Prayer For The Learning And Wisdom Of Our Children...

As we walk through the month of August, our elementary to college family and friends will begin a new year of studies. They will hopefully be given a learning of knowledge and wisdom by their teachers that will be important to both their further education and future opportunities. Though secular understanding is not all they need.

Along with parents, Sunday school teachers, and pastors, seasoned Christians should also have a wealth of wisdom from both experience and meditation in the Scriptures through their life of serving God. We must ensure that we give these students godly examples concerning our Christian walk, to help them prove what is right from the Word of God. For, surely they will see a variety of morality and lifestyles in their fellow students, and possibly their teachers, this year.

May we all join in praying for each and every soul, that God would protect them from the evil of this world. Let us not dismiss the idea that from the youngest child to the mature college student, they do in fact face similar types of intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual warfare as we all do. By this, I mean the intellectual battle of their minds to believe or discount the things of God, the emotional battle of peer pressure and fitting in that may often go unknown to us, the physical battle of temptations along with protection from the desire of others to hurt fellow students, and the spiritual battle of doing that which is right even when it isn’t easy. All of these are extremely real, even though they may not be brought to our attention very often.

Should not our desire be that these may grow in the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord, bypassing many of the sins and pitfalls we have found ourselves in, that they may have a better Christian testimony and joyous life than we? May it be so.

Let us be mindful and prayerful of one another.

John Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

What a marvelous work did I happen upon in picking up John Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. From the onset he describes his wretched soul, as we all as sinners have been. He tells of the dreams and warnings of the Lord which came while he was yet a child, which caused his heart to ponder such things of heaven and hell, though they soon faded as he continued in sin. He shares of finding a religious experience, which both intrigued him and shallowly gave him comfort, but in his sin was he yet still. We find that even through the rebuke of the lost to one another can change one in the flesh, yet their spirit may remain dead in trespasses and sin. Yet, through it all, the God of Heaven shares mercy and grace to a sinner who, blinded by the flesh and the devil, falls to the depth of believing there is no hope for them, for they are too much of a sinner to find forgiveness in Christ. Oh, how great a change may be shown by the religious and the hypocrite, yet merely skin deep, the heart and soul never truly knows of the conversion whereby we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. Trusting not in Christ for forgiveness, though His very Words were nigh even upon his lips and fingertips, he did strive to obey the law to earn that which may only be given: salvation. Though asking God for forgiveness, it was misplaced by mere thoughts of the flesh saying ‘I can do better’ instead of putting faith in His Son’s sinless life and taking our place upon the cross. Praise be to God that dear John Bunyan indeed found salvation by grace through faith, by the mercy of God he found it, and so may every sinner that turns in faith, at the moving of the Holy Spirit, away from themselves and toward the sinless Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.

I have just started this work, but would recommend this to any sinner desiring to know more about Christ, the new convert who has come to know Christ, and to the believer that he may remember the day they met Christ.

A Call To Serve God More...

I pray this letter finds you all doing well serving the Lord. I pray that we will all be mindful of the opportunities the Spirit may lead us to, but also of our adversaries, namely the world, the flesh, and the devil, of whom we contend against.

Serving with fellow church members, of who are my brothers and sisters in Christ, in Mexico for a week stirs my senses to be more aware of the spiritual warfare that surrounds each and every one of us on a daily basis. Not only do we contend with a world system made of unsaved souls who desire not to serve the risen Saviour, we must rely on being obedient to the Spirit of God to make us mindful of Satan’s devices, not putting confidence in our sinful flesh which all too often leads us astray from the things of God.

Dear friends, we must be willing to place our faith in Christ and serve Him with our whole hearts. Too often I find myself wasting precious time that could be used getting to know my God and strengthening my faith. We cannot contend for the faith if we are unwilling to talk with our King (prayer), mediate upon his Word (Scripture), and put into action that which His Spirit shows us. We cannot allow temporal things to cloud our judgments, hindering us from receiving the wisdom of God that gives us strength and power in spiritual battles.

Our paying lip service to the things of God serves no purpose with man nor with God, for we are but one that neither believes nor cares for even that which we say. For, if we truly loved God, our family and friends, and desired not that one should taste the torments of eternal condemnation, would not our faith move us to witness that which we claim to believe?

You, my friend, may find yourselves doing just that, serving God to your fullest, and to that I say praise God, may you continue steadfast. But, for us (yes, me included) that are not completely using our time wisely, and all to often appear to get sidetracked by the woes and cares of this world, we need to repent (turn away from) those things which may not be sin, but yet hinder us from heading head strong into service for God, putting His will above our own.

