Monday, November 4, 2013

Explaining to our children preferences, convictions and distinctions among brethren WITH GRACE

     Let's face it, Christians differ on a number of matters, and that often or perhaps i should say sometimes for good reason! It is customary to call such differences 'secondary issues' (interpretation differences like paedo baptism vs credo baptism, differences in liberties like teetotalism vs moderationist as concerns drinking alcohol etc) , so as to make the point clear that there are bonafide God-obeying, Christ-exalting believers who differ on subjects which don't negate their standing as believers, despite the reality that some of these issues are still very important! 

The sticky part is how to explain such differences to our children, how to gracefully disagree with others while maintaining the unity of the brethren, being free of slander and not leaving the impression upon our children that our convictions on the matter reveal our superiority over those lukewarm if that, church-goers.
Seek wisdom in this, seek to be careful and clear in this and learn from leaders who model such unity while maintaining their stands, lest we raise mean-spirited, arrogant and elitist Pharisees!
With that said I will offer some EXAMPLES of what NOT to do (they are of course comical exaggerations and straw-men  so please don't get offended, lol),

Halloween participating child, 
"Mommy why don't those kids dress up?"
"Well, sweety long time ago in Salem there were these witch hunters and....."

Halloween abstaining child,
"Mommy why do those kids dress up?"
"Well, sweety I guess they like worshiping the Devil..."

"Dad why do they send their kids to public school?"
"Hmm, apparently they love the world and want the world to raise their children.."

"Dad why do they homeschool their kids?"
"Hmm, apparently they think monks and nuns are a good thing...."

Child of a moderate participant in alcohol, 
"Mom, why can't they have a small glass of wine with their dinner?"
"Baby, they follow the laws of men instead of God...."

Child of a total abstainer from alcohol
"Mom, why do they drink beer and wine?"
"Baby, they must not care about what the bible says about drunkards....."

Child of a credo-baptist,
"Dad, why do they pour water on babies?"
"O, they like the Pope, think the water magically washes sin away..."

Child of a paedo-baptist,
"Dad, why don't they baptize their babies?"
"O, they like the abortionists, don't want their babies saved..."

Child of a Israel supporting dispensationalist,
"Mom, why don't they support and work for Israel?"
"Hun, WWII might be over, but I guess Nazis are still around..."

Child of a Israel neutral convenantalist, 
"Mom, why do they focus so much on the land and people of Israel?"
"Hun, they think people are are saved by blood not faith....."

Hehe....brethren, laying aside the extreme cases, let us be wise in explaining to our children differences among the true body of Christ!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Don't WASTE your homeschooling!

It goes something like this, 'Are you a homeschooler?' "Wow, me too!' and there you have it, two peas in a pod right? Not exactly, such an association might only describe where two parents don't send their children and that might be the only thing those two parents have in common. The point, is that the differences abound not only in structures and curriculums but also in worldviews, and so I hope to sound somewhat of a clarion call to fellow homeschoolers in order that their opportunity might not be 'wasted', the opportunity of having more time, more control over what specifically influences their children!
Here then is a choppy list of some things we must not neglect,

Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to teach and to share the gospel with your children frequently, for they desperately need to hear it until they come to faith, and they desperately need to hear it frequently after they come to faith. A great many pitfalls will be avoided and a great many extremes nullified if by consistent exposure to the gospel, your children are convinced that they are great undeserving sinners in need of God's grace, and that if in anything they stand apart from others around them, it is due only to the grace of God within them!

Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to pray daily with your children, to teach them to turn to and to depend on God, to teach them that their teachers (parents) desperately depend on the help of God. Prayers of thanks will teach them that all blessings truly flow from God, prayers of intercession will teach them to compassionately desire God's grace to be given to other people, and prayers of repentance will teach them to humble themselves before God and strive towards holiness!

Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to teach your children sound doctrine. A biblical worldview demands first a familiarity with the scriptures, and a reasonable ability to interpret scripture (hermeneutics). What a shame if they master fields in academics and yet are ignorant of the attributes of God, of the doctrines concerning salvation, of the doctrines concerning the church etc!

Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to teach them the importance of the local church. It is good and well that children learn to submit to their parents and especially their fathers, but if that is where it ends then that is not biblical. This is why a healthy church is so important, because they need to be in a place where they see the whole family involved and submitted, as God has designed, to a local church led by men approved by God according to the scriptures. Parents must humble themselves in this matter, showing by example what it looks like to honor the elders of the church, and what it means to love the body which Christ died for!

Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to shape and refine the very character of your children. Just finishing the work and making 'the grade' is not enough, for you their parent must notice and deal with their attitudes as well. Confronting and disciplining sinful attitudes as well as training them towards good attitudes is something you have been uniquely called to do by God, from humility, to diligence, to truthfulness, to compassion, to sincerity, to gentleness, to self-control etc are such that by God's grace you can instill in your children!

Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to challenge your children towards excellence. Exhort and help them to hone their natural gifts and to grow in the areas they are weak. Don't allow them to simply cop out and give up, but call them to strive (within reason) towards excellence. For instance, after they take a test, review with them the wrong answers and seek to help them think through what and why and how they got it wrong (not to alter the test, but to challenge their thinking).

Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to instill in your children the necessity of discernment. I suppose this comes naturally when it comes to a subject like evolution vs creation, but think of the blessing of applying such a discerning eye towards all subjects. They need to be trained and shown by example, to discern everything, all claims of truth, all forms of media etc by the word of God, to read everything, asking first, 'What saith the Lord?'!

Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to show them that all matters of life and learning are matters of worship. If one subject is most mockingly brought up as being incapable of holding anything other than a neutral place concerning God it is math, but strange as it may sound math is but one more reason to worship the Lord! For the very order, the consistency, and absolute nature of math is but one testimony to the order, consistency and absolute nature of God, His ways and His truth. Every history, every biography, teaches us something about worship, either the worship of the world or the worship of God and the consequences and the blessings of such.

9. JOY
Don't waste the ample time you have been afforded by neglecting to love on them, pour affection on them, and show that you enjoy them for the sake of their joy. They must be convinced that all their striving, that all their work, that all their obedience is not a means to receive your love, but something they do because they know they are loved. Spend 'off' time with them, talk to them, have 'heart to hearts', have special days with just them, play with them etc. Children are indeed a blessing from the Lord and He calls us to raise them which includes showing affection towards them, let us then be resolved to see them in such a  counter-cultural way by God's grace!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A multitude of mercies

This is a sermon I preached 2 wks ago to God's people..........a quite unconventional survey sermon (for me) which I hope at the least would whet the spiritual appetite of God's people to further their understanding of the freeing and moving love and grace of God found in Jesus Christ!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Keeping children in the service, why and how

A brief case for and help towards, keeping children in the church service...

I write this post not to formulate a new law in which to bind men, but I do write fully convinced that it is wise, good, and fruitful to forgo separating children, youth and adults by having separate 'church' services. However I'm not writing to present a case for a family-integrated model, for I'm not suggesting there should never be times where say in classroom settings (Sunday school) that children or youth are specifically targeted, but I do believe such should certainly not take place during the Lord's day service. I'm also not saying that if a church does this then they are unhealthy or apostate and should be abandoned (don't bother responding if you take it that way, for or against). With that said there are some who do what i think is quite unique, for some encourage the parents to engage the children on what they have learnt or 'picked up' from the sermon, while some churches like Paul Washer's church in Virginia, actually address the children with a separate short message and then preach to the whole congregation (with children present). I'm not so much addressing the 'nursery' either, though I still think it's unnecessary, although a 'crying room' lol (where one can briefly if able, can calm or change or feed their baby etc), might be helpful.

Here then is some food for thought (It would be nice to convince some, but more importantly, maybe more realistically, lol, I wish to support those who have decided likewise)

Preaching should be central on the Lord's Day, for God has given such 'gifts' (Pastors etc, Eph 4) to equip the saints, yes the 'preaching' of the gospel must be heard and is indeed a means of grace which the Holy Spirit uses to move men to trust, cherish and obey Christ.

*since preaching is so vital, necessary and powerful, we should not limit it's reach nor help in assisting others to miss out on it (which happens not only for the children, but for all the 'helpers', all the 'teachers' and even IF there's somewhat of a rotation there's always a few volunteers who rarely, if ever, get to sit under the preached word and receive this vital grace {and that quite contradicts what most believe about preaching}), unfortunately it's the most vital parts of worship (typically preaching and the ordinances) that are missed (or interrupted) because of the unnecessary extras we add to the Lord's day

*i contend that having children present would be in keeping with the scriptures (since children would have been present during the service) and with a grand majority of church history....and one would be hard-pressed to argue a case from scriptures that such should be done

*children hear more and understand more then we believe, and ESPECIALLY more then most presently believe (of course we can always do things to help them learn to listen better)

*parents are called to teach our children in the 'fear and admonition of the Lord', and it certainly makes sense to teach them (even IF they don't 'get much out of it') that there is something unique, something distinctly separate (holy) about the Lord's service, about the sacraments, preaching, and prayer etc, and that unfortunately has been lost for far too many in our day (as opposed to church simply being a fun, interesting, playtime)

*children love to imitate, and if they are challenged (i know it's considered 'old-fashioned') to grow in maturity, to be trained towards adulthood (another lost goal of our day) it would do them good

*it seems quite hypocritical to expect children to sit and listen to a teacher in say school (if u do that) but not to teach them to sit and listen to the word preached. Perhaps some would object saying 'But that's geared towards them, they can understand it', well then what if they can't understand? are they allowed to walk out? Better yet if an adult family member begins to talk to them (and u know some that don't do the gaga language, but speak a little 'over the head' of the child) would you be fine if you child walks away, since they don't 'get it'? I hope you would consider that rude, well then should not the Lord receive much more attention?

HELP!! Assistance in teaching children to sit quietly in church:
(this is NOT expert advice, but some things we have found to be helpful in teaching/training our 7 boys to sit quietly in church)

First things first, here then are some reasons why NOT to teach them to sit quietly in church:
*don't do it for self, to be seen or as a sign that you belong to an 'elite' class of super-parents
*don't do it because it shows your children are holy and others are not, for they are but restrained little heathens who desperately need the grace of Jesus Christ
*don't do it without a conviction concerning the importance of the Lord's Day, don't simply do it to make some statement

Now then, let me suggest a few things that should help:
*a good example: children NEED to see you yourself display a high regard for the uniqueness of the Lord's Day
*much prayer: plead with the Lord for help in doing this, and plead that the word might be effectual towards them
*train! Discipline disobedience, but first TRAIN them (at home) how to obey, regular family devotions where the children are required to sit and listen is of first importance, and perhaps additional times where say a parent sits the children down and are read a story (explain what's expected of them: paying attention, no side chat etc) and quickly and consistently discipline them when they disobey (a quick smack, a flick, etc)...yes children need free time and playtime but they should not be given the freedom to always chose when they decide to listen or show respect etc
*light discipline during service, (if needed..hahahaha), not saying if they fidget or something (age can come into an extent), but purposely being distracting, loud, rude etc (quick flicks are good), and maybe there's some times where u need to deal with them in a bathroom (BUT, if for some reason it seems quite unwise, lots of people,lack of opportunity etc......then assure them such WILL be dealt with at home or when you get in the car, but be sure to follow through so not to teach them that you are bluffing, one parent may be better at remembering then another...but don't let it go because a short time has passed) ...remember we are obeying the Lord in applying the rod, and we do so for the good of our children
*sometimes it might help to engage them during 'hey remember that story' 'did you hear that name' etc
*often it helps to remind them of the expectations BEFORE you get to church (knuckleheads need repetition)
*encourage and compliment good behavior, while being careful not to teach them that they have accomplished some 'good works' (giving children the gospel frequently will help fight that tendency) nor allowing them to compare themselves with other children ('well, son i don't know about them, but God has called YOU to obey ME and that's what we need to worry about .....thankfully I've not had to correct that kind of sinful question yet)
*a little ingenuity might help in calming and quieting babies and toddlers, trying to gauge feeding times better, trying to learn how to bounce them, and if all else fails 'o well' just carry them for a while or step out if they're acting possessed :)
*a LOT of patience and endurance as well, (hoping for the best, but expecting the worst), with some it might be quicker, and with others WHOA, it might take some months (but don't give up....cling to those convictions, keep the goal and proper motive before your eye....and by God's grace keep on keeping on)

Well that wasn't anything revolutionary, and certainly it wasn't exhaustive but I do hope it's helped someone out there........and i do hope nothing was misunderstood, grace and peace.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Propaganda, precious puritans...missed it by that much

Propaganda, a talented spoken word artist and Christian rapper in his latest album (which was free) released a song titled 'Precious Puritans', in it he points out some problematic points of history concerning Puritans and slavery!
However though there are some very valid POINTS being made, the first being that no men deserve pedestals, that we should not ignore flaws when we see them, that we should not whitewash history in order to protect truth etc, there is YET a spin, a direction that simply isn't going to help a lot of people. When it comes to racism and especially in AMERICA there's a WAY to point out the issues which only stirs up more controversy, which only unleashes deep rooted bitterness.
Take movies for example, Spike Lee was always good at that, he made valid points, presented some real gritty scenarios and yet for many of 'us' it left us angry, bitter, and feeling quite justified in our sinful responses and outlooks (which goes beyond 'telling it like it is' and rather finds racism EVERYWHERE and in EVERYONE which also breeds a stronger stance for separation while still complaining about such separation)...o yes I know about racism, I've felt it, i know what it's like to be in a school as the only minority, I also know well the anger, the rage that came with that from within, despite being 'only' half-black.....and for such reasons and more Christians especially should address and critique such issues in a way and in a spirit that is DRASTICALLY different from the way lost men do.

Before we dive further and before I lose you, let me first say this:
We should still read, enjoy and quote the Puritans NOT because they were the epitome of Christ followers (and issues revolving around slavery would not be the only flaws we could find among them), rather we as believers are called to judge TRUTH according to the word of God, and if TAUGHT truth lines up with scripture then we can profit from it, yes if truths on family, on preaching, on Christ, on the gospel, on holiness etc LINE UP with scripture then we have no need to dismiss them, for we understand that such TRUTH originates from God!
Since scripture is our guide, our standard, we can model what is good with discernment, now as concerns DOCTRINE and specifically FALSE DOCTRINE we find an altogether different response in scripture, we are to avoid such, to mark such, to defend against it, and as we look back in history we must be careful to differentiate between error and heresy, between bad teaching and false teaching, between apostasy and compromise.

One major problem is that this song generalizes 'PURITANS' and this is extremely careless, for the Puritans (which would start with England, not America) are a wide bunch, a large group of believers varying on a grand number of things, not some league of men who teamed together under one statement of faith. Furthermore it is commonplace to find among 'puritan-era' books/sermons calls for examination even for those WITHIN the church AND ministry, so it is clear that some were simply not saved.
This would be why such lines like 'You know they were the chaplains on slaves ships, right' don't help bring any clarity or fruitful thinking, just a reaction, did they then not offer the gospel to such men? Also we should bear in mind that there are many times even now where 'chaplains' are serving in situations that they don't necessarily agree with. 
Second, is that when it comes to slavery, there are a myriad of factors to keep in mind (not blanket excuses, but things which help us understand) like,
1. Did all have knowledge of the evils and origins of the trade? (Knowledge is important, and Wilberforce understood that as he attempted to learn and teach others of the gory details of the slave do pro-lifers concerning abortions etc).
2. The scriptures are not void of references to slavery/servanthood and that's not to say that the scriptures condone the slave trade and the scriptures CERTAINLY don't condone the abuses, violence, and hatred of the slave trade, YET.....what we don't find is the example of the early church to correct all problems of the day by political action, the gospel is the heart of Christianity, with that said considering that they like all men were 'men of their time' (which NEVER excuses evil) but it does in the case of servants/slaves present a grand dilemma theologically, and to ignore it completely is quite careless.
Propaganda asserts:
"I should be content in this stage, right? Isn’t that Paul taught? According to your precious puritans."
Which depending on the context could be monstrously harsh (which appears to be the only option he cares to suggest)....OR as we have seen in the New Testament such language being spoken to slaves, spoken to the oppressed, spoken to the persecuted and yet in those cases such 'contentment' doesn't mean there isn't sin, that there isn't a problem, that there isn't suffering, so such a statement only brings forth an emotional knee jerk reaction w/out pause, for in such cases the call for contentment is not a surrender to the whims of men but to present sovereignty of God.
The attitude and spirit of the song implies perhaps unintentionally, the worst scenario possible: that such men not only worked from how things were, but were supporting it, helping it, being premeditated promoters of it, and that ALL without exception despised such people, demonized such people, abused such people, and for those reasons and more it's clear that such are absolutely LOST MEN. Now the end of the song supposedly clarifies that the point is that God uses 'crooked sticks' and that nobody is 'inerrant' but if that was the ultimate 'lesson' then why add so many lines about not quoting them at all, about how wrong it is to quote them, UNLESS you're saying quoting anybody would be forbidden. This is a confusing contradiction, for it gives the impression that those who quote Puritans (just about all leaders, past and present...Spurgeon loved them, certainly read more about them and from them then anyone, and while Spurgeon spoke clearly and loudly against such abuses as slavery, he wasn't wrong to quote and admire a number of them) are either ignorant white-man worshippers or mean-spirited racists at heart, and any such pictures EVEN CLOSE to that analysis would be detrimental to the body of Christ.
I'm not attempting to defend them, and I certainly would not defend the more obvious and clearly forbidden atrocities done or commended and where we find sin we should call it sin plain and simple, YET I find this song in particular to be found wanting, and for those who understand the balance and are quite healthy it will not do any damage, but for those not as strong, not as balanced, not to mention struggling to walk in grace, to submit to leadership, to learn good theology, this has the potential to drive them away from fruitfulness and to disregard truth from any man UNLESS that man 'is coming from where I'm coming from'. In other words this will only work against true unity within the reformed community OR it will be a whipping tool for especially young people to use against older reformed men and especially white men. Such critiques are often bully-like rants which push white people into a corner demanding they apologize for all the atrocities committed by humans with the same skin shade, and that my brethren is unchristian.  I agree with the assessment of one of my African brothers (yes actually FROM Africa) "One of the problems with the song is this: He is seemingly coming at the issue from a black (Christian) point of view. Instead of a Christian's point of view. As a result, I find the song to be black-man/culture-centered than God-centered"

  • Unfortunately I believe the song will be praised (as i have seen) by many who won't bother to think about some of the reactions and justifications that will follow, and as such are welcoming division in a body of believers that are already undergoing such onslaughts within the reformed community (for instance the compromising elephant room 2 nonsense of welcoming heretics and then disregarding biblical discernment by throwing the 'race card' in order to shut down  critics and rally support from bitter men).

