Don’t Forget

I am reading through the book of Numbers and remembering how important it is to not forget the good things God has done. Unfortunately, humankind hasn’t changed and, when trials come, it’s easy to wonder how God can do these things to US–His servants! Bad things do happen to Godly people, however, and you must remember it is these things that increase our faith and have the capacity to make us more Godly if we would surrender.

This is a reminder I needed today. I have seen God’s hand at work so many times and, even when I can’t see, I need to trust and know that everything He allows in my life is for my good and His glory. It is often in the valley that I take more time to seek His face and listen for His voice. I admit this to my shame but it is something I think about when trials come. If this is the only way that God can get my attention, then I need not complain but, instead, I should be praising Him for His faithfulness in continually drawing me closer to Him.

I pray I never forget His goodness and His love for me. I hope you don’t either. Over and over in Scripture, God told the Israelites to Remember. God is still saying that today. Thank Him for His blessings for they are many.

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A Call to Repentance and Surrender

After Bible Study the other night, we were sitting around talking, and someone mentioned that, before he knew the Lord, he wouldn’t attend church because he knew he wasn’t living right. Thankfully, he finally hit a place where he surrendered to the Lord, changed the things he knew needed to change, and surrendered his life to Christ.

I understand why churches stress the importance of coming to Jesus as you are instead of waiting to be cleaned up but it also seems like way too many stay as they are, even after making a profession of faith. Isaiah 1:18 says, “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ said the LORD: ‘though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'” This doesn’t mean your sins become white but that your life of sin disappears as you begin to serve God.

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In Romans 6:1, Paul asks, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” In verse 2, he answers his own question, “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

In Galatians 2:20, Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” We know Christ knew no sin so, if He lives in me, I won’t live a life of sin either.

Many times in Scripture, people were told to repent. That call still goes out today. If you are one who looks nice on the outside but inside, you are full of uncleanness, repent. If you are nice to the people at church but mean to your family, repent. If you are living a life that you know is not honoring to God, it is never too late to turn from your sinful ways and surrender those areas to the One who loves you more than you will ever be able to comprehend. The answer isn’t to stop going to church; the answer is to understand your need and turn to Him today.

Pretend that you are about to take communion. Think about the horrendous death that Jesus suffered because of your sins and mine. As you begin to bring the bread and cup to your lips, does your heart well up with gratitude for what Christ has done for you or do you find yourself squirming because you know that you are not able to take communion worthily but you know that others have no idea what your life is really like? Worse yet, do you not feel that sense of guilt about the life you are living?

Hebrews 12:6 says, “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and whips every son whom He receives.” If you are able to sin and not be disciplined by the Lord, you should really search your heart to know if you are truly His.

Let me also say here that there is a difference between conviction and condemnation. Condemnation feels like there is no hope. Conviction is the mercy of the Holy Spirit tapping you on the shoulder and showing you what you are doing wrong so that you can change. That is what I want you to feel today: the conviction that only God can bring. I don’t know your life. I don’t know what you’re going through. But I do know that God loves you, and He can change you today, whether you have gone to church for a day, a month, a year, 5 years, 65 years, or not at all. His arm is not too short, and He desires you to spend eternity with Him. Won’t you surrender today?

Lead Me to the Cross

“Lead me to the cross where Your love poured out. Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down. Rid me of myself. I belong to You. Lead me.”

It’s been a hectic six months for me which has been followed by some trials that I would prefer not to walk through but God is giving tremendous grace, for which I am grateful.

The other night, I was experiencing immense physical pain due to an ear infection. As I was crying out to God for relief, He reminded me that He is no stranger to pain. As badly as I wanted the pain to go away, I knew then that, if God didn’t remove it, He would give me the strength to endure, and that is exactly what He did, enabling me to sleep in the midst of it. I am still dealing with pain but I know that this too will pass. He is such a good Father.

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Although my pain this past week was physical, this can apply to any trial or pain you’re going through. It does not compare to what He suffered. If you keep that in mind, you will not be able to rail against God but your heart will be filled with love for Him in spite of your suffering.

If you are going through a trial and don’t know how you’re going to make it, ask God to lead you to the cross, to rid you of yourself, to help you to lean on Him as never before. He will not leave you in the midst of your trial and suffering but He will carry you through it if you will surrender all to Him.

What Do You Know?

A friend has told me a number of times, “When you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, go back to the last time you knew what you were supposed to do and do that.” That’s where I’m at today: evaluating what I know.

There are so many decisions to make in life: Who should I marry? What job should I take? How can I best serve the Lord? This last question is one we should ask on a daily basis. Every morning I rise, I know there is a reason I am still here. God has a job for me to do, and I must fulfill that task.

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What do I know? God has called me. He desires to use me. He has blessed me more than I deserve. If I am faithful to the end, He will give me a crown of life.

