Sunday, September 30, 2007

Do You Have a Heart That's Hot for Souls???

Oh, give me, Lord, Thy love for souls,
For lost and wand'ring sheep,
That I may see the multitudes
And weep as Thou didst weep.

Help me to see the tragic plight
Of souls far off in sin;
Help me to love, to pray, to go,
To bring the wand'ring in.

From off the altar of Thy heart
Take Thou some flaming coals;
Then touch my life and give me, Lord,
A heart that's hot for souls.

O Fire of love, O Flame divine,
Make Thy abode in me;
Burn in my heart, burn evermore,
Till I burn out for Thee.

By Dr. Eugene M. Harrison

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sufficient Grace

2 Cor. 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

The word "grace" is like a many faceted diamond. It is beautiful anyway you look at it. As one considers the grace of God, he is overwhelmed by its meaning and implications. God said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee." Just what is sufficient grace?

When I think of God's grace, the thought that comes to mind is His inexhaustible goodness and mercy. By His grace, He saves the worst of sinners. By His grace, He protects from a thousand deaths. By His grace, He provides all our physical needs. By His grace, He comforts us in all our sorrows and by His grace, He gives us everything we need for this life and the life to come.

When we are at our weakest, grace has its greatest opportunity. In our frailty God shows Himself powerful to deliver, present to comfort and patient to acquaint us with Him who became weak that He might be made strong. When we have exhausted all our human resources, His grace has just begun. His is a sufficient grace!

By Pastor Ken Blue

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Are You Willing to be Empty???

(Here is an excerpt from Dr. John Goetsch's article "Made From Nothing" in the September 2007 issue of The Baptist Voice.)

In our selfish pride we want to believe that God needs our talents or our personalities to accomplish His work. The truth is, we have nothing outside of Him!!! The apostle Paul poses the question, ".... and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" (I Cor. 4:7). Whatever you and I possess by way of ability or opportunity is a direct gift from God. John 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Jesus said "... for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). It is when God gets us down to nothing (or empty handed) that He can make something from us.

One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most.
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.

And I walked earth's highway grieving,
In my rags and poverty;
'Til I heard His voice inviting:
Lift your empty hands to me.

So I held my hands toward Heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches,
'Til they could contain no more.

And I that I comprehended
With my stupid mind and dull,
That God could not pour out His riches
Into hands already full.

Why don't you empty yourself today of everything "you" are - your will, your goals, your dreams, your agenda? Pour it out before the Lord and confess to Him that you are nothing. Then step back and watch God take the "... things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence" (I Cor. 1:28-29).

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Biblical Virtue of Faithfulness

(Here is an excerpt from Evangelist Paul Mershon's Revival Thoughts 9/25/07 issue received today in my mailbox.)

“O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful . . .” (Psalm 31:23)

“Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.” (Psalm 101:6)

“Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6)

“A faithful man shall abound with blessings . . .” (Proverbs 28:20)

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much . . ” (Luke 16:10)

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” (I Corinthians 4:2)

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” (I Timothy 1:12)

“And the things that thou hast heard among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)

“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.” (Proverbs 25:19)

There was a time in America, especially in our churches, when faithfulness was a highly esteemed virtue considered a distinct measure of one’s character. A person was considered faithful when he or she demonstrated a deep and sincere stability, dependability, loyalty, dedication, and trustworthiness. Folks were generally good for their word. Many a business deal was sealed with nothing more than a handshake. No written contracts, no high-powered corporate attorneys, and little doubt that every one involved would do exactly what they said they were going to do. There was a high level of integrity and ethical conduct.

That faithfulness is no longer the highly esteemed attribute once viewed as very important and dear to a responsible society is apparent in a high divorce rate, a cavalier attitude towards infidelity, disloyal and rebellious attitudes towards employers, irresponsible financial dealings, ignoring and breaking of contractual agreements, fair-weather-friend relationships, job-hopping, church-hopping, and myriad other indications of a society gone bad. Commitments often run only as deep as “what’s in it for me.” The expectation is that everyone else must be faithful to the “me” in the “what’s in it for me” type person, but that person does not hold himself to the same standard when it comes to his level of faithfulness to others.