  • For further reading, and included in the blog posts are the lyrics of the song (though I'm NOT saying the blog posts clear up these issues, i recommend them not as solutions, but as some good thoughts, questions, but still some unhelpful generalizations and missing clarifications.). (read pt 2 as well)

grace and peace

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Light yoke of Christ

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus Christ spoke these words while on this earth to men who were burdened by the yoke of many of the religious leaders of that day. The religious leaders put a strong yoke of legalistic, oppresive and condemning bondage upon the people of that day. They did this several different ways:
1. They elevated their additional laws over and against God's commands
Matthew 15:7-9 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
2. They had an external righteousness of restraint by which they held as weight over those who were 'sinners'
Matthew 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 18:11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
3. They used the law to condemn men and leave them in their sin, they offered no hope.
John 9:34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

Jesus Christ however offered true hope, He employed the law, the commands of God to show the character and holiness of God, He used them to expose the fact that men have broken the commands of God and cannot begin to keep the law. Jesus proved that the problem of sin is an internal problem which can't be dealt with by any human effort, and that all men are equally condemned and that those who believe they are justified are truly blind. Jesus used His righteousness not to oppress men, but as an acceptable offering to God, Jesus Christ became hope for sinners by paying (being punished) for their sins. Jesus Christ offers hope to guilty and incapable of good lost men by providing atonement for their sins and grace through the Holy Spirit's work to be free from the bondage/mastery of sin, so that they may indeed live for God!
His yoke is easy because it's fueled by His love and all the effort that is done by men is from the graceful ability which God supplies. His burden is light because He has carried it all, and the load which He places upon His people is not only for their good, but the strength they have to endure it is, once again, provided by Him. The freedom found in serving Christ, in laboring for the Lord is restful, for our hearts are then soothed with the knowledge that we have peace with God, that He is our Father and that He is in control, yes it is the rest of enjoying His goodness and grace even in the midst of trials because we are assured that such is temporary and that we shall one day dwell with Him for eternity!

NOTE: Lest we be swept away by flowery sermonettes on this passage, let us also recognize the FULL context (for it is quite common for preachers to leave out an explanation of the previous verses).
Pay especially close attention to the words i have underlined,
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
So then what we have here is clearly an example of the Sovereignty of God in the salvation of men, for God retains the right to reveal truth, to give grace by revealing Himself. Men are guilty, they die and are condemned because they have sinned, not because they have rejected their 'second chance', and God according to His pleasure has mercy on whomever He 'wills' to have mercy on. So then the call to come in this context is to men who have had such revelation, who see their need, who have learned of the hope found in Christ, who desire to be freed from the bondage of sin, NOT a message to down and out oppressed people who are victims of the religious hypocrites.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Embracing the glory of MOTHERHOOD

In our culture, motherhood is looked on with much disdain, and for many it is seen more as a 'necessary evil', something that must be done, but which is ultimately by itself unfulfilling and purposeless. Hence the push for mothers to acquire 'honor', to acquire 'value', and to acquire 'purpose' through education, through income, or through any 'noticable' accomplishment especially that which soars over others.
In addition to the attacks from without, there are the attacks from within, not only believing those lies but creating your own. As you witness the monotony of the daily 'grind', as you hear the praises given to others for what they have 'accomplished', as you push yourself to deal with yet another crisis within an hour's time, as you wait day after day to see just a small amount of progress, and as you attempt to encourage yourself until that time comes where you receive encouragement from others (even those closest to you), in all of that and more, your strength is being withered and you simply want to 'throw in the towel', you're simply tired of fighting, tired of caring, and tired of being 'taken for granted'!

The TRUTH however is that your work, your position, your privilege, your purpose is GLORIOUS!! Mothers, don't you realize that you are a living testimony of ENDURANCE, that you have the unique ability to model 'do all things unto the Lord'. The fact that your duty, your labor is hidden from the eyes of man, brings flesh and blood to the text, '“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 6:1). Mothers, your example is a living sermon on how to live for the glory of God, how to live, LIFE unto the Lord in ALL THINGS, rather then your children chasing moment after moment, pleasure after pleasure, idol after idol, they are given the blessing of seeing the importance of each day, of honoring God in the little things. Mothers it is you which gives the best example of serving, of giving to those who can not give back, yes your glorious routine is a model of the life of Christ, in every bit of cooking, cleaning, wiping, clothing, washing, bathing, teaching, spanking, and nurturing, you give a picture of Christ to your children!

Even your FAILURES, your INADEQUACIES, and your STRUGGLES bring glory to God! For in true weakness, in true hopelessness you will turn to God, you will surrender to Him, you will beg Him for the strength to 'make it' through another day, and IN THAT you point your children to Christ, you point to the righteousness of Christ, you point to the patience, and goodness, and power, and wisdom, and grace of God, your God! It is that example, that pattern of turning to God that will engrave upon the hearts and minds of your children that all the honor, all the praise and all the glory belongs to the Lord. Romans 11:36 "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen."
EMBRACE then dear mothers, the glory of motherhood, knowing that God is well pleased with your labors. Embrace the reality that you are storing up truths in the hearts of your children that take years to process, and often longer to see come to fruition. Mothers embrace the truth that your labor is not in vain, and that your labor unto the Lord is precious and purposeful! Mothers be assured that the Lord is swift to help you, to fill you, to use you if you will but cast those cares upon Him, if you will but look to Him for renewed strength, if you will but ask Him to refocus your eyes on Him!
Galatians 6:9 "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Don't embrace the lies of the culture, don't give up on the glorious role of motherhood, rather give up on self, give up on hope in the praises of men, give up on looking within for strength!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gospel a rescue, ransom, reconciliation, restoration

May it not be forgotten, that the gospel is a,

RESCUE: Christ delivers men from the just punishment of eternity in Hell, Jesus saves men from what they deserve, what they have earned, and furthermore Jesus has rescued those who didn't seek Him first

Romans 5:9 "Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God."
1 Thessalonians 5:9,10 "For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10  who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him."

