Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bold Preaching

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”

If you were to ask me the greatest change I have seen in churches in my fifty-five year ministry, my answer would be one word: “preaching.” We today, as Paul foretold us, have gone from preaching to teaching. It is important to realize, men are called to preach, then gifted as teachers, pastors, evangelists, etc. No man can hide behind his gift as an excuse for neglecting bold preaching!

A pastor friend in Canada, who is also a veterinarian, told me they now have a procedure where they cut a dog’s vocal cord to keep them from barking and bothering neighbors. The Old prophet spoke of this kind of preacher. He described them as, “dumb dogs [that] cannot bark.” Dumb, not as in intellectually, but as in audibly. Years ago, a preacher said to my home pastor, “I wish I could preach to my people the way you do to yours.” He could, it’s just that he wouldn’t.

We no longer hear fiery messages on Bible topics such as: judgment, sin, wrath, sodomy, death, sowing and reaping, etc. When we stopped preaching on hell from the pulpits they started living like it in the pews. I think, to hear some preachers preach, they believe the word apologetics (concerned with the defense or proof of Christianity), means to apologize for their preaching.

The norm today is that love is all that counts. No! Truth is what counts. Paul tells us love rejoices in truth. Dr. Bob Jones used to have a message to preachers who trimmed their messages in the pretense of love. The text he used was, “Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love?” God help those preachers who, so to speak, tiptoe through the tulips.

Some preachers, before preaching ask, “Who is out there?” Then load or unload their gun. Others go to the pulpit and shoot, and then ask, “Who’d I hit?”

Richard. D. Sandlin

Friday, August 30, 2013

50th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY PICS

Dear Readers,
My wife and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary two years ago this October 14th. My daughter, Leah, who is a photographer, planned to visit during that time and take pictures, but was unable to do so. 
 
She visited with us recently and was able to make good her and our desire. Here are a few of the photos she took of Salle and me at Carmel by the Sea, CA during her stay. Since I am not on Facebook I thought some of you might enjoy seeing the 'old man' (80 in Oct.) and his young looking wife.
 
 
 







Thursday, August 29, 2013

*The Saints Saucer

“My Cup Runneth Over”

I can remember, as a boy, seeing my Kentucky bred Grampaw drinking his coffee out of his saucer, while eating a breakfast of bacon and eggs, along with his biscuits and gravy. He was like the trucker I heard of, who when asked by the waitress if he wanted his cup filled, answered “Yep, and my saucer too!”

I notice today in homes and restaurants old fashioned saucers are not much in use, if at all. I can only surmise from this that people no longer desire full cups. This doesn’t trouble me, but Christians not craving the “fullness of God,” does. David drank from an overflowing cup; his saucer, if you please.

O, that each of us will seek God’s fulness until, like the wine skins, we are about to burst. Every spiritual need in the Christian’s life is found in the Spirit’s nine-fold fruit. When we unreservedly yield to Him, then our lives will yield His fruit.

Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.”

Richard. D. Sandlin

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Favorite O.T. Bible Story

“[There was] a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom [is] despised, and his words are not heard. The words of wise [men are] heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. Wisdom [is] better than weapons of war...”

I recently read something about Alexander the Great that illustrates this passage. “When Alexander the Great was about to destroy the city Lampsacus, his old master Anaximenes came out to meet him. Alexander, suspecting his design, that he would intercede for the city, being determined to destroy it, swore that he would not grant him anything he should ask. Then said Anaximenes, ‘I desire that you destroy this city.’ Alexander respected his oath, and the city was spared.”

To be sure, Alexander was a great man, but, as Job tells us, “Great men are not always wise.”

There are seven pearls, so to speak, in this shell of truth.

1. Wisdom can be found among obscure places and people. “Little city...few men.”

2. Wisdom is not limited to position. “A great king...a poor wise man.”

3. Wisdom is to be used for others, to help deliver them from dire circumstances. “By his wisdom delivered the city.”

4. “Wisdom is better than strength.” It’s not brawn but the brain of the wise that wins out.

5. Wisdom many times gives birth to jealousy in those who do not possess it. “The poor man’s wisdom is despised and not heard.”

6. Wisdom is heard best in quiet. Heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.”

7. Wisdom is the best of all weapons. “Wisdom [is] better than weapons of war

True, such wisdom is soon forgotten by the ones who have been helped by it. But the wise man is wise enough to know, his “All wise God” hasn’t!”

Richard. D. Sandlin

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Big Picture

“For God so loved the world...”

We need to learn to emulate God when it comes to where to start in any and all situations. He starts with the big picture, and then works toward the more detailed. This is seen in such things as Creation, and the building of Noah’s ark.

The little quip, “The devil is in the details,” most certainly is not true in every case, but is in some. It is the latter of the two that needs guarded against. A bird’s-eye view will always help us see more clearly. Don't lose sight of the whole in people or problems.

