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

Friday, June 30, 2017

Helping Others

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

If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive – I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (2 Cor. 2:10-11)
The connections between these two verses of Scripture may not be obvious. There are, I think, two connections:

1. “You who are spiritual” and “I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake.” A spiritual person must be forgiven and forgiving.
2. “But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” and “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” There is a parallel between watching yourself and being aware of his schemes.

Here are a few other Scriptures with similar warnings:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Eph. 6:10-11)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Pet. 5:6-9)
The first part of each of the above verses are reasons we cannot help others. We are not spiritual, gentle, forgiving, strong in the Lord, or humble. The second part of each is why we fall. We do not watch ourselves, we are outwitted, we are unaware, we are not alert.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Patience of God

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 Tim. 1:16)

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9)
The Lord showed his unlimited patience for one person, the apostle Paul, in order to bring him to Himself. His patience continues, not for one person, but now for everyone in order to bring them to Himself.

Monday, June 26, 2017

What Is Helpful for Them

Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. (Rom. 15:2)
“I want,” “I need,” “I desire,” “I deserve.” These are very different expressions than “He needs,” not only in the pronoun but also in the verb. We think in terms of the other person’s needs if they are negative. “He needs a spanking,” or “He deserves to go to Hell.” Both of these may be true, but the text is speaking about what pleases and builds up the other person, rather than what pleases us.

Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” What we do and what we speak should be only for the other person’s benefit.

Because of the immediacy and sometimes the importance of things in front of me, I have not attended to other responsibilities: completing several books - on prayer, on the Great Commission, my autobiography, and a sequel to How to Be Free from Bitterness. Before, there was no deadline; but now I am 89 years old. If they are to be published, God has a deadline. Please pray for me for wisdom and time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kindle Books/Pursuing Righteousness

Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, tells him to “flee” and “pursue.” In his second letter, he says the same: “flee” and “pursue.” Let’s take a look at those letters:
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (1 Tim 6:10-11)

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Tim 2:22)
It is very simple: we are to run away from “love of” and “eagerness for” money and from the “evil desires of youth.” We are to run after righteousness, godliness, faith, endurance, love, gentleness, and peace. In both cases (fleeing and pursuing), we are running in the same direction.

Today CCM published two books on Kindle. One is my book on counseling, Wisdom, Not Knowledge. The other is a collection of testimonies by graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy. This second book was put together to help midshipmen at the Academy come to the Father through the Son and to encourage other Christians to write their testimonies and distribute them. I hope that you will read them and find them helpful to you.

Please pray for us as we send out many books and Bibles to prisoners in the United States as our funds allow. Please pray that there will be fruit in saved souls and in godliness.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Triumph

And when the strife is fierce,
The warfare long
Steals on the ear
The distant triumph song
And hearts are brave again
And arms are strong.
Alleluia, alleluia.

- William W. How (19th Century)

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Cor. 2:14-17)
The song in my head caused me to think of the Scripture. Triumph is more than victory: it is the celebration of victory. Paul says that it is in the present, and the song says that it is in the future. In any case, it is a sure thing.

Friday, June 16, 2017

In Your Hearts

Then the word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?” (Ezek. 14:2-5)

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Pet. 3:15-16)
Do you see the parallel?
• “These men have set up idols in their hearts.” (Ezek. 14:2-5 NIV)
• “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” (1 Peter 3:15-16 NIV)
• “Enthrone Christ in your hearts.” (Knox)
• “Sanctify the Lord God in your heart.” (KJV)
• “Set apart, in your heart, high and lifted up, Jesus Christ as Lord.” (Miss Irene Webster-Smith)
Worship begins in the heart. Idolatry is in the heart long before the physical idol is made. Worship of Jesus Christ is in the heart, not relegated to a special day and special buildings.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Unlimited Patience

1 Timothy 1:15: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance...”
That means “Pay attention.”
“Christ Jesus...”
Who He is!
“...came into this world to save sinners...”
The only reason for his birth in Bethlehem.
“...of whom I am the worst.”
This is not false humility. This is an inspired statement.
“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.”
One of the specific reasons why God saved Paul is given here: Paul was the worst of sinners. When you’re witnessing to someone who wants to believe, he may say that he is so bad and that Christ will not have patience with him. That is not true, because Christ has already exercised unlimited patience for the worst of sinners. Christ’s unlimited patience for Paul is an example for those who would believe.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Our Commission & A Prayer Request

“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’” (Luke 24:45-47)
This is a comprehensive commission. It includes:
• The person: Christ
• The resources: the power of God
• The objective: all nations
• The message: the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
• The means: the preaching of repentance and forgiveness of sins
• The starting point: Jerusalem
It seems to be fairly common in the churches since the Great Commission was given to leave out some of the content, either in belief or in practice. Please take an inventory of your life as a Christian and see if you believe and practice this commission. What have you left out?

