Posted by Gary on June 1, 2012
It’s funny what you think about while you wait for a medical procedure to start. As I waited for one the other day Harry Chapin’s, “Cats in the Cradle” started playing in my mind. Why? Who knows, but I am one who believes that as things come to mind, especially things that challenge it is wise to ponder.
Father’s Day is soon to be upon us. On that day millions of fathers will receive cards and gifts which is all very nice. I am always grateful for the homemade cards I receive from my children and my wife always gives me an encouraging card and nice present. Of course the purpose of Father’s Day is to recognize fathers and let them know we are grateful for them and we should be.
We all know how this works, everyone is told that they are a great father on father’s day. Every father is loving, every father is involved and every father has filled their wife’s and children’s lives with great memories. At least that’s what the greeting cards all say. But is it actually so with us?
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Posted by Gary on May 26, 2012
There should be an utter difference between the Christian and the non-Christian….The New Testament regards that as something absolutely basic and fundamental; and, as I see things at the present time, the first need in the Church is a clear understanding of this essential difference… But it has become blurred; the world has come into the Church and the Church has become worldly.
We have been told that we have to make the Church attractive to the man outside, and the idea is to become as much like him as we can. There were certain popular priests during the first world war who mixed with their men, and smoked with them, and did this, that, and the other with them, in order to encourage them. Some people thought that, as a result, when the war was over, the ex-service men would be crowding into the churches. Yet it did not happen, and it never has happened that way.
… When the Church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first. That is how revival comes. That must also be true of us as individuals. It should not be our ambition to be as much like everybody else as we can, though we happen to be Christian, but rather to be as different from everybody who is not a Christian as we can possibly be. Our ambition should be to be like Christ, the more like Him the better, and the more like Him we become, the more we shall be unlike everybody who is not a Christian. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones: From the Introduction to “The Sermon on the Mount)
Posted by Gary on May 21, 2012
“Therefore, thought I, what God says is best, is indeed best, though all the men in the world are against it.”
On Christian’s journey to the Celestial City he finally finds a companion to travel with by the name of “Faithful”. As they first meet, they recount their individual journeys, the events and people they have met with.
Faithful mentions that while in the Valley of Humility (this being the process of God humbling a person so that they may be saved) he met a Mr. Shame. One might think in the Valley of Humility this Mr. Shame was a person who had come to know shame for his own life and actions but Faithful points out quickly that his shame is not in regard to himself but that he seeks to make Christians feel ashamed of their religion.
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Posted by Gary on March 29, 2012
Matthew 26:56 “Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.”
Peter’s three-time denial of Jesus is as well known as any event in the Bible save the crucifixion and resurrection itself. To be fair to Peter you will note from the passage above that all the disciples forsook Jesus and fled. We tend to rake Peter over the coals for his unfaithfulness and not without justification. Though all the disciples said they would die for Jesus, Peter did distinguish himself and say that even if the rest of them would cave in, he never would:
Matthew 26:33-35 “But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too.”
Christian, certainly you know that there are many times that you and I are like Peter right? There are times when you and I don’t want others to know that we are one His disciples right? Let me guess, you never do this right? Have there been times when you have had opportunity to speak about Jesus and for Him and you did not for fear of what someone would think about you? Have there been times when Christ’s truth needed to be declared and you kept silent because you were afraid of others? Are you as willing to have others know you are Christ’s as you are to have them know who your favorite sports team is or who your favorite singer is? Do you declare Him like you do the Yankees, Phillies, Bono or Elvis?
If we are honest we will acknowledge freely that there is much of Peter in us. Let us remember though, that after Pentecost and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Peter and the other Apostles were very different men, bold, brave and faithful. May God by His Spirit make us like them.
Please take a moment to read these thoughts from Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” that I came across this week. They will humble you and challenge you: WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by Gary on March 6, 2012
I wanted to take a moment today in the midst of all the furor to encourage my brother Kirk Cameron (no, we’ve never met). I am grateful for the faithfulness to God’s truth Kirk demonstrated during his recent interview with Piers Morgan. It takes faith and the courage faith produces to speak truth in these days as America becomes Sodom.
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Posted by Gary on February 27, 2012
Psalm 2 “Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’” Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”
If you are like me, you look at the world everyday and are very concerned. Everyday more and more of our freedoms are taken away and the United States government is increasingly hostile toward Christians.
We are killing our offspring and government is encouraging us to do so. Sodomy is fully out of the closet and now in the military and those of us who insist that a man lying with a man is a sin against God are labeled as hateful and bigoted. It will not be long and pastors will be told that they cannot preach the Word of God in regard to the sins our government loves. Mark it, days of persecution are drawing near.
Why are these things happening? I’m sure you’ve wondered. Can I ask what answer you have arrived at? Your estimation of what is happening in the world is determined all-together by the lenses through which you look…
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Posted by Gary on January 20, 2012
Mark 14:27 “All of you will desert Me, Jesus told them.”
“We see in this verse, how well our Lord foreknew the weakness and infirmity of His disciples. He tells them plainly what they were going to do. “All of you shall desert Me.”
Let us take comfort in the thought that the Lord Jesus does not cast off His believing people because of failures and imperfections. He knows what they are.
He takes them, as the husband takes the wife, with all their blemishes and defects, and, once joined to Him by faith, will never leave them. He is a merciful and compassionate High priest. It is His glory to pass over the transgressions of His people, and to cover their many sins.
