Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Bible is God's living and powerful Word. It can be trusted because it is inerrant, inspired, and infallible. It is the compass God has given us to govern our lives.
This video may be freely downloaded here.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of foreign States, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
The needful diversions of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship. The axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people; I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him that, for such singular deliverances and blessings; they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
Monday, November 15, 2010
If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other people do things, which He will not let you do.
Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.
Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works. Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.
The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.
God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work, which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.
The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things that may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot.
Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God.
By G.D. Watson
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Recently a missionary and his two sons from Australia were burned alive in their car by Hindu extremists in India. But, Hebrews 11 shows that the history of the people of God on this planet runs red with their blood! This horrifying incident in India is no isolated occurrence in a world teeming with rebels against the One true God, rebels who are controlled by Satan.
Faith in the One who loves us so can master insurmountable difficulties. This lovely quote from F.B. Meyer, written on the Hebrews 11, is a joy to read. Praise God, He will take us through in triumph until we meet Jesus face-to-face in glory:
"There are many difficulties before us all. Stormy seas forbid our passage; frowning fortifications bar our progress; mighty kingdoms defy our power; lions roar against us; fire lights its flaming barricade in our path; the sword, the armies of the alien, mockings, scourgings, bonds, and imprisonment - all these menace our peace, darken our horizon, and try on us their power; but faith has conquered all these before, and it shall do as much again.
We will laugh at impossibility; we will tread the shores of the seas, certain they must make us a way; we will enter the dens of wild beasts and the furnaces of flame, sure that they are impotent to injure us; we shall escape the edge of the sword, out of weakness become strong, turn to flight armies of aliens, and set at nought all the power of the enemy: and all because we believe God. Reckon one God's faithfulness.
Look not at the winds and the waves, but at His character and will. Get alone with Him, steeping your heart and mind in His precious and exceeding great promises. Be obedient to the utmost limit of His light. Walk in the Spirit, one of whose fruit is faith. So shall you be deemed worthy to join this band, whose names and exploits run over from this page into the Chronicles of eternity, and to share their glorious heritage." (p.139, The Way Into the Holiest).
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Belief in reincarnation is a central tenet within the majority of Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. In the west, some New Age movements, along with followers of Spiritism also adhere to reincarnation. For the Christian, however, there can be no doubt: reincarnation is unbiblical and must be rejected as false. If reincarnation is true, then there is no Day of Judgment, no need for the Cross and no need to trust in Christ.
Hebrews 9:27 clearly tells us that that we die once and then face judgment. The Bible never mentions people having a second chance at life or coming back as different people or animals. Jesus told the dying criminal on the cross, "Today you will be with me in paradise" not "You will have another chance to live a life on this earth." The Bible teaches that believers go on to eternal life while unbelievers go on to eternal punishment.
People need Jesus because reincarnation does not remove sin. It works with karma, the idea that your past lives of "goodness" or "badness" affects the quality and position of your next incarnation. The purpose of reincarnation is to help you develop perfect karma by which you might achieve a union with the "divine consciousness" after you have learned whatever it is you are supposed to learn.
That might sound good, but it makes no sense. Think about it, if this is true, each person had a first incarnation. That means that each person then had perfect Karma since he had no previous life and had done nothing wrong. So if he had perfect Karma and didn't learn what he was supposed to learn in his first life, what makes him think that after hundreds of incarnations with accumulated bad karma that he will be able to achieve the perfect state of union with the divine consciousness?
And then there's the issue of final authority. When it's time to reincarnate, who or what is the cosmic authority figure that decides whether you've been good or bad? These religions have no God who judges nor a gauge by which we are judged; It's like having a justice system without a judge, it makes no sense.
But what does make sense is that there is one God who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and the only way to have our sins forgiven is to trust in Him and not our own efforts through various lives, trying to achieve perfection. That's why you need Jesus, because reincarnation is not only false, it is empty because you just can't win.
Aside from Jesus, no one has ever been perfect. Because of this, no one could ever be good enough to escape the supposed cycle of reincarnation. After death we face judgment, meaning that there is no second chance, that's why you need a Savior. On the day you die you will not go back to the end of the line to try again, you will be judged. Without the righteousness of Christ, you don't stand a chance.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
In speaking of how the Scriptures were written, 2 Peter 1:21 tells us “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
The Bible writers were not inspired as great artists are 'inspired' to produce great art. The word translated 'inspired' means "God-breathed." It conveys the idea of God "breathing out" the Scriptures. Man was the instrument used by God to convey His thoughts in the Bible.
