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Showing posts from March, 2019

A Suitable Companion

Dear Jim, A couple weekends ago I picked up a talk by [another Christian speaker who] quotes Genesis 2:18. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” He related this verse to possible psychological implications that can affect those who live alone… I have lived alone for over one year, and I believe I have become more self-centered than I was [before. He] stated “it is important for people who live alone to have someone to talk to, like a dog or a cat.” That is true, and I would like to buy a dog as a companion. My first question is this… Do you believe Genesis 2:18 refers to that man should have a companion to communicate with, whether animal or dog, or that man should have a woman (wife)? Secondly, does this verse apply to all men? Are all men required to have a companion? Sincerely, R. Dear R., In Genesis 2:18, what it says is that it is not good for man to be alone, so “I will make a helper suitable for him.” It t

What Is Repentance?

What does the Lord Jesus mean when He commands you to turn away from your sins? To turn away from your sins means to turn from one way to an entirely different way. To repent does not only mean to feel sorry because God found you doing bad things. God’s Word says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Cor. 2:10). Sorrow and repentance are not the same thing. God’s kind of sorrow causes repentance which leads to salvation. When that happens, sorrow disappears, ends. If I am still sorry, then it proves that my sorrow is worldly sorrow which brings death. To repent means you think differently about the way you live. You have lived only to do what you want to do. Therefore, you have done evil things and disobeyed God’s law (His commandments) continually. This is wrong. Because you have done evil things, God is angry with you and will punish you unless you leave your bad ways. To repent means to turn around from

Practical Christianity

This article was written by my daughter-in-law Nancy for The Hammer Magazine. Christianity is intensely practical. We must live it out in our relationships with people and our response to God. We must not be merely hearers and talkers but doers (James 1:22). Often it seems that the eager new Christian is anxious to make his Christianity practical by allowing God to revamp the old attitudes and behaviors, but later he begins to get complacent and looks for something “more.” It is as though the old, simple truths that changed his life aren’t good enough anymore. We look for something more complicated, something “deeper.” We fail to apply what we knew at the beginning. A child learns to walk by putting one foot in front of the other. As adults, we are still applying the same principle. We still put one foot in front of the other. We didn’t have to learn more complicated methods of getting where we wanted to go. It is the same with Christianity. As we mature, we must continue to

God's Own Heart (Bessie Wilson)

This is an article written by my wife Bessie for The Hammer Magazine. When God rejected Saul as king over Israel, He said He would choose a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), and that man was David. This has puzzled me, and perhaps it has puzzled you. Not only did David commit adultery with Bathsheba, but he attempted to cover it up by having Uriah the Hittite placed in battle where he could be killed. He compounded his sin of adultery by that of murder. We find ourselves saying, “Do you mean this is a man after God’s own heart?” We must look at David at the time when God chose him to replace Saul. As a shepherd boy on leave from the sheep to carry provisions to his brothers in battle, David heard the challenge of Goliath. We read in 1 Samuel 17:26 that David’s response was, Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God? He later repeated this question to Saul along with his record of killing a lion and a bear while protecting

The Reason for Our Contentment

This was written by my daughter-in-law Nancy for The Hammer Magazine. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Heb. 13:5) We know from 1 Timothy that “godliness with contentment is great gain,” and we know from Philippians that Paul “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want.” But what was this secret of Paul’s, and what is the reason for our contentment? Contentment, though not a fruit of the Spirit itself, seems closely linked to peace or even patience. We know if we have it when we are in adverse circumstances, because it is relatively easy to be content when everything is going well in our life. Webster’s defines contentment as being “happy enough with what one has or is.” Discontent, on the other hand, is usually accompanied with anxiety, covetousness, and greed. Obviously,

Endurance (Hebrews 12)

This article was written by Doug Busby for The Hammer Magazine. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb. 12:1-3) The hardest element in the Christian life, as I see it, is endurance. By that I don’t mean trying to keep myself sure to the end. If that were the case, I would have given up long ago. But there is a psychology to the Christian life that is important. There is a perspective, an outlook, that is essential for winning the one contest that we as Christians must win. In certain ways, this race is like an athletic contest, but in one important way it is totally different. The real c

I Lie Down & Sleep

From the editor of The Hammer magazine. "I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side" (Psalm 3:5-6). Today we can buy sleeping pills to help us get “rest” at night and caffeine pills to get us going during the day. But drug-induced sleep can never be a substitute for the peaceful sleep of a soul resting in God. Just as a child can cast off his cares in his parents’ arms and sleep, so we see David sleeping amidst “tens of thousands” against him. What was his secret? It was a knowledge of the character of God and a responsive trust in Him. C.H. Spurgeon describes David in this Psalm as reclining “his head on the bosom of his God.” As Christians, we should recognize that restless sleep is a symptom of a soul burdened with cares that belong on the shoulders of the One who alone can carry them. David had many life-threatening concerns, yet he says, “The Lord sustains me.” Throug

Born in a Biscuit Tin

This is a question I have dealt with many times in talking to many people. There is an illustration I often use which I first heard from my friend Corrie ten Boom. Here it is in her words: “Does going to church regularly make one a Christian?” No, you find there the nourishment you need and the fellowship with other Christians, but it is not where you are that is important but what happens in your heart. A mouse born in a biscuit tin is not a biscuit, and a dog who lives in a garage is no automobile. “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 RSV). Lord, thank You that I am a Christian because You died on the cross almost two thousand years ago and You could say, “It is finished.” All that needed to be done was done by You. Thank You, thank You, Lord Jesus.

