Saturday, April 30, 2011

Singing to the “King”

"And they sing…the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous [are] thy works, Lord God Almighty…thou King of saints.

Some mistakenly think of Jesus as being King at some future date, but this is not what Paul taught. The apostle plainly tells us He is King now, “Now” unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” True, Christ may presently be a King in exile, but as David of old, a King in exile is no less a king. His servants still accept and submit to Him as such; only the rebels reject His Kingship. But Paul goes on to tell us that at His appearing, “He shall shew, [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.”

I find, invariably, those who have a problem with Christ’s Lordship, also have difficulty with the doctrine of His Kingship. And naturally so, for you can’t have one without the other. They’re Siamese twins, if you please; they can’t be separated. A king reigns and rules over his subjects and those who will not have it so during His exile, will be dealt with harshly, as Shimei, when David triumphantly returned to his throne. Such people, as John wrote, will be “ashamed before him at his appearing.” Therefore, it is a wise man or woman that accepts Him as their King here and now. Notice I did not say, “Make Him King.” He is already that, whether you acknowledge it or not.

And so, on this Lord’s Day, let us lift our voices with the saints in glory unto Him that they affectionately refer to as “Thou King of saints.” Or as the Psalmist put it in his fourfold admonition, “Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises”.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cosmetic Christianity

I think sometimes that only Christians can out-do Jezebel when it comes to cosmetics! We take the external paint of religion and apply thick coats to our lives, hoping others will not see our run down condition. But no matter how expertly you paint over dry rot, it is still there, and it only gets worse with time. This sad condition is bad enough when you see it in God’s people, but how much worse when preachers leave their calling and become professional cosmetologists.

Jesus sand-blasted superficial spirituality that was no deeper than the outward coat (Matt.23). Contrary to what many think today, when it comes to God, you can’t make it on looks alone! Form without substance is an empty vessel. And people who have nothing in their bucket are of no use to anyone. Thirsty souls care little, and are not impressed with dry buckets, no matter how the outside is decorated. W.W.J.D. bracelets, the wearing of crosses, fish decals on bumper stickers, etc.

When it comes to spiritual cosmetics, we ought to heed Paul’s words when he wrote, “For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool…but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be…” The ladies used to have what they called a “vanity table” in their bedrooms. For the most part, I believe they are outdated now. But I am fearful; many of us Christians are still using them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The First Ways of David

“And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David.” The Chronicler seems to be admitting that the latter ways of David were less than exemplary. It can be said of many a good man and woman that their first ways were their best ways, their first love was their best love, and that their first works were their best works. It ought not to be that way, but sad to say, the lives of scores of Christians bear testimony to this frightening truth. It should be, “The best is yet to come.” But I’m sorry to say, numerous saints, referring to the rest of the time they have here on earth admit, “The best has already past.”

The wise man said, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning.” Jesus taught this principle when turning the water into wine. The ruler of the feast said of Him, “Thou hast kept the good wine (cheer) until now.” That is, He kept the best to last. In life, it’s the latter things that seem to be held in remembrance. The last scene of a movie, the end of a book, the last five minutes of a ball game, the conclusion of a sermon, and yes, the end of one’s life on earth. Demas started right but ended wrong; on the other hand, John Mark started out wrong, but ended right. It is generally accepted that outlook has a lot to do with outcome. Therefore, the way one looks at things could determine the way he or she end his or her life.

“I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Devil Deals to David

“And Satan...provoked David.” David’s sin with Bathsheba was a sin of the flesh, but in numbering the people, a sin of the spirit. By this proud act (consciously or unconsciously), David was ascribing to himself might, power, strength and greatness; attributes that belong to God alone. God promised Abraham the people would be so great they could not be numbered. So why bother?

Numbering the people was not the real issue; doing it without orders from God was. It was an independent act that caused Lucifer’s fall, and this is what he successfully tempted Eve to do. But when he came to the Lord Jesus, he failed miserably. For this blessed One refused to take a breath without God’s permission.

When we attempt to flex our spiritual muscle before those around us by showing our spiritual superiority, you can be sure Satan is in the shadows egging us on. When the devil deals the cards, it’s always from the bottom.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cheering Up Your Companion

"When a man hath taken a...wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business...but he shall be free at home...and cheer up his wife...." A man's first responsibility, says the Lord, is not to his battles or business, but to his beloved.