The Bible is not one book, but 66 compiled under one binding. Written over a period of 1,500 years, by about 40 different authors, from all walks of life from varying occupations. Written in three different languages on three different continents during times of peace and times of wartime.
The Bible’s authors wrote exactly what God wanted them to write, on hundreds of controversial subjects, yet with absolute harmony from the beginning to the end.
Now think about this, say we interviewed five people of the same nationality, working at the same job, living in the same town, during the same year, and we asked them to speak their mind on just one controversial subject. What are the chances they would all agree?
And yet despite all the differences in the lives of those who penned the scriptures, the bible is absolutely harmonious from beginning to end.
The Bible’s remarkable continuity is evidence of its divine origin. This unity is due to the fact that, ultimately, it has one Author—God Himself.
The Bible served as a basis for modern scientific pursuits. Modern science was born in the seventeenth century because of a belief in an unchanging God of order, purpose, and consistency—the God portrayed in the Bible.
It is filled with numerous medical and scientific facts and have been at the forefront of modern day science. When Scientists thought the earth was flat the Bible described the shape of the earth (Isaiah 40:22) and how it is suspended on nothing (Job 26:7). Before oceans were explored the Bible knew of the existing valleys (Psalm 18:15), fountains, and springs down in the depths (Job 38:16). It even mentions the Hydrologic Cycle with great clarity (Ecclesiastes 1:6-7).
It is the only “Spiritual book” that contains fulfilled prophecy. Messianic Prophecy for example foretold us that the Messiah would be born of a Virgin, in Bethlehem, and that He would be rejected by His own people, yet bear their iniquities and save His people from their sin. Which ultimately came to fruition at the cross as Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished.”
The Bible is God’s living and powerful Word. It can be trusted because it is inerrant, inspired, and infallible. It is the compass God has given us to govern our lives.
The Bible may not tell us everything we want to know, but it certainly tells us everything we need to know in order to have a right relationship with God.
And though it has no contradictions it certainly does have mistakes. The first one was when man rejected God back in the garden. Don’t do the same.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Although a desire for sin is natural for unbelievers, God can change that. Jesus came to save His people from their sin. God gives His children new desires and helps them withstand temptation. God's desire is to restore fallen humanity.
Skeptics will often say that if a toy manufacturer creates a faulty product, he is the one who is at fault. They then go on to say that it's God, not the sinner that is responsible for sin. However, there's a very big difference between sinful man and a faulty toy. Man is not a manufactured inanimate object, he is a moral being, created with the ability to make decisions between right and wrong. Unlike a toy, man is morally responsible for his own actions. The good news is that his Creator can forgive his sin. But if he stubbornly or skeptically continues to violate the Law of God, He will eventually be punished for every sinful thought, word, and deed.
Just like you, I was born with a tendency to lie, steal, and live my life by my own selfish desires.. It's called 'sin' and it's in every one of us. Our sin has corrupted us and made us enemies of God. That's why we need to be born again.
When a person finds a place of true repentance and faith in Jesus, God will take away their unclean spirit and give them a new heart with new desires. The Bible says, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Remember, just because your car turns left, it doesn’t mean it only turns left. If you find yourself going the wrong direction, God allows U-turns. As it says in Acts 17, God commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
The pathetic attempt to blame God for making someone the way they are is like excusing someone for raping and killing just because they have the XYY genetic disorder, which makes them predisposed to violence.
Don't blame God for your sin. Repent today, while you still have time.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
1. I would violate my relationship with my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, who has loved, cared, and died for me. This action would disregard the selfless and cruel death He suffered in order to give me power over this sin.
2. I would bring public shame and unnecessary disrepute to His most holy and precious name, which I have been privileged to represent.
3. I would have to someday face my gracious Savior, eye to eye at His judgment seat, giving an account for willfully squandering His abundant provision of purifying grace. At that moment of eternal consequences I would inevitably witness the results of my own
disregard for the rewards of faithfulness and obedience He so desired to give to me.
4. I would choose to submit myself to a destructive process of self-deception and the dulling of my conscience, causing a lack of confidence in my future ability to walk in obedience and faith.
5. I would inflict unimaginable pain on my wife — my best friend, and my faithful and sacrificial partner in ministry and life — and would have to stare into her tear-filled eyes to explain this conscious violation of my vows and describe the stupidity of my behavior.
6. I would permanently damage my wife’s ability to trust me or believe my word. I would lose her respect in the future, giving her constant cause for suspicion and question.
