Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Saying the Apostles' Creed

Over the years, I have often not been comfortable reciting the Apostles’ Creed in church. This feeling was not based on unbelief, but on believing the creed. As the congregation mumbled it in unison by rote, it seemed as if there was no conviction in their recitation, or, if there was belief, their mumbling was as if they were saying, “So what?”

Then one Sunday over 50 years ago, I was in the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Bala Cynwyd, PA. The congregation stood up and shouted out the Apostles’ Creed. I had a sense that they believed it. Of course, they might have been trained, but it was still good to hear and to participate.

Do you believe it? It is great truth. Thank God for this wonderful truth, then say it like you mean it.
I believe in God the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin, Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into Hades.

On the third day He rose again, from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Unborn Life

A few years ago here in Moscow, a man was convicted of double murder for killing his wife and unborn child. At first I was convinced that he was innocent because he said he was, but later he admitted doing it. That is not the issue I am addressing today. The issue is that the unborn child was considered a living person who got murdered.

When a couple wants a baby and the wife gets pregnant, they are glad and consider what is in her to be a baby. They find out the sex of the baby before the baby is born.

If a woman gets pregnant and does not want to be pregnant, she considers it not a baby but something less than human, and has the baby killed.

This makes no sense.

In one case, a man is convicted of murder, and in the other case it is supposedly not murder. In the first case, it is a baby, and in the second case it is not a baby. This makes no sense.

I am expecting two more great-grandchildren this summer, which will make a total of twenty-eight.

God is the creator of life. Thank God.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Different Kinds of Christians

There are very real Christians in all Christian denominations. By "real Christians," I mean that they believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and have the character that is the result of such belief.

However, whenever there is a real, there are counterfeits of the real. They are called hypocrites. The Church is not full of hypocrites, but certainly there are some. In these churches, there are also “seekers.” They seek and don’t find. After a few years, they hang it up.

There are other kinds of people in these same churches. They are sleepers, spiritually blind, or ignorant. They may be agnostic and don’t want to know God. They enjoy being religious and sinful at the same time. None of this will fool God.

Which of the two lists below describes you the best?

The acts of the flesh 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. (Gal. 5:19-21)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal. 5:22-24)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Finishing the Task

In February, I read of a group of Christian organizations, mission agencies, and churches who have formed an association called Finishing the Task, which you can read more about here. Here are some facts about the task to be finished:

• There are 3,021 people groups that are still beyond the reach of the gospel.
• There are 1,369 known, unengaged people groups located in 169 different countries. These have a combined population of more than 30 million.
• 711 people groups have been adopted but do not yet have any effort for church planting.
• 758 have no gospel recordings.
• 1,747 have no oral Scriptures.
• 986 have no written Scriptures.

This information was taken from Sounds, the monthly publication of Global Recordings. Global Recordings is a member of FTT.

It is wonderful to have a task that can be finished. The Great Commission has an objective greater than making Scriptures available. The Church’s objective is making disciples of all nations and teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded his disciples. The unfinished task of FTT is to provide Scriptures to these 30 million people. The rest of the Church is charged with making disciples of all 7 billion people on earth. The end is not in sight like it is for FTT. They know what their task is, but the Church of Jesus Christ does not seem to know what their own task is.

With a colleague, I am writing a series of books to prepare the majority of Christians to be effective in evangelizing the 7 billion.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Worry & Answered Prayer

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (Matt. 6:31-32). There are two reasons not to worry. First, that is what the pagans do. Do you want to be like the unbelievers? Second, your Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).

I remember 4 January 1958. We lived just off Piney Branch Road on Aspen Street in Washington, D.C. It was a Saturday morning. We had a little food in the house, but it was not the kind that our three preschool children like: no peanut butter, milk, bread, eggs, or orange juice. We had no money to buy food. Standing in the dining room, Bessie and I read this passage from Matthew to God. We told Him that we were not anxious and that we were seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.

The morning mail arrived. It included an envelope postmarked Lancaster, PA. The envelope included $3 and a tract on hell by Bishop J.C. Ryle. It had no return address. We thanked God and bought the food.

The following Tuesday evening, we were still out of money and again out of food. We explained the problem to the children and asked Douglas to pray. He was 4 ½ years old. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Douglas thanked God for milk and bread.

On Wednesday morning, I made pancakes with no milk and no eggs. After breakfast, there was a knock at the door. Bessie went to answer it. It was the milkman. He said that he had four quarts of milk for us. Bessie told him that we had not ordered it and he must have the wrong address. He answered that he had the correct address. Someone else had ordered it for us. We put the milk in the entryway and held a praise meeting around it. We thanked God for the milk and reminded Him that we had also asked for bread.

I went back to my room for study. A few minutes later, Bessie came running up the stairs with a $5 bill in her hand. She had found it under a lamp while dusting the end table. In the next four hours, there were two more answered prayers for us and another answered prayer for a friend.

In the years before 1958, I had been anxious several times. That was the last time I was tempted to be anxious. God is and has been faithful.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Reminders for Christians

Jesus said: "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous" (Luke 14:12-14).

Another reminder: St. Paul wrote, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life" (Phil. 2:14-16).

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Duties of the Ministry

Daily I have new people coming to the house for help. Most of them are Christians with problems. The others are unbelievers with deep problems (meth, heroin, promiscuity).

This is my current meditation:
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (1 Tim. 4:1-5)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Second Coming: A Comfort

Thank you readers for all of your encouraging comments sent to me privately.

There is a truth that the New Testament mentions far more than more commonly known truths like baptism. It is the second coming of Jesus. Here is one of many references: “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him” (1 Thess. 4:14).

This event is called the “blessed hope” and is a means of comforting each other. It is a wonderful event that is sure to happen. It is no doubt about it. We are to wait for it patiently and gladly.

The next-to-last verse in the Bible says, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Favorite Scripture

Since the summer of 1949, my favorite Scripture has been Psalm 91. I escaped death three times in the first year of the Korean War. I have trusted the promises of this Psalm. Recently, I have noticed the different persons in the Psalm.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91)
Verse 1: 3rd person; verse 2: 1st person; verse 3: 2nd person; verses 4-8: unknown speaker; verses 9-13: 2nd person, 1st person, 2nd person; verses 14-16: God is the speaker.

Friday, April 14, 2017


Jesus said, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28-29).

This teaching from the New Testament is not taught often in the Christian churches today.

Here is Paul’s teaching on the same subject:
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor. 15:50-54)
The whole 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians is on the resurrection from the dead, all 58 verses.

Here are two other texts on resurrection:
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thess. 4:13-18)

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)
All of this is what is called “the blessed hope.”
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. (Titus 2:11-15)
I will end with a saying of Corrie ten Boom’s: “I am not waiting for the undertaker. I am waiting for the uptaker.” Amen.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Father

I would like to draw your attention to many paragraphs in Scripture. The content will be self-evident. These are from the first two chapters of 1 Corinthians.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus…. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord…. I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius…. Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption…. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power…. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began…. “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us…. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
The appearances of “God” and “Son of Man” appears often in the Gospels. The word “Father” appears 105 times in the Gospel of John, in addition to the word “God.”

Here is an assignment. You may receive much Christian literature. I want you to look for the words Jesus, Jesus Christ, and look for the words God and Father. Keep on reading the Scripture and Christian literature. Christians think that they belong to an evangelical church if they use the name of Jesus. If they suddenly came across the words God or Father, they would think they might be reading something liberal and not evangelical.

Feel free to disagree with me.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Son of Man

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Dan. 7:13-14)
When Jesus called Himself the Son of Man, He was referring to this person. The Jewish leaders knew what He was saying and did not like it.
Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. (Matt. 24:30)

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:14-16)
Here the Son of Man is identified as the only-begotten Son.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Addictive Societies

There are several different societies here in Moscow. Some of them cross over into each other. I am not thinking of formal societies such as farmers, businessmen, or the societies at the University of Idaho. I am thinking of things like the widespread drug society (for several kinds of drugs), which includes selling, stealing, and anything to keep the habit. Some other "societies" are those for sexual promiscuity, pornography, profanity, and alcoholics.

People who are living normal, healthy lifestyles are unaware of, or do not want to be aware of, these addictive societies. We might want to rescue the people in them.
Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (Jude 21-23)
Here is an uncomfortable verse of Scripture. “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good” (Titus 1:15-16).

There are two types of people described: the pure, and the defiled and unbelieving. The second group cannot become pure by doing good works, because they are “unfit for any good work.” Someone who is defiled cannot work himself out of defilement. The only way he can become pure is by being washed.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:11)
Do you want to be pure?

Monday, April 10, 2017

How to Witness: The Ministry of Reconciliation

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Tim. 2:23-26)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:17-21)
These two paragraphs teach how to minister and how not to minister. The passage in 2 Timothy speaks of four wills that are involved in a man’s conversion:

1. God’s will
2. The Christian’s will
3. The non-Christian’s will
4. Satan’s will

The key will in the passage is the Christian’s will. He is told how not to witness and why. He is told how to witness and is told what the effect of that witness will be.

In 2 Corinthians, we find out five things:

1. The Christian is reconciled.
2. He has been given the ministry of reconciliation.
3. He has been given the message of reconciliation.
4. He has been given authority to speak for Jesus Christ.
5. God has given us the gospel.

Friday, April 07, 2017

All Authority & All Wisdom

Please notice the superlatives in the following three Scriptures:

Jesus: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matt. 28:18-20). All authority, all nations, to obey all that I commanded, with you always, to the end of the age.

Paul’s prayer: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light” (Col. 1:9-12). Not ceased to pray, filled with the knowledge of His will, all spiritual wisdom and understanding, live a life worthy of the Lord, please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, strengthened with all power, qualified us to share in His inheritance.

Paul’s preaching: “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Col. 1:28-29). Admonishing everyone, teaching everyone, with all wisdom, to present everyone fully mature in Christ, with all the energy, so powerfully works in me.

