Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Frustrated Saints

[He] hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose.”

The word frustrate is used three times in the Scriptures. My intention is not to expound the texts but explain the word. Webster gives the definition as “in vain; to cause to have no effect; to prevent from achieving a goal or gratifying a desire.” It is plain to see that if Satan can keep a Christian frustrated, he or she will never reach the potential God has set for them. Our adversary knows, to keep a saint frustrated is just as effective as getting him or her to fall. Either way, the believer is ineffective.

I have observed that there are three areas in which the enemy of our souls works to achieve his goal of keeping us continually frustrated. If he can get us “entangled” in any one of these, he has bound us. The first has to do with the political see-saw of our day. The second, with its social ills. And the last, with the sad spiritual condition of God’s elect.

Let’s face it; the root of all frustration is to be found in our inability to control people and situations. Happy is the man or woman who has learned that only a Sovereign God can accomplish this. Therefore, Let us keep our eyes upon a never-changing God in this ever-changing world.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

C.S. Lewis on Politics

Christians in Politics
(by C.S. Lewis)

Politics, Christians in From many letters to The Guardian [Footnote: a weekly Anglican newspaper], and from much that is printed elsewhere, we learn of the growing desire for a Christian “party,”a Christian “front,”or a Christian “platform”in politics. Nothing is so earnestly to be wished as a real assault by Christianity on the politics of the world: nothing, at first sight, so fitted to deliver this assault as a Christian party.

. . . It remains to ask how the resulting situation will differ from that in which Christians find themselves today.

It is not reasonable to suppose that such a Christian Party will acquire new powers of leavening the infidel organization to which it is attached. Why should it? Whatever it calls itself, it will represent, not Christendom, but a part of Christendom. The principle which divides it from its brethren and unites it to its political allies will not be theological. It will have no authority to speak for Christianity; it will have no more power than the political skill of its members gives it to control the behaviour of its unbelieving allies. But there will be a real, and most disastrous, novelty. It will be not simply a part of Christendom, but a part claiming to be the whole. By the mere act of calling itself the Christian Party it implicitly accuses all Christians who do not join it of apostasy and betrayal. It will be exposed, in an aggravated degree, to that temptation which the Devil spares none of us at any time—the temptation of claiming for our favourite opinions that kind and degree of certainty and authority which really belongs only to our Faith.

God in the Dock, “Meditation on the Third Commandment” (1941), para. 1, 4–5, pp. 196–198.

Think About it

The Result of Right Thinking

One of my wife’s favorite literary characters is Winnie the Pooh (smile). She loves it when he gets into one of his messes, sits down, taps his forehead, and says, “Think, think, think.” Would to God, in this one particular, we Christians would emulate this comical cartoon clown. Many have flabby brains from lack of exercise. We can’t get out of a jam for the same reason we got into it; we don’t think.

A Christian can be carnally minded (fleshly), or spiritually minded. It’s his or her choice. To choose the former is existing; to pick the latter is living. The Prodigal Son got out of his dilemma and back to living, when he started thinking spiritual thoughts.

This runs true throughout the scripture. David tells us in the Old Testament book of Psalms, it was when he started to think on his ways that things began to turn around. And Peter in the New Testament, like the Prodigal, we’re told, “...when he thought thereon.” That is the moment when God’s heavenly sunlight  broke through the dark clouds in his soul!

God is not going to do our thinking for us. That’s why he gave us a brain. But He does tell us how to think, so that we may have an inward, tranquil life. I admonish each of my readers to, as Paul said, “…think on these things.”

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sticking to the Script

Scripted Saints

“Therefore David enquired again of God; and God said unto him, Go not up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.”

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” There's absolutely no evidence that Einstein actually made this statement; but it's still a great quote! If this saying is true it is imperative, as sane saints, we reject any and all forms of  scripted living.

I personally believe the average Christian church, family, and individual, live scripted lives, consciously or unconsciously. It is the same-o, same-o, Sunday after Sunday, day after day. Most certainly, life is regimented, but to stay in step 24/7 will drive one wacky. At least it would me.

When our church services and lives become predictable, they become pitiful. When David was fighting the Philistines, God told him to go up a different way. Many, I find, have a problem doing things a different way. We refuse to go “ off script.” To adhere to a man-made script is to lose the liberty of the Spirit.   

While Peter was preaching in Cornelius’ house, the Holy Ghost fell upon them and interrupted the services and his preaching. When this happens, it is a wise saint who shuts everything down and gets out of the way, not ignore it and go on with business as usual as we are so prone to do.

The sanity of the saints depends on, “Times of refreshing... from the presence of the Lord.”

Friday, June 24, 2016

An Open Letter to My Son-in-law

My Beloved Son-in-law

Let me congratulate you on your forty-fifth year as an evangelist, bragging on Jesus, from behind the sacred desk. What a blessing that He chose lepers such as us to tell the good news. We certainly did not take this honor upon ourselves, but being called of God, are so very honored by Him.