A direct byproduct of faithfulness is submission to the Word and will of the Lord. With submission comes a deep sense of responsibility. Most men will not be faithful to that to which they are not wholly invested. There will be very little of their time, talent, treasure, or of their lives in general invested in that to which they are not truly consecrated.

Faithfulness may well be a response to the love of another. When one knows that he or she is deeply loved by another, faithfulness seems to come easily. In Luke chapter 7 the story of the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears and the hairs of her head, anointing His feet with ointment, demonstrated a wonderful faithfulness to the One Who had been so faithful to her in so much and in so many blessed and wonderful ways. Of her Jesus said, “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” Her faithfulness and love for the Lord Jesus was driven by her deep sense of gratitude for the One Who loved her so much and gave Himself for her. She loved much because she was forgiven of much, and knew it. Those who forget the great sin debt that was paid for them will always have a diminished level of faithfulness to the Lord and His Word.

Faithfulness is a characteristic of many things, not the least of which is spiritual maturity. Integrity and steadfastness are certainly attributes of faithfulness, but I believe that spiritual maturity that generates faithfulness is the outstanding character trait of a surrendered born-again believer. Professing Christians saved for several years who are not faithful in basic areas of obedience, practice and conduct, such as faithful church attendance, tithing, witnessing, visitation, and serving wherever God can use them, prove by their lack of faithfulness in these things spiritual immaturity and/or serious insincerity and indifference.

Not too many years ago many Bible-believing churches recognized those who had been faithful in unbroken Sunday School attendance by awarding them a lapel pin indicating the period of time for which they had been faithful. It was not uncommon to see a brother or sister receive an award for 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years of faithful attendance and service to the Lord. I can remember hearing of an elderly man who was recognized for 50 years of faithful Sunday School and church attendance. These dear folks took their obligations and responsibilities to their local church very seriously. They were faithful because they were consecrated and surrendered to the will of the Lord for their lives. Some of God’s people are often passing up the House of God, and forsaking their Christian responsibilities for reasons that are wrong and without merit. God is ever and always faithful to His children (Lamentations 3:22-23), but there are those who find it difficult or unimportant to be faithful to Him, even in the basic things that ought to be important to the child of God.

Dear friends, faithful church attendance is just basic to biblical Christianity. I do not understand why any truly converted child of God would not want to be in God's House with the saints of God praising and worshipping Him. It just does not make sense. There are many reasons for why folks miss church, but many, if not most, of those reasons are invalid. One can understand missing church services when ill, shut-in, infirm or otherwise incapable of gathering with the saints. But there is an increasing number of folks missing church because they are not faithful, and that by choice. A backslidden believer will find it easy to be unfaithful. The cold, indifferent, apathetic. spiritually lethargic believer will find it easy to be unfaithful. Unfaithfulness to the God and His Word will always equate to being unfaithful to God's House. A great indication of a spiritually mature church is faithful attendance on the part of all of the members for each and every service, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Remember, the message you miss may well be the message you need! And besides the message, we all need the fellowship of the saints.

Beloved, you and your family need to be faithful to the church of which you are a part. You need to be there faithfully. The local church is God’s plan for the instruction, edification, and encouragement of the saints. When you are not there you are not in your place. You discourage other brethren, and put your family in harm’s way. You are jeopardizing your spiritual welfare, and send all of the wrong messages to your children. When you pass up the church house for no good biblical reason, you tell your little ones that it is okay to give God second place in your life. It is a testimony of disobedience.

Beloved, let’s take the responsibilities of our church membership more seriously. Plan your week in such a way that being in the House of the Lord is a priority. You need to be in church! Your family needs to be in church! Your brothers and sisters in the Lord need your fellowship in and through the local church. God requires you to be in His house. Let’s not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:24-25).