When we first came to Idaho in 1971, our objective was to take Idaho and Washington in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, with, of course, the rest of the body of Christ. Our strategy was to open two evangelistic stores, one in Pullman and one in Moscow. These two cities were decisive points in the battle for these two states. The subordinate objectives were the two decisive points, the cities themselves. We were to take them first.

The bookstores were to be command posts for many other advances into the universities and cities. These advances included concerts, conferences, daily Bible studies, classes on life between the sexes, schools of practical Christianity, publishing, personal evangelism, and encouraging churches and other ministries.

This went well for about 14 years. In the same 14 years, we opened several other ministries at decisive points in Arizona, Wyoming, southern Idaho, and Utah. In later years, our direction changed; some of it was good, and some of it not so good, and our energy fell off. This was not immoral, but I think it was disobedience to the Great Commission. I accept the responsibility and have confessed it as sin. We are working to get back on track. I am asking you for prayer and advice as we rework our strategy and tactics to reach our God-given assigned objectives.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Bible Reading Help

For those of you who do not read the whole Bible and want to but haven't gotten started because the prospect is too daunting, let me make it easy for you.

If you are a very slow reader, you will be able to read the whole Bible in 80 hours. How do I know? You can listen to an audio Bible in 72 hours with nothing left out.

If you have a smartphone, you can read the Bible in many different versions by downloading a Bible app.

If you prefer paper, here is a painless and profitable way to read the Old Testament and New Testament. You can also view this Bible reading plan online here. Each day you read one chapter in four different places (two if they are short chapters). Start with Genesis 1, Ezra 1, Matthew 1, and Acts 1. This will take you no more than 20 minutes. The next day, read chapter 2 in each of these four books. At the end of one year, you will have read all of the Old Testament once, the New Testament twice, and the Book of Psalms twice.

You will want to read it again.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The Return of Christ

For many centuries, people have spent their time trying to figure out when Jesus is going to return to earth. Many of them were certain they were right. Whole denominations have been wrong. In the early 1980s, a publisher called me at Crossroads Bookstore. He wanted me to sell me a book called 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. He told me of another store that had purchased 100 copies. I did not buy it.

My son, Douglas, got out of the Navy in August 1975. He took a book off the shelf at the store and showed me that it said that Jesus was going to return to earth on September 15, 1975. I said I would send it back to the publisher. He asked why. I said, “If the book is wrong we don’t want it, and if it is right we won’t need it.”

Matthew 24 gives a list of calamities and then says, “The end is not yet.” The Scripture also says that only the “Father knows.” There will be an end; that is a certainty.
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. (Titus 2:11-13)

Monday, June 05, 2017

Your Persona

There is a difference between a personality and a persona. You are born with a personality. It is what you are by creation. A persona is what you want to appear to be. It is what you want others to think you are. It is a mask, something pretended. It is not your true self.

We all have a persona. Some of them are innocent. Some are deadly. Some are just hypocritical.

Hypocrites have a persona of being good, righteous, or religious. Hypocrites are despised by other people.

Some people have a persona of being bad or tough. They are pretending to be bad in order to impress other people who are also pretending to be bad.

What is your persona? You can fool people, but you cannot fool God.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Alger Hiss: Four Years

You may not remember Alger Hiss. In 1950, he was sentenced to four years in a federal prison. The sentence was not for being a Soviet spy. (The statute of limitations for treason had passed.) He was sentenced for saying under oath that he had not passed secrets to or known Whittaker Chambers after 1937.

His sentence was for lying. What kind of reaction would there be today if anyone was sentenced for lying about his crimes instead of for his crimes? We, as a nation, are into lying. Much of it is in advertising, more of it in politics and government. Little kids lie because of fear. Bigger kids lie to be more important.

Jesus said, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires.... He has nothing to do with the truth, because 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).

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Homosexual Marriage: Sin and the Government's Authority

This nation is a democratic republic with a representative government. These representatives make laws for the government of the people under the Constitution. They decide which actions are crimes and misdemeanors. Courts might decide what is constitutional, what is legal, and what is illegal. The government has recently decided that marriages are allowed between people of the same sex. This means that these "marriages" are not illegal.

However, the legislature has no authority to say that this cohabitation is not sin. Their authority does not go that far. God says it is sin. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

Note that thievery, drunkenness, greed, slander, and swindling as well as heterosexual sex outside of marriage, adultery, and homosexuality are all sins. They will not inherit the kingdom of God. Making any of these not crimes does not make them not sin.