A good wife is not as concerned with wars and Wall Street as she is with her one and only love. Children come and go, and while they bring joy to her, it's transitory, at best. For, when they fly from the nest, it will be to take their cheer to their mates. But her man will be around long after they leave.

A good cheering up from a husband keeps a wife from giving up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Way Back When

I have never professed to be in the same major league with the theologians and scholars, but I do profess being in the minors with those who are students of the Word. I’ve always tried to follow David’s example when he said, “…neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” Nevertheless, many of us have our own personal views on problem texts. These views do not always satisfy others, but they do the individual who holds to them. That is, they are comfortable with their view point.

A text that has always seemed to generate more friction than light among the brethren has been Ephesians 1:4. “…he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” If we believe the extreme position, that we were always “in Christ,” then we were never “in Adam”; therefore, we were not born sinners. This reasoning creates even a greater problem. On the other hand, for us to try to dismiss the fact of our text is to deny God’s foreknowledge of us (Rom.8:29).

The answer that I can live with is found in Hebrews 7:9-10. Levi was in the loins of Abraham before he was born. Positionally, he was always in his father’s loins; but, practically, he only became his son when he was birthed. And so it is with us and our spiritual birth. Paul, who penned Ephesians 1:4, also wrote Romans 16:7. Speaking of two believers, he says of them, “…who also were in Christ before me.” Not positionally, but experiencially. We were not always saved; but, Hallelujah! We were always safe.

The Blessings of the Impossible.

I wonder if most of us who are in impossible situations really grasp the great blessings to be found in such dire predicaments. I see two basic, wonderful truths in said quandaries. First, I no longer have to question myself as to what I should, or shouldn’t, do in such cases. For it is out of my hands altogether. And secondly, in these times of the humanly unattainable, God has opportunity to show Himself strong on our behalf, thereby receiving all the praise and Glory due Him!

For in such hopeless circumstances, when all human effort is voided, it is then we can cry out, as David, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work.” Once we move out of the realm of the humanly possible, it is then we can see what the God of the impossible can do. That is, we will then realize all the possibilities of the impossible. But, to see such things, you will need be placed in front of the Red Sea, with Pharaoh and his armies behind you, the mountains and desert on either side of you, and the impassable facing you.

If you want to live your life in the realm of possibilities, fine. But, mark you; you’ll never experience the blessings of the impossible!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Excess Baggage

“Cast out this bondwoman…And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight…And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight…because of thy bondwoman… ”

This was not an easy thing for Abraham to do. It is never easy to “cast out” those things we have become attached to, but which are not in God’s plan for our lives. No matter how affectionate we may have become toward them.

Abraham’s life was a series of “casting out” those things he loved and held dear, but which would have kept him back from God’s best. First, there was his father, then his nephew Lot. This was followed by Hagar and Ishmael. Then was that awful climax, his darling son, Isaac.

As we travel through life, we too are apt to pick-up, as it were, excess baggage. And like Abraham of old, we also have times when we “go down into Egypt.” We may think that extra luggage is a luxury, that is, till we realize we’ll have to “lug” it around everywhere we go. It is then we see it is not something helping us on to God on our pilgrim journey, but rather, is slowing us down.

I’m sure there are many beautiful and expensive pieces of luggage, on overloaded planes that crash.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Significance of the Insignificant

You may not be able to do big things in a big way, but you can do little things in a great way. My first pastorate was a small one (114 people), but we did everything in a big way. One lady commented, “This is the biggest, littlest church, I’ve ever seen.” As a result of being faithful with a few, God gave us 1000 members in ten years.

Francis A. Schaeffer has a book entitled, No Little People. I’ve often said, “If you’re God’s, there are no little squirts, only big shots.” A little stone can fell a giant, if it is consecrated to God. And a small mustard seed faith can accomplish the unthinkable. As the song says, “Little is much when God is in it.”

Someday in eternity we will find out, to the surprise of many, just how significant the insignificant actually were. God is going to put a name to all those saints who went unrecognized and nameless in this present world. For example, the name of the “little maid” who helped Naaman on to God, all will know, and address her as such.

“And the Lord said…thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.” How precious a thought, He knows, and calls me by name.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Within Our Reach

“[H]e be not far from every one of us.” Unlike the heathen gods, our God is Omni-present. True, He’s somewhere (on His throne), but, just as true, He is everywhere (in His universe). He is not a distant Deity, but a present Help. Ask the three Hebrew children about the Fourth Man in the fire.

