Thursday, August 18, 2016

Spiritual Maturity

1 ¶  This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3  Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5  (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6  Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 ¶  Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9  Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

Jesus said that we would know the nature of the tree by the fruit it bears. Good fruit means good tree. We can see this in nature, and we can see this in the lives of our spiritual leaders. What sort of fruit would we look for in one who is spiritually mature?

1. Humility. 
2. Integrity
3. Steadfast in spirit
4. Grateful
5. Not self seeking
6. Not easily offended
7. Not hungry for the world's gain

These are just a few of the qualities I would look for in a leader. Any comments?

Thursday, February 25, 2016


In the parable of the sower, the seeds that fell among the rocky ground grew initially, but because they were not able to put down roots, the plants were not able to endure drought, or wind, or any kind of adversity. I am a gardener. From my own experience, I know that my peppers or tomatoes do not automatically grow just because I plant a seed. The soil must be properly prepared. They must get the proper amount of water. When they sprout, I always need to guard against bugs and diseases. But if the conditions are right, I will get fruit.

Today's preachers, for the most part, understand the gospel of grace. They will tell you that there is nothing you ever can do, or could do, to make yourself holy. Only by receiving freely the gift of God's salvation through Jesus Christ can a man be saved. I have staked my life on this truth. Yet how many who have "walked the sawdust trail" have later fallen away? Well, actually, I wish the old tent revival preachers were, in fact, preaching today. I doubt many of their converts would be so fickle. The problem I see today is that though the church correctly presents a message of grace, it is preaching to those whose lives have not been prepared to receive the Word. Somehow, our message is received as a free ticket to Heaven with no impact on how we live on earth. Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that this is how I understood grace when I first heard. I don't recall so much the part about denying myself, picking up my cross and following.

The truth is, we are all living on borrowed time. We are headed for destruction unless we stop, turn around, and head the other way. But most of us are not even aware of the danger. We are all alive only on account of God's mercy and grace. When Adam sinned, Death entered the world, and he remained physically alive because God's grace trumps justice. Today, 6000 years later, we do not realize that we also are alive only on account of grace. We are physically alive, but spiritually dead. Yes, the Gospel is indeed good news, but we can't receive it unless we understand first the problem.

I suppose this is the angst I have about today's preaching. They start with the good news without fully explaining the bad news. If I were to give counsel to the preachers, I would say start with the Holiness of God. Then present the depravity of man. Spurgeon and all the great preachers of the 19'th century understood this. Finney would make them wait, sometimes for days, in agony, before he would even let them walk that sawdust trail. We must come as mendicants, simple beggars with nothing to offer, to receive this unimaginable grace. But when we come, the soil of our hearts has been made ready.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I wonder what is really going on. Can "The Donald" really win the Presidency? Sure seems like many voters are furious about what the "establishment" has done. What will become of America? The whole thing seems headed for a crash. Most likely some sort of "crisis" will appear before the election. Obama will impose martial law. No elections. "Presidente for life". Hope I am wrong.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Object of our faith

"We are looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2 

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us . . ." 
Eph. 3:20

Years ago Monty Hall was the host of the TV game show "Let's Make a Deal". I have not seen the show in years, but as I recall the basic theme was that a contestant picked one of three doors. Behind one door was a brand new car, the second maybe some nice furniture, and finally one door would gain the contestant the booby prize. Hall would tell the contestant that what was behind the door was theirs, but of course, they had no way of knowing what it was. So Hall offers them money to see if they will sell their prize back to him. So do they give up the dream of a new car for 1000 dollars? 

B. Al-Zebub Esq., *a.k.a "the devil". knows very well what's behind the door called "Eternity", something with which nothing on earth could ever compare. No matter. As long as Satan can convince the believer that the trinkets of this earth are much more to be desired than the gold of the Kingdom, he has won the battle. Compared to the riches of Christ, anything on Earth is but a weak imitation. The believer less experienced in the way of the Cross might jump on that deal. And be ripped off, for the object of his faith was something temporal. 

So what is the true object of our Faith? Nothing short of the LORD himself , the "author and finisher of our faith". Solomon could have asked for anything from the LORD, and it would have been his. Riches, power and fame were options. Ever humble, instead he asked for Wisdom (Proverbs 4:7). Instead of temporal riches, which fade away and are burned up, the new king wanted the Eternal Word, and the LORD granted Solomon this, and everything else he did not ask for as well.

