What for? Why should I increase your faith? You do not need much, if it is, in fact, faith.”

The “suppose” story that Jesus applies to them comes immediately after this:

Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, “Come along now and sit down to eat”? Would he not rather say, “Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink”? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “we are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” (Luke 17:7-10 NIV)

This last sentence is Jesus’ answer to their request for increased faith. Bessie has reminded me many times that faith is like Pooh’s comment on Eeyore’s tail: “It is either there or it isn’t there and yours isn’t.”

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More on Poetry

There is a form of poetry that uses alliteration. I like alliteration. I think most people do. It shows up all of the time as in “Pain at the Pump” and “Purple Pill.”

I like the alliteration “Big Bang”. There is another reason I like it besides the short words and the “b’s”. It is the greatest understatement in the history of language and it is done in two short words. It is also an unscientific lie, but a big one.

Here is a statement I like much better.

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” Psalm 33:6-9

I am not a literalist in that God does not have breath or a mouth nor does He speak as we speak. Nevertheless…

“For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” Psalm 33:9

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Murder, Suicide, Genocide

Murder: The crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought.

Suicide: The act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally.

Genocide: The deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political or cultural group.

I’m writing on this subject because of the different emotional responses we have when we hear these words.

Our greatest response is to an individual murder. We see a picture of the murdered little girl when she was happy and innocent. We do not think of the awful violation of the holiness of God. Nevertheless, we are appalled.

We are not as appalled with a suicide unless it is a murder-suicide and it is within a family.

Genocide is normally on the other side of the world, Bosnia, Ruanda, or Darfur. The numbers are big and all of the people are faceless and anonymous both the murdered and the murderers.

In Iraq we call them suicide bombers. We do not call them mass murderers. We do not circulate pictures of the deceased when they were happy and innocent.

We don’t want to get emotionally involved.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stay Away From Mobs

Over seventy years ago our father told us a story. My telling of it will not be accurate. This is how I remember it. I was probably seven-years-old. There was a black man who was arrested and in the Douglas County Jail in Omaha. A lynching mob stormed the jail. The sheriff stood in front of the jail and told the mob that they could not have the man. They would have to lynch him too. That seemed ok with the crowd. They took the sheriff and the prisoner and were hanging them from a lamp post with the crowd in an uproar. Then an open touring car came through the crowd under the lamp post and cut down the sheriff and the prisoner and then sped off. The moral my father taught us was this: “Never join a crowd as a spectator. The spectators in number give authority to the bad guys who would not dare do things if they did not have a crowd behind them.”

In my reading this morning I came across this short sentence in Exodus 23:2, “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.”

Almost daily on television we see crowds of people chanting or yelling in an uproar. Even if the cause were “right” the mob and the uproar is not right and Christians should not participate, even as spectators.

“When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theater. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater. The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. The Jews pushed Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Acts 19:28-34

These riots are not always religious or political. They may be celebrations of Super Bowl, World Cup, Stanley Cup or World Series victories. Things get broken and people get killed. Stay away from mobs.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Some Thoughts On Correcting Others

1. I will walk in the light as he is in the light. (1 John 1:7)

2. I will forgive others as in Christ God has forgiven me. (Ephesians 4:32)

3. In judging others I will do so only if I have taken the splinter out of my own eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)

4. In correcting another it will be with the intention of restoring the other person to close fellowship with God. I will do it in a biblical manner. (Matthew 18:15 and 18:35)

5. I recognize there is a difference between those who are forgiven and those who are qualified to be teachers.

6. I will not spread rumors about the life of a fellow believer unless his life is a positive testimony to God’s saving grace. If the rumor is negative I will check with the person himself.

7. If a believer is a public figure and there is a rumor of moral impropriety about his life, that rumor should be brought to his attention. He should be encouraged to straighten out the story if it is untrue. If it is true and he has repented he should be encouraged to make that known to the public. If it is true and he has not repented then there should be an attempt to restore him to fellowship.

8. If the man is an elder who has repented, he should be forgiven and restored to fellowship, but he might have lost his qualification to be an elder.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Commands--Lies or Truth

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” Deuteronomy 5:20

“A heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” Proverbs 6:18, 19

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” Revelation 22:14, 15

Notice the other sins in company with lying. In the early books we have the command in the Ten Commandments.