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

On Eschewing Evil

1 Peter 3:10-11 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

The English word "eschew" is not used much these days, perhaps because there is not much evil that people eschew any more!!! Nevertheless, a wonderful formula is found in this terminology in the verse above. If anyone desires to "see good days," then he should "eschew evil," even in his speech, and instead "do good."

In this verse, the meaning of eschew is "incline away from." That is, instead of having an attitude that "inclines toward" evil, as the world does today, the Christian's inclination must be its polar opposite.

There are two other verses in the New Testament with the same Greek word as used above;
  1. Rom. 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. We are not only to eschew evil words and deeds, but also "avoid" evil men who teach things contrary to God's Word.
  2. Rom. 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. This occurance refers to what ungodly men eschew. The meaning here in this verse is "gone out of the way." The ungodly eschew doing good; those who would love real life and see good days must do good and eschew evil.

That such an attitude honors and pleases God is especially evident from His thrice-repeated testimony concerning the patriarch Job, a man that "feared God, and eschewed evil" (Job 1:1, 1:8, 2:3), "a perfect and an upright man." Job saw some bad days, of course, but there were far more good days of great blessings until he finally died "full of days" (Job 42:17).

Like Job, let us eschew - shun, avoid, run away from - evil in any form!!!

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

When the End Comes...... What???

An atheist one day said to me, "I do not believe, Wilson, what you are preaching."

"You have told me what you do not believe; perhaps you will tell me what you do believe," I replied to the atheist.

"I believe that death ends all."

"So do I; let's shake on it."

"What!!!" he replied. "You believe that death ends all?" Whereupon he said, "You are a strange Christian."

"I am sure of that, there is none other like me in the world. As a Christian, I assert the belief that death ends all." When he said he had never heard such a thing, I added, "It is time you heard something new."

He said I was playing with him, so I went on; "Death ends all your chance of doing evil. Death ends all your joy, all your projects, all your ambitions, all your friendships. Death ends all the Gospel that you will ever hear. Death ends all for you; then you go out into the outer darkness of Hell."

"As for me, death ends all my wanderings, all my tears, all my perplexities, all my aches and pains. Death ends it all, and I go to be with my Lord in Glory!!!"

A story told by Walter Wilson, M.D.

Friend, Dr. Wilson is right on with this thought that he told the atheist that confronted him. Death does end all as far as the physical life goes; but God created us with a "spiritual man" that is everlasting. After we die, it continues to live in one of only two places; Heaven or Hell.

Where will your spirit be when your physical death ends all here on earth???


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Family Covenant to Honor God in All of Our Home’s Entertainment

(This covenant was written by a preacher brother of mine who developed it for his church family while preaching a series of messages on the home to his church. I thought I would pass it on to my faithful blog readers for their information and prayerfully use.)

As family members committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and wanting to live separated, holy, lives that would be pleasing to Him, (Lev 20:26 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.), we pledge to from this day forward to honor God in our home’s entertainment. For wrong, sinful decisions that have been made in the past, we can only petition His forgiveness and mercy. For the many temptations/pressures to yield and compromise that lie ahead, we plea for His strength and the Holy Spirit’s enablement alone to overcome (Jude 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy).

Knowing with certainty that God sent Jesus, “who gave himself for us; that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works”, (Titus 2:14), and that God commands us in His Holy Word to “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Prov 4:23), we pledge to set a guard around this house and in the hearts of all those who call it home. Specifically, to guard it from sinful media influences that would grieve the heart of God and cause us to sin and stumble. Influences such as any music, television, magazines, internet sites, DVD’s, and video games that are not becoming of a born again follower of Jesus Christ. From this day forward, as a family, we say “no” to feeding the desires of the flesh, and “yes” to nurturing the things of the spirit, and we do make a covenant to follow and honor Christ in all of our entertainment decisions.

