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7 July, 2017 15:01

July 7, 2017

OVERLOOKING THE OBVIOUS!

The role of any Christian father is to raise his children to be Godly, obedient, polite, hard working, honest, compassionate, prayerful and purposeful. Imagine then having the job of evaluating a father’s effectiveness in his role as a father.

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You begin by checking his marriage license to make sure he is married. Then you talk to his wife to see how they are getting along together. You may even go as far as having him take a complete physical with x-rays and blood tests. Following that you ask to examine their financial records to make sure everything is in order and that they are paying all their bills on time. Having completed that task you then delve into the way the father keeps his home; are his lawns well maintained and does the house need painting? Following this thorough examination you announce that the father has passed with an A+ and is in fact an exemplary father for all to admire.

Perhaps as you read this you thought to yourself did anyone ask the children what their father was really like? If anyone knew what the father was like it would be the children, and yet they were never asked.

I recently attended a church service where one of the board members told the congregation that they had recently been audited by several pastors. These men were brought in to go through the books, to make sure the church was financially sound. Then they spoke in detail to the pastor and his wife all of which took several days to complete. The board member then proudly announced that they were in ‘good hands’ spiritually because those giving oversight had found nothing wrong. My only objection with this whole approach was that the sheep were never asked to give their opinion. Ask any married man how his marriage is doing and he will possibly say, great! Then ask the wife about her husband and she may give you an entirely different story.

This type of assessment is carried on year after year in some congregations without ever hearing from those who sit faithfully in the pews every week supporting the church with their tithes and offerings. Added to this is that in many churches the congregation is taught to honor and respect their leaders no matter what they do. While I am in full agreement with honoring those in authority, we must be careful not to over do it lest we create immunity for those who may be self-serving rather than serving the people. You may recall God’s anger against Eli who honored his sons more than the Lord. He knew they were acting ungodly and yet he let them get by with it. God eventually took their lives as a result of their actions.

Here is my suggestion to evaluating the spiritual condition of a church. By all means go through the financial records, the marital state of the pastor(s) but then randomly select 10-20 people from the congregation who have no official position in the church and ask them for their opinion on how things are going. At least in that way you’ll have a more accurate assessment of the true condition of the church and leader.

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8 June, 2017 20:10

June 8, 2017

WHAT KIND OF FATHER WOULD DO SUCH A THING?

Several days ago virtually every media organization in the country covered the story of a 27-year-old father in Oklahoma who went to the home of his estranged wife and held her at knifepoint while he tried to drown their three-month-old twins in a bathtub. Fortunately, a twelve-year-old girl who was in the home at the time ran to a neighbor’s house for help. That neighbor grabbed his revolver, entered the house, and shot the father twice in the back. He died later in the hospital of his injuries.

The two children, a boy and a girl, were airlifted to an Oklahoma City hospital and were released the following day. According to the police the babies are doing great.

There is little doubt in my mind that this father was seriously mentally deranged or demon possessed. What loving, intelligent, compassionate father would ever dream of harming his own children, let alone taking their lives in such a heinous and cruel way?

Stories like this make your blood boil. Jesus defended the little children by stating that ‘whoever offends one of these little ones that believes in Me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.’

While I have difficulty trying to comprehend such evil I can rationalize to some degree that this resulted from man’s fallen, sinful, selfish state. What I really fail to understand is the belief that God the Father would indiscriminately plunge his own creation to eternal destruction, not because of their sin, but simply because He so chooses.

Look at this statement from a nationally known speaker and author.

“But I am not ignorant that God may not have chosen my sons for His sons. And though I think I would give my life for their salvation, if they should be lost to me, I would not rail against the Almighty. He is God. I am just a man. The potter has absolute right over the clay. Mine is to bow before His unimpeachable character and believe that the judge of all the earth has ever and always will do right.”

What the writer is reasoning here is not in favor of a loving God who so loved the world but rather a God who only selected a limited number of souls to be saved. The doctrine of a limited atonement is no different than the Oklahoma man who simply choose to kill his two children for no other reason than his own perverted pleasure. What I find repulsive about this author’s statement is that he basically says that he would willingly offer his own life for the life of his sons thereby declaring his earthly love is superior to God’s.

Didn’t Jesus say ‘If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children how much more shall you heavenly Father give…’ According to the Bible I read and the God I love, He takes ‘no delight in the death of the wicked.’