Many times majoring on the detailed is what causes disagreement and division among us. For example, all Bible Believer’s believe in the second coming of Christ. The difficulty comes when the subject become exhaustive. This is also true of rightly dividing the Word; you can slice it so thin, there’s not enough left to feed on or to go around.

Let us all back off awhile; some of us “can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Richard. D. Sandlin

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Lord is My Keeper

The Bible speaks not only of God keeping our souls, but our lives also. I do not believe I’ve ever lost any sleep in relation to the former. But I shamefully confess countless nights have been spent tossing to and fro upon my bed, worrying about if God would take care of various difficult things in my life.

It has always baffled me how I can trust the Lord to keep my eternal soul, but not my life from day to day. O, how much of Jacob I have in me! Always planning, covering myself, and making sure there is a back door for my safe escape, just in case. I know it is not a pretty sight, but it’s the way we, Jacob’s seed, live.

But praise His name, we’re told, He is the “mighty God of Jacob.” Jacobs, “Almighty God,” can still turn his kind into princes, but it will take some long hours of wrestling with God for it to happen. But when the morning comes, it will be apparent to all, something happened to this seemingly impossible creature. He has a distinctive walk now that he didn’t have before!

“I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest [any] hurt it, I will keep it night and day.”

Richard. D. Sandlin

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sick Saints

“And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.”

Doctor Luke, “the beloved physician,” penned these words from the mouth of the Great Physician. Many times Jesus takes physical truths to illustrate spiritual ones. It is easy to miss the former because of the importance of the latter. Nevertheless, the physical has its place.

As hard as it may be for some of the “spiritually elite,” to accept this fact, Jesus did say if you are sick, go to a doctor. Yes, like the woman with the issue of blood found, there are quacks among the medical profession, like any other, but that doesn’t change what our Lord said. The Bible way in sickness seems to be first, seek the Lord; then, if no clear cut direction, use the means God has provided.

Beware of applying historical truths from the Gospels, primarily to the Jews, and rejecting Paul’s teachings for us Gentiles today. And even in the Epistles one needs to be cautious. For example, early in the apostle’s writings he expected of Lord’s immediate return; toward the end he taught His imminent return. So it was with healing. In his latter letters he left a friend sick at Miletum. Timothy was to take a little wine for his stomach and “oft infirmities.” And one companion was so sick he was nigh unto death.

Sickness is part of a fallen humanity, saved or lost. If one is healed, ultimately we wind up in the cemetery with the rest of mankind. Isaac had poor eye sight as he got older, Elisha died from a sickness, David complains of some kind of bone disease, and Paul was sick all his ministry.

Whether we are healed directly or indirectly (by the use of means), God is to get the glory. And because one is cured through the latter does not mean he or she is any less spiritual than those healed by the former.          

Richard. D. Sandlin

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Permanent and Temporary Necessities

“For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things”

It is fitting that the first Church council be held at Antioch. The disciples were first called Christian in this city, and the first New Testament missionaries were called from the church there. In this conference three men spoke, Peter, Paul, and James, each giving his own opinion to the solution to the problem that had arisen among two factions in the churches.  

You will remember in the beginning, the primitive church consisted mostly of all Jewish believers, but later on, the door was opened to the Gentiles, and a great host of them were flooding into the assembles. Naturally, difficulties occurred between the traditional Jews and non-religious Gentiles. The problem was wisely handled by presenting to both sides the “necessary things,” required.

Some of these necessary things (fornication) were for all time, while others were only for that time (strangled things, etc.). We need to be careful not to make a present necessity a perpetual rule. Time, geography, and culture, on occasions, dictate that we abstain or do something out of necessity for the glory of God and the help of others. But this is transitory; it is never meant to be an enduring standard. Paul wished all men were like him (single), because of the “present distress.” But, that passed and is not a rule for men today (other than an exception).

Richard. D. Sandlin

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Guided by God

Abraham had no other guide than God to direct his steps over the trackless desert to the place he knew not. The importance of God’s guidance in our lives cannot be over exaggerated. And I mean in every area. We do not know what lies around the next turn; He does, thus, the necessity of His leading.  

The scriptures abound in promises of God’s guidance in lives surrendered to Him. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye”; “And the LORD shall guide thee continually”; “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way”; “He will be our guide [even] unto death.”

If you think for a minute you can run your own life, listen to Jeremiah, “O LORD, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” This is the reason we are to acknowledge Him in all our ways. For if He is not guide in all, then He will not guide at all.

Most informed Christians are aware in seeking God’s guidance that He generally uses means: enlightenment from the Bible, promptings of the Spirit, immediate circumstances, godly friends, etc. But sometimes it is forgotten He also uses a sanctified mind. Filling one’s brain with facts and information can be a determining factor which way He is leading. Common sense in weighing the pros and cons can go a long way in helping us.

After the angel delivered Peter from prison we are told, “when he had considered the thing,” he then set his steps for Mary’s house. How about some of us setting down and considering some things? We might just see our way through a confusing and difficult time.