Unlike the Old Testament high priest within the veil, ours can be touched. The woman with the issue of blood can vouch for this. Our God is never further away than faith’s reach. Faith can bring God to us, or it can take us to Him. What difference does it make as long a He is with us?

Emmanuel—God with us. He is not standing in some elevated pulpit or sitting behind a large mahogany desk; nor is He hid away behind some door marked “Private.” But rather, “He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.”

Are you an “Emmaus” Christian, walking with the Risen Christ and yet sad?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tired of Being Pushed Around

I’ve known a few bullies in my day. There’s one characteristic they all have: they like to push people around. Because of them, many cower in a corner, spending a lifetime being intimidated by them. Fear strikes the heart of their victims each time they see the bully coming. Oh that we would realize the bully stops pushing, once we push back. If the bully knows he’s in for a fight every time he messes with you, he’ll pass on to easier prey.

God has given us a whole set of armor that we are to battle our “bully from hell” with. There are seven pieces; six are defensive and only one is for offence. How we commend ourselves and those among us, who are beaten by the bully, Beelzebub, and who never give in. But it never crosses the mind of most of us that we are to push back. I do not have to take all the blows from this bully. We are equipped to throw some mighty blows ourselves. Our Lord did, thrice He threw a threefold punch, "It is written." Thereby knocking His opponent out of the ring!

I want to be like the little bull dog that all the big dogs walked around. They knew they could beat him, but it wasn’t worth the fight! He always left them hurting, and they never came out of it without scars of their own.

“He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the Lord wrought a great victory that day.” (2 Sam. 23:10)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Strength for Today

God promises His people, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” I’m glad it’s not the reverse. C.S. Lewis wrote in an unpublished letter, “One is given strength to bear what happens to one, but not the 100 and 1 different things that might happen.”

The Lord doesn’t waste grace; He gives it when it’s needed. He doesn’t give dying grace till your dying. Therefore, you need not worry about future difficulties that may arise. He will be there to under gird you with His strength, just as He always has!

“It is vain for you to rise up early to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows.” We manufacture worries, which, for the most part, never come to fruition. Mark Twain said, “I have been through some terrible things in life, some of which actually happened.” 

I love the song, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” especially the line that says, “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” As the old missionary said, “My future is as bright as the promises of God.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Your Prayers/My Health

Beloved in the Lord,

I just received the results of detailed blood work I had done at the V.A. yesterday. There is good news and bad. :>) Taking the latter first, my blood is low, low, and my iron is the same. Along with several other vitals. The good news is, most have stayed the same for five months. :>)

It has been nine years of hospitals, MRI's, CAT scans, bone biopsies, X-rays, endoscopies, colonoscopies, blood transfusions, etc. etc. And so, a decision, I feel, had to be made. And I have made it, and there is no going back. I do not say this is for anyone else to emulate, but I feel it is for me.

It says in the Bible of the woman who had the issue of blood for twelve years, "She had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." This seems to be my testimony. With all the above mentioned tests and attempted "cures," I'm no better; and have even felt worse at times after certain procedures.

Therefore, I have decided to continue to trust God moving upon His people's hearts to intercede of my behalf in prayer. I do this not out of any type of dedication, but rather desperation. It seems I have been, "shut up unto the faith." It is not that I am Spiritual, it's simply, there seems to be no other course.

And so I intend to go as long as I can. When, and if, I fall on my face, that bridge will have to be crossed then. Right now, I am looking to the grace of God, and the continuing prayers of His people to sustain me daily, or should I say, "moment by moment.".

Many have e-mailed me promising their continued support in prayers. As one dear lady put it,"We are continuing and INCREASING our prayers for you." May the blessed Holy Spirit be pleased to lay it upon many hearts to prayer for us throughout each day.

In Deep Appreciation,

Brother Sandiln
2Cor.1:9-11,a

Monday, April 11, 2011

Immediately

“And beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him." There was no time lapse between Peter’s call to Christ for help when sinking, and Jesus saving him. And there is no interval between the time when we ask Him to forgive us for sins committed, and Him doing it.