Prayer: God forgive us for teaching such a distorted picture of your incredible nature and character. As our heavenly Father you are not willing that any should perish but you ever ‘seek for ways to bring back your banished ones.’

Thank you for not sparing your own Son but freely offering Him up for us all.

You truly are a good, good Father!

5 May, 2017 21:27

May 5, 2017

PRAY

America is in desperate need of a visitation of the Holy Spirit. Our nation is divided not only racially, politically, ideologically, but also theologically. We know from God’s Word that a house or kingdom divided cannot stand. One has to wonder how many more months or years we have left before we experience some type of total collapse?

Only yesterday I was reading through the Book of Lamentations, which opens with this word. “How lonely sits the city that was full of people. She has become like a widow who was once great among the nations.” Jeremiah goes on to tell us. “For the Lord has caused her grief because of the multitude of her transgressions.” One of the reasons Jeremiah gives is, “Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions and they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity.”

No one would question America’s greatness in the world. We boast of having the world’s greatest Air Force, Navy, and Army of any nation on earth. What we fail to take into account is that at any moment we could be marred in the hands of the Potter due to “the multitude of our transgressions.” We have evolved into a nation that thinks of itself as being too big to fail. What we have failed to take into account is that there is a God who views the nations as mere grains of sand that can be blown away in an instant.

Just a few days ago Charisma Magazine published an article from a 90 year old Norwegian woman who prophesied years ago about the days in which we are now living. In her prophesy she warned that there would come a day in which, “Christians will not be open to penetrating preaching. They will not, like in earlier times, want to hear of sin and grace, law and gospel, repentance and restoration. There will come a substitute instead: prosperity (happiness) Christianity. The important thing will be to have success, to be something; to have material things…” She went on to say, “Churches and prayer houses will be emptier and emptier. Instead of preaching we have been used to for generations –like take up your cross and follow Jesus –entertainment, art and culture will invade the churches…” This certainly describes the condition of many if not most of our churches today. The message of repentance is very much needed, but sadly, not wanted.

The answer for our nation’s ills is simple. We need revival! The price for revival on the other hand is not as simple. Virtually every revival I read about was preceded by an intense hunger for God coupled with desperate and prolonged prayer. Like the disciples of old we have toiled all night and caught nothing. We desperately need to hear from God if we are ever going to see our churches and our nation changed.

Let me close by giving you a taste of what revival looks like. I’m quoting from the book Rent Heavens. The (Welsh) Revival of 1904 “If one were asked to describe in a word the outstanding feature of those days, one would unhesitatingly reply that it was the universal, inescapable sense of the presence of God… In 1904 the Lord literally rent the heavens, and scattered the satanic foes entrenched therein…A sense of God’s presence was everywhere… It mattered not where one went; the consciousness of the reality and nearness of God followed.” The book continues to describe how that from the mine pits to the amusement parks and from the football fields to the bars, people were gripped by the power of God.

If America doesn’t experience this type of revival we are doomed and will like Jerusalem of old fulfill Jeremiah’s prophetic word, “The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the inhabitants of the world, that the adversary could enter the gates of (AMERICA) Jerusalem.

Pray, and keep on praying!

27 March, 2017 21:18

March 27, 2017

ANNIHILATION or VISITATION?

Congressman Peter King recently caused a firestorm over his comments about the flood of immigrants coming into America. The media immediately tried to paint him as a racist over his remarks. King however refused to back down, stating that he was not referring to race but rather to culture. His argument was that if the immigrant population doesn’t assimilate into our Western culture, but rather insists on maintaining their own, they will eventually weaken and destroy our culture and way of life.

King, I believe, is right in his viewpoint. Take the increasing migration of Muslims into America with their exploding birth rates; twenty years from now they will not only have outnumbered us but also radically changed our culture into their own. Once they gain the majority they will demand that we adapt and then adopt to their ways rather than their way to ours. This is the current problem facing my home country of England. Having opened it’s doors to any and all, it now finds itself with thousands of little enclaves that refuse to mix with those around them, while at the same time insisting that they be given the right to live and govern themselves according to the various cultures they came from.

Now where I disagree with Congressman King is that America has almost completely lost its Christian heritage and values, having replaced them with carnal, sensual, selfish, and worldly values of its own.

All that to say this, if America doesn’t have a God sent revival we are doomed!

