Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Glory Due

As I read Psalm 29 in my daily reading this morning, the first half of verse 2 struck me deep within my heart. I love that about God's Word, how one verse can speak to your heart in a special way. You may read through it one hundred times before it hits you that special way, or you may read it one hundred times and it speaks it to you that way each time, but it is simply amazing how God's Word works in our lives. The Word of God is precious to a child of God; it is amazing because it is living, active and powerful!
In this passage, the first part of verse 2 says, "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name". Ten words, yet so deep and powerful. First of all we must take note of the fact that glory is due unto Him. We don't have to wait until a miracle takes place in our lives, nor do we have to wait until a special "blessing" comes our way in order to praise and glorify the Lord. No, for you see who He is is grounds enough to give Him glory. He deserves to be glorified, praised, exalted and extoled. He alone is worthy!
Secondly we must hear the command: "Give!" This four letter word signifies at least two things. 1) If we truly believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God then we have to say that God gave this command. If God gave the command to give Him glory, then it is obviously important to Him. In other words the way the church of today so flippantly regards the sanctity of true worship and praise is contrary to a biblical attitude on the subject. 2) If the Lord commanded us to give Him glory, then it is our choice. If He told us to do something, then it is obvious that we could also not do it if we so chose. Why does this matter? Well because as you and I go through our daily lives, we must understand that in every decision we make, in every attitude we cultivate, in everything that we pursue and aspire to, we are either giving Him the glory due unto His name or we are not.
With all of my heart and on behalf of God (I say that based upon His Word) I urge you to "give unto Him the glory due unto His name." He is worthy of it, He needs no other deed to be done or book to be written to prove His worthiness of honor. Give Him the glory in everything you do today and for the rest of your life. God bless!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Blast From the Past Saturday

Lord willing, each Saturday I will try and find something from a child of God from the past to link to. It may be video sermons, articles, written sermons or book excerpts. Today we will look at a portion of the book written by Leonard Ravenhill entitled "Why Revival Tarries" (the portion quoted is taken from pgs 88-89; chapter ten 'Fire Begets Fire'). Hope the Lord blesses you through this reading today.

As the first atom bomb shook Hiroshima, so prayer alone can release that power which would shake the hearts of men. This cultured paganism at our doors, those idol temples, those fear-gripped, sin-mesmerized millions can only be moved to God as the Church is moved of God for their lost condition. With every possible guile that he knows, the devil would snatch us from the closet of prayer. For in prayer man is linked with God, and in that union Stan is baffled and beaten. Well he knows this; and so, if the closet is shut tightly, the mind is invaded with legitimate cares or with imaginations as big or more real than life. here we need to plead our main defense--the blood. Another useful way to offset wandering thoughts and to help concentration is to pray audibly or to give some utterance at least, though it need not be loud.
Having thus moved and gained the mastery over Satan, our next power is in the "exceeding great and precious promises of God." Here we are on concrete foundation. Here are our trading currencies with heaven. Here God is pledged, and longs to hear us honor Him. Here we may be engaged in warfare not with God but against principalities, for Satan delights in loss no more than any other being. Souls of men are his treasures. Damned souls, doubting souls, drunk souls, disobedient souls, sick souls, religious souls, souls of the young, souls of the old, and all souls outside of the regenerating power of the Spirit are mastered by him, though the degrees of his mastery vary. Souls, in various degrees of spirituality, are special targets for his fiery arrows, but the "shield of faith" will brush them all off and, bless the Lord, leave us all unscathed. Prayer is not for defense. The shield of faith is for that. Prayer is our secret weapon. (It seems to secret to many of the Lord's people. Who of us, despite all that we have read, claims to know much about this masterly work of prayer?)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Be Ye Separate Saith the Lord!

