Sunday, August 2, 2015

Deciding to Follow Christ?

[The] term ‘decide’ has always seemed to me to be quite wrong…A sinner does not ‘decide’ for Christ; the sinner ‘flies’ to Christ in utter helplessness and despair saying — 
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.
No man truly comes to Christ unless he flies to Him as his only refuge and hope, his only way of escape from the accusations of conscience and the condemnation of God’s holy law. Nothing else is satisfactory. If a man says that having thought about the matter and having considered all sides he has on the whole decided for Christ, and if he has done so without any emotion or feeling, I cannot regard him as a man who has been regenerated. The convicted sinner no more ‘decides’ for Christ than the poor drowning man ‘decides’ to take hold of that rope that is thrown to him and suddenly provides him with the only means of escape. The term is entirely inappropriate.”  ― D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers


Saturday, August 1, 2015

45 Things God Hates

This was first posted  in September of 2010  with the kind permission of  Eddie Eddings  at  Calvinistic Cartoons  and has continued to be so popular that I thought I’d repost it today.

"Like it or not, love and hate are connected.    If I love my wife, I will hate anything that causes her harm. One of the most profound studies one can undertake is to study what God hates. I have asked many a person to get out their Strongs Exhaustive Concordance and just let the Scriptures speak for themselves. That study has never failed to make an impact. Knowing what someone loves is very revealing - but knowing what someone hates can open your eyes to their personality as well.
43 Things God Hates
(Based on Meredith’s Book of Bible Lists)
(two more will be added at the end)
1. Homosexual acts (Leviticus 18:22).
2. Bestiality (Leviticus 18:23)
3.Idols, and the materials used to make idols (Deuteronomy 7:25)
4. Blemished sacrifices (Deuteronomy 17:1)
5. Worshipping the sun, moon or stars (Deuteronomy 17:3-4)
6. Divination (Deuteronomy 18:10)
7. Astrology (Deuteronomy 18:10)
8. Enchanters (Deuteronomy 18:10)
9. Witches (Deuteronomy 18:10)
10. Charmers (Deuteronomy 18:11)
11. Wizards (Deuteronomy 18:11)
12. Necromancers (Deuteronomy 18:11)
13. Transvestitism (Deuteronomy 22:5)
14. The hire of a whore (Deuteronomy 23:18)
15. Remarriage to a former wife after she has been married to another man (Deuteronomy 24:4)
16. Dishonest scales (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)
17. Workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5)
18. The wicked (Psalm 11:5)
19. Those who love violence (Psalm 11:5)
20. The froward [perverse] (Proverbs 3:32)
21. A proud look (Proverbs 6:16-17)  
22. A lying tongue (Proverbs 6:17)
23. Hands that shed innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17)  
24. A heart that devises wicked imaginations (Proverbs 6:18)
25. Feet that are swift in running to mischief (Proverbs 6:18)
26. A false witness who speaks lies (Proverbs 6:19)
27. Anyone who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19)
28. Lying lips (Proverbs 12:22)
29. The sacrifices of the wicked (Proverbs 15:8)
30. The ways of the wicked (Proverbs 15:9)
31. The thoughts of the wicked (Proverbs 15:26)
32. The proud in heart (Proverbs 16:5)
33. Those who justify the wicked (Proverbs 17:15)  
34. Those who condemn the just (Proverbs 17:15)  
35. Vain sacrifices (Isaiah 1:13)
36. Feasts as Israel celebrated them (Isaiah 1:14)
37. Robbery for burnt offering (Isaiah 61:8)
38. Idolatry (Jeremiah 44:2-4)
39. Evil plans against neighbors (Zechariah 8:17)  
40. False oaths (Zechariah 8:17)  
41. Esau (Malachi 1:1-3; Romans 9:13)
[Actually, it’s "Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated" -ed.]  
42. Divorce (Malachi 2:14-16)
43. The deeds of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:6, 15)  
Joel Meredith has compiled a book of Bible lists "to entertain, interest, fascinate, stimulate and, most of all, to educate." There are some minor problems with this list, but it gives you a good idea of what things God finds to be abominations, or are detestable to Him. Somehow, the author missed a couple. By adding in the following, the list grows to 45 things God hates:  
44. "You shall not set up a sacred pillar, which the LORD your God hates" (Deuteronomy 16:22).
45. "I hate, I despise, your feast days" (Amos 5:21). This goes with Isaiah 1:14: "Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates."
You may have heard the expression, "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner." Although that is not a biblical statement per se, it has been accepted as a true statement. But after reviewing this list, that may not be such a sure conviction.  
What do you think?
Oh...and by the way, God's love and hate is different than ours. His is always a holy, righteous love and a holy, righteous hatred.
By Eddie Eddings