Israel of old failed in this same regard. God told them not to mingle with the nations but they failed to listen or heed His voice; consequently they mingled with the nations, learned their ways (culture) and then began to practice their deeds, including the sacrifice of their children to demons and shedding innocent blood. (Psalm 106:34-38)

America is quickly adopting a far left agenda and culture that will soon destroy the very foundations of our great democracy. Consider how quickly the LGBT culture has impacted our society. Children are being taught that having two fathers or two mothers is as normal as having a mother and father. Muslims are demanding prayer rooms in our schools and colleges along with their own meal preferences etc. Now while all that may seem very innocuous for now, what happens when they become the majority and their lack of tolerance for anyone who wishes to live differently are considered as enemies for refusing to assimilate into their culture?

Which brings me back to our desperate need for revival. By revival I’m not talking about a series of meetings but rather a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God that impacts our towns and cities resulting in societal change. I know that may sound far fetched for many of you but keep in mind the impact the early church had upon their world. ‘These men who have upset the world have come here also.’(Acts 17:6) If one can chase a thousand and two ten thousand imagine how many one hundred or one thousand could chase? If we don’t do the chasing we will be chased, and not for the better. I want to not only save America but see America saved! The alternative…I shudder to think…

6 February, 2017 15:47

February 6, 2017

FREEDOM!

I recently read the amazing story of how 600 prisoners of war sought to gain their freedom by tunneling out of the POW camp Stalag Luft 111 in Western Poland. Using primitive tools they had fashioned along with a few crowbars, shovels and hammers, they worked for several months on three separate tunnels they named Tom, Dick and Harry.

Using bed boards, tables and chairs to stop the tunnel from collapsing, they were able to dig down some 30 feet and tunnel over 300 feet. Many of the prisoners used fake German uniforms along with false identity papers, hoping to remain unnoticed and evade being recaptured once they escaped.

On the night of March 24th and 25th of 1944 some 76 prisoners escaped through one of the tunnels they referred to as Harry. Unfortunately, prisoner number 77 was spotted and the remaining 120 or so prisoners were detained. Of the 76 escapees only three made it back to Britain. Another fifty of them were executed by firing squad after Adolf Hitler became furious when he learned of their escape.

While the story contained greater details than what I have written, I couldn’t help but think of the tremendous cost of time and toil that they had expended in order to gain their freedom. Sadly, only three made it while dozens lost their lives trying. I can only imagine how those three felt when they realized how many had sacrificed their lives in order for them to gain their freedom.

What the story doesn’t tell us is whether or not any of the three escapees ever gained real freedom. I’m referring to the freedom from sin and the guilt of sin. Everyone, according to God’s word, is a prisoner. We are told that the one who commits sin is a slave or prisoner of sin. Some try to escape the guilt of sin through good works or church attendance, while others try and drown their guilt through drugs, sex or alcohol.

The good news is that Jesus Christ accomplished all the tunneling for us; leaving us the choice of accepting His freedom or remaining the captives of sin. If you are still frantically digging, hoping to gain freedom by your own effort, know this, the tunnel will never end and freedom will never come. Jesus has already provided you with a way of escape and all you have to do is believe in His finished work and step into His life-giving freedom. You can remain a POW or be FREE! The choice is yours.

12 January, 2017 21:52

January 12, 2017

NO EXCUSES!

Today I was reading through G. Campbell Morgan’s book THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER. I was particularly struck by a story he uses to close this very challenging book on prayer.

My prayer is that in reading it you will no longer use the excuse ‘what can I do?’ or ‘do my prayers really make a difference?’.

Here is his story:

“There comes to me the thought of one woman who, to my knowledge, since 1872 in this great babel of London, has been in perpetual pain, and yet in constant prayer. She is today a woman twisted and distorted by suffering, and yet exhaling the calm and strength of the secret of the Most High. In 1872 she was a bedridden girl in the North of London, praying that God would send revival to the church of which she was a member, and yet into which even then she never came. She had read in the little paper called Revival, which subsequently became The Christian, the story of a work being done in Chicago among ragged children by a man called Moody. She had never seen Moody, but putting that little paper under her pillow, she began to pray, “O Lord send this man to our church.” She had no means of reaching him or communicating with him. He had already visited the country in 1867 and in 1872he started again for a short trip with no intention of doing any work. Mr. Lessey, however the pastor of the church of which this girl was a member, met him and asked him to preach for him. He consented, and after the evening service he asked those who would decide for Christ to rise, and hundreds did so. He was surprised, and imagined that his request had been misunderstood. He repeated it once more clearly, and again the response was the same. Meetings were continued throughout the following ten days, and four hundred members were taken into the church. In telling me this story Moody said, “I wanted to know what this meant. I began making inquiries and never rested until I found a bedridden girl praying that God would bring me to that church. HE had heard her and brought me over four thousand miles of land and sea in answer to her request.”