Job's statement is so pertinent today: "How little a portion is heard of him." 

June eighth, I myself, began my sixtieth-year of pointing people to the bleeding Lamb. Apart from my salvation, (and I'm sure it's true of you) the day I heard those immortal words, "Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men,was the second greatest day of my life.

I read once, "When God has an impossible task to perform, He takes an impossible man and crushes him." How blessed to be crushed under His nail-scarred heel. 

When I think of you and the ministry God has called you to, I'm reminded of a thought I had that I wrote down in the flyleaf of my Bible, "Anywhere, Anytime, Anything, at Any Cost!"

I am praying for a fresh anointing upon you this special day. "But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil."

I close with something I heard an old camp meeting preacher say years ago. "I'll preach till the PREACHER comes."

An Old Disciple,

Dad

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Husband/Wife Relationship

One Roof and Two People

"And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel." Jacob was put out with his favorite wife, and, in this case, justifiably so. Rachel was blaming him for something over which he had no control. Disagreements in the home should not surprise us. As an old preacher, Dr. Bob Jones, used to say, "You can't put two completely different personalities under one roof and not expect conflict from time to time.

As long as the exception does not become the rule, we who still retain the Adamic nature should not be overly concerned. Personally, I've always been suspicious of couples who say they never have any disagreements. I think, in such cases, one of the mates has died without the other realizing it! My wife has a book entitled, Marriage to a Difficult Man: the Uncommon Union of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. I mentioned to her that she should write one and call it, "Married to an Impossible Man"! Jacob's seed has not died out; I'm proof of that.

A few violent storms should not destroy the enjoyment of those long, tranquil seasons between.

I like what my wife tells young brides. "Marriage is like riding a train; there are a lot of "getting off" places. But if you'll ride it through, you'll get to your desired destination.”

Saturday, June 18, 2016

My "FATHER" and I

With a plurality of children, it is a wise father who makes each feel like he or she is an only child. Our Heavenly Father does this with every one of His children. In our Father’s House we are told that He “…will give [to him that overcometh] a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”

Here is a relationship that is not only unknown, but unknowable. It is a peculiar and individual intimacy with God, which none other can ever know. Therefore, there can be no comparison among siblings, for no one knows, save the person themselves, what transpires between the Father and that individual. You might say it’s a little secret between God and His child.

As a family member I address Him as, “Our Father”; as an individual child, He is “My Father.”

Friday, June 17, 2016

Us, Jesus, and Today's World

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” For many, it’s difficult to associate Jesus Christ with this present, modern, nuclear, computerized, space age. But this difficulty fades once we heed Paul’s teaching, where he records, “Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” It’s not Christ’s sandals, but His sayings we are to walk in; it is not acquiring His wardrobe, but applying His Word that distinguishes us as belonging to Him.

When we speak of the Changeless Christ, we’re referring to His principles, not to His physical person. For example, there is a great difference between His pre- and post-Resurrection body. Walking in His steps (1Pet.2:21 cp. 1Jn.2:6) simply means, in the same spirit. Paul, speaking of young Titus wrote, “Walked we not in the same spirit? Walked we not in the same steps? Rather than live by the popular saying, “What would Jesus do?” I’d rather go by “What did Jesus say!” As to the first, many use their imagery.

I close with a quote from C.S. Lewis concerning saints who are overwrought in this nuclear age. “The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Miniature Pontiffs

Miniature Pontiffs

Martin Luther wrote, “I am not as concerned with the Pope that resides at Rome as the one that lives within me.” Totalitarianism is alive and flourishing in many circles of Christendom today. One expects this of the cults, but not Christians. When it comes to lording it over one another, Jesus tells His followers it should not be so with them.

Far too many are like Martha. We try to control every aspect of the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Such pastors and people know absolutely nothing about the priesthood of all believers. The scripture is clear on this matter. No believer, including a minister, is to ever have supremacy  over another’s faith. FAITH MUST BE FREE!

We need to constantly remind ourselves of the Apostle’s words, “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

You Just Wait and See

“And it shall come to pass…And when this cometh to pass…And it came to pass.” The first text is a promise made; the second, a promise anticipated; the third, a promise fulfilled.

Child of God, did the Lord make you a promise in the past? If so, you can have full assurance in your present situation that it will happen. For in the future, your testimony will most certainly be, “And it came to pass.”

Let us take solace in God’s word to Habakkuk. When everything around him was dark, and all seemed impossible, the prophet received this encouragement from God concerning the promise He gave him, “Though it tarry, wait for it; because it shall surely come, it will not tarry.”

It is better to be as low as hell with a promise, than in Paradise without one! (Puritan John Flavel)