Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day

     On this great day in 1776, there were so many key events to leading up to the freedoms of this country and to secure that freedom after that decision was made.  Here are a few of them.  

Historical Events for Year 1776 (taken from 
http://www.historyorb.com/events/date/1776) 

Jan 5th - Assembly of New Hampshire adopts its 1st state constitution
Mar 2nd - Americans begin shelling British troops in Boston
Mar 17th - British forces evacuate Boston to Nova Scotia during Revolutionary War
May 4th - Rhode Island declares independence from Britain
Jun 11th - Continental Congress creates committee (Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston) to draft a Declaration of Independence
Jun 12th - Virginia adopts Declaration of Rights
Jun 28th - Charleston, SC repulses British sea attack
Jul 4th - US congress proclaims the Declaration of Independence and independence from Britain
Jul 6th - American Declaration of Independence announced on front page of "PA Evening Gazette"
Jul 8th - Col John Nixon gave 1st public reading of Dec of Independence (Phila)
Jul 9th - Declaration of Independence is read to George Washington's troops (NY)
Aug 2nd - Formal signing of the US Declaration of Independence by 56 people
Sep 9th - Congress officially renames the country as the United States of America (Was the United Colonies)

      There is another freedom that is even more important, yes, more important than the freedoms of this great country and it is certainly a blessing to live in this country.  In addition to the great freedoms wrought by men and women over the years for the freedoms we so selfishly enjoy, is the freedom to know Christ as our personal savior.  Our founding fathers endured hardship, torture; both physical and mental, and of course the loss of loved ones.  Not even these experiences could compare to the ridicule, torture, and feeling of loss that Christ suffered for you and I.  The Bible says that we all deserve to die, simply because of the sin curse of this world.  Romans 6:23 says:

 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life 
through Jesus Christ our Lord."

      Mere men loved the thought of freedom from Britain so much and wanted there to be freedom for generations and generations after them that they put their lives at risk. I'm sure many men and women felt that it was well deserved, and I'm sure many still do, however the fact is that the Bible claims otherwise.  Christ is the Only true Victor from the tyranny of sin.  Christ died on the cross for to be that full and complete payment of our debt, that no mere man could pay.  Romans 5:8 says:

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, 
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

      The Bible says to "Believe and thou shalt be saved."  Believing on the finished work of Christ on the cross is the only way to obtain true freedom, freedom from sin.  Yes, the sin nature will still be there, but there is now a choice of sin or righteousness....the righteousness of God. 

Independence Day in this wonderful country is a blessing for all, but to have independence from the tyranny of sin is the greatest blessing one could have.  Today is independence day in this country, you could make it independence day in your heart. Believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ and be saved. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Knowing God's will

KNOWING GOD'S WILL

   Striving for the knowledge of God is an eternal endeavor, but God has revealed in His Word all we need to know for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) 

     Believers often want to know God's will for their lives and most often what college to go to, or what car or house to buy, or perhaps where to live.  The believers goal in life should be to pursue God.  Before we pursue anything, are we pursuing the knowledge of God?    

     A believer first has to determine, by God's grace, if a certain pursuit is right and pleasing in God's eyes.  Some things are, without question, right or wrong and therefore quickly able to be determined.  The pursuit of knowing God's will for that situation comes into question when it it hard to determine whether it is a right and pleasing pursuit. 
    To begin, prayer to God is always needed.  Prayer is the way that believers are drawn closer to the Lord, no matter how assured they may feel, but one never knows how the Lord will work.  Prayer is also the way that God comforts us.  Somehow believers are more assured of God's sovereignty in our lives through prayer. Being assured of God's sovereignty also humbles believers and helps believers to give that situation over to the Lord, not that He needs our permission to take control, but it is a sign of the submission of our will to the will of God.
     Reading God's Word is the way to know God's will.  God has revealed Himself to mankind through the Bible.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 states clearly the will of God for His children.   

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
   
   God uses all of Scripture to reveal His will and there are many that clearly state God's will, as in the verse above.   Praying, asking for wisdom and discernment in that situation, is necessary, however, consistently and continually reading the scriptures is needful.   Most Christians, when wanting to know God's will, will skip around to different passages that have to do with what they are faced with.  God will always use His Word and so that is not a bad idea, but it is not how God intended his children to read His Word.  Believers need to remember to read God's Word in an uninterrupted manner.  New events in our lives, trials, or even a desire to change the routine is part of human nature and most times those instances even influence our Bible reading.  For instance, when believers need comfort, they usually go to Psalm 23 or for understanding trials, James 1.  Those are great passages, however our Bible reading should not be influenced by our worldly circumstances.  If one is reading through the book of Romans and a situation comes up, it may be a good idea to continue reading Romans and in addition to your regular reading, read Psalm 23.
    The more time spent in God's Word, the more understanding God will give, for life and godliness.  Proverbs was written to give understanding and that book may be a good start.  It is filled with life's situations and is a great start to obtaining the knowledge of God.  No doubt that God will use His word to draw his children into a deeper level of understanding of who He is, and that should always be our goal in life.   Philippians 3:7-14 is a declaration of Paul's life's goal and is a great exhortation for believers to press on for the excellency of the knowledge of God. 
    Patience is a vital part of knowing God's will.   As mentioned above, a believer may know right away whether a situation is good or bad, but it may take months of praying and reading to have that piece of God that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) Even in a situation that seems good and right, but a change may be needed, prayer is necessary along with reading God's Word. For instance, my churches youth leader had to move.  Of course someone else was given the responsibility of youth leader. The question that popped into my head was whether or not the Lord wanted me to continue as assistant youth leader.  Of course I wanted to serve the Lord, but felt (and I mean there was a sense of me being prodded by the Holy Spirit) that a change in my role there needed to be made.  I needed wisdom in what the Lord's will was in that situation.  In this particular case, knowing God's will took months of praying and reading.  At the close of this time period,  I was asked to take charge of the sound of ministry.  I knew that was the answer to prayer, however prayer was still needed for the peace of God to be given. 
         Knowing God's will can either be known right away or take months, and even years in some cases, but in every situation, spending time with God, in prayer and in His word, recognizing the need for patience in that pursuit, is vital.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Desensitization SINdrome

In my high school, for the drama club, there was a desensitization class. This class's aim was to desensitize an individual to certain things that he or she may have to do during a play. For example, in a scene that involved a kiss, this course would desensitize the emotions of those kids. Sin has the same effect towards righteousness and holiness, but no one needs to take a class. It is in human nature to sin. The Bible warns believers over and over again of the perils of sin and one danger in practicing sin, is that it causes desensitization towards righteousness and to be more Christ like and Satan loves when a believer engages in sin because that believer is one more step to practicing sin more and more. The reality is that the Christian life is a mindset, and so also sin is a mindset. Of course, the believer acts out a physical sin, but that is only in direct reaction to the premeditated sin of his or her heart. Psalm 119:11 tells us clearly that the Psalmist hid God's Word in his heart so that he might not sin. To be desensitized to righteousness and holiness is an indication of spiritual apathy towards God. Spiritual apathy and being desensitized of righteousness go hand in hand and to prove that is not hard at all.

Let's quickly think of a Bible example. Jonah was not happy to do the Lord's will. In fact, he fled to Tarshish, the furthest point in the opposite direction that he could think of. Jonah had made a conscience decision to dis obey God. Herein is the premeditated sin of Jonah found. That mindset is what desensitized Jonah and Jonah rested in that decison, so much so in fact, that he fell asleep on the ship. Although falling asleep was an outward show of his inward spiritual apathy and complacency towards God.

So often, believers rest in there premeditated sin. The outward action is simply the fruit of that mindset. There are fruits of the Spirit that are described for believers in Gal. 5:22 and 23. Those 9 fruits (and there are more in other scriptures)

are only shown in the believer's life first through a conscience mindset of yieldedness and humility to God, in everything.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Biblical reasons to read God's Word

Reasons to read God’s Word…daily

Reading God’s Word is How believers come to know Him in a deeper way (Col. 3:16; Phil. 3:10)

The Scriptures Testify of Christ (John 5:39; Acts 10:43)

Believers are commanded to read His Word (Col. 4:16; Heb. 2:1-3; Eph. 3:4;)

It is Profitable (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

It saves us from false teachings (1 Tim. 4:15-16)

It feeds and Nourishes our Soul (Job 23:12)

It gives us Wisdom and Discernment (Heb. 4:12; Psalm 19:7)

It renews our minds (Rom. 12:2)

It enables us to manifest the mind of Christ

It teaches truth we have not known and reinforces “old”(already known) truths

It is able to save our souls from (the power of) sin (James 1:21)

It prevents us from sinning (Psalm 119:11)

We are cleansed by the Word

It is able to build us up Spiritually (Acts 20:32)

Romans 10:17

The Scriptures bring Comfort and Hope (Romans 15:4)

The Word contains examples and admonishments for our learning (1 Cor. 10:11)

The Word effectually works in those who Believe (1 Thess. 2:13)

There is a blessing to those who read and obey (Rev. 1:3; James 1:25)

It is what God uses for our Spiritual growth and maturity (1 Peter 2:2)

It is all we need for life and godliness (1 Peter 1:3)

It delights those who meditate in it (1 John 1:4; Psalm 1:2)

The Word brings assurance of Salvation

The Word of God guides our steps through life (Proverbs 3:5)


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lesson 7.7 of Bible Interpretation. 

