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Thursday, November 26, 2015

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 »

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)

Trusting God when prayer is not answered…

Posted by Gary on September 12, 2014

Stand firm in faith, believing that what Jesus said is true, although in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you are asking of Him right now. (Oswald Chambers: My Utmost for His Highest September 12)

Are you being unfair to someone?

Posted by Gary on July 31, 2014

…if we love someone, but do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. (Oswald Chambers: My Utmost for His Highest July 30)

What wolves?

Posted by Gary on March 22, 2014

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

When one surveys the landscape of American Christianity today primarily through discussion and comments on social media, one is left wondering if anyone believes the warning Jesus gave us in Matthew 7:15. You can sample such a discussion on Dan Gaffney’s Facebook page here.

What Jesus intended us to hear cannot be mistaken. As always, Jesus speaks clearly and frankly. Jesus has warned us that that there are false prophets and that these prophets are wolves (who by the way, eat sheep). So deceptive are these false prophets, they actually appear to be one of the sheep they are determined to devour.

If we took Jesus seriously, we would weigh carefully the teaching and example of every person who claims to be Christ’s messenger using the infallible measuring rod for such examination, the Word of God.

But what we find increasingly is that people, yes, I am afraid many Christians included, have no willingness or intention of examining, weighing and passing judgment on those who seek to influence the destiny of their eternal soul or the souls of  others.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Taking inventory as Father’s Day draws near

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?

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Like Christ or like the world?

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)

Scenes and characters from Pilgrim’s Progress-Mr. Shame

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.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »