Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Error Of The Mob Mentality


Matthew 27:20  But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

When considering all that happened surrounding the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, I couldn’t help but think how we are a lot like the crowd that surrounded Pilate. It was the religious leaders of the day that persuaded the crowd to seek the release of Barabbas over Jesus.

Now today, it is often the religious leaders of our day (New Evangelicals, Reformed Theologians, etc.) who are persuading the crowd to turn against Biblical, Baptistic Fundamentalism. I will admit that some of the “problems” people have with Fundamentalism are legitimate – pastoral dictators that are worshipped, easy believism, numerical growth at the expense of spiritual growth, preferences preached as Biblical truth, etc. But,. this does not mean we “throw out the baby with the bath water!”

It seems to me that many IFB’s are being swept up in the mob mentality and have not considered the error of their actions. The blurring of lines and watering down of the message is not only hurting this generation, but more importantly will hurt those that follow us.  When church’s drop their distinctives (the Baptist name, etc.), the following generation will find it more difficult to remember why they separate from others to begin with. This is how the ecumenical movement gains its ground.

There may be safety in numbers, but the last time I read, Jesus did not seem to have big “numbers” surrounding Him when the “going got tough.” Yes, the IFB movement might be in the minority, but that is okay. Instead of allowing the angry mob of New Evangelicals and Reformed Protestants dictate to us what is right and was is wrong, let’s get back to allowing God and His Word to be our standard of faith and practice.

I would be amiss if I did not mention that we in the IFB crowd are just as guilty of following the “mob mentality.” If you don’t - run in our circle, support our school, go to our camp, toe the line where we do, etc. - you are a liberal and we will blast you to anyone who will listen. Many would do go to remember the discussion Jesus had with his 12:

Mark 9:38-40  And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.  (39)  But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.  (40)  For he that is not against us is on our part.

A big part of the mob mentality is, “Hey, they are not following us!” Yet, our concern should not be whether or not people are following us, but are they following Jesus. Maybe we all would do well to take this advice and stop spending so much time worry about other people’s ministry and churches and worry about our own. This is not to say that we don’t deal with false teachers when their corrupt doctrine begins to effect those we minister to, but let’s pull the beam from our eyes first so we can help others pull at the mote from their eye.

Let’s all resist the “mob mentality” that is prevalent in today’s Christianity and follow the Lord and His Word in all that we do.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

11/20/11–A Prayer To The Eternal God


Today, I want to focus on the time after Abraham and Beersheba made a covenant together. The Bible tells us in Genesis 21:33, “And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.” Here, Abraham uses the name, “Yehovah el olam,” calling attention to the Eternality of God. When I read this, my thoughts turned to AW Tozer and his great work The Knowledge Of The Holy. The following are some quotes of his on this subject:

  • Because God lives in an everlasting now, He has no past and no future. When time-words occur in the Scriptures they refer to our time, not to His.
  • God dwells in eternity but time dwells in God.
  • That God appears at time’s beginning is not too difficult to comprehend, but that He appears at the beginning and end of time simultaneously is not so easy to grasp; yet it is true.
  • God’s eternity and man’s mortality join to persuade us that faith in Jesus Christ is not optional.

Usually, I end with one of my own prayers. But today, I will leave you with Tozer’s written prayer on the subject of the eternity of God.

This day our hearts approve with gladness what our reason can never fully comprehend, even Thine eternity, O Ancient of Days. Art Thou not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, mine Holy One?

We worship Thee, the Father Everlasting, whose years shall have no end; and Thee, the love-begotten Son whose goings forth have been ever of old; we also acknowledge and adore Thee, Eternal Spirit, who before the foundation of the world didst live and love in coequal glory with the Father and the Son.

Enlarge and purify the mansions of our souls that they may be fit habitations for Thy Spirit, who dost prefer before all temples the upright heart and pure. Amen.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1/19/11–Old Sins Die Hard, Sometimes


As I continue studying the life of Abraham a little more in-dephtly, I am drawn this time to a little encounter Abraham had in Gerar with King Abimelech. Once again, Abraham and Sarah make the choice to lie about their marriage and tell this king from a strange land that they are not married, but are brother and sister. A LOT could be said about this, but I focus today on Abraham’s reasoning as to why they did this. In Genesis 20:13, Abraham tells Abimelech, “And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

What is interesting about this statement Abraham makes is that it was said before Abraham and Sarah went down to Egypt, or the FIRST time that they made this mistake (Gen. 12:13). Even though they had experienced and lived through their sin and mistake the first time, they did not learn from it.