Date: _______________

Family Members:

______________________ _____________________

______________________ _____________________

______________________ _____________________

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cries From the Modern Pew

Our preacher is just too hard when he preaches.
We must laugh, be hugged, entertained, isn't that what the Bible teaches?
Lighten up, preacher, take it easy, cut some corners, they say.
But God's man knows such things won't cut it on judgment day.

The pastor should ease up on doctrine, and try to just get along;
That way all the brethren together could sing the same old song.
He makes too much of outdated and costly separation.
But God's man knows he must pass the faith to the next generation.

Preach only the positive, just "Bless em," and be a man about town.
But God's man knows, in the long run, that will only bring souls down.
Get the people, no matter the cost, nickels and noses is the game,
But with the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus, it wasn't the same.

And why oh why must he always defend that old black Book?
He always says in the Authorized we should only look.
It seems to us that other versions do just as well.
But God's man knows that twisted Scripture surely leads to hell.

Brimstone, Bible education, loud preaching, it's all a lot of prattle.
But God's man knows, folks fall away if their cage he doesn't rattle.
Make it smooth, leave out parts of the Bible, those things that scatter.
But God's man knows, it's all God's Word and that ought to matter.

And does it really count how the members live and dress?
But God's man knows that's why the country is in such a mess.
Oh dearly beloved, let us faithfully the old paths trod.
We'll be very glad we did when, at the end, we face God.

By Pastor Clayton Doss


Monday, September 10, 2007

Preaching Against False Teachers

Matt. 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Jude had become a leader in the early church by the time he wrote his epistle. He had intended "to write unto you of the common salvation," but instead was compelled by God's Holy Spirit to write and "exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude 3) against the onslaught of false teachers.

Jude 14-19 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

Few categories of people are so summarily denounced in God's Word as false teachers, those who teach error from within. Nearly every biblical writer echoes God's hatred of them and their work. Here, Jude refers to Enoch's ancient teaching to demonstrate the fact that God has always hated false teachers and has warned them of their doom. Unfortunately, many of today's pulpits in churches all over the world and on "christian" airwaves (TV and radio, and of course today, throughout the world-wide web) are filled with false teachers and their teaching leading many astray or giving them the false impression that they are "born again"- professing faith instead of possessing Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, and/or trusting religion (which is man-made) instead of Jesus Christ (The Son of God).

Paul tells us in the epistle of Titus that the faithful man of God must stop the speech (mouths) of these false teachers through sound and truthful preaching of God's Word;

Titus 1:9-11 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

Error is a serious thing in God's eyes, and a Bible teacher and a preacher must continually submit to God's Word and Holy Spirit to discern and teach only truth; not his own reasoning or theories. It is quite evident from Matthew's warning above, it would be better for those teachers, seminarians, preachers, and others who espouse errors such as humanism, evolution, and other false concepts, that a millstone were hanged about their necks, and that they were drowned in the depth of the sea than to lead astray those "little ones" in their influence.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Think On These Things

Php. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

It is nearly impossible these days to turn on the TV, go shopping, go out to eat, read a newspaper or magazine, go online, etc. without our minds being cluttered and our thinking infiltrated by all sorts of improper thoughts championed by the world. In the verse above, Paul gives us guidelines for our thinking as a Christian. Let's review them;
  1. True - genuine, honest, and sincere - We should concentrate on honesty in all our dealings, for "God is true" (John 3:33) and Christ said, "my record is true" (John 8:14).
  2. Honest - better and honorable to all - 1 Tim. 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
  3. Just - equitable - Col. 4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
  4. Pure - without spot or stain - 1 Tim. 5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.
  5. Lovely - those things which demonstrate love or a response of love.
  6. Of good report - that which elicits praise.
  7. Virtue - a standard of righteousness - He "hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Pet. 1:3).
  8. Praise - our speech should be to "the praise of them that do well" (1 Pet. 2:14).