RANSOM: Christ offered Himself as the only acceptable payment for sin, yes we can say "Jesus died for you'" and we can also say "Jesus died BECAUSE of you, for it was your sins that required an acceptable payment and Christ is the only worthy spotless lamb who can take away our sins

Ephesians 5:2b ".....just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
Romans 3:23-26 "23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24  and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus"

RECONCILIATION: Christ eliminates the enmity between us and God, and by giving us His righteousness we then are made right w/God. Jesus makes His enemies, not only His friends but makes us the children of God.

Ephesians 2:12-16 "remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility."
Romans 5:10,11 "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."

RESTORATION: Christ through His death and resurrection covenants with those who believe and enables them by the Holy Spirit to no longer live for themselves but to live for Christ who gave Himself for them. Jesus has set us free indeed, not free to live as we please like those who pervert the grace of God but freedom from slavery to sin, and freedom to walk in righteousness

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 "For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised."
Romans 8:9-17 "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[f] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fruitful sermons series MUST LISTEN!!!!

Here brethren is a list of SERIES that u would do well to make time to listen to, some of these names are lesser known, but in no way less fruitful, in fact I would contend that these series would do your soul more good then double the amount from popular reformed preachers.

First let's begin with BRIAN BORGMAN

Here then is a phenomenal series on GODLY EMOTIONS (much needed in our day)
A 160 pt on SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (take your pic of topics in this one...gems!!)

Next we have Dr. Curt Daniel, a brilliant and profound.....yet down to earth expositor of scripture (he is friends of notable preachers and has had many at his little church in Illinois from DA Carson, Phil Johnson, Sam Waldron, Joel Beeke to Paul Washer etc)

Attributes of God (so far 56)
Christianity vs Philosophy (15 Pt)
Biblical Typology (8 pt)
Five points of Calvinism
History and Theology of Calvinism (75 pts)

Next a friend and the pastor of my mother and sister, P. Matt Mager

this series on Psalm 51 is just wonderful!
This moving and praise-full sermon after the near death of his wife and baby girl, magnifies our sovereign God!!
Two part sermon on Marriage and Divorce etc, is meaty and needed in our day
These Biographies are among the best on the web

Lastly I can't leave without recommending the most underrated pastor/preacher of our day, Pastor Al Martin

This series on Psalm 1 is grrrreat!!
This series on Principles of Christian Living is one of the most balanced and needed series in our day

Saturday, June 30, 2012

preaching style??

Equipping the saints (Ephesians 4) and teaching the whole counsel of God (Acts 20) EXTENDS beyond the Sunday morning preaching style! We can only really and honestly defend topical vs 'verse by verse' preaching if we realize that the duty of the church can't be fulfilled in one hr during the week.

First, let's admit that it's quite possible and happens quite often that someone preaches through a given book and STILL avoids certain subjects (btw the Calvary Chapel grp which, like the SBC quite theologically diverse from church to church, well they all teach verse by verse, and yeah many still aren't teaching truth) yes some will take a large passage then pick which area they will emphasize and consequently leave out other things. Second, if a preacher takes a slower more careful approach, then exactly HOW LONG, how many yrs, how many decades before one congregation is given a solid and balanced theological diet?

Let's then look at two characters from church history that are often referenced to in regards to preaching, JOHN CALVIN the verse by verse expository prince and CHARLES SPURGEON the quintessential topical prince of preachers. Some will mock and point out the struggle of Spurgeon to come up with a text to preach.....hmm BEFORE you do that, how many Spurgeon sermons have you come across and thought, 'that was lame!' yeah didn't think so, and how many times did he preach, teach, write letters/articles etc during the week? And yet most complain of how difficult it is to prepare 2 sermons week (i'll take Spurgeons fruitful 'turmoil' anyday.....ah but when the word and the presence of God are a delight, it's hard to be unfruitful and unbalanced).

Some will point to Calvin as a good example of a verse by verse expositor who feed his people, yes I agree he is a good example, it is praiseworthy how timeless his teachings are and how diligent he preached through the word.....the question however is, do you really want to follow his example? How many times did he preach to his church verse by verse every week (10 times every 2 weeks + other things), now THAT will get your congregation familiar with the word of God!!

So what's the point? What am I advocating, which one do I choose? I don't honestly have a preference, for both COULD be good, both COULD be bad, and a mix COULD also be good or bad, that depends on the preacher......but MORE importantly it depends on how intentional the church is in stressing the need to study the word, equipping the saints with the tools to study the word, modeling a delight and need to study the word, yes even holding especially the men (husbands/fathers) accountable to teach their families the word of God! Extensive and Intensive bible study is crucial to the health of the church body, and yet too often, this is ignored while taking pride in a certain preaching style when the congregation is not grasping the truths given from the pulpit and though they commend what they heard, they fail to recognize a distortion of that truth when a false or erroneous teacher addresses the same subject. Yes the leadership of a church bears a major role in this duty, but each individual must also realize that they are not without blame, for they too must desire and seek the truth, diligently studying and applying the word of God in their lives!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

My sermons

New sermon on the SUPERNATURAL power of the gospel!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A strange favorite verse of multitudes

A strange verse of multitudes indeed is John 3:16, and why pre tell would I say that such a widespread love for this verse is 'strange'? Well my dear reader it has much to do with our times and perhaps the human heart in general, for man has and has always had a relativistic understanding. By relativism I mean what was said by Plato "The way things appear to me, in that way they exist for me; and the way things appears to you, in that way they exist for you" and such is a good summary of the wisdom of a fool! It is quite the norm to see someone throw out a quote from history and to derive whatever meaning they feel suits their our opinion despite the fact that the original author hadn't the slightest ounce of harmony with such a view.