This is a reminder to all of us today of that old phrase we have heard many times before, “Old Habits Die Hard.” Paul said it this way in Romans 7:15-17, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  (16)  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  (17)  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” There is a spiritual battle that we must go through every day. Old sins do die hard, sometimes. But let us pray after the example Jesus left for us and ask (Matthew 6:13), “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

Heavenly Father, we seek your presence and your power in our life today. Often, we find ourselves a lot like the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. Our spirit cries from within us to reach out to you, yet we are weak in our flesh and often fall asleep spiritually and return to the old habits of sin. Help us Lord to follow the advice of Paul and die to our flesh and desires daily, and walk with you in humility and in love. In Jesus name we pray and ask these things. Amen.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1/18/11–A Prayer To A God Who Will Talk With Us


I am fascinated with the life of Abraham. If you just read the “cliff notes” version of it, you would think that he was a man who did no wrong. Yet, the story of his life in Genesis shows us a real man, who faced real problems with his marriage, extended family, work, etc. And while he was in no way, shape, or form perfect, he is remembered for his great faith in believing God and having it counted to him for righteousness. One of the amazing truths we learn about God’s character from the life of Abraham is that God is a God who does want to talk with us (Genesis 17:1-3).  In verse one, the Bible says that God “said unto him,” This implies that God made a statement to Abraham, a one-way conversation if you would. Once Abraham falls on his face to worship the LORD, the Bible then tells us in verse three that “God talked with him.”  How humbling and wonderfully encouraging to know that when our position changes, God will change how He converses with us!

Heavenly Father, help us to always remember that the position of our heart determines our conversation with you. I am thankful that you speak to me even in those times that I am not where I should be spiritually in my standing with you. Help me to always fall to my face in adoration and humility before your throne so that you may talk with me within my heart. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, January 17, 2011

1/17/11–A Prayer For Looking For God’s Rewarding

I was reminded this morning of the account of Abram (who latter God would change his name to Abraham) going and rescuing his nephew Lot and the people that he lived amongst (Genesis 14). As Abram returned from victory, the king of Sodom told Abram that he could keep all the spoil that he had taken back, but just release all the people that were taken prisoner. Abram’s response was a very noble one, in that he told the king of Sodom to keep everything, “lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.”

This stand taken by Abram does not go unnoticed or unrewarded by God. In the very next chapter, God shows up to Abram and tells him, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Reminds me of the fact that we are not living for an earthly reward, where moth and rust can corrupt it. We are to be living for a heavenly reward that is laid up for us in heaven. It is so easy to be distracted by the riches this world offers, but our Heavenly Father has in store for us an exceedingly great reward!

Our Father, we are so grateful to know that no matter what this world had to offer us, it is temporary in pleasure, and nothing in light of the exceedingly great reward you have in store for us. Help us Father to bide our time on this earth with our eyes fixed to you in Heaven above while we lay up eternal treasures that no thief can steal away. In Jesus name we pray and humbly ask these things. Amen.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Book Review: The Faith of Ronald Reagan by Mary Beth Brown

The Faith of Ronald Reagan

I was excited to receive this book in the mail and to get started in it. President Reagan was really the first President that I could remember living under from my childhood, thought I did not remember much. There is so much to learn from him, but it is surprising how little has been written about his faith. Mary Beth Brown does her best to change that, and has put together a book that is not only easy to read, but enjoyable, too.

I found the book interesting because it seems to spend the majority of its time with President Reagan’s early years and childhood family. Especially prominent in this book is his mother, who shaped him spiritually. Knowing that President Reagan was one of the first presidents to unite the evangelicals and Catholics under certain political issues (anti-abortion, etc.) makes a little more sense after reading this book and learning about President Reagan growing up in a home with a Christian mother and a Catholic father.

The book does a decent, but not great, job a showing that he was not a perfect man. It does delve a little into his divorce and other issues, that you do not feel that the author is necessarily “sainting” him or putting him on a unreachable pedestal.

While, as an Independent, Fundamental Baptist I may not agree theologically with every aspect of President Reagan’s faith, there is much to respect about his faith, especially in prayer. This is a book that I can whole-heartedly recommend to you.

On a side note to all Bible preachers and teachers: there are many good illustrations and stories that you could use in this book from his life about prayer, faith, family, etc.

This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson.