"Think on these things" implies a life-long habit, not something our minds should be on simply when we attend church. Many of our lifestyles and thought patterns need adjustment as patterned above. As Christians, we should think with "the mind of Christ."

1 Cor. 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Hole In The Wall

Ezek. 8:1-18 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me. Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber. And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy. And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain. Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry. He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations. And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth. He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

Ezekiel had a tremendously unenviable ministry. I would not have wanted to hear from God that I must make myself a public example and sign of God's dealings with His people. "Ezekiel, lay on your left side for 390 days. Now lay on your right side 40 days." Ezekiel was commissioned to say and do a number of strange and interesting things in the course of his ministry. One of the most interesting is found in Ezekiel 8:7 where he was told go to the inner court that housed the priest and Levites and dig into a hole in the wall where he could see the priest's chambers and apartments. As he followed God's instructions he saw every imaginable abomination, every kind of wickedness and idolatrous imagery forbidden by the word there in the darkness of these chambers. As he looked through that hole he saw those that should have been the ones maintaining the purity of God's word and work were secretly and hypocritically the ringleaders of abomination and were pulling others by their examples away from God. They, on the outside continued the facade of their holy profession but behind the wall they had in reality given up on God, His power and provision. In a sense they denied the very nature of God in His omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence. They said, "The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth." As if things could not be worse God tells Ezekiel to turn again and he would see even greater abominations. What could this be? How could there be something worse? As he turned he saw 25 men with their backs toward the temple. The 70 he had seen earlier represented the people, the 25 he saw now represented the whole priesthood. It was not worse in respect to the horrendous idolatry, but in respect to WHO was committing this idolatry. Here were these priest who were appointed by God to minister at His altar and to intercede with Him for His people with their backs turned toward Him worshipping in an idolatrous fashion. What an act of wickedness! God asked Ezekiel if he could now see that when those who are called for the propagation and defense of pure religion become the very leaders of the people in superstition and wickedness, it is not long before the entire community becomes corrupted in every part, and ripe for God's judgments.

Beloved, I believe there is a tremendous lesson for us here. Many today outwardly hold to a profession as a Bible believer yet when you take a look in the hole in the wall you find that they are bowing to and serving every worldly, carnal and even abominable pursuit known to humankind. They must feel that God does not see them or has forsaken them. They must believe that His Word is not enough and His power is not suffiecient. Therefore they have turned their backs on Him, thumbed their nose at His Word and turned to try any and every other thing under the sun.

Friend, what is in the hole in your wall? Let us do what we were appointed by God to do. He sees us, and He has not forsaken us!

By Evangelist Ron Maggard

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Have I Become Your Enemy???

(Here is one more devotional post from Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church that I thought I would share with my faithful blog readers. I have see this thing happen too many times, especially among friends, family, and fellow church members... In almost every case as Pastor Smith points out, the opposition of the man of God is not because of some heresy he has preached from the pulpit, but because his voicing of the truth from God's Word was met with disobedience from the one who now is critical of him. The pastor is usually called a "legalist," but both you and I know their definition of "legalist" is not the true biblical definition of the term, but it sounds good in light of their unbiblical and incorrect use of Christian "liberty.")

Gal. 4:15-16 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

Paul reminds the Galatian believers of their initial fondness of him and his gospel ministry. They must have received the gospel message and the gift of salvation with such joy. The man of God was respected, appreciated, and loved. They would have done anything for the apostle Paul. He testifies in our text, “ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” They would have sacrificed one of their most precious gifts, the ability to see, in order to help the preacher. These were indeed a most blessed people.

How quickly things can change. That “blessedness” had now turned to resistance. Paul asks them, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” They had turned on the man of God because of the truth he had given to them. How is it possible that people who had so esteemed the beloved apostle were now so much in opposition to his ministry?