Thursday, July 30, 2015

No - The New 60 is Still 60

I'm quite sure that the Western  world has gone completely mad.   I don’t understand why someone my age would want to pretend to be  20 or 30 years younger but they do.  Oh, I confess to having  flashes of nostalgia  and  cranking  up the volume on my classic rock Pandora station,  but I  have no interest whatsoever  in turning back the hands of time.   
Maybe some people are in denial about  death and  they think  working out like maniacs and  spending  a small fortune on  body makeovers  will help them avoid the inevitable.   Or maybe they just think old people are ugly and  boring  and they don’t want to be identified with them.  
Who knows?  Maybe it’s Barbie’s fault.  She lived in nearly every household that had  girls when I was growing up.    And after all, she's  56 years old now  and doesn’t look a day over 18.   What little girl  did not aspire to look like her? 
People often get freaked out over certain decade birthdays.   It’s interesting  to hear why some  decades bother people more than others.    The only decade birthday that grabbed my attention was my 60th.    The gravity of realizing that time was running out  was sobering to me.   I don’t want to be  found  by the Lord wasting the remaining days He gives  to me.    I don’t want to be slothful in my devotion to Christ like I have at times in the past,  or  pass up the opportunities He gives me to tell of His wonderful love.  And I certainly don’t want to exit this life clinging  to the temporal things of this world.   It is a good thing that aging can give  us  these kinds of wake-up calls.    
Besides the spiritual benefits there are some practical  advantages to getting older.   For one, people are more respectful to me in public now,  which is kind of nice.   Robert (who is fit as a fiddle) is amused by the special treatment and offers to help that he gets from the younger guys and he is happy to take advantage of it.   And of course,  there are the senior discounts.   
 Every stage of life has its challenges and blessings and  I’m thankful God is always there to walk  me through each of them.  I am quite content to be where I am on God’s timeline.   I like how Elizabeth Elliot expresses it:
  “George Macdonald said, 'If you knew what God knows about death you would clap your listless hands', but instead I find old people in North America just buying this whole youth obsession. I think growing older is a wonderful privilege. I want to learn to glorify God in every stage of my life.”1

1, Source

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Singing in the Fire

“When the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us, then indeed we are purified, and our God is glorified….Singing in the fire!  Yes!  God helping us, if that is the only way to get harmony out of these hard apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than before.”1 - Susannah Spurgeon


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Nothing to Alarm Us

 “But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:13
 We cannot understand all the prophecies, but yet we regard them with pleasure, and not with dismay.  There can be nothing in the Father’s decree which should justly alarm His child. Though the abomination of desolation be set up, yet the true believer shall not be defiled; rather shall he be purified, and made white, and tried. Though the earth be burned up, no smell of fire shall come upon the chosen. Amid the crash of matter, and the wreck of worlds,  the Lord Jehovah will preserve His own.
Calmly resolute in duty, brave in conflict, patient in suffering, let us go our way, keeping to our road, and neither swerving from it nor loitering in it. The end will come; let us go our way till it does.
Rest will be ours. All other things swing to and fro, but our foundation standeth sure. God rests in His love, and, therefore, we rest in it. Our peace is, and ever shall be, like a river. A lot in the heavenly Canaan is ours, and we shall stand in it, come what may. The God of Daniel will give a worthy portion to all who dare to be decided for truth and holiness as Daniel was.   No den of lions shall deprive us of our sure inheritance.
 Checkbook of Faith by C.H.Sprugeon – July 25