7. If my pattern of deception were to continue, or if she were unable to forgive me, I would lose her as my wife and would be left to face ongoing regret, loneliness, and pain.
8. In this case, I would permanently ruin my wife’s future fulfillment, causing her to face the remainder of her life feeling the struggle of rejection and dealing with the complications of single parenting or remarriage.
9. I would violate the love and trust of my precious children. In essence, I would be telling them, “Your mother is not a worthy person. Your father is a liar and a cheat. Honor is not as important as pleasure. My own selfish satisfaction is more important than loving my children.”
10. By destroying my own example and credibility with my children, I would lose future opportunities to influence them toward loving obedience and holiness and would plant within them a potential long-term resentment and bitterness toward the Lord and the ministry.
11. I would bring continual shame to my children every time they had to explain why their father was no longer in ministry — or why he was no longer together with their mother.
12. I would create destructive and continually tempting mental memories that would cultivate unhealthy lust and negatively affect future intimacy with my wife.
13. I would squander all of the money, time, effort, and pain that have gone into my preparation for and development in the pastoral ministry.
14. I would seriously disappoint those godly leaders who have faithfully invested themselves in me (e.g. professors, pastors, mentors, and relatives).
15. I would bring shame to the college and seminary from which I graduated, tarnishing their reputation and squandering their investment in my theological education and character development.
16. I would deeply wound and embarrass my parents, whose loving instruction, sacrificial investment, and current delight in the positive course of my life would be horribly violated.
17. I would significantly damage the solid ministry foundation and tarnish the wholesome legacy of my faithful predecessors of my current ministry.
18. I would bring long-term disrepute to the positive reputation of my church in the community, hindering future ministry to people in this area.
19. I would undermine the credibility and effort of other Christian ministries and leaders in my city, adding to the climate of mistrust that continues to expand with each story of moral failure.
20. I would violate the precious trusting relationship with my leadership board, causing difficulty for them into the future as they seek to lead the congregation and causing a potential spirit of mistrust on their part toward future senior pastors at this church.
21. I would destroy my credibility and relationship with staff members who have faithfully supported me and responded to my leadership. A revelation of duplicity at this level would wound them deeply and would hinder even their own leadership among the flock.
22. I would bring undeserved difficulty and pain to my ministry successor and his family, as they would be forced to reap what I have sown in their attempt to salvage the church and clean up the mess I would have made.
23. I would deeply wound all those who have been saved, discipled, equipped, counseled, and prayed for under my ministry, causing disappointment and disillusionment for some.
24. I would create possible disillusionment in the hearts of young men preparing for ministry as they wonder about the credibility of my leadership and the viability of authentic pastoral ministry.
25. If this should become newsworthy on a statewide or national scale, I would exacerbate the growing climate of mistrust toward Christianity at an even broader level.
26. I would squander my witness to various unsaved friends, acquaintances, and neighbors to whom I have witnessed over the years, perhaps driving them farther away from receiving Christ.
27. I would be thoughtlessly and carelessly throwing away the impact of the prayers of thousands of people who over the years have wholeheartedly supported me on their knees.
28. I would be heaping significant guilt and pain on the other woman, for the rest of her life.
29. I would potentially contribute to the dismantling of her marriage, family, and network of trusting friends.
30. I would run the risk of the complications of a pregnancy resulting from the extramarital sexual activity.
31. I would run the risk of physical consequences in the form of sexually transmitted diseases.
32. I would suffer the consequences of losing a job and creating serious practical strain on my family financially and socially.
33. I would experience the trauma of a career change, having violated the qualifications for pastoral office.
34. I would join the ranks of those whom I have previously despised and whose actions have deeply grieved me because of their violation of calling and trust through moral scandal.
35. I would live with personal life-long embarrassment and shame, as I would encounter regular reminders of my foolish and destructive choices.
36. I would be required to invest a significant amount of time and money in the process of recovery, as many hours of counseling and years of rebuilding would be required.
37. I would take myself out of the running for multiplied opportunities in the future that could have come my way, had I remained faithful.
38. I would run the risk of being permanently “shelved” in my usefulness to God and His kingdom, knowing that the overwhelming shame and personal regret could cause me to completely give up my service for Christ.
39. I would cause a countless number of people to doubt the validity of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the power of Christ as they might ask, “If it didn’t work for him, can it really work for me?”
40. I would bring delight to Satan and his demons as these enemies of my soul and opponents of Christ would exult in their victory over one of God’s called servants.
(Some of these concepts were originally conceived by Randy Alcorn in Leadership Journal.) Copyright © 2010 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.