Loved Into Joy

by Festo Kivengere That afternoon when I encountered Jesus Christ, I was completely surprised by what I now know was the in-rushing of the Holy Spirit. He came and put the risen King on His throne in my heart. He flooded me with the love of God and with irrepressible joy. I began jumping and shouting there in my little room. There was no one about and I needed to tell someone, so I rushed out onto the road and hailed the first person I met, shouting, “Jesus has come my way! I’m forgiven!” The person was a Christian woman, a church member, but perhaps she thought I was mocking, as usual, for she went off wagging her head. I had to find someone else, so I ran to the church. God’s people were still there and had been there ever since the morning service, because one after another had been finding Jesus that day. This was a common occurrence in Uganda in those days. When I burst in, I excitedly told them my news and they took me into their arms, singing and rejoicing. Some laughe

Love & the Unlovable

by Festo Kivengere What a shock I had when I reached home! My eagerness to arrive had made the dust and bumps of the long journey seem nothing. So I was definitely unprepared for the situation I found as the old lorry I was riding in pulled into Rukungiri, my home town in Western Uganda. It was 1939. I was nineteen and coming home with the ink barely dry on my teacher’s certificate. I had been given my first teaching position in the very boys’ school I had attended. That pleased me. At least it would be a start, and I would have money in my pocket. The first ugly surprise came when the truck rounded the marketplace. A crowd had gathered around some people who were singing church songs right out in public! Imagine hearing this floating over the fruit and vegetables: “Down at the cross where my Saviour died...” To me that was sheer fanaticism. The headmaster was waiting for me in town, which was gratifying. Some of my relatives were there also. My favorite niece threw her arms ar

Run with Perseverance (Hebrews 11)

This article was written by Doug Busby for The Hammer Magazine. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 11:39-12:2) In the eleventh chapter of the letter to the Hebrews, we are given a catalogue of people who overcame their environments by faith. They were not great people exercising their faith; rather, they became great by faithing it. They were witnesses to God’s power in their lives, in their days. They had less on which to bas

The Lord Is My Refuge and My Fortress

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 st

A Prayer for Leading Someone to the Lord

This is a prayer written by my friend Corrie ten Boom. Here is a prayer which one could use for somebody who wants to come to the Lord: Jesus, I ask You to come into my life. I am a sinner. I have been trusting myself and my own good works, but now I put my trust in You. I accept You as my own personal Savior. I believe You died for me. I receive You as Lord and Master over my life. Help me to turn from my sins and to follow You. I accept Your forgiveness and Your gift of eternal life. I thank You for it. Amen. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 RSV). Prayer of the counselor: Lord Jesus, You have heard this prayer. Once You said, “Those who come to Me I will in no wise cast out!” Lord, what a welcome! I ask You that Your Holy Spirit will give to this person the assurance of life eternal. Bless him with the certainty that his sins are forgiven. Thank You.

Joy & Singing in Church

Many of the evangelical churches I know of have great doctrine, great teaching, and great practice. But there is one thing about these churches that are otherwise sound—that is, that if all the members were confessed up to date on their sins, the singing would be out of this world. The singing would raise the roof in joy and in volume. As it is, they sing because they know the music, and perhaps they have memorized the words. But they are not overflowing with joy. They are not overflowing with joy because they don’t have joy; they have sound doctrine. I see Christians every day who are not joyful. They are not (for the most part) stuck in gross immorality, but whatever sins they have committed are not confessed. If they had been confessed, they would be joyful, and the singing would be amazing.

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 calls Himself the Son of Man, He is 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

Exercising Your Spiritual Gift

This article was written by Mary Lou Busby for The Hammer Magazine. “Are you exercising your spiritual gift?” “Who, me? I don’t have a gift.” I am amazed at the number of people with whom I come in contact who have no clue what their area of giftedness is in the Body of Christ. It is as if the pastors, teachers and evangelists are the only ones who know, and that is because they are so obviously exercising them. The Scripture gives us various lists of the gifts: prophecy, healing, wisdom, teaching, workers of miracles, helping others, evangelism, administrations, tongues, interpretation of tongues, serving, encouragement, contributing, leadership, mercy, hospitality, discernment (Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, 2 Tim. 1:16), and even these are not exhaustive. The Scripture further exhorts us that each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:10). How do we discover our own spiritual gift or gifts?

I Give You This Charge

"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 Timothy 4:1-5)