Do you desire to know God? Do you desire to serve God? Do you desire to share His Word with others? These are questions that we all need to ask ourselves, being honest with ourselves and God with our answers. If yes, then we must then ask ourselves as to what are we presently doing for the cause of Christ. If no, we must purge ourselves of sin by repentance, seeking the forgiveness of Christ, then moving forth in obedience to the pressing of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Do we not know ‘every one of us shall give account of himself to God?’ [Romans 14:12] May we all live a testimony well pleasing in His sight!

God Bless,

A Little Expounding on 1 Corinthians 3:1-15

1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

According to verses 1-4, when we have not progressed in our spiritual walk, but continue with envy, strife, and divisions we are being carnally minded.

Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Ephesians 5 speaks of the relationship of the husband and the wife, as the relationship of Christ and the church. As the church, we are to submit ourselves to Christ because He loves us and gave Himself for us. His desire is to present us without blemish, cleansing us by ‘the washing of water by the word.’ Just as we are to grow closer to our spouse by taking time to intimately know them, so must we desire to ‘grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ to ‘beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.’ [2 Peter 3:17-18] A marital relationship can’t simply stay at the same stage as when two people first met, and neither can our relationship with Jesus Christ remain the same as the day we were saved. We must mature in our love and knowledge of the things of God through the study and meditation of His Word.

4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

We have to guard ourselves from becoming –ites. It is okay to say ‘my pastor is Bro. Martin’ and that ‘I attend Fellowship Baptist Church’ but we must remember the gospel message of Jesus Christ is about His death, burial, and resurrection, not about our pastor and our church. When we witness, we are to share with persons the Word of God, not try to convert them to be Southern Baptist on their door step. We should support our pastor and our church, but we must guard against simply becoming a follower of a man (any man). We are to be followers of Christ, but testing all things against the Scriptures. 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

As Christians we are to be about witnessing and spreading the gospel message to those around us. As the parable of the sewer (or the seed) [Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8] the seed may indeed fall upon various grounds, but how then shall the seed find the good ground unless we are willing to plant and water with the abilities God has given us? We shouldn’t choose by outward appearance to where or whom to plant and water, but obey the moving of the Holy Spirit.

7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

As Christians we must be conscious that we do not allow pride to have us see ourselves as higher than all other Christians and better than all sinners, for we will become self Pharisaical making ourselves of no profitable use to the cause of Christ. We must remember that by grace through faith we have been converted – by God – ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.’ [Titus 3:5-7] For it is Christ who is the ‘author and finisher of our faith’ knowing He which hath begun the a good work in us continues to work in us to do His good pleasure. We have not made ourselves saved, nor can we make someone else saved. We must present the gospel, pray, and trust the Spirit of God will move in the hearts of people.

This also does not mean our service to God means nothing, for Romans 10 shows God uses men to further the gospel in that it ask ‘how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?’ And here in 1 Corinthians 3 and verse 13 it declares, ‘Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is,’ and so shall there be reward and loss based on our honest deeds toward God and the spreading of His gospel message. Honest deeds means our heart also, not just what we see each other do on the outside, for the Pharisees appear good on the outside but were corrupt within. [Matthew 23:27]

What this does mean is that we are not the focal point, nor is it us or our ideas which save the lost. God and His gospel of Jesus Christ is the focal point, and He is the one who saves sinners. I mean, what is it that we plant and water? We must choose to plant and water that which God has provided, for if not, we will sin in planting and watering with man-made ideas and quick ‘easy believism’ schemes which may show numbers, but not truly converted hearts.

9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

The only way that we can be ‘labourers together with God’ is to preach and teach the same gospel message He has already declared through Jesus Christ. Paul declares unto us the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15, but also elsewhere throughout Scripture. Verse 11 states, ‘For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ Paul says in Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Just as 2 Timothy 2:16 following telling us to study the Word in verse 15, says ‘shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.’ How are we to witness to others and avoid deceit unless we grow from being babes in Christ and keep ourselves from being carnally minded?

We must humbly submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to work through us, using that which He has given us through Scripture, so that we will grow as Christians, souls will be saved, lives changed, and God receives all of the glory. We do not glory in ourselves when a soul comes to Christ, but glory in the One who has opened our eyes to see and our ears to hear, the One who has given us the seed and the water and works in us to plant and water wherever His Spirit shall lead us, that others may come to know Him also.

Corrupting the Word of God

In Genesis 3, we have the fall of mankind. This chapter is full of insightful information as to how man fell, but also as to the temptations we face today are merely the same as those which Adam and Eve faced in the Garden of Eden: Such as, “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”

But, for the moment, let us consider the misuse of the Word of God by mankind which led to the fall, for such has continued throughout the ages with men Corrupting the Word of God even unto this day. Really one should take the time to read and mediate on this chapter, for here I will merely try to quickly note the pitfalls we can all find ourselves in when we corrupt the Word of God whether intentionally or not.