Friday, January 14, 2011

1/14/11–A Prayer For God’s Will To Be Done

praying hands 1Jesus’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks. It really started when our community suffered a tragedy when a furniture store in Wayne exploded from an apparent natural-gas leak. It happened on a Wednesday morning, and as of church service that evening, they were still looking for two people. The prognosis was not good, so the thought arose, “Should we pray for a miracle and that they would be both found alive?

My concern with these types of prayers is that often well-meaning Christian will say to those who are in a trial and facing great odds, “Well, I prayed about it and KNOW that God will answer our prayer, etc.” The problem with this is that we don’t know how God will choose to answer. The prophet Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

So then, when faced with these types of situations, how should we pray. As I discussed this with our church during prayer meeting, the Lord Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane came to mind. We know that Jesus was the God-man. As Dr. Raymond Barber used to tell us in Bible College, “Jesus was just as much God as though He never was man. Yet, just as much man as though He never was God. He was the God-man.” Jesus was coming to the time of His crucifixion, and knowing what was before Him rayed these faithful words in Luke 22:42,  “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Jesus recognized the enormity of the task at hand, and knew the pain and agony that He must go through in taking upon Himself the entire wrath of God for the sins of man. So, even though He knew in His flesh what He must go through, He prayed for the Father’s will to be done.

Now, how should that affect our prayers today? Well, in the face of great odds I believe it is not only right, but Scriptural to pray for God to do a miracle. But, we must always lay beside our desire and submit to the Father’s will for that particular situation. So, on that night, we prayed that if it would be the Father’s will, that those two people would be found alive. But whatever the answer was, we would glorify our Heavenly Father. So, when faced with impossible situations, we should pray and ask our hearts desire, but all the time realizing that the Father’s Plan will come to pass and we will glorify Him in all that He does.

Heavenly Father, we come before you today thanking you that you are a loving Father who hears our prayers and petitions. We may not always understand and know why we go through the trials and tribulations that we do, but we know you never leave us nor forsake us in these times of difficulty. Help is Lord to always submit ourselves to your will, so that you may be honored and glorified in every aspect of our lives no matter how you chose to answer our prayers. We are so thankful to know that even when we may not understand, we know that in your time you make all things work together for good when we love you and follow your purpose for our lives. Give us the strength to continue on when we don’t understand why, and draw us closer to you by your Grace. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

Monday, January 10, 2011

1/10/11 A Prayer For Purpose

Reading Romans chapter 10 shows you a miniature picture of the life of the born-again child of God. We are lost in sin because of our failure to live up to and keep the Law (10:1-7). We are saved by faith that flows from our heart to our lips (10:8-13). And now, we are called to tell a lost and dying world of a Saviour who loved them and gave Himself for their sins (10:14-21). As we see in the last part of the chapter, it is not up to us how the world hears and responds, just that they hear it from us. The response is between them and the Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank you for saving my sin sick soul. I had not and could not earn my salvation through the righteousness of your law, and you knew that about me so you sent your Son to take my place. He is our mediator, who gave His life a ransom for all. Help me now to do my part to preach the gospel and declare the glad tidings of good peace. And thank you Lord for the missionaries you have allowed me the privilege to know and befriend over the years, and bless them for their faithfulness to follow you and preach your gospel all around the world. In Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sandlin on Prayer

Here is a link that I wanted to share with some of my readers from a preacher by the name of Richard D. Sandlin. In today’s post, he answers a question about prayer and I found it very helpful, and hope you do as well. My personal summary: there are no cookie cutters when it comes to prayer and a prayer life.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

1/5/11–A Prayer To The Whosoever God

cross with shadowIt amazes me today the debate that goes on amongst Christians in reference to salvation, and who can or cannot be saved. There are many people that I read after, respect, and learn from, that have this notion that God chooses some for salvation and damns others and that man has no choice in the matter. Yet, today in my Bible reading I was reminded that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This great Bible truth is seen in Romans 5. Here are a couple of verses:

Romans 5:15  But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Romans 5:18  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Notice how the word “many” is used in v. 15. There are those who would say, “See, not every will be saved because it does not say all.” But in doing so, they ignore the context of the verse and the entire chapter. Remember, it said,For if through the offence of one many be dead…” Last time I checked, everyone who has ever lived has or will die. Why? Because the wage we earn from sin is death, and the sin of Adam has passed down to all men (5:12). So, “many” is in quantitative term that is defined by “all” in v. 18. So, when it says “many” we can define how many with “all.” Just as the penalty of sin was passed to all, the way of salvation is offered to all. We can rejoice today that we serve a “whosoever” God, and as the great hymn of our faith sings, “Whosoever meaneth me!”