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Burdens Cast on Him

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee; he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
It is a heavy burden, roll it on Omnipotence. It is thy burden now, and it crushes thee; but when the Lord takes it, He will make nothing of it.  If thou art called still to bear it, “he will sustain thee.”  It will be on Him, and not on thee.   Thou wilt be so upheld under it that the burden will be a  blessing. Bring the Lord into the matter and thou wilt stand upright under that which in itself would bow thee down. 
Our worst fear is lest our trial should drive us from the path of duty; but this the Lord will never suffer. If we are righteous before Him, He will not endure that our affliction should move us from our standing. In Jesus He accepts us as righteous, and in Jesus He will keep us so.
What about the present moment? Art thou going forth to this day’s trial alone? Are thy poor shoulders again to be galled with the oppressive load? Be not so foolish. Tell the Lord all about thy grief, and leave it with Him. Don’t cast your burden down, and then take it up again; but roll it on the Lord, and leave it there. Then shalt thou walk at large, a joyful and unburdened believer, singing the praises of thy great Burden-bearer.

Faith's Checkbook by CH Spurgeon - July 14 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Gospel Centered Parenting in a Time of Cultural Crisis

“The generation now ruling seems bent on departing from the eternal truth of God; but we shall not despair if the Gospel be impressed upon the memory of the rising race.”1  - Charles Spurgeon
Yesterday Robert and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary.    We were married in 1973,   the year that Roe v. Wade's  decision  to legalize  abortion forever changed the  moral landscape of  our nation.    The Judeo-Christian  values that  influenced  early American thinking have eroded  to the point that we're  facing a cultural crisis.
 Christian parents  worldwide are having to  deal with challenges unlike anything we experienced when our kids were young.    In addition to raising  their children in the Lord,  parents must be fastidiously discerning when it comes to their children’s education,  social media activities, entertainment choices, and relationships with unbelieving friends and family members.   Who wouldn’t be worried about their children's spiritual well being,   and how will  Christian families cope living in such an ungodly world?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Whom, When, How to Deliver

 “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” 2 Peter 2:9
The godly are tempted and tried. That is not true faith which is never put to the test. But the godly are delivered out of their trials, and that not by chance, nor by secondary agencies, but by the Lord himself. He personally undertakes the  office of delivering those who trust Him. God loves the godly or godlike, and He makes a point of knowing where they are, and how they fare.
Sometimes their way seems to be a labyrinth, and they cannot imagine how they are to escape from threatening danger.   What they do not know their Lord knows. He knows whom to deliver, and when to deliver, and how to deliver. He delivers in the way which is most beneficial to the godly, most crushing to the tempter, and most glorifying to Himself.  We may leave the “how” with the Lord, and be content to rejoice in the fact that He will, in some way or other, bring His own people through all the dangers, trials, and temptations of this mortal life, to His own right hand in glory.
This day it is not for me to pry into my Lord’s secrets, but patiently to wait his time, knowing this, that though I know nothing, my heavenly Father knows.

Faith's Checkbook, C.H. Spurgeon - July 12 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