2Co 6:14-18- [14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? [15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? [16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, [18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Step foot into the majority of our modern day churches throughout the United States of America and you will find quickly that either the entire congregation, including the pastors and staff, are ignorant of this passage of Scripture or they simply choose to completely ignore it. It is obvious that the "world" has crept into the church, and in many places overtaken it. Our music styles are worldly; our "worship" services are more like rock concerts; our preaching is not the straight preaching of the un-adulterated Word of God; our lifestyles are tainted with the lusts of the flesh and a love for this world more than we would like to confess; it is sickening to any devoted child of God and to God Himself for that matter! It is terrible, ungodly, unholy and simply against any and everything to do with God and His Word! How can we profess to serve the God of the Bible, but then reject His commandments that come from it?
This passage is clear. It is not hard to understand; neither is it hard to follow if we truly love Christ. You see, when a person completely falls head over heels in love with Jesus Christ, there is nothing left in this "world" that they desire. They strive to be holy! They long for an outpouring of the Holy Ghost in their hearts. They daily seek that place in God that would bring them to a closer walk with Him. It is not hard for them to "come out..." and "separate" because they are longing to get closer to Christ anyway! It's not hard to lose their love for their world, because their desires, likes, dislikes, etc as far as the moral/spiritual sense has been transformed! And they have been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

Notice that he says, "what fellowship hath..." There is no common ground with us and the rest of the world! We are different; we were created as new creatures and therefore we became different (2 Cor. 5:17); we were commanded to be different (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1;Rom. 12:2). We no longer have carnal minds but spiritual (1 Cor. 2). The fact is, that a child of God desires to be like God. They have no desire to conform to this world, they lost that desire when the old man died!

Before I just start rambling on and on, let me get to verse 18. This is a precious promise given unto us by God Himself. But what is true with every other promise in the Word of God is true with this one, their are conditions. The condition was/is that we come out from among the world and be a people separated unto God for His glory and then we will receive the blessings of the Lord. The "God is only grace and mercy" movement of today that says what happens in your life after you say the sinner's prayer can't effect where you spend eternity is just not biblical.

I urge you to cry out to God as David did when he said, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me" (Psa 51:10). Cry out to God to search your heart, to let you know of anything hidden within you that would hinder you from becoming the child of God He desires you to be. He longs to bless you as His child, and He has shown you how to live in the eternal blessings of God, now just respond to Him and be sanctified, set apart and meet for the master's use! God bless!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What Will you do WIth the Box?

Try to imagine yourself hiking through a thick, lucious forest. In the middle of the forest, you stumble upon a cabin, where you can tell someone is living. Slowly you push the creaking door open to find an older gentleman with tattered clothing and a matted beard hunched over a desk scribbling in a notebook. There are test tubes lining the walls; computer screens flashing all around you. The gentleman’s hygiene is not up to par to say the least, but you can tell that it is because he has devoted himself to his work, whatever that is. Out of curiosity and maybe a little bit of concern, you interrupt him from his work. You introduce yourself and surprisingly begin conversing. This meeting led to others and you soon become extremely close friends; the only secret between the two of you is what exactly this man's work is. After many years of close companionship the man in the cabin finds himself at death’s doorstep. While on his death bed, the old man pulls you to his side, grabs a box from under his bed and carefully hands it to you. He then begins to tell you that this is the results of his life work; that the contents of this box, contains the secrets to all of the world’s major problems. He said that if what is in this box is acted upon, the problems of world hunger, world peace, economic, moral, social and justice problems will all be solved. He explains further that it will be hard work, and it will mean sacrificing your whole life just as he has done to put it into action, but he assures you that if you do it, all of the major world issues will be resolved.
You are shocked, you’re speechless, and your mind races as you try to process what all just happened. As soon as you can, you take the box to a group of scientists who then test the old man’s results and find that what the man said was actually true. As you sit on your bed that night, you begin to realize the awesome responsibility that has just been handed to you. Here is the question though, “what will you do with it?” In your hands you hold the answer to all of the world’s problems, but what will you do? Will you shove it to the side in hopes that someone else will pick it up and put it into action? Will you stick it on a shelf or in a drawer with all the best intentions to one day pick it up and begin to work, but after you have lived your life a little? Will you begin working on this project only to get weary and burn out on it in a matter of weeks? I hope and pray that all of us would at that time pick the box up, realize that life is not just about us, stop being selfish and we would cause the sufferings of many people on our planet to cease.
Spiritually, what will you do with the box? In the spiritual side of things, we hold the answers to the church’s problems, and if truth be told the world’s problems now but many times we push them to the side only to forget about them and move on. God has given us his word, and he has promised us many blessings throughout the pages of the precious Bible if we would just listen, trust and obey. But many times we just take his word, put it in a drawer or on a shelf and leave it there until Sunday rolls around. Many professing Christians only open their bibles on Sunday morning when they turn to follow the preacher, and this is sickening to God. He has shown us in his word that we could have power, that we could pull down strongholds, that we could be strong in the Lord and that we could be more than conquerors! He has given us the key, if we would only put it into action. I urge you to ask yourself: What will you do with the box?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Today's Worship Services

