Archive for April, 2014

Isn’t it amazing how God can use some of the most basic, ordinary objects and events to teach us some of the most profound lessons? A couple of evenings ago, I went for a stroll with my 17 month old son down our rural country lane. Our road is a dirt road and, as you can imagine, the recent rains have left us with no shortage of pot-holes. As we began to walk, I noticed something fascinating—my son was irresistibly drawn to them. He ran to the first one, stood in it for a moment, and then (with a little squeal of delight) ran to the next one, and then the next one, and so on.  He was going out of his way to hit each one, even as I was going to great lengths to avoid them. That’s when it hit me:  what a perfect, yet simplistic, illustration of the contrast between walking after the flesh and being led by the Spirit of God!  Someone who is led by the flesh (and its lustful appetites), will find themselves LOOKING FOR, and running to, the ‘pot-holes’ (metaphorically speaking) of sin, iniquity, and corruption.  That is, they go out of their way to find them and take great delight in jumping into them when they do.  On the other hand, those who are led by the Spirit of God will deliberately seek to avoid those ‘pot-holes’.  If they should stumble into one, it is because they did so unawares and unwillingly—not because they sought it out.  They are then quick to step out of it–no doubt disappointed–yet a little wiser than before and with their senses sharpened so that they may ever so carefully avoid the next one.  Simply put, when we walk in the Spirit, sin becomes the exception (rather than the rule) of our lives (Galatians 5:16).  Its once irresistible power and influence are broken and subdued by the dominion and might of God’s own Spirit abiding in the Believer.

As we headed back home from our walk, I carried my son for part of the way and then held his hand the rest of it……..he didn’t step in any pot-holes.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God

                                                                                                                                           ~Romans 8:14

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How would you respond in these situations?

1.  A preacher and his wife are very, very poor.  They already have 14 kids.  Now she finds out she is pregnant with the 15th.  They’re living in tremendous poverty.  Considering their poverty and the excessive world population, would you consider recommending she get an abortion?

2.  The father is sick with the sniffles, the mother has TB.  Of their four children, the first is blind, the second has died, the third is deaf, the fourth has TB.  She finds out she’s pregnant again.  Given this extreme situation, would you consider recommending abortion?

3.  A white man raped a 13 year old black girl and now she’s pregnant.  If you were her parents, would you consider recommending abortion?

4.  A teenage girl is pregnant.  She’s not married.  Her fiance’ is not the father of the baby, and he’s upset.  Would you recommend abortion?

 

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above: 

In the first case you would have killed John Wesley, one of the greatest evangelists in the 19th century.  In the second case, you would have killed Beethoven.  In the third case, you would have killed Ethel Waters, the great black gospel singer.  If you said yes to the fourth case, you would have declared the murder of Jesus Christ!

God is the Author of life, and he has given every single individual supreme value.  Each life–whether inside or outside the womb–should therefore be valued by us.  God knows the plans He has for each individual and has written in His book all the days ordained for us before even one of them came to be.  When we presume to know better than God who should be given life, we are putting ourselves in the place of God and are guilty of idolatry.

 

Preach with this object, that men may quit their sins and fly to Christ for pardon, that by His blessed Spirit they may be renovated and become as much in love with everything that is holy as they are now in love with everything that is sinful.

God’s acceptance of Christ is the sure guarantee of the salvation of those who accept His sacrifice.  Beloved, when thine eye of faith is dim, when your eyeballs swim in a flood of tears and the darkness of sorrow hides much from your vision, then Jehovah sees the blood of His Son, and spares you.  In the thick darkness, when you cannot see at all, the Lord God never fails to see in Jesus that with which He is well pleased, and with which His Law is honored.  He will not suffer the destroyer to come near you to harm you, because He sees in Christ that which vindicates His justice and establishes the needful rule of Law.  The blood is the saving mark.  At this moment, this is the pressing question for each one in the company gathered in this house:  Do you trust the divine propitiation or do you not?  Bring to me what you will to prove your own personal excellence.  I believe in no virtue, which insults the Savior’s blood, which alone cleanses us from all sin.  Rather confess your multiplied transgressions and shortcomings, and then take heart and hope; for there is forgiveness large and free for the very chief of sinners, through Him who has made peace by the blood of His cross.

O my hearer, guilty and self-condemned, if you will now come and trust in Jesus Christ, your sins, which are many, shall be all forgiven you, and you shall love so much in return, that the whole bent and bias of your mind shall be turned from sin to gracious obedience.  The atonement applied to the conscience saves from despair, and then acting upon the heart, it saves from the love of evil.  But the atonement is the saving sign.  The blood on the lintel and on the two side posts scoured the house of the poorest Israelite; but the proudest Egyptian–yes, even Pharaoh on the throne–could not escape the destroyer’s sword.  Believe and live.  Reject the atonement and perish!

 

The King's Men

That really is the question, isn’t it?
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One thing that I have come to understand from the story of Gideon is that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather it is the ability to overcome the fear that we feel.  Was Gideon fearful to begin with?  Absolutely! 
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What made the difference was his ability to allow his fear of the Lord to swallow up his fear of man.  When God calls us to do things that we have never done before, or to do that which seems to be beyond our ability, it is only natural for us to feel a sense of apprehension and to be fearful of the unknown.  However, the Bible tells us in 1 John 4:18 that perfect love casts out fear—not just God’s perfect love for us, but our perfect love for Him.  When we love the Lord with all of our heart…

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The King's Men

Teethed bared, biceps bulging, glistening sword raised high while charging forward with the cry of battle;  This is the image often conjured in our minds when we think of a warrior.  However, without even so much as drawing a sword, mighty Boaz was able to defend a family’s honor and preserve the life of an entire bloodline.  Instead of physical power and might, the strength he utilized to accomplish these feats of valor came from within, as did his weapons—meekness (not weakness) and self-sacrifice.   Not surprisingly (and quite fittingly), from his bloodline, there sprang another Redeemer who, by means of that same Spiritual strength and artillery, became the greatest Warrior of them all—Jesus Christ.
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Strength & Honor
Mike Varnadore

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