To have one's words relatively interpreted may indeed be quite annoying, but O how dangerous and even sinful is it to do so with the words of GOD! This my dear reader brings us to our text and favorite memory verse: John 3:16
*For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life*
(yeah I brought out the KJV on this one)
In this beautiful scripture contains the great love by which God has provided eternal life for us. Unfortunately this scripture is rarely explained and even rarer is how often it's explained correctly.
Sure we could get into the exact meaning of 'world', but that isn't my purpose, although I do believe the strongest support is found in understanding the emphasis on the 'whosoever' in the overall book of John, for in this gospel (and even in this chapter '3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”) we find numerous examples of Sovereign election and the gift to believe given not by the "will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13).
And now back to our regularly scheduled program: It is quite normal to find John 3:16 used as a springboard to present God as a snugly teddy bear who wants to help you and make you feel better while at the same time giving you a free ticket to heaven! Yes even though this verse contains a reference to eternal damnation, few EVER see it as such and even fewer consider that they themselves are being confronted with a reality that they are indeed sinners who are headed towards damnation UNLESS they believe in God!
Yes it's quite remarkable how many times in this chapter Jesus mentions Hell directly or indirectly ("unless you be born again, you shall NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"= You will go to Hell if God doesn't supernaturally transform you into a new creature!). See what i mean? that squeamishness people (perhaps you) experience when they hear such words and it's intended meaning?
One major rule of biblical interpretation is CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT, and RELATIVISM is lord of ripping words/phrases out of context, and the people of God MUST not allow themselves to fall prey to this! Biblical illiteracy is indeed at an all time low, and few EVER study the word of God let alone read it enough to become familiar with it, and when this happens people will either look for some pastor to take the role of an apostate POPE and blindly follow him as an infallible vicar of Christ OR they will revert to discovering truth by relying on their subjective understanding (typically mixed with some truths that they do understand) and such is extremely dangerous!
Yes John 3:16 is a strange passage for some many to love who are quite uncomfortable with the doctrine of Hell and of Justice, even a beloved verse of those who don't walk with God! It is this reason why we should not be satisfied with merely quoting this verse, nor hearing someones appreciation for it, rather we should always be wondering 'but WHAT do they THINK this means?'.
Furthermore in CONTEXT, we find Jesus going further to point out the condition of mankind although many stop short of reaching such an explanation. Some will go as far as reading verse 17 "
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
Can u hear it now? All the 'AMEN!!!'s and "PRAISE THE LORD"s, yes the 'that's right, Jesus didn't come to beat us down, and to make us feel horrible, He knows our heart, He came to spread LOVE (peace sign), He came to help, He came to save us from...whatever we want' Ugh! However this scripture is NOT saying "Jesus didn't expose sin" or 'Jesus didn't tell anyone directly that they were sinners and would go to Hell' because Jesus did exactly that and did it often! What this means is that Jesus didn't bring a final judgment upon each man while He was on this earth, for if He did no man would be alive now, in otherwords Jesus didn't come to give men what they presently deserved, for all would have been sent immediately to Hell! How do we know that this is a better understanding, a more precise interpretation? CONTEXT! CONTEXT! CONTEXT! John 3:18 (next verse)
"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."
Consider then the charge against all men BEFORE they 'choose' which way they shall go, they are ALREADY condemned! The Lord isn't withholding His verdict, it's already been made and the scriptures are clear that the wrath of God abides (hangs over) everyone who doesn't believe! Furthermore we see in the next verse that the verdict upon each individual has to do specifically with their relation to God and His words, His laws: John 3:19
"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil."
It all comes down to sin, it is the fact that we are sinners and we love our sin, this is what condemns all men, this is the unmistakable common bond of all mankind, we are rebels against God. God then in His justice, in His unalterable holiness will not allow such treason to go unpunished, therefore all sin will be fully paid! This is what makes the love of God to those who believe so amazingly grand, that God orchestrated a way for His enemies to be reconciled to Him, to be saved from HIM, not saved from a place called Hell and it's fury but to be said from the wrath/fury of God who sends men to His Hell. Yes this Jesus, His beloved Son did the unthinkable, he took on human flesh, obeyed the Father perfectly, and gave His life as a ransom for many, Jesus DRANK THE HELL men deserve, so that those who believe, those who turn to God, those who submit to the Lord Most High will be saved and given eternal life (life in and with Christ)!!!!!!
We could even go further and point out that to 'believe' entails much more then simply speaking some words, or agreeing with truth, for what we find in this chapter and confirmed by numerous passages throughout scripture is that a supernatural change must and will take place. A change so dramatic that the title 'born-again' fits perfectly, a change from 'loving darkness' to 'loving light' in otherwords if we truly believe we will LOVE Jesus and HATE our sin, we will come into the 'Light' and walk in the light!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Resources for the family

This is my feeble attempt to pass along some (nothing extensive...not all that is available, but some choice picks) great resources that I/we have found quite helpful and thoroughly biblical!

let us begin with sermons:

Joel Beeke (a plea for Christian family worship) (Puritans and the family) (John Calvin on Marriage & family) (Godly training)

Albert Martin
40pt Sunday school series unlike any other on How not to foul up the training of our children HERE
a PHENOMENAL 4pt series on how to handle, approach our spiritually awakened children
Another rare blessing, a 8pt series concerning 2nd generation Christians (things our church children WILL face & we need to be prepared to respond to) HERE

Voddie Baucham
Sufficiency of Scripture in the Disciple-Making of the Church and the Home
8pt series on Family (6 from Voddie) great stuff
Total Depravity (a necessary foundation for family)
Child Training

Paul Washer

Biblical Family
Catechism series
Gaining the World and Losing Your Children
Ephesians Family Series

Michael Phillips
A short bio of Susanna Wesley

BOOKS (just a few)

Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham
What He must be..if he wants to marry my daughter by Voddie Baucham (and NO this is not just for fathers of daughters, but a significant treatise on true love, the gospel, God given roles, etc
Duties of Parents by JC Ryle
To the rising generation by Jonathan Edwards
The priest with dirty clothes by RC Sproul
Mighty acts of God story bible
The Children's Prove it catechism ( many also use 'grace and truth' series)
Family Worship by AW Pink
Family Duty by John Bunyan

Pilgrims Progress (best as a book, but here is a childrens DVD that is actually done very well)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Okay to tell people about how great your prayer life is..

It's ok to be REAL :) .......(i just happened to stumble upon this gem of an article..good stuff and btw the heart of this article remains good regardless of your view of Romans 7-which I still hold as a true believer)

It's okay to tell people about how great your prayer life is...