The typical church service is so far from what I truly believe the Bible says it should be. There is more entertainment than there is real worship. There is a lack of Holy Ghost conviction, and a "it's ok" attitude towards sin. There is not much labeling sin as sin, it's mostly sugar-coated messages of self help. It saddens me to watch some of these services on television. Loud music that sounds like a rock concert, ungodly apparel, ungodly atmosphere and a lack of glorifying God.
It is clear that God is not pleased with it. I'm not saying that we can't incorporate new songs or even new worship formats, but if the new songs or formats are trying to blur the lines between the world and the church so that the church will become accepted then we become anti-biblical. For even the Word of God says clearly, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom 12:2). I wish I could put into words the things that are so clearly wrong with the worship services of today, but let me just let someone better speak about it; one by the name of Leonard Ravenhill.
I hope you enjoy this video. It touched me, and it also made me realize that I could not express what's on my heart fully, but this is a good start. God bless!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

We Go to Church on Sunday

It's amazing to me how many people that profess to have a relationship with Jesus Christ never even plan to go to church on Sunday. Some say "it's not necessary" or "we're not commanded to, so why bother
?" I would disagree, but let's say for a moment we were never told to gather together with other believers. Wouldn't our faithful attendance to be in His presence with other believers to praise and worship Him show how much we love Him?
You may say, "What do you mean?" Well, it's kind of like when you fall in love with someone. You want to spend time with them. You begin to put them before other things in your life that use to have top priority. Your hobbies, friends and sometimes family begins to take second seat when you fall head over heels for that special someone. If you know that person will be somewhere and they want you there too, your love for them will compel you to go be with them.
It should be that way spiritually. If we know that people are gathering together to talk about, sing to, read about, preach about and worship the One we love then we should push everything else aside to be there. When we truly fall in love with Christ, we won't be fishing, hunting, golfing, watching tv/movies or anything else on Sunday during church time; we will be with other believers worshipping Christ! What do I say to the professing Christian that sees no need to be in church? I would say with Joshua, "...choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15). We go to church on Sunday, bottom line.
So that means if family comes un-expectantly, we don't stay home to entertain them. They have two choices: 1) Come to church with us or 2) Stay home by themselves. That means when birthday parties, family reunions, TV shows or SUPER BOWLS try to come between our household and the gathering together of the believers, I push them all aside simply because I love Him! That's no credit to me, it's all to Him. It means when I'm tired in my body, and I don't feel like getting up, getting dressed and going to church, I push through it all, because I love Him (it's amazing how many can do this every day for a paycheck, but not for a relationship with Christ). I would say to you that truly want this desire, fall in love with Him. Fall head over heels in love with Jesus Christ and you will have no problem pushing other things aside to worship Him on Sunday or any other day of the week for that matter.
The fact is, we ARE commanded to be together: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Heb. 10:25). Look around you; we can see the day approaching very quickly. We ought to be assembling together even more today, not closing down our Sunday schools, Sunday night services and midweek services! We are completely backwards it seems from the way Christ designed the church. Instead of power we have weakness; instead of victory we have defeat! Leonard Ravenhill said, "Our churches are more air-conditioned than prayer-conditioned;" and to top it all off, we gather less, instead of more.
I urge you, heed the voice of God. Be in church this Sunday. Not just any thing that's called a church, but a true church; one that follows the biblical principles of what a church should be. Check in Monday as I plan to (Lord willing), begin a look into what a church should be (mainly focusing on the worship service side of it). God bless!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Getting Closer to the Lord

