Friday, December 24, 2010

Book Review: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream [Book]As I began reading this book, I was really excited, and even convicted on some personal issues of mine own, such as consuming too much of my “blessings” and not sharing enough of them. But the book never turned the corner for me from there. His 5-fold response is nothing Radical. Instead, maybe the book should have been called “Refresher.” 

Like many who have already reviewed this book, I do find it leans a little too heavy in the guilt area. I much rather would have read more about all that the Bible has to say on this subject and less of the areas the author felt were “off balance.”  It seems to me as if the author never considered any truths from Proverbs.

Overall, I would say this is a good, but not great, book for every Christian to read. Just follow the old adage of “take the meat and spit out the bones,” and you will be challenged to indeed make some changes for the Lord.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"

Monday, December 20, 2010

From Swaddling Clothes To Grave Clothes


Luke 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
                                                    
Today, when we consider swaddling clothes, we often think of something similar to a baby blanket. But what does the word "swaddling" mean? Consider the definition given in Webster's 1828 dictionary - SWAD'DLE - to bind, as with a bandage; to bind tight with clothes; used generally of infants; as, to swaddle a child. The question I now ask you is this: What was so prophetic then about the swaddling clothes?
                                      
These types of clothes were often used in bandaging the wounded and wrapping the dead.  So, Jesus left heaven and when he took on the flesh of man, was immediately wrapped in these bandages. And what was the last thing He had on before He rose from the grave – bandages.
                                                    
 Luke 24:12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass

So, when Mary and Joseph bound baby Jesus tightly in the swaddling clothes, it was God’s way of pointing to the future and showing that He was coming the first time as the Suffering Saviour, the Ultimate and Final Sacrifice for Sins. It shows that He was sentenced to die for man ever before He was born.  Remember – He had no bandages on before He came, nor after He left because the Sacrifice was complete!

                           
He was given swaddling clothes…grave clothes…a death sentence…to start His earthly ministry – but He left death at the grave because He was the Ultimate conqueror of death, hell, and the grave! Those grave clothes represent our sin – and they were left dead in the grave - Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So, when you see a manger scene this Christmas season, remember that God Incarnate was born with a death sentence, as exhibited by the swaddling clothes that wrapped His body tight.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why We Have Lost The Joy of Christmas

Luke 2:10  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

WHY WE HAVE LOST THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS
  1. Money Has Taken Over The Holiday
  2. Myths Have Taken Over The Holiday - Christmas should be about:
    1. Christ, and not a Character
    2. Calvary's Tree, and not a Christmas Tree
    3. Christ's Empty Grave, not a Christian's Earthly Gifts.
  3. Men Have Taken Over The Holiday
    1. They have changed it - new name, music, etc.
    2. They have conformed it - worldliness
    3. They have criticized it - argue the date of birth, claim pagan origins, etc.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Multiply the Impossible

Luke 1:36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

Most of my readers are familiar with the first couple of chapters of the Gospel According to Luke in relation to Christmas. As I was re-reading these chapters for upcoming messages this Christmas season, something new stood out to me this time. Now, we all realize there is nothing new in Bible; but as we like to say when we buy a used car, "It may not be new, but its new to me!"

Something that I never considered before was the timing of what Gabriel tells Mary about her cousin Elisabeth. I began to imagine what was going through Elisabeth's mind the past six months, and what is now going through Mary's mind as she contemplates all that Gabriel tells her. It must be reassuring for each of them to know that they are not the only one in this boat of impossibility. 

I began to think how sometimes when we see God bless us and do something impossible in not only us, but others around us, our attitude begins to change. If we are not the only one who God is blessing at this time, then we silently get upset. This reveals the true nature of our heart - we are selfish and prideful. Our desire should be to have God bless us in a way that will give Him, and not us, the glory - and that His blessings of making possible the impossible will be poured out on others. 

Our prayer should be that God will multiply the impossible in our life and the lives of those around us this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Waiting For The Snow

Psalm 130:6  My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. 

This morning our girls woke up and their excitement bubbled over as they peered out of our large front window in the living room. Why, you ask? BECAUSE IT'S SNOWING!!! Darci and I are not so excited. What is the difference? I believe one of the differences is in what you are anticipating.

My daughters are looking forward to playing in the snow, building snowmen, and tobogganing down the large hills (BTW, to my southernly-challenged friends, a toboggan is NOT the warm hat you wear during the winter. The picture above explains what a toboggan is.). 

On the other hand, when the wife and I see snow, we see harsh driving conditions, high gas bills to keep our home warm, and hours and hours of shoveling and de-icing. 

You see, the difference is in the anticipation. As we begin the season that is set aside to celebrate the first coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ, are we waiting with anticipation for his Second Coming? Is our heart full of love and anticipation for that glad reunion day? That day should be looked toward with joy and anticipation, and not dread fear.

When you begin to think about all those things you are anticipating this Christmas season, is the Lord's return one of them?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Hide?


Jeremiah 23:23-24  Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?  (24)  Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

As I decided to read a little more in my Chronological Bible this morning, I came across the 23rd chapter of Jeremiah and spent some time contemplating the many great truths for us today (So much so, that I may preach through this chapter sometime soon!). I wanted to share with my readers these two verses, mainly because they parallel what we have been studying in Sunday School.

There once was a couple who thought they no longer needed God. Now, I am sure they did not think that way outwardly, or ever even verbalized it, but that was the case inwardly. They had wonderful fellowship with God, the likes of which no one ever had before. God had richly blessed them with an abundance of provision and love and only had one restriction. 

Yet, soon after there comes along someone who begins to get them to doubt that God's way was the only way. Soon thereafter they make the choice to make their own decisions on what is right and what is wrong and wilfully disobey God. Quickly they fall under conviction and begin to try to formulate their own means of reconciliation by a covering of fig leaves. But this covering was not enough, and when they hear the LORD God walking in the garden towards them, they hide in the trees of the garden.

I am sure that most of my readers by now realize that I am speaking about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The amazing thing is that some 6,000+ years later man is still trying to hide their sin from God. First, a small covering of fig leaves. And when that does not work, we go for a forest of cover -- but are still naked to God in our sin and shame.

Let each of remember that there is no place we may hide from the presence of God and no way for us to fool Him with our feeble works of righteousness. Wherever you may be at in your fellowship/relationship with God, realize this: God sees you where you are and loves you in spite of it. Do not let your past failures and mistakes keep you from having the fellowship/relationship that your Heavenly Father wants with you. Realize about yourself what God already knows: you are a sinner saved by His wondrous grace. Then, repent of that sin and return to Him. 

His love is greater than our sin, and His Grace reaches down further to bring us out of the miry clay.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Two Ways Before All Of Us

Jeremiah 21:8-9  And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death.  (9)  He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey.

The prophet Jeremiah is giving a Divine Warning to the King of Jerusalem and his people. They have two choices before them: one leads to life, and the other leads to death. But there is no standing still, there is no wavering. Choose, and choose quickly, the path that you will take.

In a very real way, the same choice is before us today in regards to salvation: chose to stay in the city (sin) and die an everlasting death of separation and punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire. Or, leave the city (sin) and fall on the Lord for his mercy and grace. The Lord has given the warning and the choice is yours to make.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Book Review: Living Life In The Zone: A 40-Day Spiritual Plan For Men

Upon receiving the book, Living Life In The Zone: A 40-Day Spiritual Plan For Men by Kyle Rote Jr and Dr. Joe Pettigrrew, I must admit I was a little excited. I have been reevaluating my methods and manners in my own personal daily devotions and was looking for something more devotional to use as a basis. Add in to that my love for sports (as you can see by the decor in my office), this book had the beginnings of something very useful and good.

But as I began to read through this daily, I found myself a little let down. It was heavily centered on man and not nearly enough focus on God for my taste. And maybe that is just the byproduct of combining sports with spiritual growth. It seemed to me as if this book was trying to reach the new/young Christian man who needs lots of milk and not quite ready for meat because most of the entries were very basic with lots of examples and illustrations. Which is fine, but the problem I saw with it is that it was so long on stories, and so little on Scriptures. Each daily entry was somewhat long, so this could not and should not be considered if you are looking for a short, daily devotional book to get your day started.

Over all, I would not discourage you from reading this book, but I just don't think you should get your hopes up about it.


This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Review: Remember Why You Play by David Thomas

Remember Why You Play is an excellent book for any Christian who is a sports enthusiast, and any teenage athlete who looking for inspiration for the field.  I might have been one of the few people who did not know anything about the game between the Faith Christian Lions and the Gainesville State Tornadoes (I won't reveal it here in case there are others who want to read this book and be surprised). The author does a good job in building up to the moment, even going back to the prior season. The book has a great layout with each chapter covering each game/major moment. You get a good feel and intimate knowledge of the coaches and players as you journey with them up to this memorial event.

As I was reading this book, it stood out to me why our public school system is failing - the removal of God. There are so many great lessons Coach Hogan shares with his team that just would not be allowed in a public classroom. It is a reminder to me that we are all created by God and have a God-given purpose in this life - to know Him as our Saviour and glorify Him with our life.

Overall, this is an excellent book and well worth the read.

This book was given to me free by Tyndale House Publishing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Is Your Parenting Goal?

Often times, in reference to our children, and especially our teenagers, we hear the phrase, "I did ____________, and I didn't turn out too bad. That's just a teen being a teen and you've got to let them live and learn." In taking this stance, many parents think that they are being understanding and even doing what's best for their child, but is that really the case?

We read in God's Word in Jeremiah 16:11-13 about a generation of Judah and the judgment that was heading their way. God tells Jeremiah to proclaim them, "Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;  (12)  And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:  (13)  Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour."

Here, we see a generation of people that grew up and "experienced" the same things as their parents, only with a twist: they took it farther than their parents did. I wonder if some of the parents, as they observed their children growing up, thought, "Ehh, I did the same thing when I was their age. no big deal."? We see in our passage the dangers of this attitude. As Jeremiah is preaching to Judah, he reminds them that even though their fathers have forsaken the Lord, they are in worse shape because they have have walked further from the Lord. 

Often times, we allow our past experiences to dictate how we handle present day actions in light of the truth of God's Word. As parents, we should always remember: Past experiences do not trump Bible truths. Just because you dabbled with alcohol and drugs while in high school doesn't mean you should look the other way when you know your teen is doing the same today. Remember, they will take it further than you ever did. Just because you had some immoral and impure relationships in high school doesn't mean you should look the other way when you know your teen is heading down that same route today. This is why teen pregnancy and STD's are at an all time high. 