Many Christians have the idea that the height of godliness is always to be telling people how bad they are doing. Many have the idea that in order to be 'authentic' you need to make sure everyone knows how poorly you pray, how proud you really are, how unloving you really are, how selfish they would find you if they got to know you better.

Basically we need to go through life saying, "I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing" (Rom 7:19 which is misapplied to the believer I might add, but that's another blog post). Many have this idea and so, just as grey has become the new black, sinfulness has become the new holiness. I mean it. Try telling people how well you are doing and neglect to add a few, "but I'm so wicked's" and you will come off proud in this sub-culture of ours.

The problem is that if you tell people how well you are doing spiritually you might actually be more like Paul than the person who is always sounding so Romans 7. Let's listen for a moment to that arrogant apostle who didn't know how to fit into our new 'sinfulness is holiness' sub culture.

- "For God is my witness whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers" (Rom 1:9) No ifs, ands, or buts Paul just tells us he was faithful from the spirit in prayer. If you don't believe him you can ask God his witness. Wow!

- "I am speaking the truth in Christ- I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit- that I have unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish myself cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers" (Rom 9:1-3) Come on Paul couldn't you add something about your mixed motives and how your really doing this all for you, and how you just hope God gets a little glory in your pathetic life. Nope, just "God knows I agonize over the souls of others."

- "I thank my God in all remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy...I hold you in my I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:3-8). "How was your prayer time this morning Paul?" "Great I was on my knees (as always) pleading for you with the affection of Christ." Did you read those four words? Read them slowly. THE - AFFECTION - OF - CHRIST. Unbelievable, well almost!

I could go on but I will stop there. What can we learn from all this.

1. Don't try this away from home, until you've tried this at home. By this I mean, we should not read this and just start talking like Paul. That is pharisaism. The religious folks of Jesus found the best corner to pray on so that people would be impressed with their prayers. God hates this. But, having said that, if you will go to your closet (where God sees in secret) and you will plead for men's souls with God as your witness there is nothing wrong (in fact it can be quite encouraging) to say, "God is my witness how I was pleading for your good this morning." Only once God has seen us praying should we even think of telling others about it.

2. By the Holy Spirit, Godliness is possible. Men and women, normal men and women, who are still in the flesh, can attain to great love and faithfulness. We should never speak in such a way that we encourage people to think that failure is the new normal. NO! Men and women of God throughout the centuries have learned how to pray, and plead, and feel like Paul. We do a great disservice to God and the Church when we act like our immaturity is normal and biblically expected. If you still think that failure is to be the norm for believers here is a caveat and a challenge. First the caveat. i am not saying that believers will not stumble (James 3:2), nor am I saying they will be sinless in this life (1 John 1:8). Now the challenge. Name one place outside of Romans 7 where Paul could even possibly be describing the Christian life as constant failure, and doing what you hate. And then think of all the places where Paul speaks of the power, joy, and reality he experiences in his difficult life.

(Hint, 1 Timothy 1:15 is describing Paul's conversion testimony, not his current experience).

3. Rejoice, God he who began a good work in you can actually make you like Christ, and as he does you can encourage others by telling them about it!

4. Remember even your best works are unacceptable to God, but we pray through Jesus Christ. We serve under his righteousness in the gospel (Romans 1:9, 5:1-2). So when you feel love and passion for God, even when it is being opposed through the flesh, remember God receives that passion, that love, those prayers under the cleansing blood. So brothers and sisters, pray on!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Because of His great love towards us

Well I've been slow to blog, but here is a note that i wrote not to long ago on my facebook:

Worship with me today,

Let us ponder a question, which we shall never come to an end of, a puzzle which the greatest minds cannot & never will be able to fully solve, a wonder which fuels a pursuit of the One who has presented us with such a paradox. This question even upon the reception of a new & glorified body (& mind) will only become even MORE mysterious as we gaze with unveiled eyes upon the beauty & majesty of God, that question shall be:


Even King David with "only" (relatively speaking) a view of God's handiwork in creation was utterly astounded at the concern of God towards mankind, He was amazed that God would even attempt to relate, to involve Himself with us:

Psalm 8:3-4 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him,and the son of man that you care for him?

In otherwords, David is saying: "When I look, when I consider all that You have made, all that You command, all that You control, all that perfectly submits & performs Your pleasure. What are people, what am I, a sinner by nature & a sinner by birth, one who not only disobeys You but finds pleasure in doing so, what are we & what am I that You would look, would care for us, for me?

This reminds me of a question found in the "Children's Prove it Catechism" that we use:

Q "Why should you glorify God?"

A "Because He made me and takes care of me"

Verse "Revelation 4:11 Worthy are you, our Lord and God,to receive glory and honor and power,for you created all things,and by your will they existed and were created."

Let us look again at David & notice the reaction he has toward God's promises to him (which are promises to us):

2 Samuel 7:18 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said,"Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?..

King David was one of those Sovereign grace guys who was convinced that God was the giver, that God was the only One deserving of glory, of all the credit and because he believed such of God, David was humbled and cried out "WHO AM I....?"

I suppose, well I am convinced that there are many who would answer or be tempted to answer this question by looking to the creature (created one) rather than the Creator. Such are those who would like to think, that the fall (Adam"s sin/transgression) was only external & temporal: that it, that sin did not change who or what man was. This line of reasoning will assume that God looks upon us as victims rather then criminals, that God looks past our actions and understands that we are quite helpless but if we could we would obey Him perfectly, since deep deep deep deep deep deep deep deep deep down 'in our hearts' we are really good!

Sounds nice, but the reality is that this is not God's verdict of us, rather this is what He sees "in" man:

Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

In otherwords at the very CORE of our being we are EVIL! Thankfully that's just the OLD testament way of thinking, that was those "evil" PRE-flood people right?

Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,

Romans 1:29-32 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 3:10-18 as it is written:"None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.""Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Surely it can be seen, if we would only allow the scriptures to teach us, that we are, deep deep deep down "in our hearts" sinners, rebels against God! Now since we quickly touched upon that fact of who & what we are, now we can look at the question at hand with some level of sanity: That question being "who am I" or "why am I here?/ why am I saved?" (and no I do not mean to imply that this speaks to all & every human being, but ONLY those who have turned to Christ, those who have received Him, believe upon Him & as a result pursue & obey Him). Since it is crystal clear that God did not look within man in order to find something good to motivate Him to save us, which would imply that God is merely giving us what we deserve & that He is in fact making a wise choice in saving something which is quite valuable. On the contrary God looks upon His enemies, upon those who constantly oppose Him, and has looked past them in order to find such motivation.

So what then is the motivating factor of God giving grace to His people?

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved

Hallelujah!! It was and is because "of the great love with which He love us...." and yes dear saint it is also because of His own glory, for His mere pleasure but that does not work against the reality that God chose to love us, that God chose IN SPITE of who & what we are, to love us, to give us & welcome us in His love!! We were DEAD in sin, even while we were enemies of His, He chose to love us to rescue us from Himself and unto Himself!

Let us look at it in context, but as you look remember that this is YOUR testimony (if your are a true child of God) and I will put in bold some things to consider about what & who we were B.C. (before Christ):

Ephesians 2:1-5

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even whenwe were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved"

We were slaves of self, slaves of the world, slaves of the devil and all that because we desired such, it was not only by nature, but by choice! O, But God who in His super abundance of grace not only sought to rescue us, but gave up Christ in order to do this. In otherwords all that we have sought to point out about the sinfulness, the blackness, the depth of the evil of sin within against a glorious & great God, all of that was placed upon the Holy spotless altogether lovely Lamb of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21

"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Considering what we deserved and the fact that God had not already crushed us for all we have done, is reason enough to cause us to forever worship & wonder at Him, but to consider the great cost, the great shame that Christ endured is simply unimaginable. That Jesus Christ was slaughtered by the full fury of God's wrath against the sins of those He was saving is absolutely amazing, the King was hung for the one's who committed treason, Jesus Christ was cursed that we might be blessed!

What am I that You would look upon me, that You would save me? Why then has God done such things, why then has Christ reconciled men to God? BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE TOWARDS US!! but why? Just because, God decided to love You!

This question is unwrapable we will never come to an end of it, we will forever be amazed, we will forever be overwhelmed with boundless joy, with suffocating pleasure while we are enjoying communion with God in glory and we are pondering & praising "I AM here, why AM I here, I have been saved, WHY have I been saved, Yes He loves me, Why has He loved, O how He loves Me!!!"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Laments over facebook

Well I have been on facebook for a while & that is primarily due to the ease of posting & reading via my phone, which if it wasn't for that I would have never got on it.
Now I am fully aware that some have decided to forgo the whole experience altogether, for such noble reasons as not adding any more time consuming activities to their lives. Others have at first participated in it then found it completely unfruitful or for the same reason some blogs remove the ability to comment, they were bombarded with people who only desired to argue. I am also aware that for some it has proven fruitful, they have been blessed by it & they have blessed others through, for such we can say praise the Lord (and perhaps i will blog that which I can rejoice concerning facebook)!
With that said my "laments" are not my arguments for or against the use of facebook, but rather some things to be mindful of, to be intentional about, to pray for etc...and another thing these laments apply more to the avid user then the person that only stops by sporadically
(some "laments" could easily include blogs, forums, even "in person" social gatherings)
1. Time restraint & dating:
Because so many are posting thoughts and the like, time can be of the essence & so often given the time of day or day of the week a really useful quote, comment, link or important prayer request or praise report can be totally missed, and it appears that it's a rarity for someone to actually read things that were posted yesterday (for some yester-hour) unless (hidden rule-i suppose) they have just became your "friend" then it is only customary for them to go back & find something they can add a "like" to.
2. Lack of fuller interaction:
This like many ties into time restraints & overload of comments, but it is regrettable the comments, links, & quotes that don't generate ongoing comments, such that it's not just a passing thought that we reply "amen" to or simply "like" but perhaps a little bit of a explanation why we "like" it so that the convo we just participated in may leave some lasting fruit
3. Overload of MUST SEE/READ/LISTEN links that aren't "musts"
Some well-intentioned believers seem to be blown away by just about anything they come across on youtube, or listen to, or read and feel it necessary to bombard their page with such links, perhaps again they should explain why it's a MUST as opposed to listening/watching/reading just about any other person on the subject etc..
4. Lack of Christ-centered speech
It appears that some believers have nothing whatsoever to share of Christ, perhaps they have nothing to praise God for, perhaps they have no affections to express concerning Christ & His gospel, perhaps they consider their testimony as a private matter to be kept silent, perhaps they don't consider it useful to bless another believer with something that has blessed them, or perhaps they don't think it wise to speak anything of the gospel for their "friends" to see (and especially not talk about sin, repentance, hell, & justice etc..)---sound ridiculous right? Of course---now now before you have a hissy fit ask yourself does he have a point?
5. Lack of honest disagreement
(This lament will also resonate with many bloggers as well) but it takes different formats on facebook, some will throw out a disagreement then they will disappear not responding to any replies, some will comment to something that is a misunderstanding then refuse an explanation (and we all love to be called liars), some will continue to argue (even totally off the subject) ignoring every single reply, even the clearest of scriptural rebuttals..and from time to time you might even have one making posts on their page concerning their disagreement with you but leave out names.
6. Lack of concern for holiness in comments, links, etc
I use the term "holiness" to cover just about all that concerns our witness before unbelievers & our desire to glorify God before all believers (especially "baby" Christians). It is appalling to see believers employ crude speech for the sake of a laugh, or to see married couples express their disappointment with their spouse before all to see, to see some using all their posts to whine, complain & moan about every thing under the sun (I do mean the sin of murmuring, not just simple comments on various things), parents to speak often of their children as burdens, to see some believers boasting in something that may indeed be "permissible" but is CLEARLY something they know many baby Christians stumble over (hmm i think the Apostle Paul made some strong arguments about that---hello, you wanna-be reformed rebels...please grow up.).

I think that sums it up.......O if anything applies to you then please consider applying it to yourself, don't just react & ignore, especially if you got that "is he talking about me"-syndrome , no I'm speaking to whomever it may concern...grace & peace
p.s. your comments will be welcomed :)

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