This lesson is borrowed from the booklet “Seven rules for Bible Interpretation”, written by REV. M. L. LOWE, D.D. with supplemental material by David W. Holden.    

Rule 7.7:  Distinguish Between Truths which Differ...        

         There is a common tendency among ALL people, not just believers, to confuse different truth, (disregard in their rules we has studied thus far) to connect or mix together, certain doctrines which stand by themselves. For example, many people fail to realize there is a vast difference between...      

A) SALVATION and REWARDS...      

SALVATION cannot be earned! We don't deserve it! And the Bible is very certain and clear...

ROMANS 6:23 ...the Gift of God is ternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.        

          But the Bible is equally clear that the Lord gives every believer an opportunity to share in His workas his personal"ambassador for Christ" in the ministry of reconciliation! This labor does not merit salvation-- instead    

1 CORINTHIANS 3:14 If any man's work abide which she has built thereupon, he shall receive a REWARD.        


        Salvation is a Gift--and the Bible always speaks of it in terms of a gift when dealing with the matters of one's eternal welfare! On the other hand, a reward is given for faithful service rendered to the Lord! If it is remembered that the unsaved one is "dead in trespass is and sins" he obviously needs the Gift of eternal life!  Being "dead"  he has no capacity to earn any reward! But, when given a new life in Christ Jesus, he will joyfully work to show his appreciation to the Lord, and for this he will be rewarded! While no person can earn his salvation,every believer should labor for his Savior, and strive to merit His "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make the ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!"              

                 B)  The believer's TWO NATURES...

          The fact that the believer has two natures (where he had but one prior to his salvation) can cause a lot of problems, as witness...  


Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.      


            Satan is reluctant to let the believer go, so he makes full use of the old nature to defeat the new nature imparted by Christ. When this is known as a fact, and is dealt with accordingly to Biblical practice, the believer can--and should--have true spiritual victory in his life!




CONCLUSION:  

This is borrowed from the booklet “Seven rules for Bible Interpretation”, written by REV. M. L. LOWE, D.D. with supplemental material by David W. Holden.



             From a careful study of these seven basic rules for Bible interpretation, and by diligent application in each passage handled, the born again believer, because he has the Holy Spirit to guide him, will not be led astray by any of the multitude of cults, isms, denominations and doctrines of the day.
        
           The Bible is a clear revelation; it contains no real contradictions; it has ONE INTERPRETATION which is carefully balanced to make it the most unique volume in the world. Read it-------- study it-------- meditate on it-----believe it------ trust it-----it is for you!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lesson 7.6 of Bible Interpretation.

Lesson 7.6 of Bible Interpretation.   This lesson is borrowed from the booklet “Seven rules for Bible Interpretation”, written by REV. M. L. LOWE, D.D. with supplemental material by David W. Holden.      

                        Distinguish Between The Judgments…

          There are a multitude of judgements of various kinds in the Bible., pronounced on a wide variety of people for one basic reason--SIN!  Out of these many different occasions when God has called man into account, seven distinct judgments stand out.  No two of them are alike, except that the cause is always sin, the basis is always disobedience, and the remedy is always by the mercy of God!  (Even in the case of the final judgment, where without remedy, the unbelieving are consigned to eternal Hell, that action is also bt the mercy of God!)  Perhaps the two which we are most prone to try to amalgate need our consideration right here.  A verse from each should clearly deduce the differences once for all:        

THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST IS FOR BELIEVERS        ONLY!  

Romans 14:10 "...for we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. "  

          The question here is NOT judgment for sin (in the judicial sense) ; rather, it will determine the basis of rewards earned for faithful service after the believer has experienced New Birth.  A previous judgment--Christ on the cross-- has already settled the sin question!  Having been saved, the Lord will now reward His children for faithful service at this, THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST!                    

          THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT is solely for the unrepentant, the unbelievers who refuse the salvation provided by the death, burial and ressurrection of Christ.:    

          Revelation 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  12 And I saw  the dead [the unsaved], small and great, stand before God...and the dead were judged...according to their works.  
      

          At this judgment, all who have not repented of their sins, and have refused to receive the forgiveness provided by the Lord Jesus in His redemptive death and resurrection, having lived and died in their own self will, shall stand! They shall have a fair trial, for God is just...they will receive full justice, for judgment will be on this basis: "according to their works".... there will be equal justice for all: " small and great"...BUT this judgment will take place before a special court:  "THE GREAT WHITE THRONE!"  Briefly note the significance of the absence of color:  it will be white because red is the color of redemption, and there will be no redemption offered there; it will be white because green is the color of grace and mercy, and the day of grace, offered with mercy, will be past forever! While we have no basis to assume that the thought of white is "transparency", it is indeed true that nothing will be covered up--no clever lawyer will be able to confuse the issue, or make a lie sound like the truth, or the truth a lie!  But we can be assured of this: there will not be one person who will be able to say that God was not just and fair in his judgment! No believer will ever be brought before this terrible throne of righteousness, because his sons were settled at the judgment ons in at Calvary!    

          Keep the time...the place...the persons being judged...the Judge...and the reasons for being judged--and you will never talk about a great and general judgement! The Bible expresses these truths clearly and distinctly!

          Take note that THE JUDGEMENT OF THE NATIONS described in Matthew 25 is not related even remotely to either of these judgments!  The time is at The Great Tribulation!  the Judge is Christ!  the basis is solely concern in the treatment of "My Brethren", the Jewish people during that terrible "time of Jacob's trouble".  and the judgment rendered by the Lord determines which nations shall enter the Kingdom  Age to inhabit the earth for 1000 years! It has nothing to do with salvation, nor does it determines the rewards of the saints!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Moving in God's direction

As you can tell, I haven't posted a blog in months. I recently moved in obedient response to be a help to a church planting ministry.  This move went very well and all throughout, I was thanking the Lord for His provision.  When I came out to Butler a few weeks ago to job hunt, I had ample opportunities for jobs.  I went to some temp agencies and also some permanent job opportunities.  That was my main focus at that time and I knew that the Lord would provide all my needs.  On last Saturday, there were 6 people to help load the truck.  It only took about 2.5 hours and there were no hang-ups that held us up.  I had a hard time sleeping that night, simply because of the excitement of moving to Butler.  I actually got up at 5am on Sunday to start getting ready.  I ended up leaving Manchester around 6:20am and was off.  My first stop was in CT to see Peter and everybody at his church.  Unfortunately, I did not arrive before SS so I updated the gentlemen in the sound booth and went on my way.  I was not planning for such a long trip but the drive ended up being about 15 hours due to construction, detours, and simply staying between 50 and 55 mph.  I arrived in Butler and Steve met me at the church building.  We unloaded my car and I spent the first night at his house.  I got well rested Sunday night.I had scheduled about 3 apartment viewings over the next 2 days, but I also wanted to unload the truck as soon as I could.  Steve advised about the areas the apartments were in, which of course influenced my decision.  For those of you who have facebook, there was an apartment from craigslist that was posted and that was actually my first choice.  (But of course I only saw the pictures)  Steve knew the area it was in and said it was a pretty bad area.  Steve met me at my first apartment viewing on Monday around 12pm.  It is in a very safe and, in general, better area.  Again, for those on facebook, the pictures are up.  It is about 1000 square feet, 2 bedroom, with open kitchen dining and living rooms.  It also has plenty of storage and one of the storage sections even has washer/dryer hookups, but I don’t have a washer and dryer….yet.Not only has the Lord provided with job opportunities and a nice apartment, but the Landlord and lady are a VERY nice retired couple, who live in the same house, 2 stories below me.  They are also Christians.  Praise the Lord!  While sitting down initially and going over the lease and different things, Steve and I were listening to Ken and Judy share their salvation testimony and were able to enjoy fellowship with other believers.  They have both been saved for quite sometime (40+ years).  Just today (Tuesday) I had 2 job interviews.  The first one was about 30-40 minutes away and is probably the one I will pursue.  It is the same thing that I have been doing at Life Is Good for 9 years.  The other interview was right in Butler, but just didn’t seem like the right fit.I have not posted a blog in months due to this move, but I will be starting up again.