Richard. D. Sandlin


 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Truth about Our Kin

“To Titus, [mine] own son after the common faith...” “Titus...[is] a Greek”...“One of themselves (Greeks), [even] a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians (Greeks) [are] alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies...” “This witness is true.”
I read that when you're referring to the Greek people, you would say "Greeks," but if you're referring to Greek culture and art, you could optionally say, "Grecian." One way or the other, Greeks are Grecians, and visa-versa.  
Titus had that rare spirit wherein he could hear derogatory truths about his own kindred without taking offence. He was not a John Mark who ran home to Mama when he felt his uncle Barnabas got a raw deal.
Paul was straightforward in calling Titus’ people, “liars, evil, and slow bellies,” (referring no doubt to gluttony and sloth). Until one first faces and admits to themselves disparaging truths about loved ones, they will always be in a defensive mode. This does not help them, their loved ones, or their relationship to those who know the truth about their kin.
“The tie that binds,” must be broken when it conflicts with truth! If not, then you will spend your life justifying loved ones who are wrong, and by your actions, tell others such a life is acceptable in your eyes.
I find behind all family prejudice is pride. Which thing God hates.
     Richard. D. Sandlin

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Always-"My God"

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

This is one of the many texts in the Bible that has both an immediate and far off meaning. The Old Testament is filled with scriptures that have present and prophetic truths connected with them. In this article I will not discuss the doctrinal aspect of our text, but rather its practical application.

Whether David or Jesus on the Cross (as representative man), we are all capable of the same intense cry. If one has not yet gone through his or her Calvary experience, the feeling of complete abandonment, you will, if you follow on to know the Lord. If Hebrews 13:5 be an argument against what I say, I remind you that Jesus, prior to His desolate cry told His disciples, “I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” We may feel forsaken, but we’re not forgotten.

The Lord brought to my attention recently that in spite of a sense of being forsaken, they, Darling David and His Beloved Son, still owned Him as, “My God.” In fact, over and again they repeated it, “My God, my God.”

When dire circumstances strongly argue for spiritual desertion, we must still call Him, “My God.” We must trust Him, no matter the situation. We must hold to the horns of the altar, so to speak, and as Job of old cry out in our agony, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

D.L. Moody said, “Wait for His promise. He always returns by way of His promise.”

Richard. D. Sandlin

Saturday, August 3, 2013

When Prayer Becomes Distasteful

I realize the title of this article will be objectionable to the “Spiritually Elite.” Those who make a “pretense” in prayer, whose long prayers come from “feigned” lips. Who desire to be seen always on top of the spiritual heap, so to speak. But the common Christian knows better. We ordinary folks recognize prayer is not always a bed of roses; at times, because of the thorns in our way, it can be very difficult. Listen to Job when things got grim, “If I had called, and he had answered me; [yet] would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.”

Nevertheless, during those tough times we need to heed the words of the gospel song, “When you don’t feel like praying, pray.” When we do not want to pray we need to pray all the more. Spurgeon said, “When you can pray, and long to pray, why then you will pray; but when you cannot pray, and do not wish to pray, why then you must pray, or evil will come of it.” He goes on to say, “He is on the brink of ruin who forgets the mercy-seat.”

Prayer is the breath of the child of God’s spiritual life. When it ceases, we die, and are left only with an outward dry and crusty shell, the inside empty of any life. You can be assured, lifeless Christians are prayerless Christians! A great misnomer is, “Prayer Changes Things.” This little cliché is not always true, but it is a fact that prayer changes us. How many times has one entered their prayer closet a dead man or woman and came out a living, vibrant, fire-brand?

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken ...and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost... And ... great power... and great grace was upon them all.”

Richard D. Sandlin

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How "The Man Christ Jesus" Lived the Christian Life

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost...was led by the Spirit...And Jesus...[said]...man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

Since Jesus Christ was the founder of Christianity, it behooves all Christians to follow the original pattern laid down by Him in living for God on this earth. Following man-made methods can sometimes be disastrous. It caused Bible teacher, Harry A. Ironside to have a nervous breakdown, and J.I. Packer came close to one, according to his testimony. They both found, to their chagrin, the men who espoused such teachings did not come up to them their own selves.    

I discovered years ago in studying and adhering to the “Deeper Life” teachings that it led to a constant scraping of my spiritual insides. I dissected each and every thing in my life; it all went under a microscope.  There was never a moment of inner peace, only turmoil. I oft questioned my spiritual sanity. I thought of David’s words on many occasions, that these things were, “Too high for me...I cannot [attain] unto [them].”

Jesus’ life was a simple one when it came to living for God. He yielded Himself to the indwelling Spirit and soaked His life with the scriptures. He was saturated with both! He lived by a set of principles laid down in the Word by the Holy Spirit. As a result, He was able to obey His God on a moment by moment basis. There was no frustration as to what was on down the road in the distant future; only “now” and “next” concerned Him.

“Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet (now), and a light unto my path (next).”