My goal as a parent is not to be the "cool" parent or to be so "understanding" and for my children to experience all that I experienced; but for them to live a better, and more pleasing life to the Lord. What is your goal?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Does Everything Really Rise and Fall With Leadership?

As I was reading this morning, I came across this verse: Jeremiah 15:1  Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth. As I read it, my mind immediately thought of the well-traveled quote, "Everything rises and falls with leadership." While I have no problem with the rising part, I have often wondered about the falling aspect. 

(On a side note, do not take this as a criticism of the one who originated the quote. I do not know the context of when and why he said it, but I do know how it is used today and disagree with it.

One of the first people I always think of is Noah. By today's standards, he was a failed leader. Yet, God calls him a "preacher of righteousness." I've read some, but not all, of the leadership books that are out on the market today, and many have some good truths for us to learn. But, as Jeremiah points out to us, even a great leader, such as Moses and Samuel, will not be enough to change the direction of some people. Instead of focusing on results, we should focus on those things that we can control, like our spiritual vitality and work ethic. Don't allow the guru's or lack of results frustrate you and to minimize what you do for the Lord.

Let's remember, sometimes great "preaching" does not make for great "doctrine."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review: Rumble! Zap! Pow! Mighty Stories of God

I received the book Rumble! Zap! Pow! Mighty Stories of God and was anxious to begin reading it to my kids. My goal for this review was not to review it for myself, but from my kids perspective. That did not quit work out. The reason being is this: they really liked the book, but I felt it lacking in many areas.

For the reasons they liked it: it was filled with short, colorful stories with cool actions/games to do at the end. But that is where anything of value ends for me with this book. I found the watered down version of Bible stories to be more harmful than helpful. I am afraid we lose many of our children later in life because we make the Bible so kid friendly and cartoon like that once they get older it just seems like another fairy tale they grew up with. So, it is my opinion that this book, though tries and has the right intent, actually might hurts your children in the long run and cause them to doubt the truth and reliability of the Word of God later in life when the actual Bible does not line up completely with the stories they were taught as kids.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, September 20, 2010

An Attack on God's Gifted

As I was reading in my Bible this morning, I came across Daniel 1:3-4  And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;  (4)  Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

When I came to this point, the Lord spoke to me about this and shed some new light on it for me and gave me a different emphasis. I find it interesting, and telling, that the king did not want the children of Israel that were ugly, weak, ignorant, and with no common sense. He waned the best that Israel had to offer. 

This is significant to us today because I believe it reveals the method of attack today by Satan: the world and Satan wants to go after God's gifted. When tempted of Satan (as Daniel and his three friends were later in the chapter with the kings meat and drink), we often think we are worthless to God. But just the opposite is true. We have a lot of God-given potential, and Satan wants to do whatever he can to stop it. The next time you are tempted to sin and stray from the Lord, realize it is the devil trying to lure you away from God and your God-given potential to do great things for the Lord. We would also do well to remember this as we minister to other Christians who are living in sin. They too, have potential to do great things for God. Stan realized it, but do we?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Slide commeth before the fall

Okay, so that is not exactly how Proverbs 16:18 records it, but the title is still true today, especially in light of the 73rd Psalm. I want to focus on Psalm 73:2  But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. We read in this verse an honest confession from the psalmist on his own personal life and struggles. 

But as I read his words and confession this morning, I was reminded that we often only focus on the aftermath of a life that is in trouble. We see the family that is separated, the marriage that is estranged, or maybe the dependency upon drugs and alcohol. But what we fail to often realize is that before a person, family, and a life falls apart, it begins with a small, backwards slide. The Bible tells us in the Song of Solomon 2:15  ...the little foxes, that spoil the vines:... It is usually the little steps that lead a person over the edge of the cliff of sin, not some giant leap. It starts with the little things: missing a church service here or there, not reading our Bible or praying on certain days because we get too busy, etc. Sometimes we can even be so focused on serving God and busy with "ministry" that we don't recognize that we have slowly slidden further and further away from God in our own personal relationship with Him.

Often, we are so focused on the big picture that we fail to notice the little things that lead us closer and closer to destruction. When many Christians think of the invitation at the end of a church service, or hear the word "repentance," they think those things are just for those who are in deep, dark sin. But the truth of the matter is that if we don't daily confess those "little" sins and stop the slide, we once day will find ourselves in the middle of a deep dark fall.


Monday, August 9, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Life Application Bible Studies - 1 & 2 Thessalonians/Philemon

The Life Application Bible Study series covering 1 & 2 Thessalonians and Philemon is a good study material for the Christian in coming to a better knowledge of these three letters. I really appreciated, and have used, another book written by one of the authors this book whose name is David Veerman. He authored "How To Apply The Bible." While I am not a fan of the "New Living Translation," the method used for biblical application is very helpful. This work seems to take the same approach to not only understanding these three letters, but making the correct application. The lessons in this Bible study would be good for not only for Sunday School/Bible Study Groups, but also very good for personal Bible Study.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Political Scene of Today

Isaiah 30:1-2  Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:  (2)  That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!

Isaiah chapter 30 is the continuation of warnings that were given to Judah and Jerusalem of impending discipline that was coming their way. Chapters 29-31 lay out the reasons why, and what would happen.

As I was reading this portion of Scripture this morning, I thought about what I heard on our local news last night and this morning. Certain political experts were hypothesizing why certain candidates won and lost. In their discussion, they claimed that certain candidates won because they appealed to certain groups. One of those groups were those who claim to be "Pro-Choice" (which is just really pro-murder!). Certain politicians lost because they would not capitulate to these immoral, ungodly organizations.

As I thought more about it, we are plagued today in America in that we have people and politicians who are taking counsel from immoral, ungodly agencies and organizations while ignoring the council of God and His Word. Society is spending most of its time, money, and energy trying to cover its sin with more sin while ignoring the direction and leadership of the Holy Spirit. The strength of Egypt and Pharaoh (the world) will not be strong enough to overturn what awaits those who turn on God.

With that being said, I would think that myself and most of my readers would not fall into this category...or do we? How often do we get into trouble and seek the counsel of other men and women (who are usually struggling with the same things we are!) while ignoring the counsel of God? How often do we seek new ideas and implementations from the world in how to raise our children and build the church?  How often do we worry and fret over difficulties and situations as if God has no strength and ability to intercede? How often do we seek the shadow of the world for our comfort while fleeing the sweet Spirit of God?

May we, as the children of a holy, just, and sovereign God, forsake this world's ideologies and seek His Spirit and counsel in all that we say and do.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Church Camp Is This Week!

Hey everyone, I am gone at church camp this week with the teens from our church. I am letting you know this so:

  1. You will pray for our teens, myself (I am speaking 3 times) and Evangelist Jayson Godsey, who will be preaching the evening services.
  2. I will not be making any new posts until sometime next week
Thanks for praying for us, and I will try to give an update next week. If I can get internet at the camp, I will post some info throughout the week on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, July 19, 2010

They Think It Strange

1Peter 4:3-4  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:  (4)  Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

As I was reading and studying today, I came across verse 4 and it just stood out to me. Peter makes the application that even though they used to run with sinners and live a life of sin, they no longer did and those that they did it with now think they are strange. There was such a dramatic change in not only their inner being but also in their outer being, that it was just strange to the old crowd who was not saved. And because this "new life" was so strange to them, they spoke evil of them. 

How many times have we heard the saying, "They are running with the wrong crowd"? What we notice from Peter today is that no only is that crowd wrong, but they are going to think of you strange for not following them. But our job is not to blend in with every one else, but to stand out for our Lord, remembering what Peter said in chapter 2:

1Peter 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Psalm 118:24 - Be In It

A Devotional Outline From Psalm 118:24
1.     The Creation - This is the day which the Lord hath made
a.     God is the creator.
b.     God made this day just for us.
c.      If God had no use for you – He would not give you today.
d.     God gives us the day – what we do with it is our choice.
e.     Change starts one day at a time:
                     i.      Michelangelo – 4 years paint Sistine Chapel. Spent 10-12 hours a day on a small section just several inches wide.
                     ii.      Focused on the overall picture, while concentrating on the small task at hand.
                     iii.      Think about where you want your life to end up for the Lord, and every day, little by little, begin to implement it.
2.     The Choice - We will rejoice and be glad
a.     We have a choice to rejoice and be glad in God today – but many allow their circumstances to dictate their feelings.
b.     As Charles Spurgeon says in his commentary – What else can we do?
c.      When we really get down to it – we have so much to be thankful for.
d.     We focus on the few negatives while overlooking all the positives.
e.     EX: Tree-line while fishing. Focusing on the one dead tree and missing all the other beautiful ones
3.     The Circumstances - In it
a.     Here is the key – “in it.”
b.     Don’t live your life in the past
                     i.      Many suffer from the Use-ta’s – come to church, teach, choir, soul-win
c.      Don’t live in the future
                     i.      “I have some issues to work out. But once I do, THEN I will come to church, teach, choir, soul-win, etc.”
d.     As many athletic coaches have said over the years – we are in it to win it.
e.     Live today to its fullest for the Lord.
f.       Get started today.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Madness and Ministry of Music

There is a lot that is made of the issue of music. It is one of those subjects that can divide Christians, churches, and preachers. For some, music is a fundamental of the faith; for others it is a preference. For the purpose of this post, I will briefly be discussing Christian/Worship music and not secular music. So, what does the Bible say about the issue of music?

  • We know that music can be used for the good and the uplifting of people – 1 Samuel 16:15-16; Ephesians 5:19 
  • We also know that music can be used for evil and idol worship – Daniel 3:5

The interesting thing to me about Daniel Chapter 3 is that many of the same music instruments used by the psalmist for praising and worshiping God were also used by the wicked musicians for Nebuchadnezzar. During David’s time, it says that they played all manners of instruments (2 Samuel 6:5). So then, maybe it is not so much what is used to make the music, but what music you make with it.

It was during the time of David that music seems to of had its greatest impact in the worshiping of God (though a careful reading of Revelation shows to us that music and worship will be a part of eternity). Today, many Christians choose to join (or leave) a church solely based upon the style of music used during the church service. So then, what does the Bible say about the music that is to be used in such a case? We notice in Ephesians 5:19 three types of songs, or music:

Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

I have always heard (and agreed with, yet not sure who said it first) that a simple explanation of the differences in these three is this:
  • Psalms – Songs that are sung TO God.
  • Hymns – Songs that are sung ABOUT God.
  • Spiritual Songs – Songs that are sung about OUR relationship with God, our Christian testimony, etc.

Another verse that speaks along these same lines is: Colossians 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. This tells us that music is to be used to teach and admonish (warn or exhort) each other.

