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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Pope's visit to the White House: Did Francis speak for God?

Posted by Gary on September 23, 2015

Pope Francis has arrived and the country is swooning. You can watch his speech here:

The Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ and Successor of Peter spoke at the White House today and in so doing, addressed our President and the entire nation. What would Christ’s Apostle say to us? What would God’s spokesman preach to a nation that has evicted God and Christ from its public life, slaughtered 50 million babies made in God’s image and embraced sodomy? Would he preach? WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Little angels? Understanding the Bible’s teaching on our sinful nature…

Posted by Gary on September 16, 2015

The fairest child, who has entered life this year and become the sunbeam of a family, is not, as his mother perhaps fondly calls him, a little “angel” or a little “innocent” — but a little “sinner.” Alas! As that boy or girl lies smiling and crowing in its cradle — that little infant carries the seeds of every kind of wickedness in its heart! Only watch it carefully, as it grows in stature and its mind develops — and you will soon detect in it an incessant tendency to that which is bad, and a backwardness to do that which is good. You will see in it the buds and germs of deceit, evil temper, selfishness, self-will, obstinacy, greediness, envy, jealousy, passion — which, if indulged and let alone, will shoot up with painful rapidity!

Who taught the child these things? Where did he learn them? The Bible alone can answer these questions! Of all the foolish things that parents say about their children, there is none worse than the common saying: “My son has a good heart at the bottom. He is not what he ought to be — but he has fallen into bad hands. Public schools are bad places — the teachers neglect the boys. Yet he has a good heart at the bottom.” The truth, unhappily, is diametrically the other way. The first cause of all sin, lies in the natural corruption of the boy’s own heart — and not in public schools! (J.C. Ryle: Holiness)

Really Lord?

Posted by Gary on September 10, 2015

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I preached on this passage a few weeks ago which of course was on a Sunday. A few days later a set of circumstances came my way that immediately made me anxious. It was funny in those initial moments that my sermon came to mind. I am very convinced that God teaches the teacher and forces us all to own our faith through experience.

A man may go to a gym and look at a set of dumbbells and know intellectually that those dumbbells can build his strength. However, if he does not pick them up and use them, the strength that is there in potential will never be his. So it is with us and our faith. We all say that we want stronger faith but we want this stronger faith to come to us magically without any trial or testing which is the way that God puts the dumbbells in our hands and makes us strain our biceps and forearms tearing down muscle so that it will grow back bigger and stronger. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Pray for your pastor…

Posted by Gary on July 10, 2015

I am grateful to shepherd a church family that loves me and my family and that most of all prays for me. There is no greater privilege in all the world than to be a pastor as it has been said, “If you are called to preach the gospel, don’t stoop to be a king”. Any pastor who knows himself with any degree of honesty knows that he is not sufficient for what God has called him to do and be (2 Corinthians 2:16). Don’t take this as whining, but I will say also that God’s ministers are the special target of Satan. How well I know that it is only the grace of God that has kept me a pastor. We all need to be prayed for and that includes pastors, perhaps especially pastors.

Take a moment today and pray for your pastor would you? Pray that he would grow in his love for God. Pray that God would make real in his heart and mind the many truths that he knows in his head and preaches to his people. Pray that God would make him strong in the midst of temptations and discouragements. Pray that he would love his wife like Christ does the Church. Pray that he would take seriously his responsibility to love and lead his children to Christ. Pray that he would be courageous and bold. Pray that God’s priorities would be his priorities. Pray that God would bless his labors and that it would always be God’s glory that he seeks and not his own.

Here are some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on the urgency of prayer for pastors:

“Brothers, pray for us!” (I Thessalonians 5:25)

Today I want to remind you about the importance of praying for your ministers. In the most earnest way that I can I ask every Christian household to grant this request of the Apostle Paul on behalf of every minister of the Gospel.

Brothers, the fact is that our work affects the eternal benefit or curse of many; the souls of men are our eternal business. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and we strive to be innocent of the blood of all men.

As officers in Christ’s army, we are the special point of attack of those who hate Christ. They watch for us to fall, and work to trip us up in any way they can. Our sacred calling requires us to endure certain temptations from which most are exempt. We see some go back into a life of sin, and we see millions dying without Christ. We long to be useful both to saints and sinners.

And so, we ask you, pray for us! Your spiritual blessings come from God, and not from us; and yet, how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers. In our behalf, please pray that we may be the humble jars of clay into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. On behalf of all those who are called to minister the Gospel today, I ask You to “Pray for us.”

Why the Bible condemns homosexuality: “Male and female He created them”…

Posted by Gary on July 6, 2015

Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…”

In the debate over homosexual marriage we hear again and again that sexuality is a personal matter. According to LGBT advocates, it is hateful, bigoted and homophobic to insist that there is one truth and standard for human relationships and sexuality. “What business is it of yours who I love and have sex with?” Is a common refrain. “We love each other and you have no right to tell me who I can love or not love” is another. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Woe to the false shepherds and shepherdesses: God’s view of homosexuality…

Posted by Gary on June 30, 2015

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:18-32 18)

“And the LORD said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.”(Jeremiah 14:14)

Five Supreme Court justices have spoken for the nation and have declared that homosexual marriage is the law of the land. The celebrations continue and we are told that we now have “equality” of marriage. We may now have legal equality but the outcome of a union of a man with a man or a woman with a woman is not equal to the male with female union as I have contrasted here.

The legal/political world has spoken. The world of music, art, film and sports have bomarded us for years with the message that homsexuality is moral behavior. But what does God think about homosexuality?

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Do you believe in the devil?

Posted by Gary on January 30, 2015

“My Dear Wormwood,

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma. When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and skeptics. At least, not yet…

…I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that “devils” are predominately comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.”  (Demon Screwtape to his underling demon-nephew Wormwood in C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters”)

What, me annoying?

Posted by Gary on January 29, 2015

“When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother’s eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy–if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbability of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her.” (Demon Screwtape to his underling demon-nephew Wormwood in C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters)

Blind to ourselves…

Posted by Gary on

“You must bring him to a condition in which he can practice self-examination for an hour without discovering any of the those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office.” (Demon Screwtape to his underling demon-nephew Wormwood in C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters)

The Bible and our children and grandchildren…

Posted by Gary on October 31, 2014

How readily many (including me) declare that they believe the Bible. How emphatic we can be, we point our fingers into the air and pound our fist into our palm and declare, “The Bible is the Word of God!” The longer I am a Christian and the more time I spend in the Bible, the more a hypocrite I realize I am. It is one thing to believe the Bible is God’s Word when it comes to other people but what about when the Bible says hard things to me? To my children? Your grandchildren?

I fear for us that we have convinced ourselves that God does not mean many of the things He says, at least we think He doesn’t mean them for our children and grandchildren. I fear we believe that somehow, God will not apply the standard of His truth to our children and grandchildren though we believe he will to the children and grandchildren of others. Hear the Word of God:

“For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” (Colossians 3:25)

God is not partial, which means He does not alter His holiness or judgments because He is dealing with a certain person. God does not regard a person because they hold a powerful position, come from a certain family, are of a certain race, have a certain amount of wealth or are my child or yours. God is who He is and His truth is unchanging and His justice is perfect. God is going to give consequences for disobedience without partiality. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »