Monthly Archives: December 2011

From the “Writings of James Ryle”

     Imagine if people looked for the potential in the things and people around them rather than taking them for granted.  Imagine your potential if you let Christ guide your life.

Never Overlook the Potential of the Ordinary

“Despise not the day of small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).

God always does extraordinary things with ordinary stuff. Just look at what He made with dirt — YOU! How amazing is that? The Bible tells us that He made everything out of nothing. He is the CAN DO God. With Him nothing is impossible.

One day a young boy showed up at a crowded event to hear a traveling preached talk about wonderful things. He never dreamed for an instant that he would become the central character in an epic moment of history. The preacher was Jesus. The young boy was the lad with a small sack lunch containing two fish and five loaves of bread.

It was just a sack lunch on any other day, but on this day it became the stuff of miracles. It is amazing what can happen when you place something in the hands of Jesus. What do you think could happen if you placed your life in His hands?

You may be just an ordinary person, with ordinary looks, and ordinary thoughts, ordinary talents and ordinary dreams — but Jesus can do something amazing with that sack lunch of yours. If you just let Him have it.

Most people never reach their full potential in life simply because they overlook the potential of the ordinary. If you simply start where you ARE, instead of waiting to start until you get to where you hope to go — you will become all you ever dreamed of being!

Little by little. Step by step. Day by day.

Like Mary did on that first night when God told her of extraordinary things, say yes to God and let the miracle begin to slowly grow inside you.

Never overlook the potential of the ordinary. That’s the first of three great lessons we learn from Mary’s humble response to God’s invitation. Lesson Two will come tomorrow.

From “Daily Meditation” by the Rev. George Bowen

     Nothing honors the heart of God more than seeing those He loves ministering to the poor.  During this season please don’t forget the less fortunate.

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor.” –

Psa_41:1.

In other words, blessed is he that blesseth. Happy is he who makes it his chief concern to bestow happiness on others. Rich is he who seeks to enrich. ” Consider thyself,” says the world; “study the advancement of thy interests; for there is none to do thee good if thou neglect thy own good. Will men sell and buy for thee whilst thou art busied about the poor? Will they supply thy wardrobe if thou empty it for the poor?

Will they send medicines to thee and a physician, when thou forgettest thy health in solacing the miseries of others? Consider the poor, of course; but take good care that consideration for them do not swallow up or even encroach upon a due consideration of thyself, thy children, thy near of kin,”

In opposition to all this, our text, like many others in the word of God, teaches us – if we suffer ourselves to be taught so strange a truth, so hard a lesson, – that he best considers himself who considers the poor rather than himself, and makes it his chief business in the world to communicate good unto his fellow-men. For the poor have a friend; even God the source of all good; and there is no more direct way to the heart of God than to alleviate the sufferings of our fellow-men, to deny ourselves for the good of others.

Consider the poor; give attention to them; study their necessities; wisely consult as to the best mode of alleviating them. Think not that attention is wasted when given to the poor, even if some important commercial speculation has to wait. What the word of God says in general, the providence of God says in particular, “Consider the poor,” says the former; ” consider this poor man,” says the latter. Indiscriminate charity is not the thing here commended. The vocation of a Christian is to be a benefactor; and this being his vocation he is not to grudge any pains that may be required in order to ascertain who are the really needy, and what the most effectual way of relieving them.

There are some necessities which men do not mention because they do not feel. They know not their spiritual destitution and they know not the bread of life which is profitable for this world and for that which is to come. The Christian is to consider the soul-penury of men, and tell them of the banquet of life which Christ has spread for them. In this view even the richest of our fellow-men are poor enough and need that we should consider them. Blessed is he that takes knowledge of the necessities of his fellow-men, and devotes himself to their alleviation. God will take knowledge of his necessities, and will see to it that he want no good thing.

 

From the “Writings of A.W. Pink”

      In a world full of many supposed truths there is only one.

 

What is Truth?

 

“Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?

Joh_18:37-38

What is Truth?

 

“What is Truth?”

asked Pilate. Men have asked this question from generation to generation without hope of an answer, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

2Ti_3:7

Jesus Christ is the truth, but men do not except Him as truth, and therefore continue in darkness. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Joh_14:6

 

The Truth comes to a man only through the Holy Spirit, no man can of himself find it out. “And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”

1Jn_5:6. “And when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: Joh_16:13

 

Truth must be sought after, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Mat_7:7-8

Truth can be attained, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Joh_8:31-32

 

Truth is a hard way to follow, therefore few men go on to perfection. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Mat_7:13-14

Truth is infinite, it is deeper than you know. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”

Rom_11:33-36

A warning for those who would reject truth, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Who changed the truth of God into a lie…”

Rom_1:18; Rom_1:25. “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth…” 2Th_2:12. “…men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth…” 1Ti_6:5

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A Thought on Cynicism

     My thought tonight came as I was watching “Hannity” on the Fox news channel.  Now some people reading this would say “it only stands to reason  you’d have a small thought if you’re watching Fox and especially Sean Hannity,” but I’ll watch him before I watch some of the other junk on t.v.  I’m not going to say that I agree with everything I’ve heard on “Hannity,” but I’m not going to say I disagree with everything I’ve heard on it either.  Just so you know, though, I watch CNN, CBS, ABC, & NBC news shows, as well, because I like to try to get an idea of what’s really going on, and watching different news outlets gives me some perspective on what others are thinking.
     Anyway, what drew my attention, was “The Great American Panel” section in which Sean had as his guests Rebecca St. James, Jay Thomas, and Bob Beckel.  I’ll let you make your own determination about what you think of these people, but the thing that got me was the cynicism on the part of the two men.  Rebecca St. James, recently married, was saying that there were still good men in the world, men who don’t lie, who don’t believe in premarital sex.  She talked about her husband, her joy in knowing that she and her husband had no baggage, no experience with which to compare each other with others.
     Jay Thomas spoke up and told her that all men lied, that men did not have any advantage in telling the truth to women; that all men wanted to have sexual relations with every woman they saw, and would if given the chance.  I found his comments offensive, condescending, and disparaging.  Bob Beckel, to his credit, did not engage in Mr. Thomas’ comments to the extent that Mr. Thomas stated, but did express some agreement with his views. 
     The next subject was Tim Tebow, and whether he was a good role model for children, and once again, Mr. Thomas said that his two sons would be bored to death if they lived like Tim Tebow.  What does this statement say about him?  He did say that He liked to watch Tim Tebow play, and he acknowledged that there was something different about Tim, but that in his opinion a belief in Buddha could garner just as much in a person’s life.  Bob Beckel, a professed christian, did not seem to support Tim’s witness for Christ on or off the field with much enthusiasm.
     What I want to know is what’s so wrong with speaking positively about people keeping their purity until in the marriage relationship, or encouraging kids to look to someone like Tim Tebow as a role-model.  For Mr. Thomas to express his opinion that going into marriage without having sex beforehand was like buying a car without starting and driving it first is in my opinion indicative of the kinds of attitudes that are at the root of some of this country’s greatest problems.  
     I don’t mind people expressing their opinions, but what bothers me is the cynicism with which so many people approach almost any subject these days.  How can people have any kind of honest discussion about a subject when they approach it in this way?

From the “Writings of A.W. Pink”

     Among the many failings of the christian church today there is none greater than the failure to teach and to proclaim the Sovereignty of God.  It is this failure, above all others, that has given rise to many of the false beliefs people have about God.  God is not the weak, ambivalent, fickle entity that so many people make Him out to be.  It is a failure to teach the Bible – God’s Holy Word – and it’s doctrines with absolute truth, and without compromise and dissimulation that has led people to think that our God is like we are with all our foibles, flaws and inconsistencies.  Nothing, and I mean, nothing is more dishonoring to God than for people to think that He is like them, or that He isn’t fully in control of everything, and I mean everything, that happens in this world and in the lives of people.  Do I know what I’m saying?  Yes, absolutely, and a careful study of the scriptures bears this out.  
     To say there are things in the Bible that are hard to understand is an understatement, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be understood.  Foreordination, Election, and predestination are difficult concepts to understand, but they are not beyond the comprehension of human intellect when guided and taught by the Holy Spirit.  The Bible is it’s own best commentary; yet, many people fail to benefit from it simply because they don’t take the time to study it.  No one single verse or section of scripture can be fully understood without it being studied in the context in which it is written, and in light of what other scriptures reveal in relationship to it.
     The Bible is the Word of God; His revelation of Himself to man so that man can understand himself and his role in relation to his Creator.   There are many men behind the pulpits of todays churches who quite frankly are false teachers, whether by intention, or ignorance, is not for me to judge, but the results are the same.  Whenever and wherever people teach that God is love, and fail to teach that He is holy, just, and hates sin they are NOT teaching the truth as the Bible reveals it.
     A proper attitude toward the sovereignty of God
 is essential to comprehending and experiencing the promises and blessings of Almighty God. 

What Ought to be Our Attitude Toward the Sovereignty of God?

Arthur W. Pink

It has been well said that “true worship is based upon recognized greatness, and greatness is superlatively seen in Sovereignty, and at no other footstool will men really worship.” In the presence of the Divine King upon His throne even the seraphim ‘veil their faces.’ Divine sovereignty is not the sovereignty of a tyrannical Despot, but the exercised pleasure of One who is infinitely wise and good! Because God is infinitely wise He cannot err, and because He is infinitely righteous He will not do wrong. Here then is the preciousness of this truth. The mere fact itself that God’s will is irresistible and irreversible fills me with fear, but once I realize that God wills only that which is good. My heart is made to rejoice. Here then is the final answer to the question (concerning our attitude toward God’s sovereignty)—What ought to be our attitude toward the sovereignty of God? The becoming attitude for us to take is that of godly fear, implicit obedience, and unreserved resignation and submission. But not only so: the recognition of the sovereignty of God, and the realization that the Sovereign Himself is my Father, ought to overwhelm the heart and cause me to bow before Him in adoring worship. At all times I must say, “Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in Thy sight.”

A Small Thought on Consequences and Liberal Thought

Have you ever noticed the tendency of people to make choices and plow ahead without giving much thought to the consequences of their actions.  Just imagine a child being allowed to pursue his natural inclinations without having to deal with the consequences of his actions.  What mother or father could stand their child for long?

For those people who are fortunate enough not to have to live with the consequences of their actions what freedom there must be, and they are free  right up to the point where there freedom from consequence creates an overwhelming flood of consequences for others that begins to affect them.

This is the problem with liberal thought in that it takes freedom as far as people want it to go without thinking of the ultimate destination that having such freedom will lead them to.  Freedom without responsibility and accountability is not freedom, but the first step to enslavement.

In my opinion, our country, our government, and a great many of our people tend to follow the liberal view of thought which reminds me of this little quote I came across a while back:

“A pig ate his fill of acorns under an oak tree and then started to root around the tree. A crow remarked, “You should not do this. If you lay bare the roots, the tree will wither and die.” “Let it die,” said the pig. “Who cares as long as there are acorns?”

Bits & Pieces  , February, 1990, p. 24.

 

When we start to tear down, root out, and cast aside the institutions and values that make us what we are we’re very close to losing what gives and provides those things that make us what we are.  Then what will we be?

 

From Winslow “Morning Thoughts”

     We live in a world where people feel the sting of comdenation as a matter of course.  Yet, we, as christians, are free of comdenation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  There’s nothing like a careful reading of Romans 5 to help the believer understand that his security as a child of God is assured.  We are justififed through our faith in Christ Jesus, and are under no comdenation.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:1, 2

WHAT a ground of rejoicing have the saints of God! You may see within and around you-in your soul, in your family, and your circumstances-much that saddens, and wounds, and discourages you; but behold the truth which more than counterbalances it all-your freedom from condemnation. What if you are poor-you are not condemned. What if you are afflicted-you are not condemned! What if you are tempted-you are not condemned! What if you are assailed and judged by others, you yet are not forsaken and condemned by God; and ought you not then to rejoice? Go to the condemned cell, and assure the criminal awaiting his execution that you bear from his sovereign a pardon; and what, though he emerge from his imprisonment and his manacles to battle with poverty, with sorrow, and contempt, will he murmur and repine, that in the redemption of his forfeited life there is no clause that exempts him from the ills to which that life is linked? No! life to him is so sweet and precious a thing, that though you return it trammeled with want, and beclouded with shame, you have yet conferred upon him a boon which creates sunshine all within and around him. And why should not we “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,” for whom, “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” there is now no condemnation? Christ has “redeemed our life from destruction;” and although it is “through much tribulation we are to enter the kingdom,” yet shall we not quicken our pace to that kingdom, rejoicing as we go, that “there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”? “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

Be earnest and diligent in making sure to yourself your discharge from the sentence and penalty of the law. Sue out the great fact in the Lord’s own court by fervent prayer and simple faith. Your Surety has cancelled your debt, and purchased your exemption from death. Avail yourself of the comfort and the stimulus of the blessing. You may be certain, yes, quite certain, of its truth. No process is more easy. It is but to look from off yourself to Christ, and to believe with all your heart that He came into the world to save sinners, and assurance is yours. The order is-“We believe, and are sure.” Oh, do not leave this matter to a bare peradventure. Make sure of your union with Christ, and you may be sure of no condemnation from Christ.

 

 

 

A Thought on Worth and Value

     It seems we give thought to everything in this country.  We get up in the morning and we begin to think about our day; what we must do; where we must go.  Our day from the minute we open our eyes zeros in on our responsibilities, our goals, our desires, and our dreams.  We begin thinking immediately.  We analyze the hours ahead, plan the course of our lives minute by minute, and thus we begin.  We start out well.  We begin with a clear vision, and a ready spirit to begin the process of living another day.  We see the beginning very clearly.

     We start off, and the path we walk, from long familiarity, is one of comfort and security, so well-worn, that scarcely do we notice where we walk.  We know the end because we’ve arrived there so many times before, so off we go to begin the life we’ve built for ourselves.  We go through the morning routine; the rush and exhilaration of getting ourselves and our families around and out the door.  The routine is comforting, satisfying, and the sense of accomplishment is the first in a long line of little highs we feel as we’ve made it through the first leg of our beginning journey.

      We travel our route.  If it’s to work, we take the same route, turning left at the corner up ahead.   We might stop for coffee, cigarettes, gas, perhaps pick up a coworker.  We see the same things along the way.  The radio is on, the music plays, our thoughts drift –  as we navigate along the path – toward the things and people who will require our attention.  We plan our future encounters, map out our strategies, pass the time of travel with our minds activated, engaged, already well along the path of our day.

     So many of our days pass this way, no change, just rhythm and motion, our lives as the ocean waves rolling in and out, ebbing and flowing.  We pass routine for thought, feeling, as if our lives are graded on a curve as a student’s paper, and we pass so easily.   We travel quite content, and the only time we pay attention is when something captures our attention – like static on the radio – and for a brief moment something in our world is out of tune. 

     We arrive at our destination, fall into our responsibilities, and the busyness of our schedules, implement the plans, and have the encounters, and – when as they so often do – pass as we expect we feel the little highs of accomplishment along the way, and thus are the days of our lives.

     We live our lives thinking (though not really) and doing (though we don’t do nearly what we can or should) passing off the mundane, and activity ridden, the worthless and inane, as living, when in fact we’re just existing.  We live our lives in pretense, fantasy, illusion, and denial.  We live along side of each other, walk among each other, bump into each other, scarcely take note of each other, and pay little attention to each other. 

     We live our lives in respect to self-worth, self-importance, self, self, self, thinking we have value by the very fact that we’re alive, and that what we do is somehow important.  We look at our money, our position, our status, our accomplishments, and use them to winnow – to separate and divide – to unite and bring together – our lives in relation to the lives of others.  We do all these things because we need – have to feel – that we are important, that we are of worth, that we matter, and that what we do matters.