How little we know of our dear Lord’s love, mercy, and grace. Is this not because we have envisioned Him to be, altogether such a one as ourselves? How prone we are to wallow in our self-righteous pity, sometimes for hours, even days, and with some, years. We like to think “whipping” ourselves over an extended period of time will earn us some kind of justification before God. What a slap in the face to His blessed atonement. Meritorious acts on our part after sinning, in order to win God’s favor, only voids His mercy!

Joseph’s brothers had sinned against him in a despicable way, but they had asked his forgiveness. This he instantly did, graciously granting their request. At a latter time however, they once again asked his forgiveness, in reference to the same incident. Upon hearing this we are told, “And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.” How it must grieve our precious Saviour’s heart when we emulate this type of unbelief in His Word of promise to us.

Beneath the bloody robes of self-affliction for ones sins, is a person whose tyrannical God is of their own making.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reciting Our Creed

I believe in the sincerity of the saints. That is, we should be without pretense. Our imperfections are no excuse for not doing right, nor are they from displaying genuine sincerity toward God and others.

Joshua and Paul exhort us to have both sincerity and truth. A person can possess one without the other. But, like our legs, you need both if you are to walk straight. A saint should not be a spiritual amputee in such cases.

Unless we can say, in truth, at the end of each prayer to God, “Sincerely yours,” it goes without question we are insincere when we put it at the end of our correspondence with others.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

It Won’t Go Away

“He fell on his face, and prayed…again the second time He prayed…and [He] prayed a third time, saying the same words.”
Of the eight commentaries on my bookshelf, none comment on a small portion of a line found in the context of the above quoted scriptures. The phrase is, “This cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it.” No matter how many times you pray about it, it is not going away. It will always be before you, the only thing that will remove it is you drinking it.

Unless we partake of the portion the Lord sets before us, though it is ever so distasteful, then we, as David of old, will give testimony that it is, “ever before me.” It will always be there to haunt us that we chose our will over His. This cup only appears once in a lifetime: Abraham’s crisis was the offering up of Isaac, David’s, when facing his giant and Paul’s was in his accepting his, “Thorn in the flesh.”

Therefore it is of the upmost importance that we, as our Lord told His disciples, “Drink ye all of it.” And praise be unto God, once we have raised this dreaded cup to our lips and consumed its contents, He has promised, “Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, [even] the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again.” Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Jesus will never have to taste of that cup again. And neither will we, once we have drunk of ours!

"O Happy Day!” ''Tis done: the great transaction's done! I am the Lord's and He is mine."

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Word to Pastors

“In the mouth of two… witnesses every word [shall] be established.” If a bird is to ever get off the ground and soar into the heavenlies, it must have two wings. God has chosen two witnesses to establish his word (Rev.11). This is also seen by the fact that our Lord sent His disciples out, “two by two.”

Joseph told Pharaoh the dream was shown him twice so that he would know it was of God. When God called and said, “Abraham, Abraham,” “Jacob, Jacob,” etc., it was not because they were hard-of-hearing. In any and all situations, a Christian is wise to listen for the second voice. Don’t be fooled by the first knock; Christ always knocks twice.

Because of this, it is important for pastors to have a second voice in their pulpits. I’m afraid, by “hugging” their pulpits, many a pastor is hurting both his people and himself. A second voice is needed to compliment a man’s ministry (not the pastor, but his ministry). Far too many pastors today have an “Elijah” complex, mistakenly thinking they’re the only one.

Pastor, have good men in to fill your pulpit from time to time. Not necessarily “big” names, or your staff, but men who have the anointing oil upon their foreheads. It is not only good for your people, but it’s important for you to be fed from time to time. Plus, you need the rest also. Do not fear quality men will belittle you before your people, believe me, they will love you even more for it. And don’t forget to give a generous love gift, they are worthy of their hire.

The wise man tells us, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.”

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Then and Now

The poet penned, “For of all sad words of tongue or pen the saddest are these: “It might have been.” We who are plagued by our past can only overcome these four woeful words, “What might have been,” by substituting, “What can be.” God, as well as people, is not as concerned with what was, as they are with what is. It’s not what you were in the past, but what you are right now that counts.

I have a little saying, “Start from where you’re at.” Begin right now, start over this very minute. But, you say, “What if I fail again?” Then start fresh the second you fall. Keep getting up; sooner or later you’ll be walking. The Chinese proverb says, “A thousand mile journey was started with one step.”