It is clear, that the Christianity of today is lacking in the area of being what a Christian was in the first century. The apostles of old knew they needed to daily depend upon and submit to Jesus Christ. Without this they realized they could nothing of any value at all. Today, we seem to have it all figured out without the Lord. We never spend time in His presence all week but then we feel as if we are just going to waltz into the church on Sunday morning to worship and praise Him. We need to realize how pridefully arrogant we are when we do not have a relationship with the Lord, yet claim to be a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood."
I bring this to our attention not to beat down, but to build up. We must realize where we are not, if we are ever to get to where we need to be. God is longing, seeking and drawing on those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth! My quick question to you is, "Will you be that person?"
Will you be the one who doesn't worry what cost comes to them when bending down to pick up your cross? Will you be the one that the Lord can count on no matter what He is needing done?
Let me encourage you child of God, "be strong in the Lord"! Don't settle for less than what God has for you. Rise up in the strength that comes from knowing Christ as our Savior and be victorious for the kingdom of God!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Plea for Repentance

Do you remember the prophet Amos? He is in the Old Testament and you will find his book directly following Joel. Amos had the difficult task, as many prophets did and do, of prophesying of God's upcoming judgment upon a nation. At this time, Israel was at its peek. They had the most land they had ever had, they were in political peace and their nation was prosperous, but spiritually and morally they were corrupt.
Amos began to prophesy to them God's plan of action. He let them know of His judgment that would soon be given, and His wrath that would be poured out. God's wrath would be poured out on the nations of Israel & Judah, and many others.
But looking into chapter 4, we see that God had already sent calamities and disasters to them. He had sent drought, famine and pestilence; all to try to bring them to the realization that they had forsaken the God of their fathers. You see, God loves His children so much that even when we travel down the wrong path He will send things our way to bring us back to the place we need to be. But the key is, we must be willing to respond to His convicting power and REPENT!
Israel was not! Time after time in this chapter we read the words that must have been painful for Amos to write and even more painful for our Lord to inspire, "yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord." Oh what a horrible site. God's loving arms reaching out, His loving warnings, rebukes and chastisments going out, but they are all met with rejection! Remember Jesus when He said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!" (Luke 13:34).
How does this apply to our life? Well, individually we need to always be striving for a closer walk with God. Every day the Lord will draw us closer to Him if we allow Him to do the work in us necessary. But as a nation, we need to understand that God doesn't have to send anymore prophets, He has already given us His Word! I live in the United States of America which at one time was a Christian nation. We are now a nation that is doing its best to remove the name of God out of any and everything. We are killing mass amounts of precious babies each and every day. We have almost totally abandoned God and everything He stands for.
Proverbs 9:17 says, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." We are there. God's judgment will come upon this nation. There is no other way to see it. God is just! He will not hold one nation to one standard and have a different standard completely for another. God help us realize that we need to repent!
I urge you, don't reject the call of God to repentance. Don't ignore the conviction of the Holy Ghost when He moves upon you. Pray for our nation, pray for yourselves and pray for God's mercy to be upon us. Just Pray!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Godly Sorrow or Worldly Sorrow?