True Patriotism from the Letters of John Newton

 "My kingdom is not of this world! 
If My kingdom were of this world,
My servants would fight!"
John 18:36.
Dear friend,
 Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms. When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, than it would be to paint the cabin—while the ship is sinking! Or to decorate the parlor—while the house is on fire!
When our Lord Jesus was upon earth, He refused to get involved in disputes or politics, "Friend, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?" Luke 12:14. "My kingdom is not of this world! If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight!" John 18:36. God's children belong to a kingdom which is not of this world; they are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and a part of their Scriptural character is, that they are the "quiet in the land." Psalm 35:20.
Satan has many contrivances to amuse people, and to divert their thoughts from their real danger!
My dear sir, my prayer to God for you is—that He may induce you to employ the talents He has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil; and to engage those who love and fear Him, (instead of wasting time in political speculations, for which very few of them are competent,) to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations, and to stand in the breach, by prayer, that God's wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged! This, I think, is true patriotism—the best way in which people in private life may serve their country.
 I consider the ungodly as saws and hammers in the hand of the Lord. So far as they are His instruments, they will succeed—but not an inch further! Their wrath shall praise Him, and be subservient to His designs!
If our lot is so cast that we can exercise our ministry free from stripes, fines, imprisonments, and death—it is more than the gospel has promised to us! If Christians were quiet when under the cruel governments of Nero and other wicked persecutors, when they were hunted down like wild beasts—then we ought to be not only quiet but very thankful now! It was then accounted an honor to suffer for Christ and the 'offence of the cross'!
 Those are to be greatly pitied, who boast of their 'liberty'—and yet they do not consider that they are in the most deplorable bondage as the slaves of sin and Satan, under the curse of God's law and His eternal wrath! Oh! for a voice to reach their hearts, that they may know their true and dreadful state—and seek deliverance from their horrific thraldom! May you and I labor to direct them to the one thing, which is absolutely needful, and abundantly sufficient.
If I had the wisdom or influence to soothe the angry passions of mankind—I would gladly employ them! But I am a stranger and a pilgrim here in this world. My charter, my rights and my treasures, are all in heaven—and there my heart ought to be. In a very short time, I may be removed (and perhaps suddenly) into the unseen and eternal world—where all that now causes so much bustle upon earth—will be of no more importance to me—than the events which took place among the antediluvians!
In the hour, when death shall open the door into eternity—many things which now assume an 'air of importance', will be found as light and unsubstantial as a child's dream!
How crucial then, is it for me—to be found watching, with my lamp burning, diligently engaged in my proper calling! For the Lord has not called me to set governments right—but to preach the gospel, to proclaim the glory of His name, and to endeavor to win souls! "Let the dead bury their own dead—but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God!" Luke 9:60. Happy is that servant, whom his Master finds so doing, when He returns!
As you have forced me to respond—both duty and love have obliged me to be faithful and free in giving you my thoughts.
 I recommend you to the care and blessing of the great Shepherd and Savior; and remain for His sake, your affectionate friend and brother,
John Newton 

Letters of John Newton (1725-1807)
Portrait by John Russell 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Theology for Kids: God's Amazing Book!

There is no other Book in the whole world like the Bible!    That  is because the Bible is God’s Word.   God  wants us  to know how wonderful He is so that we might love and worship Him. 
There are many amazing things about the Bible that cannot be said about any other book that was ever written!  
  • There are 66  books  in the Bible that were written by at least 40 different writers.   The writers wrote the Bible over a very long period of time—1500 years!   There has never been any other book  that has taken so long to write!   Not even close!
  • Every writer was inspired by God in a special way  to write down every word God wanted him to write.    Some writers actually heard God’s voice speaking out loud.    Others saw miraculous visions that God told them to write down.     Even the little words and punctuation marks in the Bible  were exactly what God wanted to be there! 
  •  There are no mistakes in the Bible.    Some people have said that the Bible has been changed too many times to be true,  but they are mistaken.  Scientists have proven that the Bible can be completely trusted.    
  • The Bible agrees with itself even though there were many different writers.   All of the books in the Bible  tell a story that fit  together perfectly just  like the pieces of  a  jigsaw puzzle. 
  • The Bible tell us the story of God’s great  love for us.   It tells us about Jesus and about how He died on the cross to save sinners.   It tells us how Jesus rose from the dead three days later!    And it also tells us that He will  come back again!
  • The Bible is a miraculous book because it has power to change our hearts when we believe it.   The Bible will guide us so that we can  know how God wants us to live.   And the Bible can make us feel better when we are afraid or sad.
It is very important to read our Bibles  and to learn verses from it.    Here’s a good verse to memorize:
 All Scripture is inspired by God.” 
 2 Timothy 3:16

__________ __________
For more information about how we got God’s wonderful word and why we can trust it,  please check out the  compact 6 part Bibliology series HERE

Please note:  I’ve just started a new blog just for kids where I’ll be posting these little articles.   If you have anything you would like to see there please let me know.  Thanks!   Theology for Kids