     We live, vainly, attempting to place value upon ourselves, our accomplishments, and each other, and we do a poor job of it.  We live our lives in a maze of fun house mirrors reflecting wealth, power, and position as if they are the keys to contentment and happiness, and yet with all the getting, and the keeping of such things, their true worth is often revealed in the broken, mangled, ill-used lives of so many who try to possess them.

     It would be impossible for me to feel any sense of worth, to have any sense of value, if I were to look to the world – and people around me – to give it to me for all such value is short-lived and fleeting, and the value you give to yourself will not take you nearly as far as you wish to go.

     All the above is not to say that there is no value – nor people of value – for there is great value, but the worth and value of your life cannot be defined by anyone or anything in this world.  To understand your worth, your value, you must look through the lens of truth, and only by doing so will you discover that your worth, your value isn’t a product of who you are, or what you do, but through who you are connected to. . .  and by whom that connection is made possible, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Liebster Award

Liebster Blog Award

     I want to thank Joyce De Vivre for her kind mention of me as a nominee for this award.  It’s a priviledge and honor to just be read by her, much less for her to think I’m worthy enough to be read by others.  I give all the credit, glory, and praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who without I am nothing. 

Liebster is an award given to blogs that have less than 200 followers and deserve more recognition and encouragement. Here are some guidelines in giving or receiving the Award:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.

2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.

3. Copy & Paste the award to your blog.

4. Nominate 5 blogs to receive the award.

5. Inform them of their nomination by leaving a comment on their blog.

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     It’s hard for me to pick five blogs because there are so many worth reading, but here are five that are certainly worthy of a greater readership.  In no particular order, they are:

The Mike Azer Blog  http://mikeazer.wordpress.com/category/christianity/

Through Him with Him in Him   http://throughhimwithhiminhim.wordpress.com/

Arrested Son  http://christianongtangco.wordpress.com/

Wonderfully Wired  http://wonderfullywired.wordpress.com/

Significant Encounters  http://significantencounters.com/

     I thank the Lord for the many people who are willing to share their lives and their faith in God with a world in desperate need of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

From “Morning and Evening” by C.H. Spurgeon

     Have you ever had need and not had it fulfilled?  Look back in your life, how many times have you been in real need (not in real want) and not had your need taken care of?  God knows what we need before we need it, knows our all before we know the smallest thing.  Trust, have faith, depend; if you are His child – and only you know if you are – then there’s no need to worry, no time in which you should fret, because you are in His hand, and He will not let you down.   Be grateful, be thankful, be confident . . .  Your need is already being met.

“Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.”

Psa_68:10

All God’s gifts are prepared gifts laid up in store for wants foreseen. He anticipates our needs; and out of the fulness which he has treasured up in Christ Jesus, he provides of his goodness for the poor. You may trust him for all the necessities that can occur, for he has infallibly foreknown every one of them. He can say of us in all conditions, “I knew that thou wouldst be this and that.” A man goes a journey across the desert, and when he has made a day’s advance, and pitched his tent, he discovers that he wants many comforts and necessaries which he has not brought in his baggage. “Ah!” says he, “I did not foresee this: if I had this journey to go again, I should bring these things with me, so necessary to my comfort.” But God has marked with prescient eye all the requirements of his poor wandering children, and when those needs occur, supplies are ready. It is goodness which he has prepared for the poor in heart, goodness and goodness only. “My grace is sufficient for thee.” “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

Reader, is your heart heavy this evening? God knew it would be; the comfort which your heart wants is treasured in the sweet assurance of the text. You are poor and needy, but he has thought upon you, and has the exact blessing which you require in store for you. Plead the promise, believe it and obtain its fulfilment. Do you feel that you never were so consciously vile as you are now? Behold, the crimson fountain is open still, with all its former efficacy, to wash your sin away. Never shall you come into such a position that Christ cannot aid you. No pinch shall ever arrive in your spiritual affairs in which Jesus Christ shall not be equal to the emergency, for your history has all been foreknown and provided for in Jesus.