There is one thing for certain, without the Spirit of God convicting us of sin, and without us being sorry for that sin there is no way to be truly saved. Without truly being sorry for sin, there is absolutely no way to repent. Many people intend to make things right with the Lord sometime later in life, but they are not considering the fact that except they are drawn, they can not come. Even still, there are those that believe they can recite a prayer and everything is taken care of. Oh how terrible this is, to be so deceived into believing that you are headed to a place of eternal joy and happiness, only to find that you were wrong at the end. But I would like to focus on a different subject in this post however.I want to look at the difference between two different sorrows: worldy and godly.
There is another deception going on in the church and that is the deception that says sorrow equals repentance. We forget about God, we go weeks without talking to Him, we make it to church when we have the time and then when we do make it we're only there out of routine, ritual or a feeling of obligation. But then some kind of trial comes. Maybe our bank account zeros out or maybe we lose a loved one, and then all of a sudden we try and run to God to fix it all. We cry, we grieve, we mourn; we even say we're sorry for not being the "Christian" we needed to be, but there is no real repentance. There is just a feeling of worldly sorrow. We are sorrowful because of the trouble we are in. We are heavy in heart, due to the suffering we are going through. I am not saying that God hasn't used situations to open our spiritual eyes to our condition. There have been many people that have hit rock bottom just to realize that they can't do it on their own. To realize that they are in need of a Savior.
But the difference between worldy sorrow and godly sorrow is that godly sorrow acknowledges the fact that you have sinned against a holy God. It brings you to the realization that you are in fact guilty of breaking God's law. In 2 Corinthians 7:9-11, Paul is dealing with the sorrow that the Corinthians felt after receiving his letter. He said, "I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance:". This is the key, sorrow to repentance. The next verse says, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." Could we maybe realize that just crying to God when we are in trouble, when we have forgotten to even mention His name for so long, is not the kind of sorrow that is needed to receive full salvation?
Let me say here, that God's people can always cry out to God in times of trouble (Psalm 50:15). We can cry out to God in times of trials because we have a relationship with Him. The promise is given, that his eyes are upon the righteous and His ears are open to their cry, but this promise is only to His children.
The next time you find yourself crying out to God, ask yourself why and when? Why are you crying out? Is it just for God to fix your problems without even worrying whether or not God gets glory? And when? When is the last time you spoke with Him? When is the last hour that you have spent in His presence? These questions must be asked, and then approach the Lord in the manner that He would have you do. God bless!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Where is the Fighter?

Does anyone remember the story of a little boy named David, who lived in a country called Israel and was the caretaker of his father's sheep? Sure we do, this was King David. The one that defeated giants, ruled the kingdom in righteousness and was such a great king that every king after him was compared to him. But I want us to focus in way before he was all those things; to the time when he was just a boy.
This boy, David, most likely had absolutely no idea as to what would be his future. He simply knew one thing, he loved the Lord! It's not hard to read the psalms he wrote and not picture him sitting out in the field in the stillness of the night, gazing upon the beautiful stars as his heart flowed with the presence of God. I can see him as he falls asleep thinking and meditating on God. His heart was a heart after God's own heart. He had a relationship with the Lord, unlike many ever experience. He did not worry about fitting in, he wasn't concern about being labeled a religous finatic he was in love with the God of all the universe!
This love is what fueled the "fighter" within him. What do I mean? Take a look at 1 Samuel 17 and you will find out. This boy wasn't concerned about popular opinion in any way. Our modern day evangelists and preachers could take some lessons from little David. As he heard Goliath shouting profanities against the one true God, David knew that he had to take action. He was not going to stand by and let his God's name being trampled like that.
Today we fight a different enemy, although the same enemy we fight fueled the one David fought. Our enemy is called the devil. This enemy is at work today with extra force. He has turned the nation of the United States from a Christian nation, to a nation that has almost completely forgotten about God. He slowly began to creep into the church, bringing the standard of the church down ever so slightly over time until finally you can no longer tell the church from the world for the most part. Our concerts are the same; our services have changed from preaching the Word of God to telling jokes; the church is no longer the house of prayer, it is the house of comedy! The saddest thing of all, it is our fault. The devil can't defeat us unless we let him. God help us see this!
Here's my question though: Where is our Fighter? Where is that within us that rises up when we see the name of our Lord defiled? Where is the stirring within our souls that cries out to advance the kingdom of God and show the nations that they are but men (Psalm 9:20)? It is clear that if we were stirred, bothered, concerned or moved in any way by the state of the church that we would most certainly begin to pray and cry out for God to move through us in a mighty way! We may not have any physical Goliaths to fight against today, in fact we are told that our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but our warfare is spiritual (2 Cor. 10:1-4).
I say we come back to our first love. I say let's come back to the place where we have a heart after God's own heart; where his desires are first in our lives; where what hurts him, hurts us and what pleases him pleases us. God help us today to realize there needs to be a fighter in us to rise up and fight against sin, wickedness and all the evil the devil will try and bring our way. You may be the next David, you may be called upon to gather the stones from the brook and sling it at the enemy; but you must first fall in love with the Lord before ever being stirred enough to step out by faith. God bless!