Monday, October 20, 2014

Testimonies/Tread Lightly

We need to be very careful when giving our testimonies, as well as hearing or reading them. Even those found in the Holy Scriptures. They're for our learning, not necessarily for us to emulate. As an old divine once wrote, "We are to seek the apostles' teachings, not their experience." When we're told we should follow their example, it's generally in principle, not experience. 

Throughout my long tenure as a gospel preacher I have both heard and read quite a few testimonies that would curl your hair, as the saying goes. I found in my own case as a young believer, when I gave my personal testimony, as the audience became more awestruck , like the "blow-fish," my testimony got bigger and bigger. The flesh loves to wow people, and it seems many want it so.

Acts has twenty-eight chapters and covers some thirty years. The Holy Spirit records Paul's testimony once, and the "chief of sinners" gives it twice, publicly. He mentions bits and pieces in his personal letters to churches and individuals, but not in its entirety. That means Paul gave his testimony publicly two times in thirty years. It was not for general public consumption, it seems.This gentle giant of a man was not in the habit of calling attention to himself, but the ONE who saved him.

My wife was saved as a child of nine, and never experienced the ravages of sin in her life. On the other hand, I lived a life of sin and debauchery for twenty-four years. People would flock to hear my testimony, but not hers. Yet, she had the greatest of we two. 

New Book

Dear Readers of the Blog,

This past Spring, while I was recuperating from a heart attack and five by-passes, my wife flew to Kentucky/Ohio to speak at a Ladies conference and to visit her sisters. I was well on my way to recovery, and she needed a break from being a nurse.

During the weeks of her absence, the Lord laid heavily upon on my heart a desire to compile a yearly devotional book, as many of you through the years have requested I do. God gave strength and wisdom, and I finished it before her arrival home, praise His Name!

Today, Salle finished the long arduous task of proof reading and the rest of the many things that go into preparing a manuscript for publishing. Please pray we will be able to put it out before the first of the year. 

I have entitled it, Breakfast With the King. The three-hundred and sixty-five readings each consist of two brief paragraphs and a thought. You will be able, as our little booklet, Spilt Milkto purchase it at cost, plus mailing. You will order it direct from the publisher, NOT ME. This way I do not have to order a certain quantity in advance; they produce them as ordered. This will be a great help to us, in every way. We'll keep you updated on the progress. For now...

Please Pray,

Richard

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Last Journey

"And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem." Christ visited Jerusalem on more than one occasion, I think four times. Each was a progression toward this, His final trek, for the express purpose of suffering and dying there.

Our Lord took life seriously and grasped every opportunity to glorify His Father. He practiced what He preached, that is, doing your duty today and letting tomorrow take care of itself. He knew what the near future held for Him, but He also knew Who held His future! And rested in that.

I have never ceased being awestruck at the amazing character displayed in the life of the Man, Christ Jesus. The grand finale of life is rapidly approaching and we find Him, as when He was young, busy about His Father's business. The Cross lying before Him, yet not self-centered, but like always, God-centered. 

At the close of His final days on earth, still eaten up with His zeal for God.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Go One Way or the Other

"Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set." 

This past year or so I have experienced such indecision on a certain matter I thought it would drive me crazy at times. I hesitate to mention it, lest I be embarrassed at its triviality. But the devil (or the flesh) made sure I majored on this minor concern every waking moment. Neither prayer, thought, or council, brought any solace of soul. It was especially difficult because any one of the three or four ways I could go would please the Lord, and better me as a Christian.

Finally in my desperation and exasperation I gave up. Then the answer came! The Holy Spirit seemed to lay upon my heart the words of Jonathan's armourbearer, "Do all that is thine heart." 
After briefly meditating on the choice I was most comfortable with, I settled it in my heart; then the double-mindedness and unsettledness ceased. As someone has said, "When Christ has His way with you, you can have your way with Him."    

Most certainly we must always, first and foremost, ask God's choice in any and all matters of life; big and small. But after having done so, many times He will reverse the question, "What would you like?" Is this not what we answer our obedient children when asked, "Father, what do you think I should to do?" Do not we often say, "What do you want to do?" And so it is with God! After all, who better to make a choice concerning one's person than a Spirit-filled child of God, who wants and desires only His glory?

"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision."
Joel 3:14

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Righteous Rags

There seems to be a growing emphasis on man’s “righteousnesses,” rather than God’s righteousness. It has to do with the singular and the plural. In spite of the old prophet telling us that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” we persistently pursue, flaunting both ours and others’. Daniel, one of the Bible’s godliest men prayed, “[W]e do not present our supplication before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.”

The Scriptures know nothing of any righteousness other than God’s inward, imputed righteousness. Any and all outward righteous acts performed by us must come as a result of His working in us. All righteous acts not originating from God are “ragged rags.”

It’s time we put the emphasis back on God’s righteousness and realize who and what we really are. The song writer got it right when he penned, “I am all unrighteousness/ False and full of sin I am/ Thou art full of truth and grace.” In C.S. Lewis’ book Surprised by Joy, He writes a description of his heart, after God had revealed it to him: “a zoo of lust; a bedlam of ambitions; a nursery of fears; and a harem of fondled hatreds.”

"The self-righteous man sits self-governed in his own right; he is his own god."
(Oswald Chambers) 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cultic Christians

“While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants…” There is a principle found in this text that talks to us all. It is possible for one to encourage others to leave one kind of bondage only to enter into another kind. The “promiser’s” kind. This type promises but cannot produce. The reason? They themselves are enslaved within their own group.

Many wonder how it is that cults can so easily sway Christians when recruiting them into their ranks. The answer is fairly simple. Most of their converts come from assemblies not unlike their own. Therefore, it takes very little adjusting on the part of the one who is proselytized. They feel more or less at home.

There are basically three main cultic characteristics: first, there is unquestioning loyalty to the leader; secondly, there is an exclusion of all who are independent thinkers; and thirdly, there is absolutely no spiritual growth to be seen. Let each of us beware lest we be a cultic Christian.

Addendum by D.M. Lloyd-Jones: "There are cults that can change your life, cults that can deliver you from things that defeat you, cults that can give you happiness. Psychotherapy also can do so, and many other agencies, even an operation on your brain. We must have a test. If the experience is not an experience of the living God through His Son who has come to live and to die and rise again in order to give it; if it is not through the Holy Spirit, it is not a true Christian experience."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Unconventional Approach

Yes, God chose David; but David chose the five smooth stones. There are times God expects us to choose the best means to use in taking care of the giant obstacles in our path. We are all different—different in temperaments, tastes, and talents. We are to consider this, and choose what is best, and most suitable for us, in winning over our Goliaths.

We cannot always overcome the difficulties of life in traditional ways. Saul’s armor does not fit everybody. In fact, to use it can be burdensome to us, and cause defeat, rather than victory. Most of God’s people are not trained military tacticians, but, left to themselves, are excellent with their own unorthodox slingshots.

You choose what you’re comfortable with. That’s the way to decapitate the foe that faces you. Never let anyone force you to go in their armor; you were not fitted for it, and it certainly does not fit you. "One size DOES NOT fit all."

Your minute stone is mightier than Saul’s military sword, if it’s what you are most at home with. David “ran” to meet his problem, head-on, with a holy assurance. Why? Because he was using the thing he was most at ease with—a simple sling and a stone.

Dare to be different!