Notice also how Paul communicates. He proclaims, admonishes, and teaches. There is nothing “iffy” about any of these paragraphs, and no exception clauses.

To “share” the gospel is to make it soft, to make it so that it does not offend anyone. But the Cross is an offense. The preaching of the Cross is a declaration. The Bible does not teach us to share in our admonishing, teaching, proclaiming, or preaching. We do all of these with authority.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Why the Speed Limits?

The reason people drive fast is not to get to their destinations quicker. That is a rationalization, an excuse. If you need to drive 300 miles, and the speed limit is 60 mph, that would mean five hours driving. If you drove 65 mph, you would arrive 25 minutes sooner. If you are only going thirty miles, you would arrive 2.3 minutes sooner. The time saved is negligible. People drive 65 mph only because they love to break the law. They do not (usually) drive 85 because they are afraid they will get pulled over. At 65, you can break the law without fear of getting a ticket.

It is the nature of human beings to rebel. If Johnny's father tells him not to touch Suzie’s doll, what does that mean to Johnny? It means "Touch it!” It never occurred to Johnny to touch the doll until his father told him not to. One of the first words a baby learns to say is, “No!” He is willful and rebellious. He was born that way. This may surprise you.

This is the same reason people break the Ten Commandments (and they do - all of the people, all of the commands). That is the reason God gave them. “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace increase all the more” (Rom. 5:20). God planned to save people by forgiveness, not by obedience. If it was by obedience, none of us would make it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Favorite Verses

When I was a little boy, I thought I would stay that way forever. It did not happen. Here I am still thinking I will stay this way forever. It is not happening.

Here are a few of my favorite verses in Scripture:
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor. 4:4)

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments. (1 Cor. 2:14-15)

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

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isa. 26:3)

But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. (Psalm 19:12-13)

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become "fools" so that you may become wise. (1 Cor. 3:18)

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. (Psalm 84:11-12)

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

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:18)

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
There are many more.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The Way to Be Returned to Joy

There are two basic truths regarding Christians in relationship to sin: It is possible to sin, and it is possible to not sin.

Christians are not convinced that the second is true. They mistakenly read the statement as, “It is impossible to sin.” Of course, that is false. That would contradict the first truth, “It is possible to sin.” We know that sinning is possible because God made provision for Christians when they do sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

I have addressed the second truth elsewhere. (For a complete discussion of that, see Dead and Alive: Obedience and the New Man.) The first truth is my subject today.

It is possible to sin. Not only is it possible; it is also probable. In fact, it has already happened.

When a Christian sins, there are immediate consequences. The first consequence is discipline from God.
And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Heb. 12:5-11)
This discipline will probably show up in your conscience. If your conscience is not responsive, then getting caught by an authority helps.
Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servant, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom. 13:5-10)
The immediate and perhaps long-term consequence of sin is the loss of your joy (and secondarily, the loss of the other fruit of the Spirit). “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11).

There is a way out of this discipline, a way to be returned to the joy of the Lord. First, know that God’s discipline is not punitive; it is corrective. You are not being made to pay for your sin. Jesus paid for it already.

The purpose of the pain of discipline is to bring to our attention that we have displeased God by our disobedience and that we need to repent and confess this sin to God. This is what happened to David in Psalm 32:
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”—and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:1-5)
Keeping silent causes the discipline to continue in:

• wasting away
• groaning all day
• God’s hand heavy on you day and night
• sapped strength

When I acknowledge my sin and do not cover it, God forgives the guilt, and I am blessed.

Monday, April 03, 2017

An Important Question: Are You Ready?

My life is made up of seeing people, all kinds. It seems that most of these people are having their life changed. There are some who do not come into victory. Please pray for me for wisdom, power, and love so that more of them would walk in the light.

One of my earliest times of seeing people was 28 September 1950. My ship, the USS Brush (DD745), hit a mine off Tanchan, North Korea, at 12:19 September 26, 1950. I had been ordered out of my battle station minutes before. I left the chief petty officer in charge and went. When I reported to my boss, he could not remember why he had asked me to come.

The explosion obliterated my battle station. The chief was blown out of the room, but he only lived two hours afterward. One sailor was pulled out alive, but five were killed instantly inside the station. We lost a total of 16 men, and more than 30 men had third-degree burns. Because I was the Christian on the ship, I was delegated to conduct the funeral service when we buried the chief at sea. He was the man who died in place of me.

We had no chaplain, so I set up a counseling post on the torpedo deck on the 01 level on 28 September. Sailors lined up to see me. They had questions like, “Why did Joe die?”

“Why do you ask about Joe?" I asked. "Fifteen other men died.”

“Joe was my running mate. We went ashore together.”

“I will ask the right question. Are you ready to die? We are two days away from port, steaming at four knots with a broken keel. A heavy sea could break us in half. It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Are you ready for the judgment?”

That was 66 years ago. I have been answering the same kind of questions with the same answer ever since.

The chief died in place of me. Of most importance, Jesus Christ died in place of me. I am 89 years old. I have heart trouble and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. I am not afraid - I am looking forward to being forever with the Lord.