This story is told in the life of D. L. Moody by his son: but now let me continue it. That girl was a member of my church when I was pastor at New Court. She is still a member, still suffering, still confined to her own room. When in1901 I was leaving England for America I went to see her. She said to me, “I want you to reach that birthday book.” I did so and turning to February 5th I saw in the hand writing I knew so well “D. L. Moody, Psalm XC1.” Then Marianne Adlard said to me, “He wrote that for me when he came to see me in 1872, and I prayed for him every day till he went home to God.” Continuing she said, “Now will you write your name on my birthday page, and let me pray for you until either you or I go home.” I shall never forget writing my name in that book. To me the room was full of the Presence. I have often thought of that hour in the rush of busy life, in the place of toil and strain, and even yet by God’s good grace I know that Marianne Adlard is praying for me, and it is for this reason that to her, in sincere love and admiration, I have dedicated this book.

3 November, 2016 15:08

November 3, 2016

WHO IS MAKING WHO JEALOUS?

Saul of Tarsus was certainly no fan of the early Church. His zeal drove him to plunder, persecute, prosecute and imprison whomever he came across belonging to The Way. Entering house after house he destroyed God’s fledgling flock, causing them to be scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. His very name evoked fear in all who heard it. Then it happened. Saul had an encounter with the Living God. This once proud Pharisee became the apostle to the very dogs he formally despised. Saul, their one time arch adversary, became their chief advocate. So great was his conversion and his subsequent revelation of God’s grace that he became even more zealous. Now Paul’s zeal turned against his former manner of life and against those Judaizers who sought to infiltrate his former enemies in the Church. So radical was Paul’s conversion that he compared his former religious life as one of bondage or slavery. Paul relished his new freedom in Christ. No longer was he striving to please God through his own efforts. No longer was he under an obligation to observe days and months and seasons and years which he referred to as weak, worthless, and elemental things leading back into slavery.

Paul was a changed man. Christ meant everything to him. Christ was his treasure in the field, his pearl of great price, his unspeakable gift. He soon realized that all the types and shadows he had grown up observing and zealously lived for were mere dung in comparison to Christ.

While Paul consistently loathed and opposed those Judaizers who insisted that the Gentile believers be circumcised as well as keep the law of Moses, he also carried a great burden for his own people, Israel, that they might be saved.

In his writings to the Romans Paul stated that Israel’s transgression led to salvation coming to the Gentiles, but then he adds “to make them jealous.” Israel’s calling was to be a light to the nations. It was their job to make us jealous, but now Paul says the shoe is on the other foot. It is now the Church’s job to make Israel jealous.

By now you may be asking where am I going with all this? I’m glad you asked. I’m concerned with what I see happening throughout the Body of Christ. Over the last decade or so as the Church has become increasingly aware of it’s responsibility to pray for and support Israel, there has risen the subtle yet false belief that Israel is somehow superior to the Church. As a result many are being drawn back to the types and shadows, festivals and Sabbaths, etc. In other words, Israel is now causing God’s people to be jealous for her ways rather than God’s people causing Israel to be jealous for Christ.

This got me thinking. I wonder how the Apostle Paul would react today if he were to tune into some religious broadcast extolling the virtues of a prayer shawl or hearing the clamor over blood moons and shemitahs. Added to that is the constant reminder that this is the beginning of such and such a feast or festival. Why have these days, seasons and Sabbaths proven to be more exciting than Christ? Why has the Feast of Passover become more attractive to God’s people than the communion celebration that replaced it? Why do these Old Testament types stir so much passion? Paul himself states they are merely a shadow of things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

My concern is that there is a new breed of Judaizers who unwittingly are causing the Church to be drawn back into bondage and slavery. While that may not be their intention, nevertheless, they dress, act, and emphasize what the writer to the Hebrews declared to be over with. “He takes away the first in order to establish the second.” I believe if Paul were here today his message would remain the same; “You foolish believers, who has bewitched you…” “Stand fast in the liberty in which Christ has made you free and be NOT entangled again with the yoke of BONDAGE”.