In Proverbs we have this poetic sentence, “six the LORD hates”, “seven are detestable to Him.”
Which is it, six or seven? Both! Count them; there are seven lines. Yes, but there are only six sins. Lying is in there twice. It is in the second line, “a lying tongue” and the sixth line, “a false witness who pours out lies.”

Then in the book of Revelation the last two chapters we find that all liars are bound for the lake of burning sulphur and are outside the city with murderers and the sexually immoral.

We find that God has a strict judgment for liars.

Liars are followers of Satan.

Jesus described the devil in John 8:44.

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

Jesus also said in John 14:6

“Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Are you a follower of Satan or Jesus?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Assurance of Salvation--Part 5

“Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14

Have you been led by the Spirit? That is supernatural guidance.

“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” Galatians 5:18

If you have not been led by the Spirit or if you have and do not recognize it, you had better wonder if you are saved.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Word Power

For those of you who wish to increase your word power, the following sentences are sent to you for interest.

Surgical Pathology Report
Skin, left ear, punch biopsy: Capillary telangeotasia. Actinic change.
Microscopic Description

Sections of the skin biopsy from the left ear demonstrated a hyperkeratotic squamous epithelium which matures normally. The superficial dermis contains prominence of vascular structures with somewhat reactive endothelial cells. Minor perivascular neatrophilic inflammation is apparent. Actinic damage to the superficial dermal collagen is recognized. There is no evidence of malignancy.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Assurance of Salvation--#4

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit , who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14

The Holy Spirit is the present guarantee of our final salvation, the resurrection of our bodies.

“Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 5:5

Here is a positive and negative statement.

“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Romans 8:9

We either have the Spirit or we do not have the Spirit. Whoever does not have the Spirit does not belong to Christ. He is not a Christian. He is not saved.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Imitation

There is still another way to have a normal and natural heart obedience. In a father-son relationship there are three causes of the son being like his father. The first, is genetic inheritance. He looks like his father. The second, is a command/obedience relationship. The third is imitation. It is this one that is another way. The Bible makes reference to it several times. Here are few of those instances.

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:44 & 48 (NIV)

Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 1 Corinthians 4:15 & 16 (NIV)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:32-5:2 (NIV)

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Philippians 2:20-23 (NIV)

I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. Philippians 2:20-23 (NIV)

Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:32-11:1

There are more such verses. We have become like our fathers by imitating them. It is the best way of learning anything that has an application to it.

Meditate and imitate.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

On Poetry

“The time has come…the walrus said to speak of many things, of ships, and shoes, and ceiling wax and whether pigs have wings.” I have no mustache, so I cannot be a walrus. Pretty good reasoning, eh? Also my knowledge is limited to a limited number of ships. I had better start over.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khana stately pleasure dome decree” pretty, but nonsense. “There are strange things done in the midnight sun…” there are strange things done everywhere. “I met a traveler from an antique land by the men who moil for gold.” I meet one at least once a week.

I have always loved poetry from Ogden Nash to Tennyson, even when the poetry doesn’t say anything of substance. Here is a stanza from the “Love of God” by Frederick Lehman. It was sung at our wedding fifty-five years ago.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

And one of 17 stanzas from “The Sands of Time are Sinking,” from Samuel Rutherford’s letters put into verse by Anne Cousin,

The bride eyes not her garment
But her dear bridegroom’s face
I will not gaze at glory
But on my king of grace
Not on the crown He giveth
But on his pierced hand
The lamb is all the glory
In Emmanuel’s land

And from Charles Wesley’s “And Can it Be,”

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast-bound in sin and nature’s might;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray.
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Then there is the great Christmas-Easter hymn in Philippians 2:5-11,

Your attitude should be the same as that
of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature
God, did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped, but made
himself nothing, taking the very nature of
a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled himself and became obedient
To death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest
Place and gave him the name that is above
Every name, that at the name of Jesus
Every knee should bow, in heaven and on
Earth and under the earth, and every
Tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
To the glory of God the Father.