Thursday, June 1, 2017

Bleeding Hearts

A few weeks ago I watched a video that a pastor named Jeff Durbin shared on Facebook. It was a video showing an abortion support conference. This video, is enough to make me sick and extremely saddened all in one. The people in the video talk about tearing babies apart, even if they are about to be born. It shows a sickness and evil in laughing about body parts falling into their laps. It is disgusting. The very fact that these things happen is enough to show us the grave error of our ways in America.

Abortion is evil. One hundred percent evil. The only reason that any person has an abortion is for their own selfish gain. Abortions are not done in humility or love. They are done out of hate and selfish preservation.

There is a song that the artist Trip Lee does called Beautiful Life (he has two parts to it) that lends a great description of what life is and what it should mean to us. Most Christians have failed miserably in stating these simple facts. We have forsaken God's call to defend the weak and needy. Instead we have given approval for one reason or another to those who commit such atrocities against the Lord our God.

There are many who would make excuses for reasons why it is ok to have an abortion, but these are merely that, excuses. God gives life, men do not. If we refuse to believe this, we easily fall into Satan's trap to destroy the life which God has begun. Two people can have sex their entire lives and no matter how hard they try, until God gives life to the eggs and sperm as they join together, there will never be life. It is He who gives life to everyone, no one becomes pregnant without God granting life to the baby growing in their womb.

Abortions should be stopped at all costs, no matter what. They have produced the biggest genocide in the history of the world, and yet people pay to have them done. Satan clearly is influencing people to do what their flesh desires, to attempt to destroy any recognition of God as the Creator.

May we all seek forgiveness for this evil we have wrought upon our country and may we stand up to injustice and try to stem the flow of evil being done to unborn children.

Friday, April 14, 2017

When Christ Calls

There are two calls that can be described when talking about calls of Christ (God). The first is a general call, one that goes forth from those who preach the Gospel. This call is general because the Gospel is preached to everyone without discrimination. The second call is specific to only certain people that God chose before the foundation of the world to become heirs of His kingdom.

These individuals receive this specific call through the work of the Holy Spirit during the preaching of the Gospel (first type of call). This second type of call cannot be resisted, for when the Holy Spirit calls, those chosen by God answer.

God does not restrict this calling to only those who have lived perfect lives, for there isn't a person who has lived or will live that could live a perfect life except for Jesus Christ. Therefore, this call goes out to those whom God has chosen and not to those who have any merit, for no one has any.

There is no sin too big or offensive that this call cannot conquer. It brings into the kingdom of God sinners from every vein of life. People who used to live in sin; lust, murder, adultery, theives, liars, those living out their sinful desires within the LGBT community, haters of God, and many others. None of these sins is enough to keep you from being able to resist the calling of the Holy Spirit.

However, all of these sins must be repented of and laid at the feet of Christ. We must repent of the things that keep us from Him, even the things that the world has worked so hard to make acceptable. Our lust, both sexual and our desire for more of everything. Our hatred of our fellow man. Our desires to pervert God's design for gender and sex, these too must be repented of, even though the current culture tries to make them "natural".

The Church has been called to preach the Gospel and through doing so, the Holy Spirit works in the hearts and minds of those who hear to bring about salvation and repentance. There isn't a sin too great, not even for those who have answered the call of Satan (see previous post).

Let us love one another as Christ loves us and has called us to be lights in a dark world. May we be bold to stand for truth, knowing that doing so is to be loving. For allowing someone to believe a lie is only going enable them and encourage them to continue living in sin.

Monday, April 3, 2017

When Satan Calls

I am more and more sadden to turn on the news, look at social media, or talk with friends or colleagues. I continually hear all the many stories about how the LGBTQ community is being discriminated against or how wronged they are for not having certain "rights". It makes me sick to my stomach to hear so many people that claim to be Christians turning their favor and support towards that community.

Scripture is very clear about what God thinks about that community and the things they stand for, so why are so many throwing their support behind it? It comes from years of attacks that Satan has thrown against the church, and instead of standing strong against his attacks, the church has capitulated at most every turn. Allowing Satan to pick away at the foundational issues of what it means to be a Christian.

God created male and female. He created them good, not needing to be changed or distorted into something that is neither good or right. Every person who supports the LBGTQ community falls under the judgment listed out in Romans 1:18-32.

Not only is the church called to preach against what the LBGTQ community is and stands for, it is called to demonstrate to this community what is the right and good manifestation of God's design for sexuality and gender. I Timothy chapter one tells us that we are to use the law of God to rebuke and to guide the unrighteous.

Satan has called and the American church, in large, has answered his call with shouts of joy and excitement. There is nothing with the LBGTQ community that is good or that points to God, but rather there is only evidence of a masterful plan, created by Satan to deceive and mislead those unwilling to stand upon Scripture alone.

Scripture is the foundation upon which all knowledge and understanding of God must be built. If we reject this premise, we open the door for Satan to offer us new solutions and foundations that can at best be built upon the sand, ready to crumble with the first storm that he well throw at us. That storm is the war being raged against God and His church by the LBGTQ community. They do not want peace and equality, but domination and servitude.

They will not rest until they deem that they have sufficiently destroyed God's design for gender and sexuality. In order to resist Satan's deception the church must return and stand upon Scripture alone for the foundation of what we are supposed to believe and how we are to live.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Quivers of Arrows

Recently I've been pondering family and what that means to me. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that on this earth (outside of our ministry and gospel sharing to others) it should be the most important thing for Christians. Now, many people might think that I am referring to the closeness of a family or the fact that they share the same DNA. But this isn't why family is the most important thing. While having those relationships that enable you to know a person for their entire lives is part of it. The real reason that family is so important is because it is meant to be a picture of Christ's love and relationship towards His children.

What does an earthly family have to do with a heavenly one? That is a question that I have heard asked many times. Our earthly families are meant to demonstrate certain things about God to us. However, most of the time we pervert and destroy any resemblance that they might have of the Father's love for His children. Instead of demonstrating unconditional love to one another, we hold grudges and bemoan our situations. Instead of directing our homes as Christ directs His bride, we allow chaos and strife to reign supreme.

There are many ways that we destroy the picture that God has designed in order to point to Himself. Yet, there are times that the picture and structure He has designed comes to full light and breaks beautifully upon the eyes of all who see it. The times when a child is running, falls headlong and smashes into the ground, and their parent rushes to lift them up and comfort them. The times that a child disregards what they know they are supposed to do and their parent disciplines them in a way that instructs and guides them to know and understand that their actions have consequences. The times when a spouse is overcome with love and treats their spouse to something special, just because. The times when a sibling offers to share their toys with their little brother or sister, just because they know how much they enjoy playing with it.

The New Testament is laden with images about the family and it's relationship to the church and to God. However, most of the time we either ignore them or just pretend that they don't matter that much. The images that God lays out in Ephesians of how each part of the family is to treat the other is beautiful and yet can only be understood when we look at it in the light of what God has done for His children and His relationship with them. God's love for His elect is deeper than any love between husband and wife, siblings, or child and parent. Yet, without these relationships, we cannot know what Paul means when he writes about Christ's love for His bride/body.

Therefore, the more Christlike men are when they lead their homes, the more Christlike their families and churches will become. The more that a husband and wife realize that their children reflect their own relationships with God, the more they understand how sinful they are and how utterly dependent they are for His grace and mercy to carry them. Just as a child falls and bruises a part of their body, we fall many times as God's children. He doesn't leave us in the dirt to lick our wounds, but raises us up, showing us where we went wrong and lovingly guides us forward.

Without parents, there wouldn't be children. Without children we would never see a majestic part of the picture that family represents. May we rejoice that we have been given families. May we grow to to understand the importance of seeing our families as mirrors for the world to see the reflection of God in.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Bird's Song

I am always filled with joy by the little things in life. It is these things that can cause us to see God in new and more beautiful ways than we ever have before. Whether it is something we have seen before and just now have noticed it's beauty, or whether it is something new and grand. God's creation is truly beautiful.

As I was walking to work today, about 20 minutes in total, I couldn't help at marveling at the beauty of what surrounded me. The sun had just come up, the sky still lit with brilliant colors that seemed to be commanding the earth to arise from it's slumber, glistening through the trees wet with the nights dewy frost. It warmed not only my skin, but also my soul knowing that the sun represents the light and glory of the Son. Birds were chirping everywhere, as if there was a diet of worms being offered and consumed by all (500th anniversary of the reformation shout out!). And there was actually a warmth to the breeze, unlike the blistering wind that seemed to attack us over the weekend.

God seemed to be calling to me and to everyone who would listen to wake up, to realize that our faith means something. As we approach October, there will be many references made to the Reformation amongst Christian circles. However, how many of us actually still believe in the principles that started it all? Are we willing to rise as they did, standing only upon Scripture no matter the cost? Will we join with Jonathan Edwards in bringing a great awakening to our country? It was because of the Reformers that Jonathan Edwards had a foundation upon which to stand. Can we not follow suit and preach the Scriptures in grace by faith in Jesus for His glory alone?

We must rise to the occasion. We have seen 500 years of decay and rot within our culture and many times sadly within our churches since the Reformation began. There have been great and glorious victories in the church, but there has also been a turning away from truth and the foundation of believing in the Bible as the sole authority on life and godliness. Instead, many have turned to popular opinion and look for applause.

Let us return to our roots as Christians. Let us believe what Jesus and the apostles taught throughout the New Testament. Let us examine the beliefs that we hold and why we hold them. Let us forsake earthy reconciliation for that which satisfies the soul and lasts for eternity. Let us join with creation in singing that our God reigns upon His throne. That He commands the earth to arise each and every day with new beauties. Let us rise with creation in joining their song and let us eat at the table of Martin Luther by standing upon Scripture alone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

God is Good

It has been a few months since I last posted, during which time exciting things have been happening. My wife and I found out that we were expecting our third child coming this spring. I published my second book, "Truth or Fiction" on Reformation Day (October 31st). I had a third knee surgery just last week. And my wife and I are in the process of getting a house to call our own. It has been a crazy past few months, and yet every single thing that has happened has caused me to see and experience God in new and more beautiful ways.