We have seen this same change of opinion and sentiment repeated many times over the years. Anyone who has been in the gospel ministry for any length of time has experienced the pain of seeing former supporters become critics. It would be easy to understand if the preacher had become heretical in his message and was preaching a false gospel. Or, if the man of God had fallen into immorality or vice, it could be understood that his followers would lose their respect and devotion. However, this was not so in the case of Paul and the Galatians. Nor is it usually the case in our day, though it occasionally happens.

Very often the thing that causes former followers to become foes is similar, if not identical, to the circumstances in our Scripture. People love and appreciate the message and the messenger until something is preached or taught that they will not accept, even if it is the truth. Often the flesh does not want to submit to truth. Most of us have personally seen many people lose their love for the pastor and the church because they were not open to seeing some truth of the Scripture, or were not willing to honor the authority of the Word of God.

We should make error our enemy, not the one who brings us the truth.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

God Was Right, We Were Wrong

(Here is an example mailing from a daily devotional list that I receive from Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Pastor Smith's daily devotions may also be read by visiting

Neh. 9:33 Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:

God’s people had spent seventy years in captivity in Babylon. Nehemiah led one of the expeditions to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. After the lengthy and difficult building program, the walls were complete. The people then assembled as the Word of God was being read. For several weeks this continued. Hours each day were spent hearing the book of the law of God and several hours a day were spent in confession. In Nehemiah 9, the Levites stood up and began a lengthy recollection of God’s dealings with His people, beginning with the creation. They remembered the call of Abraham, their deliverance from Egypt, the giving of the law at Sinai, the provision of manna and water out of the rock. They confessed how the people had repeatedly disobeyed, making a molten calf, rebelling against the prophets, and resisting God’s commands, which eventually led to their captivity.

Our text today is a part of the lengthy confession that was made to God. “Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly.” This is an important part of anyone seriously getting things right before God and preparing for revival. They were willing to admit that God was right and they were wrong. The Israelites had consistently turned away from God’s will. Many times they had suffered accordingly. They were now back in the land God had promised them, after spending decades in exile. A thorough time of confession and repentance was in order. They proclaimed that God was “just in all that is brought upon us.” There is a great difference between admitting that our correction is just, which they acknowledged, and complaining about God’s dealings with us. Sometimes when chastisement comes, people choose to question God’s actions, as though He is somehow at fault. The Levites in so many words were saying, “We had it coming.” They declared to God, “thou has done right, but we have done wickedly.”

Why is it so hard for us to sincerely admit when we are wrong? Without this honest confession and repentance, there can be no revival. Blaming our sin on others will not bring God’s blessings, but heartfelt personal confession will.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Most Forgotten Command: PREACH THE WORD

(Here is an excerpt from an article by Steve Camp published in the Christian Worldview Network news alert published on August 28, 2007.)

2 Tim. 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

As I travel and minister in word and song in various churches around the world, I have come to see some distinctives common to men who have forgotten their duty to preach the Word and give themselves to lesser things. Here are some of those observations:

1. When a man steps into the pulpit more interested in telling stories than rightly dividing the Word of truth - he is not preaching the Word.
2. When a man seeks first to be funny behind the sacred desk rather than faithful with the text - he is not preaching the Word.
3. When a man claims to speak for God by claiming "a word of divine revelation from the Lord" apart from the already divine revelation of Scripture - he is deceived, and is not preaching the Word.
4. When a man designs his sermons to attract a target audience, appeal to the culture, and has as its primary goal a thirst to be relevent - he is not preaching the Word.
5. When a man forgets that he ministers for an Audience of One; and that the highest form of worship is to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God alone in the power of the Holy Spirit - he is not preaching the Word.
6. When a man uses his pulpit to try and change the world through politics, representing America as the new Israel, seeking to bring a societal morality through legislation, and honors the flag equally with the cross - he is not preaching the Word.
7. When a man fails to tremble at God's Word privately before ever preaching it publicly - he is not preaching the Word.
8. And when a man treats the pages of holy writ with a casual, cavalier seeker-friendly, watered down, emergent, ecumenical irreverence - he is not preaching the Word.

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