This year I hope to have my eyes focused on that Eternal City of God, the reward I shall seek will be the LORD Himself. I am not asking for anything temporal. Whatever I would ask for would doubtlessly be well short of what the LORD would do. So, by faith, I see that City, though I may not know exactly what I will see when I get there. For some saints, death comes before they receive the promise (Hebrews 11), but it is nevertheless sure. God IS a "rewarder of them that diligently seek Him". Hebrews 11:6, Psalm 37:4 etc. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Caught between the "Do" and the "Be"

But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:7

How can we feel good about ourselves? The world teaches us that if we DO something, we ARE something. Thus, the greater the size of the paycheck, the more valued we are. Pro Athletes, already making more money than they can spend in 100 lifetimes, will renege on their contracts to ask for even more. Why? Not because they need it, but because someone else is getting more, and thus is more valued, and they cannot accept this. Same thing in the corporate world. Those ridiculous executive salaries are all about ego, not value. However, the ones who are on top find that their satisfaction does not last long, that their victories are Pyrrhic and burn as soon as they achieve them. 

What does God say to man? On what basis does God love us? Does He love the tallest, the smartest, the most handsome among men? No, He told Samuel that David was the man after his own heart, and David was the least among his brothers. Shepherd boy. Probably illegitimate. Not the first one in line according to the wisdom of the world to be king of Israel. No, God looks at the heart. He is looking not for the things the world values, but for the man who is broken and humble. God's Kingdom is within such a man, even though the world may never look twice at him. 

I don't think we who are believers often realize just how far God had to go to love us. While we were yet sinners . . .  Do we appreciate this? Do we know that, apart from the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, God could not even look at us, so repulsive we were? God is absolute Purity and Holiness. We were absolutely the opposite, vile to the core. But when we consider that He died for us, when we were yet His enemies, we must admit that His love for us is absolutely NOT based on merit, but simply GRACE. We can feel good about ourselves only because of who we ARE, in Christ, and never on account of what we do. May we rest in this fact, saints!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Jesus Priceless Treasure

1. Jesus, priceless treasure,
source of purest pleasure,
truest friend to me,
long my heart hath panted,
till it well-nigh fainted,
thirsting after thee.
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb,
I will suffer naught to hide thee,
ask for naught beside thee.

2. In thine arms I rest me;
foes who would molest me
cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
every heart be quaking,
Jesus calms our fear;
sin and hell in conflict fell
with their heaviest storms assail us;
Jesus will not fail us.

3. Hence, all thoughts of sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
though the storms may gather,
still have peace within;
yea, whate'er we here must bear,
still in thee lies purest pleasure

So Long Rejection! Good bye evil Stronghold! The Love of Christ beckons me home. He calls me out of the darkness into the Light of His Love. Amen and Amen.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Two pronged attack

The recent buzz is the latest from the Supreme Court. We will now have same sex "marriage" in the United States. Some have reacted with praise, others with shock. I was not surprised, though. It's just one more milepost against which we can measure the devolution of Western culture into anarchy. 

There has been a two front attack on the world. The Church, assigned the job of being a salt that preserves has fallen down flat on her face, unable for the most part to respond. First of all, God, as a necessary source of all life and order in the universe, has fallen from favor since 1859. Evolution does not, in fact, offer a viable alternative to Creationism - but as soon as Darwin published "Origin of Species" the philosophy of naturalism began to take root. The church, unable to answer the lie, repackaged her message as a subjective experience instead of an objective reality that everyone will one day face. As Nancy Pearcey says, matters of faith were shoved into an "upper story" and isolated from the "lower story" of objective facts upon which we might base our cultural values. 

Secondly, the work of higher criticism has undermined the authority of Scripture. Not only was the world snickering at the upper story types that chose to believe some subjective myth, those within the church itself began to view the Bible as a mere human document, no more inspired than Hamlet. Thus, we are left not only questioning the existence of God (evolution) but also whether or not the Bible is his revelation to mankind. Now, for the first time, someone could call themselves a Christian and believe pretty much anything they wanted to, there being no anchor to stop the drifting. 

So the shift from Theistic Creation world view to modernism and now from modernism to post modernism (pantheism) is nearly complete. With no objective Creator to define morality, morality becomes whatever those in power say it is. No one can be held to account, for there is no objective standard to hold them to. How long will it be before some crisis comes along and pushes the world into anarchy? I think not very long at all. If it happened tomorrow I would not be surprised. 

Jesus said that we should work while it is yet light, for the hour will come when no man can work. There is a way to prepare for the darkness that is to come: Store up the Oil, saints! Be intimate with Jesus, know His ways. All ten of the virgins were asleep when the bridegroom came - but half of them were prepared. May we so find ourselves ready.