Note 1: Not all corrupt communication will come in the form of ‘God is a liar.’

God said: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.
Serpent said: Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

We see that ‘false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves’ attempt to use the Word of God, but not in its intended purpose and original thought. Notice the serpent puts a negative slant on the Word of God. God said they may freely eat of every tree of the garden, only telling them to refrain from ‘the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,’ whereas the serpent states that God has said they may not eat of every tree of the garden. Instead of presenting the fact that mankind was being given many things having only one tree withheld, the serpent’s words take away from what all has been given to man and focuses on what has been withheld.

Note 2: It isn’t necessary to take away from the Word of God to improve it.

God said: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.
Serpent said: Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Eve said: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Here we see liberalism creeping into mankind, desiring to water down the Word of God, as Eve removes the word ‘freely’ from the very mouth of God concerning the trees of the garden. Sure this note could be debatable, but the word ‘freely’ declares it was given unto them to partake without requiring something in return. As seen in salvation, it is freely given by grace through faith, without the deeds of the law.

Notice Eve also waters down God’s word of ‘in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die’ with ‘lest ye die’ leaving the idea of the possibility that one would not actually die; therefore, making God a liar, and making it easier to sin with a seemingly lesser punishment.

Note 3: It isn’t necessary to add to the Word of God to protect it.

God said: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.
Serpent said: Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Eve said: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Here we see legalism creeping into mankind, desiring to go beyond the Word of God, as Eve now claims that God said they could not even touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; though He never said such. Now we see the serpent saying that God has not given mankind every tree, Eve is now saying that they cannot even touch this one tree, and the tree simply becomes more enticing as they corrupt the Word of God.

Note 4: As we corrupt the Word of God, we move closer to sin.

God said: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Eve said: lest ye die.
Serpent said: Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh), and that it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (pride of life), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

When confronted with corrupt communication mankind started by quoting the very Words of God, though they found room to change, add, and take away from the pure words they were given. In turn, they turned away from the truth, embraced the lies, and lusted after that which was sin. It is no different today with each one of us.

David declared, as we all should: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Corrupting the Word of God will surely lead to our own corruption.

It's Summertime!

School is out and summertime is upon us, and with it comes vacation, family visits, and relaxation for many. Let us remember not to put God and our local church in the trunks of our cars as we head out to enjoy time with family and friends.

Please continue to pray and support your Sunday school class and church worship services; for there are many a soul who still need to put their faith in Jesus Christ, and they will be watching where our hearts are this summer.

Hypnotic Spiritless Singing

Scripture declares, we are to speak to “yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” and “one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord,” but are we taking this a little too far nowadays?

What I mean is it is no secret that music (whether Christian or non) moves our emotions both in positive and negative ways. I would also be willing to say that it is most often the beat, melody, etc. more so than the words that move us rather than the other way around, for sometimes the words can barely be made out or even heard. While other times, some words found in the so-called Christian music (not limited to just contemporary either) can be easily heard, but are so far from Biblical Truth, it is quite amazing that we (well some) still use them.

Just because it falls under the label of psalms (not the Psalms), hymns, or spiritual songs doesn’t mean it is Biblically sound. Just curious, to YOU, what makes a song spiritually sound? Is it the words, the music, both, or because grandma, grandpa and the local church have always sung it?

I have a fear that many a person in modern-day Christianity is experiencing emotional highs with Christian music, but their very soul remains dead in trespasses and sin. Sure they feel good, their flesh may even enjoy the sound, the beat, and even the choruses, but does their spirit rejoice with the moving of the Spirit of God? I’m not saying I can look at one and tell, I believe this is something we each need to ask ourselves when we believe we are “in the Spirit” being moved by the music played by the band, soloist, choir, or pianist.

Let’s be honest, can not many a soul be moved to both joy and sadness by the tunes of a movie, a play, a missionary story, etc.? Is this by the Spirit of God or merely our emotions being moved by what we see and hear at the time, only to walk away from such back into our “normal” lives whereby we usually forget such?

Please tell me why we have so many giving their lives to Christ, shouting “Holy, holy, holy”, crying out with great tears, falling down to worship God, ONLY to walk out of the church, the stadium, wherever merely returning to their daily lives as if the “experience” never really happened and their lives are never really changed?

Did (Does) the music move their (our) souls to confession, repentance, and salvation, or has it just been a case of Hypnotic Spiritless Singing embraced by the flesh and emotions never reaching their (our) dead or backslidden spirit?

Let us not be hoodwinked by our emotions simply being tossed to or fro during the hype of music, but let us judge our experiences by being grounded in the Word of Truth.