Friday, February 26, 2010

Souls are NEVER test-dummies, children, lost crowds, inmates, homeless etc

One of the most frustrating things to watch is the attitude given towards less glamourous aspects of gospel ministry. These less glamourous ministries are the ones which numerous amts of 'volunteers' are thrown into without any concern to their qualifications. Such ministries are seen as 'stepping stones' to the bigger and better things, you know the 'real ministries' like pulpit preaching.
In otherwords you will find many people recruited for street witnessing, for children's teachers, for prison ministry, for teen church, for missions work etc who take very lightly their responsibility to those souls. The standards for such 'workers' within the average church is as low as possible and that's not to mention the abscence of anyone actually monitoring what's being taught in those situations. Even for those who wholeheartedly support para-church ministries and age-segregation in the church (nursery, toddlers, childrens church, junior high church, high school church, young adults etc) treat those 'special' pastors as less then 'real'. Have you ever watched what happens when someone says "I'm a youth pastor" or a "children's pastor" the reply is usually a degrading 'oh really, that's nice' in otherwords 'well keep at it and one day you'll do REAL ministry'. Doesn't sound like a belief in age-segregation, nor does the loose attitude to who's chosen to perform such ministries.
Regardless of your view of such ministries, one thing is essential: the handling of souls should NEVER be taken lightly. Whether it's children, teens, adults, rescue mission people, prisoners, and so on, we are never given the right to treat anyone as a test-dummie.

Voddie on DESPISING of children

Voddie Baucham says this:

In our culture, in America for the first time, our birth rate is below replacement rate.
Replacement rate is 2.1 children per family. We are at 1.9. Now we are not as bad as
much of the industrialized world. For example in France I think they are around 1.5
children per family. In Italy they are somewhere around 1.1 children per family.
Now, in case you don’t understand what that means, what that means is we are not having
enough children for our culture to continue to survive. Our culture is dying one
generation at a time.
Now, let me put skin on that for you. France, they have a birth rate of about 1.5.
However, there are North African Muslims and Arab Muslims who have emigrated into
France and we saw some unrest because of those folks. Their birthrate is about six
children per family which means in two generations France will be a Muslim nation by
sheer numbers alone. Why? Because they want prosperity more than they want
children. And it is the same for us.
Now let me put these two pieces of statistical information together. At two children per
family, Southern Baptists, because we are no better than the rest of the culture on this,
our attitude towards children is a boy for me and a girl for you and praise the Lord we are
finally through. Amen. It is an unwritten rule that you can only have two kids.
However, there is one exception to the unwritten rule where you can have a third child
and that is if your first two children were the same sex you get to try one more time for
the other. That is the unwritten rule.
We despise children in our culture. We despise children in the Southern Baptist
Convention.
You don’t believe me? Find a woman with six or seven kids and follow her into a
Southern Baptist Church and watch the way we mock her. Watch the way people who
don’t even know her

RANTING and RAVING??? I think not, in fact as a father of 6 boys and a keen observer of reactions to other families I can say this is absolutely the norm in the majority of churches. I bless and wish to encourage every family that desires to have many blessings (children), but be forewarned once you get to the third (+) pregnancy (past the accepted norm) regardless of all the talk you hear, you will see a clear change in the attitudes of many.
One great reason of this common attitude towards children is the REALITY that they are little sinners that take MUCH attention and energy. Such sacrifice in todays selfish society does not seem to be worth it, and so children are seen as a nousiance to be shunned. 'Out of sight, out of mind' or 'Seen but not heard' are the mission statements of the day, as is seen in things like daycares, church nursery, 'childrens' church, backseat dvd players for long trips, supermarket daycares, video shopping carts, individual I-pods for every kid and so on.
HELP?? For those who don't understand let me paint it a little better, all the offers for help almost cease upon the third pregnancy (or the next), I don't mean the financial help, but people that actually want to be around those households or join in the discipling process . It's unfortunate how some large families who are desperate for fellowship and encouragement move or travel accross the country to find it, and more unfortunate are those who wind up going to extremes because they joined some group for support which had no biblical oversight and encouraged divisiveness!

Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the church moving as one big family that is actually involved in the lives of each other. A family that isn't trying to impress one another, but actually has a united goal of growing together in Christ. A family that can actually influence the growth of each other, through accountability, honesty, and humility!

Before you preach, ANSWER THIS QUESTION

Let me ask every preacher and would-be preacher this qualifying question:
Do you even CARE if the people respond?

Under the guise of false-piety we can talk all day about our concern for the glory of God and our trust in His Sovereignty, but heartless preaching is preaching Christ knew NOTHING of.
Matthew 9:36
36 When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them because they were hurting and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

We desperately need more passionately bold preachers, and less cold-hearted men throwing temper tantrums in the pulpit!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So many Timothys, very few Pauls (ladies included)

Conrad Mbewe at the True Church Conference 2010, gave the excellent advice that young men should be seeking a Paul. That elders should be looking for Timothys to pour into.
This is in accordance with the biblical mandate for the older to teach the younger. This is perhaps the GREATEST lack within the church today (a large majority). This is the danger of so many young people coming to reformed truths, and young couples wrestling things like, wives desiring to be homemakers, homeschooling, catechizing among other things.
Why is this such a problem?? It's such a problem because so many young people are trying to figure out things which others have already lived and so they attempt to do these things without oversight and for the most part they fall into a myriad of extremes.
This TOO is why many have turned to websites, blogs, and online sermons, because they desperately long to learn from older saints. Likewise there are plenty of young men, men in Seminary who have NEVER had close oversight, never attended a healthy church and so they continue in their studies believing that at the end they will be fully equipped for service. However the truth is that they are in great need of close oversight, and practical service with humbling correction and direction. I have met my share of brothers who are in seminary or have recently graduated who have a lot of zeal, a lot of ideas, and thoughts but who seem to lack the humility to seek honest advice from others, lacking the desiring to submit themselves (because they have never had to). The best thing these brothers could do is to find oversight and if that means leaving school to join a church where their character will grow then praise God because the people they will one day shepherd will be most thankful.
Concerning the ladies, my wife made the point that in a previous church which was very large and did have a wide spectrum of age groups, that the problem was that almost ALL the older women worked (ones who were VERY well off). This of course limited even the POSSIBILITY of those who could and SHOULD being helping older teens and young wives/mothers to learn how to do so in accordance with the scriptures. If this was being done within the local church family then there would also be the God-ordained oversight of leaders who would be there to protect such women from extremes (including legalism).
Dear saint if you have already raised a family, if you have decades upon decades of walking with God then surely you have much to give. If you are mature in the faith then others desperately need to hear from your victories and losses.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Photo of US at TRUE CHURCH CONF 2010




Here we are on the last day of the conference, it was blessed! AND a pic of the boys @ LOOKOUT mountain (Chattanoga, TN)



Saturday, February 20, 2010

Prayerlessness is Hyper-Calvinism, CONRAD MBEWE

Conrad Mbewe at the True Church Conference made a very succinct comment concerning the subtle forms of hyper-Calvinism when it comes to us loving sinners.

Conrad Mbewe make the point that one way to spot hyper-Calvinism in the church is to look at it's PRAYER MEETING. He pointed out that any church which claims to be evangelistic but has a dead prayer meeting is hyper-Calvinistic. Likewise he said that any preacher who claims to have evangelistic preaching who's prayer closet is empty is a hyper-Calvinist.

Accurate? I think so!
Prayer is a means of grace which God has chosen to use in the salvation of souls
Prayer is also a means of grace to cause the believer to have more love towards the lost
Prayer is an expression of faith, especially to perform a miracle such as conversion
Prayer is also an expression of our true desires, we pray most for what we care about most
Prayer is also a united and unifying expression of the local church
Prayer is a means of deflecting glory from us and exalting God's grace

What are you crying for??

In asking myself this question, I wish to ask you as well.
When it comes to persistent and pleading prayer, what is it that you are CURRENTLY praying for?? Are you pleading with the Father for a specific miracle, something which has gripped your heart for days/weeks/months/years???
I don't mean the honorable mentions, you know the grocery list prayer mentions.
If you're like me, then when you hear someone say 'I'm praying for you' you don't get too excited because you don't expect that to mean they are losing sleep over you.
I speak of those things which consume your thoughts, your affections.
It could be:

  • For a specific breakthrough or direction in ministry.
  • Someone you are longing to see saved.
  • What about a fellow believer who you are pleading for (some sort of deliverance or need to be meet).
  • Personal sanctification (more of a burden for the lost, more love towards the brethren, more patience, more humility etc...) perhaps something that has pierced you under God blessed preaching.

Something is QUITE wrong if we are NOT pleading for something. Certainly in this area we all have the same amt of access, the difference lies in the USE of what's available. Dear believer give yourself to going OFTEN before the THRONE OF GRACE. We should live in the reality that the VEIL is torn!

True church conference 2010 is ON

We are having a wonderful time this year at the True Church Conference, my wife and the oldest four boys.
The preaching, the worship, the resources, the testimonies, and the fellowship is very edifying.
Unfortunately it's not as well attended as it has been in the past. Which may be due to a number of reasons:
Economy
The subject of hyper-Calvinism (we don't need to address that??)
Preacher Worship--Paul Washer NOT being there

Well for those who are not here, YOU ARE MISSING OUT!
What makes this conference UNUSUAL is the ACCESSIBILITY to godly leaders who have DILIGENTLY fought to see reformation in the church, men who ARE reaching out to the lost and seeking to see the body of Christ purified!

Notes are being blogged at the website http://www.anchoredintruth.org/blog

Friday, February 19, 2010

hypocritical external standards of MEN and HUSBANDS

Nothing to deep here, but I hope if this applies to you that you would seek to fix the problem.
If I was asked what's one of the most important principles regarding marriage? I would answer 'To spend much time concentrating on YOURSELF' as the norm would be to FIX your spouse!
One area that seems to be QUITE problematic is the view of 'looking attractive' WITHIN your marriage. I know this could be hit from many angles but let's stick to this one:
Typically it goes something like this,
Men care about the way they look WHEN they are trying to GET the girl, but ONCE you are MARRIED why workout? why dress nice (i didn't say expensive, but NICE)? Why shower? Why get a haircut? Why shave? Why bother with cologne? YET at the same time, many of these men HYPOCRITICALLY demand/expect (expressed or not) such of their wives!!!
That's QUITE a selfish standard! Why not LOOK in the mirror now and then before you look down upon your wife!

Here's a tip: Get a treadmill, an ab cruncher, and a pull up bar!

As far as the style goes, brother Voddie Baucham has a q&a section so ask him OR find a brother who's a brother (black man), I'm HALF so I might also be some help.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

HUSBANDS!! Wives are not WASTE disposals

Marriage is a beautiful thing, where believers have the incredible privilege of serving and being served by one another. In a godly marriage, we have the privilege of being able to share problems and lighten each others burdens.
With that said, there are still boundaries which must not be crossed within a marriage. Of all things we humans have MAJOR problems with our BIG mouths, but the believer is to strive to control such a creature for the glory of God.
Though I could speak of the sin of a spouse dishonoring one another by venting their personal problems to mom, dad, and all their friends in their quest to find a sympathetic ear. I could also speak about spouses painting horrific pictures of one another to their children attempting to gain their favor against one another. These are inexcusable sins!
Yet I wonder dear husband, that in your delight of having a 'help-mate' do you abuse your wife? Do you treat her as though she has no temptations to fight, as though she can take in filth and consistently convert it to sweetness? My point is this, do you use the ears of your wife as a vent for all your frustrations, doubts, discontent, etc...?
I've seen husbands take every unbridled thought and feeling they have concerning the church, it's members, it's leaders, it's sermons and DUMP them on their wives. Is that acceptable? NO! Every thought must first be brought to the obedience of Christ, every frustration and objection must be carefully weighed before it's let out. I fear too many do this, then in due time realize that they may have overreacted BUT they don't make those comments to their wife.
In relation to the church, it's leaders, it's teaching, there needs to be a seeking after humility in order to come to some aspect of level thinking. This is the most dangerous are of concern because it's too easy to comfort your sin in your supposed 'zeal for God's glory', yet you stir STRIFE in the one you should be nurturing, this sir is wickedness!!
If you truly recognize issues, then you must pray for wisdom in how to address them. When you speak to your wife, it should be for confirmation and for prayer in what to do. In matters of the church, the hardest thing to do is the most biblical thing to do, and that's to first seek the Lord (then your wife UNLESS she is in such a state where it WOULD only add to her TEMPTATIONS-protect her), then to speak to the leadership! I would warn you though, it takes nothing for a minister to tell his listeners to 'test what I say..... point out something if I'm off' but how rare it is (though I have seen it) for a minister to actually WELCOME it, and though you speak the truth in love don't EXPECT to be embraced (though it's possible).
Even in our supposed zeal we must be careful in what and how we speak to our wives, we must consider the effect of the words we speak and we must PAY attention to the effects of our words!