It is important not to major on what you could have been, but what you can be!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Simulated Soul Winning

The term “Soul Winning” was regularly used by old-timers such as Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and R.A. Torrey, along with contemporaries like Billy Graham. This, in spite of the fact the phrase is found only once in all the Word of God. We must be careful to not build a doctrinal system on one isolated text (example 2Tim.2:15), rather than a multiple set of proof-texts that give it credence.

Mind you, I am not against the expression, if its true meaning is adhered to. In the Old Testament, “soul” was used to denote the whole man; his body, soul and spirit. It is winning over man in his entirety, not just the spiritual part. Many so-called “soul winners” boast of the notches on their Bibles representing saved souls, but, who embarrassingly avoid telling you of all the lost lives they have left strewn behind them.

Personally, I have come to embrace the word “witness,” over that of soul winner. My reason for this is the fact that the New Testament, especially the book of Acts, uses it repeatedly. Witnessing/soul winning is not something we attempt to do one night a week for a couple of hours. It is not a program, it’s a life. Because of this, I have serious problems with “Visitation Programs.” The early Church went everywhere, everyday, to everyone. Some would sow while others reaped their efforts, but they were all one, and received the same reward. By the way, they were not out to build some kind of empire or reputation for themselves, but did it for the glory of God!

A soul-winner is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thine is the Victory

"Thine O Lord is the...victory." Victory, like salvation, is not something to be earned, but something that is given. "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Notice, you could interchange "eternal life" and "victory" in each verse without changing its truth or meaning. Victory, then, like salvation, is a present possession. But, just as one can be saved and not enjoy the benefits, so it is with victory.

A believer is given the victory as well as eternal life at his conversion, by receiving the mighty Victor as his Savior. But we must appropriate this given victory. We have to cash in on it, so to speak, to reap its benefits. The old timers expressed this blessed truth when they would say, "When you fall, shout the victory." There is never a time in the Christian's life that he or she does not have the victory, though they may at times not enjoy it because of not applying it by faith.

In the Olympics, one wins the victory, but his countrymen are the recipients. So it is with Christ and His elect.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Unmasking Fear

Most people are familiar with the saying, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” but how few, I believe, realize this statement, like many others, originated in the Bible. The wise man wrote, “Be not afraid of sudden fear.” How fearful some of us are when confronted with fear itself. Yet, the Scripture tells us we are not to fear when facing our fears.

Nothing so paralyzes as fear. It makes one stand still in his or her tracks—frozen. Or else, it drives us to such despair, we run to our closets of passivity. As a result, we never venture out of our secure places to attempt anything. The devil has a thousand false faces, and most of these are designed to frighten and alarm.

Though we shouldn’t, it is not uncommon for God’s people to fear. Sheep, as you undoubtedly know, are a fearful flock (Lk.12:32,a). It says of His disciples, “…as they followed, they were afraid.” The only remedy this side of Heaven for fear is faith. “Be not afraid,” says our Lord, “Only believe.” This is the sure cure-all for fear.

I do not want engraved on my tombstone,“through fear [was] all [his] lifetime subject to bondage.”

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Books and a Bible

The following is a recent e-mail I received from a friend. It is not the only one of its kind that I have gotten over time.

Richard,

I just wanted to tell you how much I'm enjoying the book "Spiritual Depression" by Lloyd Jones. The man certainly rings my bell and keeps me engaged with his thought process as well as his insight to the complexities of this life. It seems so simple as he gives explanation to our weakness and struggles and then how to correct it.

I would appreciate very much, and possibly others as well if you would compile a suggested reading list. I truly love books that make me think and then seek God about a particular frailty or fault that I might have, and I especially love books that get me thinking deeper about my Lord.

May the Lord bless you and Salle for this incredible gift that the two of you have so willing given to others. Christians actually thinking ... and challenging others to do the same, what a novel idea in an age when sensitivity to everything has taken on such a new meaning to the younger generations.

Your friend,

The books I read are mostly practical in nature, even the doctrinal ones. They’re books that help me through my pilgrim journey, hence, others benefit from my writings and council. The intent of my articles has never been to persuade one to adhere to my views, but to get them to think for themselves; “Outside the box,” if you please. But, if one is under a totalitarian ministry or blindly follows a self-appointed Guru, I cannot be of any help.

The following is a brief list of books that blessed my life in one way or the other.

1. Spiritual Depression (Its causes and cure. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I read this on a regular basis.