Heavenly Father, we are grateful that your Word tells us that you are a whosoever God and that you will in no wise cast out any who come unto you by faith in your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. I pray for those who will read this devotion that if they have not called upon your name in faith and repentance that they will know that you are there to receive them. Help those of use who know you as Lord and Saviour to fulfill your great command for us and tell a lost and dying world that your salvation is at hand. In Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving. Amen.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1/4/11–A Prayer To Exercise Faith

Today, I was reminded how righteousness is not imputed unto us by or through the keeping of the Law, but by faith. Abraham’s righteousness had nothing to do with circumcision because he had righteousness imputed onto him BEFORE circumcision came. Knowing that we are imputed righteousness through nothing of our own doing should strengthen us in our faith. No matter how difficult the task that God has laid before us, we should exercise strong faith in the One who gave us the task; who is the same One who will accomplish the task.

Heavenly Father, I am humbled today by your grace and mercy. Forgive me Father for my lack of faith, and the weakness of my faith when I doubt the task ahead of me. Give me a strong faith, like Abraham, so that I may not stagger at your promises and plans for my life. Help me to be fully persuaded that you have placed me here and given me a responsibility, not so that I can fail, but so that through strong faith you may work in me and through me to accomplish that which you see fit. Strengthen my faith in you today. In Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen.

Monday, January 3, 2011

This will make you chuckle.

This is one happy camper! Don’t we all want to act like this sometimes?

1/3/11–Resting in God’s Truth

This morning I came across Paul’s statement in Romans 3:4, “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” Then, I go on to read the third chapter of Genesis and recall the lies that began there in the Garden of Eden. Earlier, in Matthew 3, I was reminded while reading about John baptizing converts that there came unto him Pharisees and Sadducees wanting to be baptized. But John refused them and told them to, “bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” A common thread throughout all of these is the untruthfulness of man and the truthfulness of God. Let’s make it our prayer today that we will not only be honest with God, we will not put our trust in man.

Heavenly Father, we come before you today unworthy sinners saved by your everlasting grace and mercy. Father, ever since man began we were involved in lies, and it has not changed today. Help us to be truthful and honest in our hearts and minds with You in everything that we say or do. In the end, it only harms and hinders us to lie to You and grieve your Holy Spirit. Father, increase our faith in You, and lesson on dependence of fellow man. In your Son’s precious and holy name we pray. Amen.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Windows Live Writer

windows-live-writer-logoI am writing this post here and trying out Windows Live Writer from Windows 7. Seems pretty helpful, I will see if it works and pass along the information to those who read this blog and write their own as it may help you, as well.

1/1/11 - A Prayer Of Worshiping the Creator and Not the Creature

{I am beginning a new Bible reading program - you can find it herehttp://www.4shared.com/file/84820158/92ad7a9e/professor_grant_horners_bi. My goal is to write about what I read, and pen a prayer (much like the psalmist) for what God places upon my heart for that day. I will do my best to post often, but there are some days that I don't get to the blog.}

1/1/11 - As I read this morning, I was moved with how often and how quickly the created will stop worshiping their Creator and instead move their focus to the creation. This is a form of simple idolatry. But, as I read Paul's words, I am reminded of the power of the Gospel in leading sinful man to turn from their false idols to the true God of Heaven. Yet, if it were not for God's grace and mercy, we today would be no greater than, and in the same predicament as Sodom and Gomorrah. In turning from our idols to the living and true God, our responsibility is to not restore or bring about the kingdom, but to go out in the power of the Holy Ghost and be a witness to those around us, and to those all around the world. This is the outpouring of biblical worship of the Creator of all things.

Father, we come before you today Lord convicted and ashamed that we are so quick to turn from you to worship the idols made of our hands, whether those idols are physical or mental. May the grace and mercy of your Gospel and the power of the resurrection be evident in our lives every day as we worship you and you alone. Help us Lord to make your goals our goals, your desires our desires. If it were not for Your grace and mercy, we would be destroyed in everlasting punishment like Sodom and Gomorrah. As we return to you our complete mind, heart, and body, let us to do so in the power of your Spirit witnessing to all those we come in contact with. And may your power and protection be upon those faithful men, women, boys and girls who, by faith, leave the comforts of their environments to go and spread your Gospel of Grace to a lost and dying world. We pray this in the name of your precious Son, Jesus. Amen.