Make NO assumptions concerning CHILDREN

A child of a believer is sanctified by the influence of the godly parent or parents, this sanctification however is NO guarantee of their salvation. Whether the child has been baptised, dedicated, circumcised, or brought up under a NAZARITE standard MAKES NO DIFFERENCE whatsoever to their eternal state, the child is NO closer to salvation then anyone else.
Each child MUST be brought to understand that they are DESPERATELY in need of SALVATION, that until they display the FRUITS of salvation they have no right to BELIEVE they are saved. It is deceptive to treat an unconverted child as a Christian, because of something that has been done to them EXTERNALLY, every child must be convinced that they need something done to them INTERNALLY!
We must seek to teach our children the GOSPEL and their need of it.
We must CONTINUALLY pray for their SALVATION (it is NOT a display of faith to 'CLAIM' salvation for our children, rather to believe is to pray)
When we pray for our children we must do so in the spirit of pleading for mercy. Too many parents take the witness stand for their child AGAINST God! In otherwords they make a case for their children, attempting to convince God that their children deserve to be saved.Likewise many parents who would consent to the biblical truths of regeneration and it's fruits, contradict themselves when it comes to their children, they apply the tests of scripture to all they know EXCEPT their children (they make ample allowances for their child's deficiencies). On the contrary we should be praying like this: "Lord, I pray you would have mercy on my child, for you well know he deserves to rot in hell for his wickedness, but I pray you would be pleased to draw and save him........."
We should pray for them IN FRONT OF THEM, this is a great way to show the importance of their eternal state, as well as displaying that this is the most important concern that you have for them.
We should discipline, teach and encourage them for the glory of God! We must not assume that such training will MAKE them Christians, rather we do this in obedience to the scriptures. We are to raise our children in this way because we have been given a stewardship from the Lord and it's His right alone, to tell us HOW to do it!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Who are the POOR we should give to???

Romans 15:25-26
Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.

The poor we are to seek to bless are believers! I suppose that many have given little thought to who exactly they should give to, it seems that most people look at something as 'giving' to be only a matter of choice as though the scriptures are silent concerning such things.
The truth of the matter is that the Lord is NOT silent about our giving, in fact the scriptures are very specific.

FIRST: Teaching Pastors

I Timothy 5:17-18
17The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."


Don't ROB the minister of a blessing because you think it your duty to IMPOSE on him, a choice that the Apostle Paul took, nor assume the role of God by withholding good from the man because you THINK it will be better if he is in want (poor). Take care of your Pastors and think how you can give to them. Not only are we to take part in ensuring that the basic needs of a church facility are met, but we are to bless those who have taken part in blessing us.
Even the elders who are not 'teaching' should be taken care of, especially if they have diligently given their time and energy to the work of the ministry ('direct the affairs of the church well').

This does not have to be limited to 'local church' elders either, it seems perfectly reasonable to support pastors by 'sending' them to plant churches worldwide. So we could certainly include 'Pastoral missionaries' (I classify this, because EVERYBODY and their mother claims to have a 'ministry', but the greatest NEED and the biblical model is for HEALTHY CHURCHES).


2. THE SAINTS in NEED

Consistent with the opening verse of this post, we are also told to:
Galatians 6:10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
I hope it's not too difficult to see that the body of Christ is given preeminence, and since we are to give especially to the body of Christ, it certainly means we should give first to those MOST in need. The apostle Paul was no beggar, yet he did not shy away from encouraging the saints to give to the poor, nor remind them to keep their commitments.
BUT, concerning EVEN the giving to needy believers there ARE qualifications! The church is NOT to give to those who are able to be supported by other believers, for instance:
I Timothy 5:3-15
3Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. 8If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 9No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. 11As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

Now there are some SPECIFICS concerning support!!


LASTLY freedom:
Above and beyond such, we then have options as to where we should or want to give.

Regardless of our feelings upon the matter, especially if we've seen abuses or have been swindled, we must above all put such matters in God's hand. Our giving is also an act of faith, we give for Him!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The love God wants

The mention of the word love, produces many pictures and associations good or bad, pure or evil. Yet when Jesus was asked what was the most important commandment, the answer is quite surprising given that if we were to guess what is the most important, we would have begun with 'Thou shalt NOT......."
Jesus however says, 'Thou shalt LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength..." ((see Matthew 22:36-40))
Consider the contrast: Restraining something vs. producing something.
It is quite possible to appear as though you are 'restraining' yourself from breaking the laws of God, but when the matter is one of producing something which originates from within, the 'problem' is amplified!
Jesus Christ calls each person to LOVE the Lord from within, to respond to Him with pure motives. The Love that is required is not a 'love' that is separated from actions, from commitment. The love required is not a 'love' that springs from flowery poetic speech, for such God calls 'lip service'.
Mt 15: 7-9
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:" 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"

In otherwords, it's very possible and common to speak loving words and yet to have wicked motives. Here the Lord ties lip/worship with hearts/teaching from men, which shows that the validity of worship or speech towards God is seen in response to His laws.
To further show this truth, Jesus Christ makes this as plain as can be when He says:
"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching." Jn 14:23,24
Apart from obedience, love does not exist!

Contrary to common belief the love God requires has nothing to do with a one-time act, regardless of how incredibly sacrificial it is, there is absolutely nothing that we can give in order to gain favor with God.
1 Corinthians 13: 1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
There is nothing that we have that he needs and every gift we attempt to give while refusing to do what He commands us is nothing less then stubborn rebellion. Only one sacrifice was accepted and that was Jesus Christ!


However there still remains the dilemma, concerning HOW DO YOU LOVE God from within?? How can you CREATE pure motives in seeking God and seeking after righteousness???
You may be thinking 'but I thought all we had to do was to "repent and believe" ?' well yes, but what kind of belief and repentance can exist without love? Repentance and belief without love, is nothing but hypocrisy, it is stripped of life and becomes merely words!

The only love that is acceptable to God, the only heart that can give such love is a divine one. The state of our hearts (will, desire, motive, passion, focus, drive) is utterly void of giving God the love He requires and this is because we are unable to just STOP loving the things, God HATES and to simply start loving Him. The good news is that through the redemption found ONLY in Jesus Christ, we are now able to enjoy such hearts, hearts that will love, fear, and follow after God and His laws.

Jeremiah 31:31-34
31"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, " declares the LORD. 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

The new covenant is JESUS CHRIST! Jesus Christ paid the penalty that we owe by suffering under the furious wrath of Almighty God who crushed the Son without restraint because our sins deserve nothing less and above and beyond that He has imputed (given, transferred) to us His perfect righteousness so that we are not only cleared (forgiven) but are perpetually treated and looked upon as spotless (sinless). These truths actually effect an internal change in the state of the true Christian, they are literally changed. The true Christian is given a new heart, in other places this drastic change is pictured as being 'transferred from darkness to light', from 'death to life', and what might be the most familiar term for this supernatural change; the Christian is a person who has been 'born-again'!!

Jeremiah 32:38-41
38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.

The law written on our hearts, gives us singular focus to lovingly fear and seek God. Notice also in these passages the use of 'I WILL...' which leaves NO QUESTION to the truth that God is the one making the changes, we however are simply reacting to what God is producing (by grace we are saved). This is also why no one can claim some unique and impossible condition that prevents them from ever being saved AND changed. God is NOT limited by our intellect, by our 'vices', by our pasts, by our upbringing, by our environment, or anything else, salvation is of the Lord and those who are saved WILL be given HEARTS that FEAR and FOLLOW Him!