First, the joy of learning about new life entering the world is truly amazing. To know that God has blessed me with another child is both wonderful and humbling. I am humbled that God has placed a child into my care to teach and train up in the ways of the Lord. I am amazed that God chooses to use me to carry truth to new people each and every day, including my children. Children truly are a gift from God, bringing both joy and training to a parent. My children are full of such joy and cause my heart to soar with their laughter and giggles. They also cause me to see just how far I have to go in becoming more like Christ when I lose my patience or fail them in any way.

My second book is out, and I am very excited about it. It has been a long time in the making and I am very happy to see all of my hard work come to fruition. I pray that the Lord would use it to bless many people and open the eyes of many others. It was released on October 31st because I wanted to follow along with the theme of that day among protestants. Many do not know or remember the significance of that day, but the Protestant Reformation still is causing ripples today and should be remembered for the truth that the men and women who were a part of it stood for.

My third knee surgery went well. I am already walking around. God was very good to me and allowed the surgery to go smoothly and be the least intrusive that it could be. His mercies are new each and every day.

Lastly, the home that we are in the process of getting is such a blessing. We have been blessed beyond measure to be able to stay with my family while we looked for a home that we could afford. God, in His abundant wisdom, caused this to take longer than we would have liked. Yet, He has provided us with a home that we should be able to stay in as long as we would like, which is truly a blessing with our growing family.

I can't wait to see what the next few months hold and hope to post again soon. If I don't get one out for a few months, may the Lord bless you during these holiday seasons and bring the light of truth to shine through you as we come to celebrate His blessings and the birth of His Son!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Be Holy, For He is Holy

I have been reading a book by Andrew Murray entitled: ‘Holy in Christ: Thoughts on the Calling of God’s Children to be Holy as He is Holy’ (which I would highly recommend). While I was reading today riding the train in to work, I was struck by something that Murray said. He said that while we, Christians, can search for holiness, and very well we should, that those who are often the most holy are those who do not think about it. At first I was puzzled by what he could mean, but as I continued to read I came to better understand his statement and the meaning behind it. He states that while we should strive to be holy here on earth, it should not be our goal. He says that even though we are called to be holy as Christ is holy, it is not holiness that we must seek. Rather, we should seek Christ, first and foremost.

Holiness is not developed and cultivated by a desire to be holy in and of itself. It is developed through an insatiable desire to become more like Christ, to fill oneself with nothing but the Holy Spirit. Murray says, “As you hear the command, Be holy, as I am holy, let faith claim the promise, and answer, I will be holy, O Most Holy God! if Thou, the Holy One wilt dwell with me.” It is only through our sanctification that we become holy, or more Christ-like. It is because Jesus is the God-Man that He is able to save us and provide for us a path to holiness. If He were only a man He could only save Himself, however, since He is the God-Man He is able to save to the utmost.

Murray, in discussing holiness, reflects on those who are humble and the ways that their humbleness is caused and affected by Jesus’ holiness. He says, 

The humble find the Holy One. Just when the consciousness of sin and weakness, and the discovery of how much of self there is, makes you fear that you can never be holy, the Holy One gives Himself. Not as you look at self, and seek to know whether now you are contrite and humble enough – no, but when no longer looking at self, because you have given up all hope of seeing anything in it but sin, you look up to the Holy One, you will see how His promise is your only hope. It is in faith that the Holy One is revealed to the contrite soul. Faith is ever the opposite of what we see and feel; it looks to God alone. And it believes that in its deepest consciousness of unholiness, and its fear that it never can be holy, God, the Holy One, who makes holy, is near as Redeemer and Saviour. And it is content to be low, in the consciousness of unworthiness and emptiness, and yet to rejoice in the assurance that God Himself does take possession and revive the heart of the contrite one. Happy the soul who is willing at once to learn the lesson that, all along, it is going to be the simultaneous experience of weakness and power, of emptiness and filling, of deep, real humiliation, and the as real and most wonderful indwelling of the Holy One.”

The idea that we must be holy is not a suggestion from Scripture. It is a command. However, there is nothing that we can do to be holy in and of ourselves. We must be changed and filled with something completely foreign to our own selves; otherwise we would never become holy. In discussing the way that God is holy, Murray says this, 

Holy, the Father, God above us, High and Lifted up, whom no man hath seen or can see, whose Holiness none dare approach, but who doth Himself in His Holiness draw nigh to make holy. Holy, the Son, God with us, revealing Divine Holiness in human life, maintaining it amid the suffering of death for us, and preparing a holy life and nature for His people. Holy, the Spirit, God in us, the Power of Holiness within us, reaching out to and embracing Christ, and transforming our inner life into the union and communion of Him in whom we are holy.”

Therefore, let us strive to be holy as God is holy, yet without human strength. Let us lean upon the mercies of our Savior as the Father pours out the Spirit in and through us. It is only through searching for Jesus that we will become holy, for we have nothing to bring to the table in order to partake of any holiness or to become such in our own standing.