He knew what they were before conversion: wicked, guilty, and defiled; yet He loved them. He knows what they will be after conversion: weak, erring, and frail; yet He loves them.
He has undertaken to save them, notwithstanding all their shortcomings. And what He has undertaken He will perform.
Let us learn to pass a charitable judgment on the conduct of other believers. Let us not set them down in a low place, and say they have no grace, because we see in them much weakness and corruption. Let us remember that our Master in heaven bears with their infirmities, and let us try to bear with them too.
The Church of Christ is little better than a great hospital. We ourselves are all, more or less, weak, and all daily need the skillful treatment of the heavenly Physician. There will be no ‘complete cures’ until the resurrection day.”
(J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Mark”)
Posted by Gary on January 18, 2012
George Foreman was Tebowing before Tim Tebow
One of my favorite athletes of all-time is George Foreman. I don’t follow boxing like I used to and even have some qualms about it since my conversion but I have always loved the sport and George Foreman is certainly amongst the greatest champions of all-time. Watch Foreman’s first fight against Joe Frazier on YouTube and all you can say is, “scary”. Who can forget Howard Cosell’s, “Down goes Frazier!” “Down goes Frazier!” “Down goes Frazier!”
George lost the title he won from Frazier to Muhammad Ali in Zaire in 1974. A short time after that he lost again to Jimmy Young. After that fight in the dressing room George had a near-death experience and spoke of being in a place of utter despair. In that despair he acknowledged God and said he was pulled out of the terrible place he was in and coming to he began shouting that Jesus Christ was alive in him.
One might wonder if George had taken to many head shots that night but the subsequent years would prove that something significant had happened to him. Everyone who knew him said that he became a different man, no longer angry and violent but gentle and happy.
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Posted by Gary on January 6, 2012
Jeremiah 42:5-6 “Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with the whole message with which the LORD your God will send you to us. “Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the LORD our God.”
Jeremiah 43:1-2 “But as soon as Jeremiah, whom the LORD their God had sent, had finished telling all the people all the words of the LORD their God– that is, all these words–Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie! The LORD our God has not sent you to say, ‘You are not to enter Egypt to reside there’…”
Think about the great people of faith the Bible tells us about, the people that I am sure we all say we want to be like. We say we would love to have the closeness with God that they did. What brought these people close to God? Was it a primrose path that God had cleared of every difficulty and challenge? Were they close to God because God always granted them their own way or spoke to them what they always wanted to hear?”
Let’s consider God’s message to some of these people:
Abraham: Leave your family and by the way, I’ll tell you where you are going later. Send your son Ishmael away. Lay your son Isaac on an alter and offer him as a sacrifice to Me.
Hagar: Submit to Sarah.
Isaiah: Walk around naked and barefoot for three years.
Moses: Return to Egypt and confront Pharaoh. You will not enter the Promised Land.
Hosea: Marry a prostitute.
Mary: Bear the shame of a pregnancy before marriage; risk the loss of your betrothed.
Paul: Suffering and persecution await you.
Jesus: No, the cup will not be taken away.
May I ask you, Does the God you believe in ever say anything unpleasant to you?” Do you want to know God and obey Him badly enough to receive from Him the word you did not want to hear?
The god who only ever tells you what you want to hear is not the real God but an idol created by your own sinful heart. May God give us His grace to listen to what He would say to us, pleasant or unpleasant. To have God we must be willing to hear both.
Posted by Gary on December 19, 2011
Proverbs 27:23 “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.”
After coming home last night from evening service and a full day of instructing others in the Word and things of God, I read my devotional for the evening. Some sobering moments as I felt reminded by God that those who call others to examine themselves must be careful to do the same. Is all well between God and you? By His standards? Take some moments now to look to Him, confess any sin you are conscious of and seek His grace to remain on the narrow way. May God give us His grace and keep us in His grace that we will be able to stand before the Son of Man on that last and Great Day:
Luke 21:34-36 ” But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
“Every wise merchant will occasionally hold a stock-taking, when he will cast up his accounts, examine what he has on hand, and ascertain decisively whether his trade is prosperous or declining. Every man who is wise in the kingdom of heaven, will cry, “Search me, O God, and try me”; and he will frequently set apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether things are right between God and his soul.
The God whom we worship is a great heart-searcher; and of old His servants knew Him as “the Lord which searches the heart and tries the reins of the children of men.” Let me stir you up in his name to make diligent search and solemn trial of your state, lest you come short of the promised rest. That which every wise man does, that which God himself does with us all, I exhort you to do with yourself this evening.
Let the oldest saint look well to the fundamentals of his piety, for grey heads may cover black hearts: and let not the young professor despise the word of warning, for the greenness of youth may be joined to the rottenness of hypocrisy. Every now and then a cedar falls into our midst. The enemy still continues to sow tares among the wheat.
It is not my aim to introduce doubts and fears into your mind; no, verily, but I shall hope the rather that the rough wind of self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not security, but carnal security, which we would kill; not confidence, but fleshly confidence, which we would overthrow; not peace, but false peace, which we would destroy. By the precious blood of Christ, which was not shed to make you a hypocrite, but that sincere souls might show forth his praise, I beseech you, search and look, lest at the last it be said of you, “Mene, Mene, Tekel: thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”
(Charles Spurgeon: Morning and Evening December 18 evening reading)