So then the only way to give the love God wants, is to receive the One who gives such loving hearts. The Lord calls all men to REPENT and BELIEVE in Jesus Christ, to turn from their sins and to turn in faith towards God. Seek the Lord while He may be Found, Seek HIM while you still have time!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Psalm 73 a quick look (repost)

A REPOST (but i thought it might bless you)

Here is certainly one of my favorite psalms
I'll paraphrase a lot, so it would be good for you to read Psalm 73
1Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Asaph or perhaps David shares exactly how he felt and then later reveals what came out of all of this;
Yet certainly all believers go through some of these same conflicts.
Here Asaph says: "There was a time, where i almost gave up, I almost lost all hope. This happened because i was envious of the wicked."
Here was a man, that could not grasp how these wicked men could reap such blessings. They seemed to have it all, they sinned without punishment and then boasted about it later. These men continue to manipulate, lie, and scheme without consequence. In his eyes it seemed the wicked were blessed and the righteous were cursed.
13All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.14For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.
Asaph felt as though his attempts for righteous living were for nothing, not only lacking a good reward, but in turn only making his life worse. In other words this psalm was an extended pout (a me party). Ever have those?
Ever feel like this? Do you ever feel as though, you've been sold short? If you have i hope it was only passing, surely i don't think a true believer could stay in this state.
For who might this effect? All!!! of course!
Let's get specific: the Minister who is pouring his heart into a flock that hasn't grown in years, laboring over each text, weeping over each soul, disciplining, counseling, to the point of exhaustion and yet people are whining about the length of the sermon, or how you didn't visit them, and so on. Or perhaps you're the one who's given your heart to defending the faith only to receive back nods, but no fruit, you watch as charming and entertaining heretics get the ears of the people.
The single adult who faithfully prepares themselves trying to restrain from compromising situations, pleading with the Lord for a godly mate, only to see their wicked peers getting married and being blessed with children in what seems to be a great marriage.
The Married person who seeks the Lord daily, for help, strength, faithfulness, change, and yet you see and hear of the ungodly growing in happiness, and in affection.
The godly worker trying to honor the Lord in going far beyond what is required, faithfully tithing and giving offerings only to see someone else get the promotion, or even being unexpectedly laid off.
The list could go on, yet this is a reality. Certainly this reality is one reason among many that the prosperity gospel is so damaging.
For some there is no turning point for them in their circumstances, it is simply the lot God has chosen for them to endure. This must never be forgotten, too many live in a constant state of confusion because they are trying to evaluate their walk or fruit by their circumstances.
We could look at these times with the same frustrations as Asaph and complain "but God this isn't fair, shouldn't I your child be more blessed then the wicked", "God look at these rebels, are they never judged?" "God i just can't go on, this is absolutely useless, I'm not the one"
Yet praise be to God this is not the END! Asaph declares that he would be a deceiver if spoke this way, although it still confused him. UNTIL!!!!!!!!!!
17until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
Ahhh THIS is the turning point, this is where everything in life is brought into it's proper perspective: In the presence of GOd. In the light of eternity the things of this dark world can be seen clearly. This is what it means to have a biblical worldview, a view that weighs what is seen and heard by the standard of absolute truth- the word of God. In the presence of GOd Asaph saw the mist rise, and he saw the end of the wicked. Consequently he saw the end of the righteous as well. The end of the wicked is swift, as Thomas Watson put it, 'they are fattened for the slaughter", their blessings are like drugs which give them some sort of comfort while killing them softly. Envy is not what we should feel towards the wicked, for they have NOTHING!! We should only feel pity, in the words of Mr. T "i pity the fool" Truly they are fools seeking and getting excited over 'fools' gold. All their comforts, all their wealth, all their luxuries will serve to give them nothing but regret on the day they stand before Almighty God. The richest of the world have one thing in common to all men, when they die they will all have nothing. I often tell men at the jails, that it may very well be a blessing that they have been put there, perhaps God has shown mercy by punishing you (or capturing you) and causing you to hear the gospel. I'll tell them that the worst thing that could happen in this life is to be left alone by God, to go through this life fast and high without any wake up calls, without reaping consequences, only to be awoken by the final judgment of God.
22 I was brutish and ignorant;I was like a beast toward you.
He says as we could say, in our pity party, in our wicked complaints, in our hardness we were acting like ignorant beasts: how dare we who have experienced the amazing grace of God ever forget His faithfulness, His goodness, his love and wisdom.
In his repentance Asaph declares that God has been good to him, He has held him up, He has provided for him. Can we not too remember all the mercies of God (new every morning) towards us, in keeping us, in causing us to endure, in putting up with all our whining and yet giving us grace.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Here is one of those scriptures that could inflame a weary heart. Meditate on this verse when things seem out of whack. This is a declaration, a heartcry that should be said with pure passion, with tears, with great excitement, while jumping and spinning, while on your knees! hallelujah! God is the only treasure available, He is altogether lovely, altogether wonderful, he alone is to be sought after. In all our weakness, He upholds us, He pushes us, He works in us: We can't give up, He won't let us. All we need, all we should want!
To the wicked: one thing must be grasped and that is they are trading the eternal for the temporal, the true treasure for that which will turn to dust. As for their schemes and apparent escape from judgment; be reminded that GOD IS NOT MOCKED they will REAP what they SOW, either in this life or in the life to come, not one sin will be left unpunished by the Judge of all the Earth.
To the righteous: don't grow weary in doing good --you will reap (Gal 6:7-9 covers both examples I've just stated) In our struggle let us go QUICKLY to the throne of grace for help, being ANXIOUS for nothing but giving all thing to the Lord with thanksgiving (let's daily give thanks for what has been done for us and what is yet to be done---this will alleviate a lot of discontent).