2. Letters of John Newton. The heart surgeon.

3. Sin and Temptation. John Owen. The man who knows you. Packer’s intro. is worth the book.

4. Pursuit of God. A. W. Tozer. Written while on his knees.

5. Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis. My constant companion.

6. The Life of Christ and also The Life of Paul. James Stalker. Classic! Outstanding!

7. The New Sovereignty. Reginald Wallis. On Lordship.

8. Farewell Sermons. A selection of sermons given in 1662 by non-conformist Puritan pastor’s to their flocks before being put out to scorched pastures. Their number was over 2000. Heart-breaking to read.

9. The Liberty of Obedience. Elisabeth Elliot. Will make you re-think your strict personal standards.

10. Born for Battle. R. Arthur Mathews. Will revolutionize your prayer life.

11. George Mac Donald. C.S. Lewis. Short sayings, but sweet and wise thoughts.

12. Wounded Heroes. Elizabeth R. Skoglund. Brings out the human part of being a Christian. It’s great.

13. Concise Theology. J.I. Packer. Shot and simple. For lay people and any pastor who likes the “cookies on the bottom shelf.”

14. The Blessed Hope. George Eldon Ladd. The “Historic Pre-Millennial view, one people, one coming. This view was held by the early Church fathers. Not to be confused with the modern-day dispensational teaching.

15. The Pilgrim Church. Broadbent, a Brethren layman. A great Church history book. Easy to understand and grasp.

16. Set of 17 small books on N.T. By Charles R. Erdman. Also, The Disciplined Life. He is one of my all-time favorites writers.

17. No Little People and Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer. His letters are for contemporary Christianity.

18. Enjoying Your Best Years. J. Oswald Sanders. For the elderly, but youth should read to understand where you’ll be soon and how to prepare.

19. The Practice the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence. An all-time Classic.

20. Christian Hymns. Banner of Truth. Welsh songs that have real depth. Great with your morning devotions.

21. Things I Have Learned. Bob Jones Sr. Old fashion character.

22. “Allan” Bibles. The very best you can get. Expensive, but old time stitched pages, plus Highland Goatskin leather cover. Will last a life-time. Bring up site on-line.

Some of the above are out of print, but can be found on-line or in a good bookstore.

Blessings

The Meaning of "Deny Thyself"

“And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself... Peter then denied again…” Since the Bible interprets itself, we need not go to any other source. Peter did not deny the existence or presence of Christ, but having any relationship or camaraderie with Him. One can acknowledge the reality of Christ, yet deny Him any recognition or rights to his or her life.

And so it is with self-denial. When Jesus spoke of denying self, He was speaking of refusing the old Adamic nature that we were born with, any and all privileges in one’s life. His opinions, feelings, understanding, reasoning, morals, and wisdom, along with all his other ego-centric assertions, are to be denied him. HE HAS NO RIGHTS!

After these many years of living with the other “Me,” I find the best way to deal with his persuasive pleadings and logical arguments is to simply say, “NO!” then to ask God for His strength and help to keep on saying it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

When the Sky Falls In

I imagine that most, if not all of us, have either heard or used the proverbial saying, “I feel like the sky is falling in on me.” In my reading of Job recently, I wondered if the old patriarch was not the originator of this adage. For in the very first chapter we find everything falling in on this precious saint, whom we are told, is to be our example in suffering.

The account goes something like this: In one twenty-four hour period we are told one messenger after another brought Job news of the sky falling in, so to speak. The first bearer of bad news told him the Sabeans “fell” upon his five-hundred yoke of oxen, his five-hundred she asses, and had taken them away, slaying also the servants. While he was delivering his distressing report, a second showed up telling of the fire that had “fallen” from heaven and burned up his seven-thousand sheep; consuming also the servants. But, can you believe a third shows up on his doorstep? This man informs him that the Chaldeans “fell” upon three-thousand camels, carrying them away, after killing his servants. And to add sorrow upon sorrow, the fourth and final dreaded news comes. A great wind came from the wilderness, and the house in which all of his children were feasting, “fell” upon them, killing the ten of them. It is mind-boggling, is it not, ten funerals in one day?

What in the world could be the purpose in all of this? I believe it is found in verse 20 of this first chapter. After hearing all the tragic and heartrending news, we are told, “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and “fell” down upon the ground, and worshipped.” O, dear child of God, if everything seems to be falling in on you, then fall to your knees and worship the One who gave, as well as the One who takes away.