What do you know? I would venture to guess that much of what I know would hold true for you as well but question deeper than that. Are you continuing in the calling to which God has called you? Have you lost sight of the direction you received a while back? Are you struggling to hear God’s voice? Think back to the last time you heard Him and consider if that is still His word to you or if He is changing your direction. It’s easy to be so busy that we don’t take the time to hear but, in these days of uncertainty, it is vital that we do hear.

If you are struggling to know God’s will for this season of your life, take the time to press in until you know what He desires of you. Then move forward in faith, knowing that He will complete the work that He’s begun in your life.

May this beautiful song by Steve Green encourage the heart of our readers today.

Ever Learning

Today is an easy day to praise the Lord. The sun is shining, I can see God’s hand at every turn while feeling His love and protection. There are days it is not so easy though, yet praise is not an option. It is a necessity.

Trust, Colorful words hang on rope by wooden peg

I wish I were better at consistently praising Him, even when everything around me looks like it’s falling apart. This is an area God does help me in though. He often reminds me that, even when I can’t see it, He is working. He loves me and, no matter what happens, I am still His beloved child.

I am so grateful to have the best Father in the world. His love for me is not measured by how successful I am. He simply wants me to trust Him and serve Him with all my heart. I am still learning how to do that as well, but I am thankful that He doesn’t give up. He constantly encourages me to try, try again.

I expect I will never stop learning until the day He takes me Home but I pray I will pass my tests with flying colors. He is so good!

A beautiful hymn by Fernando Ortega to give Praise to the Lord the Almighty today.

God’s Story

God’s Story  Gods Story

A review by Stuart Brogden

 

This book is subtitled, A Student’s Guide to Church History. As one who has greatly benefited from studying church history, I was most eager to read this book as I think all Christians would learn much that is helpful by such a study. In the introduction, Brian Cosby says “knowing church history helps explain our identity … helps explain the present … guards us from repeating mistakes … testifies to God’s powerful working as HIS STORY.” Studying church history done well will have much in common with the historical narratives in Scripture – showing the brute truth about God’s people: redeemed sinners who still struggle with sin and obey with less than perfection.

 

In chapters 2 – 10, our author provides a quick overview of the history of God’s people from Genesis through the Great Awakening, giving details that should whet the appetite of any young – or older Christian – to discover more about the providential care for His people in all ages.

 

The last couple of chapters provide a warning to all who might be drawn aside from the study of the Scriptures. Church history shows that those who do not cling to the Bible as the Word of God inevitably drift to using human wisdom to determine eternal outcomes. In the 11th chapter (they are not numbered), Cosby details four categories of abandonment of Scriptures as the rule for life and godliness, with shipwrecks of faith being the inevitable outcome. First, he describes revivalism, headlined by Charles Finney – who gave us altar calls and myriad “new measures”. Dispensationalism arrived at about the same time. Second, Cosby tells us about liberalism – which denies the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. This leads professing Christians to deny the virgin birth, the creation account, and pretty much anything essential to the Christian faith. He names people so we will recognize them when we read other documents, so we are properly warned. Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) is known as the “Father of Modern Liberal Theology” and had many followers, including Henry Ward Beecher, Adolf von Harnack, Albrecht Ritschl, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Rudolf Bultmann, Paul Tillich, John Hick, and John Shelby Spong.

 

The third abandonment of Scripture is cults, which are typified by the Latter Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both of these cults have a heretical view of Jesus and the trinity, each has their own twisted version of the Bible. These factual departures from the Word of God does not stop millions of people from following these cults and leading many to a certain doom apart from Christ. The fourth and last category is evolution. I was happy to see this listed, as I have come to see this view as particularly incompatible with Christianity, yet accepted by many Christians who are too impressed by what men call science. There is no evidence of any evolutionary change in kinds – from non-dog to dog, etc. All the “proof experiments” document that environmental adaptation (known as micro-evolution) is common. Change in kind (macro-evolution) has never been documented, much less has evolution been shown to be the cause for the origin of any species.

 

The last chapter is a review of four influences in the 20th century that have encouraged or derailed many Christians: fundamentalism (reaffirming the essentials of the Christian faith), neo-orthodoxy (the Bible becomes the Word of God when used by God to draw a sinner to faith), Pentecostalism (a focus on experience rather than Truth), and evangelicalism (emphasizing the historic Protestant theological convictions). This last also brought a mixture of revivalism and new measures as churches experimented with different forms of entertainment worship.

 

This excellent book finishes with an exhortation from the author that should encourage every Christian, young or old:

 

As we look back through the history of the Christian church, we see God’s faithfulness to preserve his people in spite of their sin and rebellion against his truth. We see a great cloud of witnesses, generations of those who have embraced Christ by faith, beckoning us onward as we will one day be translated from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant. And until that day comes, we pray, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”

 

I say amen!

 

This is a very good book, easy to grab hold of. Parents should put this in front of their children, read it with them and discuss the attributes of God and the sinfulness of man that are always on display. This latter ought remind that none but Jesus does helpless sinners good. Flee to Him. This book shows us the way.