Courageous woman EXAMPLE

One picture that has been swirling around in this brain of mine, is the awesome boldness and testimony to the blessing of children (not to mention the DESIRE for them) that is displayed in a woman who has gone through IMMENSE trials to get pregnant and reach delivery.
I find it quite AMAZING for a woman who has miscarried, had still-borns, not to mention multiple instances and despite the great emotional and physical suffering continues to seek to have children. WOW!!!
What a tragedy that there are women who can have children, but refuse them...oh how many envy such an unused privilege!!

Courageous Women!!! Praise them.

Proverbs 31:30 ...a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised!!!

Without a doubt when I think of a woman who fears the Lord, I am first blown away by the grace God has given me, my wife. Of course I did have the unusual experience of being there when she came to the Lord (the first time I met her....not to mention that I was the preacher). All that to say I have observed God's grace working in her and even more astounding watched her patiently bear with ME. I'm delighted by the fact that she's so sensitive to the scriptures and this is the core of her convictions, not anyone's influence or any type of church molding her thoughts. Her striving to be a homemaker, a godly wife and mother, her desire to accept the blessing of children, and her conviction to teach them has no origin in someone's influence, no special conference, or cluster of women, just the scriptures!!! I am truly blessed to know that despite my varied issues and weaknesses my wife always 'honor's' me, in fact though she is incredibly shy, she will by the grace of God correct another woman if that woman begins to 'beat up' her husband. She truly is a quiet spirit who's works follow her (it takes no special grace for a women to be LOUD, whether that be her voice, her style, her attitude whatever, but one which can lead by example is praiseworthy)!

Considering the assault against the godly image of a woman in our society today, the pressure is unthinkable, yet greater then that is the pressure from within the walls of the church. The pressure is greater because it's so unexpected, a godly woman should expect to find encouragement, exhortation and fellowship within the local church, while too often she's shunned or ignored. It takes COURAGE to seek to be faithful in such circumstances, knowing that you might be out casted, misunderstood, and even slandered for your desire to be faithful and not conform to this world, praise God for such.

Are there extremes??? Aren't there always?! Yet it's much more profitable to consider the truth of a matter then to conjure up horror stories of women who in their 'zeal' were probably lost or deceived.

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