This is where we must be careful with music, especially much of the music that is being produced for today. As I have always told our church, I am not against anything new when it comes to music, as long as it is Biblical. It seems to me though that much of what we hear today either promotes false doctrines, or has false motives (glory of man and not God, etc.).

So, should we throw out all new music? My answer is no – remember, Amazing Grace was once a “new” song! Now, I do listen to some “new” worship music – in private! Why in private and not public? That is because I consider them to be spiritual songs which benefit me on a personal level and are beneficial for me in my personal worship of God. But as far as corporate worship (church service), we do better to stick with the Psalms and Hymns, even though we sing very few Psalms these days.  Maybe we should get back to opening the Book of Psalms and singing it instead of reading it?!

I know this can be a touchy and controversial subject amongst Christians, so I am open for discussion, BUT NOT ARGUMENTS. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Worshiping the Works of our Hands

Micah 5:13  Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.

This thought of idol worship has really been on my heart and mind lately. Maybe it is because I am reading through the Reese Chronological Bible in my devotion time and having been reading through the different prophets, but this seems to be a bigger issue here in our churches than we like to think it is. 

While the prophet Micah is speaking more specifically about the worship of statue-like objects, we see the parallel to modern-day idol worship.  While there are plenty of churches with their statues out front and in their auditorium, I am more worried about our other works that we worship today: our programs, personalities, and preferences. 

John Gill has a good thought on this application: "and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands" - as not to fall down to idols and worship them, so neither to trust in carnal privileges, ceremonial rites, observances of the traditions of the elders, or any works of righteousness done by them, which they had been prone unto.

I think it is a good thing for each of us to occasionally do a check of what it is we actually worship. If we are honest with God and ourselves, it may actually surprise us what we have "bowed the kneed to." I am afraid we are more worried about what a church offers for my children, what type of music they sing, and how charismatic the preacher is. It is strange to me how often people will object to change because "momma and daddy didn't do it that way," yet they don't love and serve the Lord like their momma and daddy used to.

Lets make sure that God really is at the heart of our worship, and not anything that we have created.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hypocrisy in worship

READ: Isaiah 6:1-4, key vs. 3-4

Here, Isaiah speaks of the great hypocrisy and wickedness that was committed in the name of worship and religion. This was something that even the prophet Ezekiel dealt with in Ezekiel 23:39  For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house. How can anyone living in America today read this and not see the application to the American Christian?!

So much of what is done in church today in the name of worship is not God or Christ centered worship; it is idol worship centered on man's thoughts and desires. The American Christian, and their American church, have chosen their own way with their own traditions and now take great delight in their worshipful abominations. We stand and fight, not for pure doctrine and the power of an undefiled Gospel, but for our traditions and the methods of our idols (past preachers that have been used by God for great things). Few Christians today actually desire the sincere milk and meat of the word; instead, settling for regurgitated thoughts from others. We have now become dogmatic of traditions, and they now are our god and our idol. And we do all of this in the name of the Lord. We do much, but not much good.  I wonder today how many of us are hypocritical in our worship, following a delusion, and have missed out on the voice of God as we delight in our religious activities that God considers an abomination?

Proverb 15:8  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lightening Strikes a Jesus Statue

If you have not heard or read about the incident of the "King of Kings Jesus" statue getting struck down by lightening, read it here http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_lightning_strikes_jesus_statue.

Now, there are a lot of anti-Christians who are having a field day with this. But here is the brief, and simple truth - God never has, nor never will, want any statue erected of himself, for himself. There are so many verses from the Word of God that deal with this issue, here is just one:

Psalm 97:6-7 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. (7) Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.

If you think that God is not in the idol/statue taking down business, then maybe you should read 1 Samuel chapter 5. What happened the other day is nothing new, it has been happening since the times of the Old Testament. What we have witnessed is Old Testament actions being played out right before our eyes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Evidence of Sanctification - Galatians 5:1-15

SERIES: THE GREATNESS OF GRACE
TITLE: THE EVIDENCE OF SANCTIFICATION
TEXT: GALATIANS 5:1-15

I. EVIDENCE OF SANCTIFICATION IN YOUR LIFE IS THAT YOU ARE NOT DEPENDENT OF THE LAW - 5:1
  1. You will not Exit from Sovereignty - "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free"  
  2. You will not be Entangled in Sin - "And be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
II. EVIDENCE OF SANCTIFICATION IN YOUR LIFE IS THAT YOU ARE NOT A DEBTOR OF THE LAW - 5:2-6  
  1. Those who are debtors to the Law are Constrained by the whole Law - 5:2-3
  2. Those who are debtors to the Law are Casualties of the whole Law - 5:4
  3. Those who are NOT debtors to the Law are Conquerors of the whole Law - 5:5-6
III. EVIDENCE OF SANCTIFICATION IN YOUR LIFE IS THAT YOU ARE NOT DRAWN OFF-COURSE BY THE LAW - 5:7-15
  1. You stay on course by Purging all Sin - 5:7-9
  2. You stay on course by Protecting your Soul - 5:10-12
  3. You stay on course by Perferring other Saints - 5:13-15

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Never Satisfied

Proverbs 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

We live in a day and age were few people are ever truly satisfied. Just as Hell and the grave are always ready to receive the next person, the eye, or desires of man, are never satisfied. In ministering to individuals, I have observed how many are never satisfied when it comes to their job or their spouse. Their eye is always drawn to the negatives and the flaws and not the positives and the blessings. They always think that there is more to be offered and that they could do much better somewhere else with someone else.
 
Many people in America have become spoiled and now look at their faith and their Christianity in the same manner. The common mindset is, "What can I get out of it?" instead of, "What can I give to it?" People now walk into churches with shopping lists, and are no longer Spirit led. The problem with this is that we will never find the perfect church because it does not exist here on this side of eternity. There will always be some facet of it that does not meet your expectation. Yet, if it was the perfect church, you would not be allowed to join!  The real danger with this mindset is that it puts us in a critical spirit. A person who tries to serve the Lord in this manner will always feel as if they sacrificed and lowered their standard just to join a church.
 
We need to put aside the mindset of Lot (who looked and chose Sodom because of what it could offer), and take the mindset of Philip (who obeyed the leading of the Holy Spirit and left a very successful area of ministry to go and reach one Ethiopian eunuch in the desert). I leave you with a quote from Evangelsit Jayson Godsey (http://evangelistjaysongodsey.com/): We need to put aside the grocery shopping/garage saling mentality when looking for the will of God.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Do We Have Power Yet?

Psalm 62:11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.

Yesterday was Memorial Day, a day that is set aside to honor the memory of those great men and women who have given their life for our country and the freedoms that we enjoy today. So, with that in mind, understand this: I AM NOT COMPLAINING! I did a little bit of studying in the morning and early afternoon, then headed down to the basement of the house to finish building an eight foot closet (Yes, I actually built something from raw materials on my own with no help or blueprints - another post for another day). Just as I began to start, the power went out.

This was not the first time it happened, but this time it was a little different. This storm was a fast and violent flash flood with lots of wind and lightening. As I looked across the street, the neighbors tree in their front yard was split in two. At first I thought it might be lightening, but upon further inspection the tree was rotted from the inside and the wind just tore it in two. As I was looking across the street, a fire engine comes down the street with lights on. As I followed it to the end of the street, I see were the problem started: a very large tree fell and ripped the top of a power pole completely off and power lines were everywhere.

I stayed around for a while, but decided to leave for about 4 hours. When I came back some of the neighbors were standing outside and the obvious question was asked: Do we have power yet? Have they given any time table? Well, long story short, when I finally fell asleep at 2am the power was off, and when I woke up at about 5:45am the power was on. It made for an interesting night - but I am NOT complaining!

I told you all of that to share with you a quick thought about one of the many things I learned through this night: I have no power of the power! This reminded me of the verse from the Book of Psalms that I quoted as I started this entry. All power belongs to God, and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we have access to this power every day. Yet, many days I am afraid Christians go with, "no power." I wonder how many times people have seen us and want to ask the question, "Do you have any power yet?" I was so worried about not having any power, and when it would be turned back on - but are we worried when we have no spiritual power?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Proverb a Day in May - May 31st/Chapter 31

As we come to the last chapter, let me say thank you to all who took the journey with me. I pray that each of us learned something from it and come away stronger Christians for it. On this last chapter, I have asked Phyllis Blickensderfer to cover the topic of a virtuous woman for us. You can read her blog at http://blicktx.blogspot.com/, and you will not be sorry that you did. While it is obvious to see why this is important for women to know, it is also important for us guys to know, as well. This is the type of woman you should look to marry; the type of woman you should pray for and help your current wife to become; and the kind of woman yoou should seek to raise your daughter to be like. The follwoing is her study on this important subject:

I learned it years ago. So well that I can quote most of it still today. It was part of a program our church offered that encouraged verse memorization. To memorize it, we had to say it over and over and over again until it was a part of our thought pattern. I believe we do too little of that today.

Beginning with the tenth verse, "Who can find a virtuous woman?" Followed by not only her description, but by her family’s description – husband, children, servants. We move through her daily life of picking and choosing what needs to be done, and following through to provide for her household. There's no indication that she is a stay-at-home-mom, but there's also no mistaking how she looks after homemaking.

As women, we need to be certain how her qualities are displayed in our own lives.

Does the heart of our husbands safely trust us? We hold his heart in our hands to lift in celebration or squeeze down into a painful lump. We are to be of help to him, that remains a part of God's plan. We promise before God and an assembly of friends that we will do him good all the days we have together, till death parts us. That, too, is part of God's plan.

This is followed by her daily chores. Let me tell you, this lady is NOT lazy. Read through the list of work she accomplished. Verse 25, however, gives us pause -- she may not have recognition for this work, for "she shall rejoice in time to come." We could use some of that patience, couldn't we?

Don't think you get enough appreciation from your children? She does. "Her children arise up and call her blessed." Then, we are back to that husband, who does not only called her blessed but praises her. Those are awesome rewards, aren't they? Honestly, don't we get some of that? Our children do appreciate our work, and so does that wonderful man God provided to look after our family. At times we may think they don’t, but look back just a bit and recall their gratitude.

By the way, did any of her attributes include physical beauty? Is there a verse that tells how her looks stop a man in his tracks? Do any of her activities attract the attention of others?

Now, some would say there is not a witnessing message in this chapter, just examples for a woman to set as goals laid out in the Bible. Look again. Verse 30 gives us the true reason for her virtue, for the blessing from her children, from her husband – her focus is on her Lord:

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. [Proverbs 31:30 KJV]

Without the Lord, it is all in vain. Without the Lord our future ends with death.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Proverb a Day in May - May 30th/Chapter 30

Today, on our next to last chapter of Proverbs, we have a new human penmen - Agur. Not much is not for sure about him, but the Treasure of Scripture Knowledge says this: Agur was probably a public teacher, and Ithiel and Ucal, his pupils; and this was the massa, or oracle, which he delivered, not by his own wisdom, but by the Holy Spirit, for the benefit of man.

One of the great truths he touches on is found in Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. You get the sense from the start of the chapter that Agur is letting us know that these are not his words, because his words are brutish and lack wisdom and understanding. BUT, the words of God, and the Word of God, is pure. Pure from any doctrinal error, pure from any sinful corruption, and pure in It's preservation for us today in the King James Version for the English speaking people.

It is my prayer that you can sing with the Psalmist in Psalm 119:140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Proverb a Day in May - May 29th/Chapter 29

Today, I want to cover a verse that is often misquoted: Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Many times when a pastor, or other type of leader, gets up to give a plan for the future, they some times will quote from Proverbs 29:18. When asked why other preachers and pastors are not as successful they will often reply, "Well, the Bible says that where there is no vision the people perish, and they just did not have a vision of growth for the future." And while that may be true about that pastor and his lack of vision for the future, the fact is the Bible is not speaking of "a vision of the future" here in this verse. The word vision comes from a Hebrew word which means, "oracle." This is evident by the part of the verse that is never quoted: but he that KEEPETH THE LAW, happy is he. The failure comes when there is no preaching of the truths of God's Word. When we proclaim the truth of God's Word, we give the hearer the opportunity to inherit true happiness through obedience.

As we continue to read and study God's Word every single day, let's take heed to this verse.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Proverb a Day in May - May 28th/Chapter 28

Today, let's look at Proverbs 28:10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.

This is not just a verse that deals with pastors, though it does take on a greater meaning to those who are in that calling. But each of us have what is called a "sphere of influence" that we must be careful with. The proverb implies that this person was leading the righteous astray by deceit and for their own pleasure since the end result would be that the person would fall into the pit that they created for others.

As I read it, I was reminded of all the televangelist that have led Christians away from the local church, and into their own personal ministries. They enjoy the fame and money for a while, but they always seem to fall into a pit of their own making in the end. Why? Because God is still in control!

Lets strive to be upright and lead those around us in our "sphere of influence" into the paths of righteousness so that we may have good things in possession.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Proverb a Day in May - May 27th/Chapter 27

In today's chapter, there is a thread of thought dealing with those around us. Let me share it with you quickly today (I do know that while some may want more detail in the post, not everyone has the time to read long entries, so it is with those folks in mind that I do try to keep it short...though by explaining it I have just taken more of your valuable time, so....oops.) Here goes:

  1. The ADVANCING of others - Proverbs 27:2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. If you have to tell everyone how great you are, then it probably is not true! It is not our job to advance ourselves, but to advance the gospel to the whole world. Let other's praise you, so that God may praise you in the end.

  2. The ASSEMBLING of others - Proverbs 27:8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place. There is a nest of safety, a place that God has for each born-again believer. That place is the local, New Testament church. We should each seek our place and serve.

  3. The ADVICE of others - 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. This has been one of my purposes for this series this month. As I think about the subject of iron sharpening iron, I thought about what is involved. There has to be a little friction to make the blade sharp. But too much friction, and the blade become notched and ragged and unusable. Discussion is good, but can be taken too far. How many of our Proverbs deal with just leaving alone those who want to fight and argue just to do so? But as sincere, born-again believers, we should seek other like-minded people to discuss, and even disagree with sometimes (as long as it is not a fundamental truth), so that we might become "sharper" in our faith and knowledge.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Proverb a Day in May - May 26th/Chapter 26

    In the 26th Proverb, there are a couple of topics covered, one of those being laziness. There is a lot that can be said about those who are lazy, but the fact is they are too lazy to read this so I will skip it. (That's sarcasm people, lighten up!) What I do want to cover is what is mentioned in Proverb 26:21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

    What caught my eye in this verse is the example that Solomon uses of coal with strife and fighting. The weather here in MI is getting pretty warm, and it made me think of my smoker outside. I bought this smoker late last year, and it was a little too cold and windy to do much with it, so this will be our first summer smoking with it. I was looking and reading up on different techniques on how to keep the fire an smoke going with charcoal. BTW - my smoker is a horizontal unit that has the side burner. One of the techniques to use is to put unlit coals in the burner, then add a few pre-lit coals on top of those coals. What this does is keep a steady fire going with a steady stream of smoke. That is what you want for smoking meats - but not in our personal relationships.

    Let's face the facts today - there are some who just like to fight. They are contentious by nature, and will do anything they can to keep the fire, or strife, burning. Matthew Henry makes a great point: Contention heats the spirit, and puts families and societies into a flame. And that fire is commonly kindled and kept burning by whisperers and backbiters. The proverb lets us know that strife is always there, and it is our responsibility to distance from it when all possible and not to fan the flame.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Proverb a Day in May - May 25th/Chapter 25

    Today's Proverb starts off with an introduction to this section of the compilation of Proverbs, which is also referenced in another of Solomon's writings in Ecclesiastes 12:9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. We read how the Holy Spirit inspired Solomon to deliver many Proverbs, and king Hezekiah had his men copy them out. The reason why some believe Hezekiah did this was because many of the following Proverbs deal with political precepts and for the conduct of their house and kingdom (John Wesley).

    What we see here is that Solomon authored many Proverbs, and many more that were not preserved by the Holy Spirit in our Holy Bible. I believe this is a picture of Christ, who was a "greater than Solomon." Remember how John ended his Gospel account: John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

    As we continue to read and study these Proverbs, lets remember the One who is greater!

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Proverb a Day in May - May 24th/Chapter 24

    One of the encouraging thoughts in this chapter is the idea of getting up after falling/getting knocked down. We see it in:

    Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

    The blunt fact of the matter is that even those who seek to live a just life will fall, and fall many times. Everyone falls. What differentiates people is if they get up. When you choose the path of wickedness, you don't just fall, but you fall into mischief. When a Christian fails to get up after a fall or a stumble, there is something else that is revealed about them:
     
    Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
     
    Remember, it is not a fall that defines a man, but how they respond and get up. If you need examples, just read the life of Moses, David, and Peter, to begin with. They all had great falls, but they also rose up and moved forward and were remembered for their great faith.

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    Proverb a Day in May - May 23rd/Chapter 23

    Aas we come to chapter 23, let me review with you a blog post from earlier; and in doing so, let me ask you to continue to frequent this blog, even after May 31st. Now, I won't be posting every day, but at least 2-3 times a week, Lord willing. Here is something that I wrote a couple of months ago on today's chapter.

    Proverbs 23:29-35 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? (30) They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. (31) Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. (32) At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. (33) Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. (34) Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. (35) They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

    Here is one of the MANY Bible passages that teaches us the perils of alcohol. In this passage, we read about the Sorrows of Alcohol:

    1. The Reminder of the Sorrow Alcohol Causes - 23:29. It causes pain in the body with headaches, body sickness, agonies of the mind, and the torture of your conscience through the sins that it leads you to commit. You do things that you normally wouldn't do, and you say things that you normally wouldn't say. The next day brings sickness and regret.

    2. The Reality of the Sorrow Alcohol Causes - 23:30. The reality is that a person does not consume alcohol, but alcohol consumes them. It takes over their personality and takes over their life. Eventually, it is not enough and they need to mix the alcohol and make it stronger. Sin is never enough, and it quickly spirals out of control. Reminds me of the fact that an alcoholic never thinks they will be one when they take that first drink.

    3. The Remedy for the Sorrow Alcohol Causes - 23:31. Look not means that you are not in the presence of it, and so then you cannot be tempted with it. The best advice to avoid the pitfalls of alcohol is just to avoid it all together!

    4. The Results of the Sorrow Alcohol Causes - 23:32-35. Here, the author of this Proverb paints the "morning after" picture that the alcohol companies WILL NOT show you on their product advertisements. Why in the world would anyone choose to subject themselves to these sorrows? The answer is: SIN!
    Instead of trying to figure out some way that it might be okay or acceptable to drink alcohol, lets just take the Principle of the Proverb and avoid the Sorrows of Alcohol.

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Proverb a Day in May - May 22nd/Chapter 22

    There are some more good verses on parenting and raising children (22:6, 22:15), but let me bring to your attention:

    Proverbs 22:12 The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.

    In my study Bible, I have the word he circled, and the word overthroweth underlined. It is a reminder to me that it is not my job to correct the words of those who lie. It is the Lord's place, and HE will OVERTHROW them. The Lord has also kept His eyes open and has preserved knowledge. Adam Clarke has this to say about the verse: This providence has been wonderfully manifested in preserving the sacred oracles, and in preserving many ancient authors, which have been of great use to the civil interests of man.

    It is amazing how much of our time is given to fight the liars and transgressors, when it is the Lord's responsibility to do those things. Lets just take our responsibility a little more seriously and go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    Proverb a Day in May - May 21st/Chapter 21

    In the 21st chapter, there seems to be a couple of threads of thought. One deals with those who are a false witness, which Solomon has much to say about in Provers. The other, which I will share a couple of brief thoughts about, is the subject of worship. And more than that, hollow, meaningless, evil worship.

    Today, we often define worship and a song service, but it is much more than that. The two verse I want to point out to you are:

    Proverbs 21:3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.



    Proverbs 21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

    Now, is God against sacrifice? No. But God is against sacrifice when the sacrifice is true worship of Him. How many Christians, pastors included, just go through the motions every Sunday, every Wednesday, every day, and never have any heart in their actions? It is God's desire for our heart right with Him first and foremost. Why? Because God knows that if our heart is focused on Him, everything else will be "brought up to speed." We often define our spiritual temperature based on what we do and do not do. But as Solomon points out to us, God wants our heart to be in it. Is yours?

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Proverb a Day in May - May 20th/Chapter 20

    As we come to the 20th day and 20th chapter, I pray this has been a blessing to you. Maybe some of you are reading this and feeling bad because you have not followed every day. To that I say, "It doesn't matter what prevented you in the past, just don't let it prevent you in the presence."

    There is so much I would like to touch on today, but seeing that I have spent some time this week at the Independent Baptist Fellowship International, this verse is what stood out to me the most:

    Proverbs 20:25 - It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.

    We see a lot all around us in the name of Christianity that is nothing more than devouring that which is holy. Holy means to be set apart, and there are some things that should be set apart for God: His Word; the local, New Testament Church, and evangelism, to say a few. And the worse part about is, that now many years later, we need to hold meetings and seminars to make enquiry and discuss what went wrong. God help us to never be entangled in the snare of worldliness and to always hold in high esteem those things which are the Lords.